to right and left along the eyebrows, and a little above them, and completely round the eyes, which felt often as if they would burst from their sockets. When this happened, her visions were varied precisely as the phrenologist would have anticipated, and she detailed the progress without a single leading question. Weight, Colouring, Order, Number, Locality, all became affected; and let us observe what happened. The whitish or cobweb spectres assumed the natural colour of the objects, but they continued often to present themselves, though not always, above the size of life She saw a beggar one day out of doors, natural in size and colour, who vanished as she came up to the spot. Colouring, being over-excited, began to occasion its specific and fantastical illusions. Bright spots, like stars on a black ground, filled the room in the dark, and even in daylight; and sudden and sometimes gradual illumination of the room during the night often took place, so that the furniture in it became visible. Innumerable balls of fire seemed one day to pour like a torrent out of one of the rooms of the house down the staircase. On one occasion, the pain between the eyes, and along the lower ridge of the brow, struck her suddenly with great violence,-when, instantly, the room filled with stars and bright spots. On attempting, on that occasion, to go to bed, she said she was conscious of an inability to balance herself, as if she had been tipsy, and she fell, having made repeated efforts to seize the bedpost; which, in the most unaccountable manner, eluded her grasp, by shifting its place, and also by presenting her with a number of bedposts instead of one. If the organ of Weight, situated between Size and Colouring, be the organ of the instinct to preserve, and power of preserving equilibrium, it must be the necessary consequence of the derangement of that organ to overset the balance of the person. Over-excited Number, we should expect to produce multiplication of objects, and the first experience she had of this illusion was the multiplication of the bedposts, and subsequently of any inanimate object she looked at-that object being in itself real and

single;-a book, a footstool, a work-box, would increase to twenty, or fifty, sometimes without order or arrangement, and at other times piled regularly one above another. Such objects deluded her in another way, by increasing in size, as she looked at them, to the most amazing excess,again resuming their natural size-less than which they never seemed to become,―and again swelling out. Locality, over-excited, gave her the illusion of objects, which she had been accustomed to regard as fixed, being out of their places; and she thinks, but is not sure, that, on one occasion, a door and window in one apartment seemed to have changed places,-but, as she added, she might have been deceived by a mirror. This qualification gave us the more confidence in her accuracy, when, as she did with regard to all her other illusions, she spoke more positively. She had not hitherto observed a great and painful confusion in the visions which visited her, so as to entitle us to infer the derangement of Order. Individuality, Form, Size, Weight, Colouring, Locality, and Number only, seemed hitherto affected.

"For nearly two years, Miss S. L. was free from her frontal headachs, and-mark the coincidence-untroubled by visions, or any other illusive perceptions. Some months ago, however, all her distressing symptoms returned in great aggravation, when she was conscious of a want of health*. The pain was more acute than before along the frontal bone, and round and in the eyeballs; and all the organs there situated recommenced their game of illusion. Single figures of absent and deceased friends were terribly real to her, both in the day and the night, sometimes cobweb, but generally coloured. She sometimes saw friends. on the street, who proved phantoms when she approached to speak to them; and instances occurred where, from not having thus satisfied herself of the illusion, she affirmed to such friends, that she had seen them in certain places, at

Constitutional irregularity would, it is very probable, explain the whole disorder.

certain times, when they proved to her the clearest alibi. The confusion of her spectral forms now distressed her.(Order affected). The oppression and perplexity was intolerable when figures presented themselves before her in inextricable disorder, and still more when they changedas with NICOLAI-from whole figures to parts of figures— faces, and half-faces, and limbs,-sometimes of inordinate size and dreadful deformity. One instance of illusive Disorder, which she mentioned, is curious; and has the farther effect of exhibiting (what cannot be put in terms except those of) the derangement of the just perception of gravitation or equilibrium (Weight). One night as she sat in her bed-room, and was about to go to bed, a stream of spectres, persons' faces, limbs, in the most shocking confusion, seemed to her to pour into her room from the window, in the manner of a cascade! Although the cascade continued apparently in rapid descending motion, there was no accumulation of figures in the room, the supply unaccountably vanishing after having formed the cascade. Colossal figures are her frequent visitors. (Size.)

