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one hint in parting to, the antiquarian explorers
of my own country:

"Look well into the British Lakes."

         HYSTERIA AND DEVOTION

To whichever page of history we turn, we find
a family likeness in all the mental manifestations
of the human family. The same physiological
phenomena appear generation after generation,
century after century, and no matter under
what form of faithPagan or Christian, Jew,
Turk, or Infidel. In the wild excitement of
the Dancing. Dervish we recognise the same spirit
as that which led the Flagellant to bare his back to
the lash, and walk through the market-place with
the red blood streaming from shoulder to heel;
and in the Assassin of the Mountains, who
rushes into Paradise mad with hachshish and
fanaticism, we see the twin brother of him who
storms the gates of the Christian grave in the
distinct belief of saintly direction. It is all the
same thing, the same cause, with a slight variation
in the manner only, of the result. One
belief or mental condition we find under every
dispensation, and that is the belief in extraordinary
religious experiences and extraordinary
religious revelations. Prophets and oracles,
ghost-seers and visionaries, wonder-workers and
miracle-mongers, troop in crowds through the
ages of history, and the modern world is beset
by the same, with nothing changed but dress and
namebroadcloth and tweeds in lieu of padusoy
suits and linen ephods; table-turnings, spirit-
rappings, and revivals, in the place of witchcraft,
communion with angels, the gift of prophecy,
and the power of God.

Moral epidemics are as catching as fevers,
and creeds and experiences come into fashion
after their due seed-time of neglect and
derision. But the most singular thing is, the
persistence with which people call a certain
physiological condition by high religious names,
though they have branded that same condition
as devil's work or imposture when
manifested outside the pale of their special church.
The Convulsionnaires, who writhed, and foamed,
and beat their heads against stone walls,
and flung themselves into cataleptic fits before
the tomb of the Archdeacon Paris, were quite
convinced that catalepsy was a divine condition,
and that the great mysteries of Heaven were best
revealed by strong hysterics. The nuns of
Loudun, who had gone through the same
experiences before them, were equally sure that
their state was due to witchcraft and the devil.
Urban Grandier had bewitched them; and the
handsome, clever, dissolute priest had to pay
with his life the penalty attached in those days
to the hysterical mania of unmarried young
women. The whole story of the bewitched
everywhere is only a diary of catalepsy or
epilepsy, hysteria or scrofula, with a great dea
of ignorance and superstition superadded. These
are truly and literally the tap roots of all the
supernaturalism extant. This supernaturalism
this divine afflatus and influence, is still more
marked in the East than, in the West. We
Saxons have never come up to the feats of the
Swinging Fakirs, to the self-inflicted tortures of
the Súnyásis, to the marvellous power of
temporary annihilation of the Absorbed. Just as
our jugglery is less esoteric and more cumbersome
than theirs, so is our nervous organisation
less intense. Yet, indeed, no Eastern devotee
ever attempted a greater marvel than did that
American lady-medium not so long ago, when
she underwent all the pains and throes of
maternity to give human life and human
intelligence to a certain motive machine, a thing of
chains and springs and pulleys, which were to be
vivified by her into a new saviour of mankind.
No Súnyásis would have dreamed of such a
conjunction of hysteria and mechanics. The
Easterns are beyond us chiefly in the biological
effects common under the name of spirit
rappings and spirit communications. If one of
our miracle men can make me hear music and
singing from the four corners of the ceiling, and
when the only instrument in the room is an old
worn out guitar that apparently plays itself and
sings to its own accompaniment; if he can
call up spirits from the grave, and tell me the
secrets of the other life, finish Byron's unfinished
poems, and round off Plato's fragmentary
philosophy; the Eastern wizards can do quite as
much, and with a less expenditure of vital
forces. A Hindoo burglar, well up in his trade,
can "hold the eyes" of the inmates of the house
he enters, so that they shall not be able to see
door or weapon, though they well know where
both stand, and in half an hour, when they are
not wanted, will find them all close at hand; and
the power of the evil eye is by no means scoffed
at, even by English ladies of sense and education,
when crafty old hags sit cross-legged at
the gate, yelling and cursing from sunrise to
sundown, and the child falls mysteriously ill the
next day. The witches of Huntingdonshire, of
Auldearne, Salem, and the Blockula, did no
more; the bewitched did no less; and both East
and West, must mingle together in the smoke
that issues from the bubbling caldron, and in the
magic circle round the footsteps of the enchanter.
But hysteria sometimes assumes other forms,
and leaves off necromancy and intercourse with
spirits to take to sudden conversion and
orthodox godliness. Yet even, here the East
again runs before us, holding the torch to show
the way. The excitement of the Marabout,
the rapture of the Absorbed, the fervour of the
Assassin, the gloomy fanaticism of the Thug,
when he dedicates body, soul, and life to Dive;
and, earlier still, the initiated into the greater
mysteries of Eleusis, the visitor to the Cave of
Trophonius, the wild Mœnads crying, "Bacche!
Bacche! Evoë! Evoë!" all offer examples of
sudden conversion from a worldly to a religious
life, as genuine as those which took place on the
Mourners' Seat in the Backwoods Revivals, or as
those now convulsing Belfast and the north of
Ireland with hysteric groans. The physiological
condition was the same: the only diflerence was
in the name given to it. We would speak slightingly

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