My Father

I proceeded in the following way:

I made from a mixture of clay, wax and very fine shot a figure roughly resembling medium I intended to bring into the hypnotic state. that is, into that psychic state of man which, in a branch of science which has come down to our day from very ancient times, is called loss of initiative and which, according to the contemporary classification of the School of Nancy, would correspond third stage hypnosis. I then thoroughly rubbed some part or other of the body of the given medium with an ointment made of a mixture of olive and bamboo oil, then scraped this from the body of the medium and applied it to the corresponding part on the figure, and thereupon proceeded to elucidate all the details that interested me in this phenomenon.

What greatly astonished my father at the time was that when I pricked the oiled place on the figure with a needle, the corresponding place on the medium twitched, and when I pricked more deeply a drop of blood appeared on the exactly corresponding place of the medium’s body; and he was particularly amazed by the fact that, after being brought back to the waking state and questioned, the medium remembered nothing about it and insisted that she had felt nothing at all.

And so my father, in whose presence this experiment had been carried out, now said, in referring to it:

‘So, in the same way, this “something”, both before a man’s death and afterwards until its disintegration, reacts to certain surrounding actions and is not free from their influence.’

My father had in connection with my education certain definite, as have called them, ‘persistent pursuits’.

One of the most striking of these persistent pursuits of his, which later produced in me an indisputably beneficent result, acutely sensed by me and noticeable also to those with whom I came in contact during my wanderings in the various wilds of the earth in the search for truth, was that during my childhood, that is, at the age when there are formed in man the data for the impulses he will have during his responsible life, my father took measures every suitable occasion so that there should be formed in me, instead of data engendering impulses such as fastidiousness, repulsion, squeamishness, fear, timidity and so on, the data for an attitude of indifference to everything that usually evokes these impulses.

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