“Real but inanimate objects have assumed to her the form of animals; and she has often attempted to lift articles from the ground, which, like the oysters in the pothouse cellar, eluded her grasp.

"More recently she has experienced a great aggravation of her alarms; for, like NICOLAI, she began to hear her spectral visitors speak!-With Mr R. of Hull, the spectres always spoke. At first her crowds kept up a buzzing and indescribable gibbering, and occasionally joined in a loud and terribly disagreeable laugh, which she could only impute to fiends. These unwelcome sounds were generally followed by a rapid and always alarming advance of the figures, which often on those occasions presented very large and fearful faces, with insufferable glaring eyes close to her own. All self-possession then failed her, and the cold sweat of terror stood on her brow. Her single figures of the deceased and absent then began to gibber, and soon

more distinctly to address her; but terror has hitherto prevented her from understanding what they said *.

"Of the other illusive perceptions of Miss S. L. we may mention the sensation of being lifted up, and of sinking down, and falling forward, with the puzzling perception of objects off their perpendicular; for example, the room, floor and all, sloping to one side. (Weight)."

Mr SIMPSON concludes, by remarking "how curiously the old-established phenomena of ghosts are seriatim explained by this case. White or grey ghosts-the grey bodach of M'Ivor in Waverley,-result from excited Form, with quiescent Colouring, the transparent cobweb effect being colourless. Pale spectres and shadowy yet coloured forms, are the effect of partially excited Colouring. Tall ghosts and dwarf goblins are the illusions of over-excited Size. Creusa appeared to Eneas colossal in her size :—

"Infelix simulacrum atque ipsius umbra Creusæ

Visa mihi ante oculos et nota major imago."

"The ghosts of Ossian are often colossal. Gibbering and speaking ghosts, with an unearthly confusion of tongues and fiend-like peals of laughter, as if the demons revelled, are illusions which many have experienced."

The illusions of the English opium-eater are no longer a horrible mystery; they are explained in Mr SIMPSON'S paper here alluded to.

There are persons who imagine themselves to be made of glass, and who refuse to sit down, or assume any position, in which glass would not be safe, lest they should break their bodies in pieces; others have conceived, that some object was attached to their nose, or that some figure was impressed upon their forehead; who in every other re

We may here mention, that the phrenological explanations of the distressing affection which have been given Miss S. L., have had the happy effect of affording her much more composure when visited by her phantoms than she thought possible. She is still terrified with their speaking; but her mind, on the whole, is greatly eased on the subject.

[ocr errors]

spect were sound in mind. Such aberrations appear to be fixed and permanent conceptions of a diseased nature, resulting from morbid and involuntary activity of the organs of the Knowing Faculties. The cure will be accomplished by removing the organic cause, and not by a logical demonstration that the object does not exist, fitted perhaps to convince a sound understanding, but altogether inapplicable to the removal of illusions springing from a diseased brain.

Another form of mental derangement, arising from internal excitement of the organs, is the tendency to involuntary and sometimes unconscious manifestation of the faculties. Some insane patients talk night and day to themselves; and in hysterical affections, the individual often alternately laughs and cries involuntarily. The last phenomena are explicable by the supposition of different organs becoming active and quiescent in turns, in consequence of spasmodic or some other irregular action in the brain. Dr A. COMBE saw a lady in Paris, who, when just emerging from insensibility, occasioned by a fit of apoplexy, manifested the faculties of Wit and Imitation quite unconsciously, but with so admirable an effect, that her relations were forced into fits of laughter, mingled with floods of tears for her unhappy condition: on her recovery, she did not know of the exhibitions she had made. The organs of Wit and Imitation were large. Phrenology accounts for such facts, in a simple and natural manner, by the effects of diseased activity of the organs.

DREAMING may now be analyzed. If the greater number of the organs remain inactive, buried in sleep, and two or three, from some internal excitement, confined to themselves, become active, these will present the mind with corresponding conceptions, and being separated in their action from the other organs, which, in the waking state, generally co-operate with them, the result will be the creation of disjointed and fantastic impressions of objects, circumstances, and events; in short, all the various phe

« VorigeDoorgaan »