by Horatio W. Dresser
IT will be noticed that Lucius, when referring to some of Quimby’s works of healing known as miracles, speaks of the fact that Quimby “worked over” patients unable to walk or move their arms. Apparently, manipulation was employed to some extent in such cases, possibly because the belief still prevailed that a “fluid” passed from operator to patient. We find confirmation of this in the biographical account already quoted from.
“He sometimes,” writes George Quimby, “in cases of lameness and sprains, manipulated the limbs of the patient, and often rubbed the head with his hands, wetting them with water. He said it was so hard for the patient to believe that his mere talk with him produced the cure, that he did this rubbing simply that the patient would have more confidence in him; but he always insisted that he possessed no ‘power’ nor healing properties different from any one else, and that his manipulations conferred no beneficial effect upon the patient, although it was often the case that the patient himself thought they did.” (1)
(1) New England Magazine, March, 1888, p. 272.
Again, we have the testimony of a patient who remained with Mr. Quimby for several years, meeting the new comers and conversing with them both before and after they received treatment. Mr. Dresser says, “In treating a patient, after he had finished his explanations, and the silent work, which completed the treatment, he usually rubbed the head two or three minutes, in a brisk manner, for the purpose of letting the patient see that something was done. This was a measure of securing the confidence of the patient, at a time when he was starting a new practice, and stood alone in it. I knew him to make many quick cures at a distance, sometimes with persons he never saw at all. He never considered the touch of the hand as at all necessary, but let it be governed by circumstances, as was done 1800 years ago.” (1)
(1)“True History,” p. 25.
Bearing this explanation in mind, when we come to read Quimby’s letters to patients, we will understand why he speaks as if he were putting his hand on a person’s head at a long distance, that is, during an absent treatment. This was to engage the patient’s attention and arouse faith. The explanation becomes perfectly intelligible, when we see the reason for it. There could be no reason for the bare statement, made many years after, that Quimby “manipulated his patients,” without giving the above explanation, unless the one who said it wished to misrepresent the great spiritual healer.
The other typical misrepresentation, namely, that he was a spiritualist, was made in his own day, and is undermined by Quimby’s adverse critique of spiritism as a whole. There was no reason for unfriendly feeling in this case. But the new therapeutist was popular in his later days, spiritism was struggling for recognition; hence it was natural for spiritistic mediums who claimed to do healing to include Quimby as one of their number. It was clearly impossible for Quimby to give assent, and to change to spiritism; for his researches led him to believe that all ordinary spiritistic phenomena could be reproduced without the aid of mediums and without recourse to spirits.
The sleep into which he put Lucius was akin to the “trance,” as mediums knew it. The suggestions in this case came from people in the audience who visualized places they wanted the subject to visit, or held ideas in mind for Lucius to read. The phenomena could be explained by the action of mind on mind, in the flesh. Consequently, Quimby held close to the facts. Moreover, his own powers of receptivity and intuition were growing. By sitting near patients, he learned to diagnose their condition, and also learned to read their mental states. Therefore it was possible for him to make the complete transition from mesmerism and all psychical phenomena akin to it to the adoption of his spiritual method of treating disease, that is, by the aid of intuition or direct perception, through “silence” without mediumship.
[This is the first installment of a four part series originally written and published as Chapter VI. INTERMEDIATE PERIOD, of The Quimby Manuscripts by Horatio W. Dresser. THOMAS Y. CROWELL COMPANY, 1921.—editor.]
“Quimby has been doing miracles. He has cured a man that couldn't walk nor speak. It has produced a great excitement here among the people. He has been confined to his house about a year, and never has spoke or walked. In one hour he made him walk about the room and speak so as to be heard in another room.” ~ Lucius C. Burkmar
[Source: Lucius C. Burkmar’s personal journal, entry dated Monday, January 15, 1844, Anson, Maine, page 8. This journal is presently located in the Library of Congress collection of Phineas Parkhurst Quimby materials. The full transcription of the Burkmar journal is included in Phineas Parkhurst Quimby: His Complete Writings and Beyond.]
Phineas Parkhurst Quimby: His Complete Writings and Beyond is the ultimate reference source for historically accurate information of this nineteenth-century clockmaker turned metaphysical teacher and healer. Including the Missing Works of P. P. Quimby; based on new and independent research by the editor, the present volume surpasses all previously published “complete” compilations of Phineas Parkhurst Quimby’s writings in size, scope and historical accuracy. Published by the Phineas Parkhurst Quimby Resource Center.
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Today, we are moving into the next phase of Phineas Quimby’s personal development, with the first installment of the INTERMEDIATE PERIOD, as outlined in chapter 6 of The Quimby Manuscripts, by Horatio W. Dresser in 1921.
Follow along with us as we trace his footsteps!
Horatio Willis Dresser, the first child of Julius Alphonso Dresser and Annetta Gertrude (Seabury) Dresser, was born on January 15, 1866, or the day before Quimby died. His parents first met, fell in love and then married while they were each patients of Dr. Quimby during the years of his healing practice in Portland, Maine.
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