The Law of Suggestion

James H. Loryea a.k.a. "Santanelli"

Pub. 1902

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James Hawthorne Loryea, aka Santanelli

Chapter 5 WORDS


Man's thoughts are made up of the association of the different nerve-end stimulation of the senses. His comprehension is to the extent of his correlated experiences, and all that is possible for him to do is to compare. (See Indian story, p. 179). His fund of experiences with which to compare is to the degree of the fineness of his nerve-ends to receive all variable impressions so affecting them.


To try to convey to you my thought, I will use general terms and expressions, thus: to say to you what you call "thinking" is nothing but comparing. (Thinking is the transformation of energy and afterward realizing the transformation.)


Words of themselves force no action; they are meaningless. A word is supposed to be a symbol to arouse a sense-memory. To understand the use and application of words it is necessary for us to comprehend the action of words in arousing sense-memories. Psychology – as yet a meaningless word – has been the cause of many well-intending non-thinking people writing books that are termed psychologies, which name conveys the thought of irrational, incomprehensive theorists, never holding to a premise, massing a myriad of words, explaining (?) something that they them-selves do not understand, and, consequently, cannot explain, fully demonstrating Talleyrand's expression, "Words were given to hide thoughts." [1]

[1. La parole a été donné à l’homme pour déguiser sa pensée. ]

I believe – and, dear reader, it is only a belief – that I possess an average amount of so-called human intelligence, and I have yet to read a psychology that I can comprehend the least portion of.

Say something

Writing words, after stating that words of themselves mean nothing, I will be paradoxical, and with words try to say something, a thing that few people succeed in doing. If the people in their business and social pursuits would always say something – making affirmations, – there would be fewer lawsuits, much less misunderstanding; in fact, no misunderstanding whatever; but man utters words, and, intuitively comprehending that words are meaningless, makes his own deduction; if he deduces correctly we call him clever, bright; if incorrectly, a fool.

Those of you who have had experience with employes can readily comprehend how hard it is to say something, or to have the employes comprehend that you have said something.

Not as you think, but as I say

One season there was with me as treasurer a college graduate. When he was engaged, I said, "You have not been hired to do the thinking, but to do as I say." In the first city we visited, I told him to take a package of school tickets to the public schools and give them to the children. He was back in ten minutes.

"Where have you been?"

"To the school."

"Did you give out the tickets to the pupils as I told you?"

"Yes, sir."

"Truly, you can work fast. Now tell me what you actually did?"

"Oh, I handed the tickets to the teacher, and she said she would give them out to the pupils."

"Then you did not give the tickets to the pupils, as I told you?"

"Well, I did the same thing."


At another time, I told him that every evening after the performance he should write to the manager of the company, who was ahead, stating the receipts, and to put the letter in the postoffice. A few evenings later, he was in my room when one of my subjects was sent out to get some refreshments.

The treasurer turned to the boy and said, "Harry, post this letter for me, will you?"

Harry said, "All right."

I interfered and said, "No"; turning to the treasurer, I continued, "Is this what I told you to do?"

"Yes, sir."

"What did I tell you to do?"

"To send a letter to the agent every night."

"Is that all?"

"Oh, you said for me to put it in the postoffice, but Harry can do it just as well."

Not just as well

"No, not just as well; because if the letter fails to reach its destination, it is impossible to place the blame. You failed to do as I told you; Harry is in no way responsible; he may do by you as you have done by me, fail to post it."

Another season I had a treasurer with me who did as he was told. One evening the manager of the theater in which we were playing, turned to my treasurer and said, "Here is your share of the money; no need to count the tickets."

The treasurer had been at the door, seen the tickets sold and was thoroughly convinced that all was right, yet had been told to always count the tickets. He began doing so, and the manager of the theater said, "What is the use? It is just a waste of time. I do not care to rob you; here's your share of the money."

As he was told

The treasurer answered, "Mr. Santanelli told me to always count the tickets, and I shall do so."

