The Making of Religion eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 426 pages of information about The Making of Religion.

This extraordinary bundle, then, of reports, practically identical, of facts paralysing to belief, this bundle made up of statements from so many ages and countries, can only be ‘filed for reference.’  But it is manifest that any savage who shared the experiences of Sir W. Crookes, Lord Crawford, Mr. Hamilton Aide, M. Robert de St. Victor at Cideville, and Policeman Higgs at Worksop, would believe that a spirit might tenant a stick or stone—­so believing he would be a Fetishist.  Thus even of Fetishism the probable origin is in a region of which we know nothing—­the X region.

[Footnote 1:  A sketch of the history will be found in the author’s Cock Lane and Common Sense.]

[Footnote 2:  The best source is his article on ‘Poltergeists.’ Proceedings xi. 45-116.  See, too, his ‘Poltergeists’ in Studies in Psychical Research.]

[Footnote 3:  Studies in Psychical Research, p. 140.]

[Footnote 4:  See Preface to this edition for correction.]

[Footnote 5:  Proceedings, S.P.R. vii. 383-394.]

[Footnote 6:  See Sir W. Crookes’s Researches in Spiritualism.]

[Footnote 7:  Mr. Aide has given me this information.  He recorded the circumstances in his Diary at the time.]

[Footnote 8:  Report of Dialectical Society, p. 209.]

[Footnote 9:  See Porphyry, in Parthey’s edition (Berlin, 1857), iii. 4.]

[Footnote 10:  Bulletin de la Societe de Biologie, 1880, p. 399.]

[Footnote 11:  Crookes, Proceedings, ix. 308.]



Since the chapter on crystal-gazing was in type, a work by Dr. Pierre Janet has appeared, styled ’Les Nevroses et les Idees Fixes.’[1] It contains a chapter on crystal-gazing.  The opinion of Dr. Janet, as that of a savant familiar, at the Salpetriere, with ‘neurotic’ visionaries, cannot but be interesting.  Unluckily, the essay must be regarded as seriously impaired in value by Dr. Janet’s singular treatment of his subject.  Nothing is more necessary in these researches than accuracy of statement.  Now, Dr. Janet has taken a set of experiences, or experiments, of Miss X.’s from that lady’s interesting essay, already cited; has attributed them, not to Miss X., but to various people—­for example, to une jeune fille, une pauvre voyante, une personne un peu mystique; has altered the facts in the spirit of romance; and has triumphantly given that explanation, revival of memory, which was assigned by Miss X. herself.

Throughout his paper Dr. Janet appears as the calm man of science pronouncing judgment on the visionary vagaries of ‘haunted’ young girls and disappointed seeresses.  No such persons were concerned; no such hauntings, supposed premonitions, or ‘disillusions’ occurred; the romantic and ‘marvellous’ circumstances are mythopoeic accretions due to Dr. Janet’s own memory or fancy; his scientific explanation is that given by his trinity of jeune fille, pauvre voyante, and personne un peu mystique.

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