The Cradle of the Twin Giants, Science and History

Overview

Henry Christmas (1811-68) was a scholar of very wide interests and a fellow of both the Royal Society and the Society of Antiquaries. He wrote extensively about many subjects including philosophy, religion, literature, mythology and numismatics. He was educated at St John's College, Cambridge, and soon afterwards became the librarian and secretary of Sion College. Between 1840 and 1860 he edited a number of books and journals, including The Literary Gazette. He also translated Calmet's Phantom World, and ...

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The cradle of the twin giants, science and history

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Overview

Henry Christmas (1811-68) was a scholar of very wide interests and a fellow of both the Royal Society and the Society of Antiquaries. He wrote extensively about many subjects including philosophy, religion, literature, mythology and numismatics. He was educated at St John's College, Cambridge, and soon afterwards became the librarian and secretary of Sion College. Between 1840 and 1860 he edited a number of books and journals, including The Literary Gazette. He also translated Calmet's Phantom World, and Wieland's Republic of Fools into English. Published in 1849, this two-volume set examines how popular mythology kept alive beliefs about the occult, alchemy and the paranormal. Volume 2 considers witchcraft, mesmerism, fairy mythology, alchemy and ghosts, and shows how some of these beliefs were so entrenched that they came to be regarded almost as fact, and so influenced rational thought. The volume concludes with comparison of superstitious beliefs with factual knowledge.

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CHAPTER III. MESM EBISM. CLAIRVOYANCE. In the year 1825, the interest which this extraordinary agent had formerly excited was fast declining. There seemed, indeed, reason to believe that it would, like a fire deprived of fuel, go out of itself. The work of Deleuze, to which we have already alluded, failed to revive the sympathies of the public in favour of Magnetism, when a M. Foissac, once more introduced it to the notice of the Academic Royale de Medecine. He observed that the theory which had been published by Mesmer and D'Eslon had been long abandoned, that new results had been obtained, and new principles elicited since the report drawn up by Bailly had appeared, and that consequently, if the opinion of the Academy were to be regarded at all, it must again state that opinion under the altered circumstances of the case. The proposal to re-examine and re-report upon Animal Magnetism was not immediately entertained; however, after long and somewhat violent discussions, a committee was formed to consider the claims of the Magnetisers. Foissac wished to experiment on a certain somnambulist in the presence of the whole Academy, but this, for obvious reasons, was declined. On the llth of October, in the year above-mentioned, it was agreed that MM. Bourdois de la Motte, Fouquier, Guenau de Mussy, Guersent, Itard, Leroux, Maie, Tillaye,Laennec, D'Ouble, Majendie, and Husson, should form a Committee of Examination. Of these Leroux and Fouquier were professors in the medical faculty; Husson, Gruersent, and De Mussy, principal physicians at the Hotel Dieu; Marc, chief physician to Charles X., and Itard, the director of the Institution for the Deaf and Dumb. These gentlemen instituted acourse of experiments which they continued for nearly six years, and at length, in the year 1831,...
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Table of Contents

Book III: 1. Mesmerism; 2. Mesmerism; 3. Mesmerism – clairvoyance; 4. Clairvoyance (continued) and homoeopathy; Book IV: 1. Pneumatology; 2. Apparitions of the deceased, commonly called ghosts; 3. Witchcraft; 4. Witchcraft among barbarous nations; 5. Fairy mythology; 6. Fairy mythology; 7. Of talismans and charms; Book V: 1. Alchemy; 2. Of the recipes for, and the alleged success of, transmutation, etc.; 3. Historical recapitulation; 4. Historical recapitulation (concluded).

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