At the conclusion of the count, my treasurer remarked to the manager of the house that his tickets called for thirty dollars more.

"Impossible," replied the manager of the opera house.

"I know nothing of that; I have tickets here representing thirty dollars more than you claim you have," replied my treasurer.

After much worrying, the treasurer of the opera house suddenly remarked, "By George, I forgot the advance sale."

Now, the treasurer of the hall was honest, but if my treasurer had not done as he was told I would have been out twenty-four dollars.


Everything in life is affirmative; all else is incomprehensible. "Don't" is a positive against you. If I say to you, "Don't do that," I mean, "Keep still," or to do something else. When I speak to you of "long," what do you think of, dear reader? Long?


Oh, no; you think of short, because it is the realization of short and the comparison of that with long which makes the difference. When I say to you, "Smith is fat," you think of lean. Now, if I say to you, "Smith is not fat," I arouse and put in action in your "mind" the thought of a lean man. If I say to you, "The man is fat" you think of lean, but fat is the dominant idea.

Grammarians will tell us the following sentence is correct: "See the young man put to sleep in the opera house Monday night; after which he will be taken to Smith's show window, where you may see him sleeping; and, on Wednesday, see him awakened in the opera house." It is entirely incorrect. It is like putting the right glove on the left hand; it does not fit.

The proper writing of the sentence would be: "See the young man put to sleep in the opera house on Monday evening; see him awakened on Wednesday evening; and, in the meantime, see him sleeping in Smith's show window."

Extremes side by side

The idea I am trying to convey is this: That when I talk of putting a person to sleep, the first idea aroused is of his awakening, and the two extremes should be placed side by side, the modifications to come afterward. Where the modifications come between the two extremes it is very difficult of comprehension and for the hearer to remember; but if the extremes are placed side by side the glove would be snugly fitted to the hand that it was made for. To acquire this art is very difficult after being schooled as we have. I fail to obey it in this book.


I speak to you of one hundred dollars; do you comprehend what I am talking about? What sense-picture have I aroused in your mind? One of a piece of paper with a figure one and two ciphers in the corner, and the other associated figures; nothing more.

Can comprehend but three

The "mind" can comprehend but three units at one time.

For years I have wondered why the unaccountable has appeared in every art and science, To-day it is perfectly comprehensible to me, because man can comprehend but three.

If you doubt this, look at the signs when going down the street; we comprehend two or three letters the moment we glance at them, but if there be four or five, we at once comprehend the first three and then the balance, if the group does not contain more than six. Some learn to do this very quickly.

If we are looking at a party of three on the street corner, and I ask you how many there are, you will immediately tell me; if there are six, you will say six, provided they are divided into groups of three; the same with nine; but, if they are in one group, they must be counted; or, in other words, separated into groups of three.

A little experimenting will very readily demonstrate this. It is so simple and easily conceived – if you will make a series of fair experiments – that I wonder why our alleged scientists have not discovered it ere now. Any quantity over three is abstract; it is a mere term. If I speak of one hundred thousand feet of lumber, what picture am I arousing in the "mind?" None. A man who is accustomed to handling lumber might conceive the space it would occupy. If he is a wood-chopper he might conceive the energy and time necessary to cut and saw this lumber; but to conceive it as one hundred thousand feet is utterly impossible.

We hear of speculators in Wall Street buying a million bushels of wheat, and look wise, believing that we comprehend what was said. We have no comprehension; nor has he who purchased it. Perhaps the men who have large grain elevators have a conception of it as to bulk, as to the space it would occupy, measured by the eye, but no comprehension is possible.


I speak to you of space, an incomprehensible word; I speak to you of spirit; that is also incomprehensible. Form is merely the outline of matter, and it requires two senses to acquire conception – sight and feeling – or, in other words, two forms of feeling. Man can comprehend only by associating what he has seen, smelled, tasted, heard or felt. It is impossible to register through one sense that which the economy of man built to register through another; hence, it is impossible for me to give you through the ear a smelling, tasting, sight or feeling memory; but one already possessed may be readily aroused.

