You’ve seen the ads on television, or in magazines or the newspaper where someone makes wild and wonderful claims and presents endorsements where you have no idea whether the have any basis in fact.
This is from “Facts in magnetism, mesmerism : somnambulism, fascination, hypnotism, sycodonamy, etherology, pathetism, etc., explained and illustrated” by W H Rodgers which was published in 1849.
Yes, John Moodie was the sheriff in Belleville, Ontario, Canada. But in her book of 1853 titled “Life in the Clearings versus the Bush” Susanna Moodie paints and entirely different view.
“I remember, about three years ago, going with my husband to hear the lecturers of a person who called himself Professor R---. He had been lecturing for some nights running at the Mechanics' Institute for nothing; and had drawn together a great number of persons to hear him, and witness the strange things he effected by mesmerism on the persons of such of the audience, who wished to test his skill. This would have been but a poor way of getting his living. But these American adventurers never give their time and labour for nothing. He obtained two dollars for examining a head phrenologically, and drawing out a chart; and as his lectures seldom closed without securing him a great many heads for inspection, our disinterested professor contrived to pocket a great deal of money, and to find his cheap lectures an uncommonly profitable speculation.
We had heard a great deal of his curing a blacksmith of _tic-douloureux by mesmerizing him. The blacksmith, though a big, burly man, had turned out an admirable clairvoyant, and by touching particular bumps in his cranium, the professor could make him sing, dance, and fight all in a breath, or transport him to California, and set him to picking gold. I was very curious to witness this man's conduct under his alleged mesmeric state, and went accordingly. After a long lecture, during which the professor put into a deep sleep a Kentuckian giant, who travelled with him, the blacksmith was called upon to satisfy the curiosity of the spectators. I happened to sit near this individual, and as he rose to comply with the vociferous demands of the audience, I shall never forget the sidelong knowing glance he cast across the bench to a friend of his own; it was, without exception, the most intelligent telegraphic despatch that it was possible for one human eye to convey to another, and said more plainly than words could--"You shall see how I can humbug them all." That look opened my eyes completely to the farce that was acting before me, and entering into the spirit of the scene, I must own that I enjoyed it amazingly. The blacksmith was mesmerised by a _look_ alone, and for half an hour went on in a most funny manner, keeping the spectators with their eyes open, and in convulsions of laughter. After a while, the professor left him to enjoy his mesmeric nap, and chose another subject, in the person of a man who had lectured a few nights before on the science of mnemonics, and had been disappointed in a very scanty attendance.
After a decent time had elapsed, the new subject yielded very easily to the professor's magic passes, and fell into a profound sleep. The mesmerizer then led him, with his eyes shut, to the front of the stage, and pointed out to the spectators the phrenological development of his head; he then touched the bump of language, and set the seeming automaton talking. But here the professor was caught in his own trap. After once setting him going, he of the mnemonics refused to hold his tongue until he had given, to his weary listeners, the whole lecture he had delivered a few nights before. He pranced to and fro on the platform, declaiming in the most pedantic voice, and kept us for one blessed hour before he would suffer the professor to deprive him of the unexpected opportunity thus afforded him of being heard. It was a drol scene: the sly blacksmith in a profound fox's sleep--the declaimer pretending to be asleep, and wide awake all the time--and the thin, long-faced American, too wise to betray his colleagues, but evidently annoyed beyond measure at the trick they had played him.”
Tic douloureux or trigeminal neuralgia is a severe, stabbing pain to one side of the face. It stems from one or more branches of the nerve that supplies sensation to the face, the trigeminal nerve. It is considered one of the most painful conditions to affect people. Susanna Moodie was one of the three Strickland sisters. All authors.
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