"But what does that prove?
Besides them, there are equal numbers of people who believe in
the materialization of spirits. But do me the kindness of not
including me among them!"
"Don't you believe in animal magnetism?"
"To a certain extent, I do. If a person suffering from some
contagious illness can influence a person in good health, and
make him ill, in his turn, I suppose somebody else's overflow
of health can also affect the sick person, and, perhaps cure him.
But between physiological contagion and mesmeric influence there
is a great gulf, and I don't feel inclined to cross this gulf on
the grounds of blind faith. It is perfectly possible that there
are instances of thought-transference in cases of somnambulism,
epilepsy, trance. I do not positively deny it, though I am very
doubtful. Mediums and clairvoyants are a sickly lot, as a rule.
But I bet you anything, a healthy man in perfectly normal conditions
is not to be influenced by the tricks of mesmerists. I should
like to see a magnetizer, or even a Raj-Yogi, inducing me to obey
"Now, my dear fellow, you really ought not to speak so rashly,"
said the colonel, who, till then, had not taken any part in
"Ought I not? Don't take it into your head that it is mere
boastfulness on my part. I guarantee failure in my case, simply
because every renowned European mesmerist has tried his luck with
me, without any result; and that is why I defy the whole lot of
them to try again, and feel perfectly safe about it.