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Phineas Parkhurst Quimby: His Complete Writings and Beyond

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Historical Newspaper Articles

A Dumb Lady Restored to Speech!

Allusion having been made by a contemporary to a case of alledged restoration of a lady, who had been dumb, to speech, by Mr. P. P. Quimby, of Belfast, we made a particular inquiry of that gentleman, who was in this city yesterday, as to the facts in the case alluded to. We report substantially the account as we received it from him, for the wonder, curiosity, or whatever else, of our readers.

A daughter of Capt. Blodgett, of Brooksville, aged about 20 years, was suddenly deprived of speech over two years ago. No cause was known, and the fact excited a melancholy surprise in herself, her relations and acquaintances generally. She had not been sick, nor even ill, nor had any trouble of mind or body been known to have produced speechlessness. She was an intelligent lady, and was attending the public school at the time this event occurred. One evening her speech was observed to be slightly impaired. She retired as usual, and on waking in the morning she found herself utterly speechless. From that time over two years ago, until about six weeks since, she had not uttered an audible word. She could only communicate a few simple words, as yes, or no, in an imperfect whisper. She is now in the full possession of her former powers of speech. Soon after her return home from Belfast she addressed a very interesting letter to Mr. Quimby, confessing her complete restoration, and feelingly expressing the profound gratitude of herself and parents for his agency in the recovery of her powers of speech.

During this deprivation her father had taken her to Boston three times, where they sought the best medical aid for a cure, but wholly without avail. One physician attributed the cause to a sort of paralysis of the vocal organs. About three months since she went to Belfast and submitted her case to the treatment of Mr. Quimby, who had acquired considerable fame as a disciple of “Mesmerism,” a faith and belief which he now scrupulously adheres to. She was under his care between three and four weeks. He visited her daily at the house of a relative where she stopped, but administered to her no medicine whatever.

Mr. Q. says he employs no medicine of any kind for any complaint he is called upon to treat. His theory is, if we may be allowed a digression here, that all diseases of the body are caused by a derangement of the mind!—and that the cure of all diseases may be effected, theoretically, by a restoration or rectification of the mind of the invalid, to its natural, proper condition. He has this “faith,” and when he succeeds in explaining and imparting it to the patient, the disease vanishes and the whole person is restored to its harmonious natural functions. His formula of faith is, confessedly, that of the Savior and the woman who touched the hem of his garment and became whole. Her faith and the corresponding faith of the Savior effected her cure. The operation is purely mental. Mr. Q. discards this scriptural fact as “a miracle,” but regards it as natural, as properly reproductive by those who have the right idea of diseases and their cure, and who have the faith to attempt the relief of human suffering by a purely mental process. He refrains entirely from any manipulations over the patients, such as are generally known to be the accompaniments of mesmeric experiments. He neither puts them to sleep nor biologizes them, but takes them as he finds them, converses with them upon the nature of diseases, explains the method he proposes for a cure,—in other words he gets control of the patient’s mind, draws it away from every other person, especially from the person or thing under whose influence the disease may be caused.

This is Mr. Quimby’s theory;—this is the way he practises the healing art. This is the way in which he says he restored this young lady to the power of speech,—with no other appliance but the power of his speech upon her mind. Our readers may take the “theory,” the “system” for what they think it is worth. We will only say that we have no reason to doubt the material statements in reference to this particular case,—that Miss Blodgett became speechless without any apparent adequate cause to herself or her parents; that she sought repeatedly medical aid, without avail, that after two long years of the deepest solicitude as to the loss of this faculty (“divine” to ladies, as the men say,) of speech; that she subjected herself to the treatment of Mr. Quimby and in a few weeks recovered her speech.

Mr. Quimby is not a “Spiritualist” in any sense of the term. He professes to deal with the things of earth, with human, mundane maladies; and evidently can discover no aid to his “theory,” or any utility generally in the pretended revisits to earth of departed spirits and their pranks with tables, chairs, et. et., within “the charmed circles” of the believers in “spiritualism.”

[There are two handwritten notations next to this article. The first is: “Belfast 1856”. The second notation is: “This cure was in 1856 at which time he was curing simply through the mind using neither applications, mesmerism nor spiritualism.”—Ron Hughes]

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