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The Making of Religion eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 351 pages of information about The Making of Religion.

If anything extraneous could encourage a belief in coincidental and veridical hallucinations, it would be these ‘Oppositions of Science.’  If a learned and fair opponent can find no better proofs than logic and (unconscious) perversions of facts like the logic and the statements of Herr Parish, the case for telepathic hallucinations may seem strong indeed.  But we must grant him the existence of the adaptive and mythopoeic powers of memory, which he asserts, and also illustrates.  I grant, too, that a census of 17,000 inquiries may only have ‘skimmed the cream off’ (p. 87).  Another dip of the net, bringing up 17,000 fresh answers, might alter the whole aspect of the case, one way or the other.  Moreover, we cannot get scientific evidence in this way of inquiry.  If the public were interested in the question, and understood its nature, and if everybody who had an hallucination at once recorded it in black and white, duly attested on oath before a magistrate, by persons to whom he reported, before the coincidence was known, and if all such records, coincidental or not, were kept in the British Museum for fifty years, then an examination of them might teach us something.  But all this is quite impossible.  We may form a belief, on this point of veridical hallucinations, for ourselves, but beyond that it is impossible to advance.  Still, Science might read her brief!

[Footnote 1:  Walter Scott.]

[Footnote 2:  Parish, p. 278.]

[Footnote 3:  Ibid. pp. 282, 283.]

[Footnote 4:  P. 287, Mr. Sims, Proceedings, x. 230.]

[Footnote 5:  Parish pp. 288, 289.]

[Footnote 6:  Report, p. 68.]

[Footnote 7:  P. 274, note 1.]

[Footnote 8:  Parish, p. 290.]

[Footnote 9:  Report, p. 297.]

[Footnote 10:  Parish, p. 290.]

[Footnote 11:  Pp. 291, 292.]

[Footnote 12:  Moll, Hypnotism, p. 1.]

[Footnote 13 Proceedings, vol. vi. p. 433.]

[Footnote 14:  Parish, p. 313.]

[Footnote 15:  Compare Report, pp. 181-83, with Parish, pp. 190 and 313, 314.]



In the chapter on ‘Fetishism and Spiritualism’ it was suggested that the movements of inanimate objects, apparently without contact, may have been one of the causes leading to fetishism, to the opinion that a spirit may inhabit a stick, stone, or what not.  We added that, whether such movements were caused by trickery or not, was inessential as long as the savage did not discover the imposture.

The evidence for the genuine supernormal character of such phenomena was not discussed, that we might preserve the continuity of the general argument.  The history of such phenomena is too long for statement here.  The same reports are found ‘from China to Peru,’ from Eskimo to the Cape, from Egyptian magical papyri to yesterday’s provincial newspaper.[1]

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