Words arouse memories indefinitely

Words arouse memories indefinitely. When used in association with the affecting of other senses, words put thoughts in action that form new combinations or associations, thereby forcing new forms of thought. Taking up the illustration of man being a camera, taking a picture, the hypnotized subject being a stereopticon throwing out a picture, the "mind" can only hold one of these pictures at a time, and a negation always forces the opposite picture into place. It is possible, however, to take a minor attribute of a picture and make it dominate the picture.


The art of doing this is what is called proving to, or convincing persons, and forcing them to think your way. (Making the indefinite definite.)

To illustrate, we will take the fishing scene. I tell the subjects that when they open their eyes they will find themselves alongside of a fishing stream; that they will see beside them, bait, lines and hooks; that there are some fine fish in the stream they are welcome to if they can catch, and they commence fishing. But, if I say to them, "You must not swear," or "refrain from swearing, as there are ladies in the audience," the word "audience" revives the picture of where they were when they went into hypnosis; consequently, I have lost the thought I attempted to give them. But if I keep within the picture and say, "there is a party of ladies fishing a little way down the stream," the subjects will fish.

Now, reader, can we still keep them within the picture of the fishing scene and force them to cease fishing? I suppose you would say no, inasmuch as they are surrounded with all the attributes of fishing, and, not being free agents, they would be forced to fish.

Emphasizing a minor attribute

Very true, but an attribute which, of itself, must be a combination of other attributes, can be so divided – emphasized – that it will practically rule the picture. Therefore, if I would add to the fishing scene a very severe rain storm, carrying with it the disagreeableness of being wet, the danger of sickness, a place of cover, et cetera, it would force these fishermen to seek shelter, and still be within the fishing picture.

A lawyer

If I were a lawyer, never would I try to prove or show a negation, or the negative side of a case. Defending a criminal, I would accept every fact proven by the prosecution, accepting its premises "good," and would build on it better, best.

We will assume that a young man has been arrested for beating his mother, and the mother appears in court with a bruised face, black eye, et cetera. Knowing the jury can comprehend nothing they have not experienced through their senses, we must arouse in them sense-memories with which they are thoroughly familiar; that we must always impress two senses; that when we picture to them with words the hovel wherein he was reared, we must also speak of feeling, of smell; otherwise the mere mention of a hovel, a sight picture, will lack in effect; but if we properly associate with the sight picture feeling memories, smell memories, we will have succeeded not only in arousing a thought but have put it in action.

As the defendant's attorney, I would admit that the boy beat his mother, and state that it was the natural outcome of the environment. I would show the early surroundings of the boy, and the way his mother guided and allowed him to adapt himself to those environments to his injury; that as he grew up she continued to cultivate and allow to accumulate ideas and actions perfectly consistent with the beating given by her son. Inasmuch as no other result could possibly happen under such environment, nothing else could be expected of the young man; he responded as all others would under like conditions.

This argument, being thoroughly developed by the association of the different sense-pictures, would create a sympathetic feeling for my client, and could not do otherwise than cause the jury to comprehend that the action was the natural outcome; or, to put it very brutally, the mother deserved what she got.

Natural response

If you were a customer, desiring to buy goods of me, and I should say to you, "This is the best thing on the market," what would you be thinking of? That there are bad things on the market. Then, what proof have I that this is the best? As a good, wise purchaser you will go to some other store to look around, and I prove myself to be a very bad salesman by the use of one word.

If I was an insurance man, and some one told me that he had insurance in another company, and I said that it was bad, what would you be thinking of? "Who in the mischief has any good?" But if I should say to him, "That company is good, but we have something a little better," always taking our opponent's side as good – then better and best, we are keeping within the picture; then, if we can take the minor attributes and split them up, they can be made to dominate the picture as the rain storm did the fishing scene, and thereby carry conviction.

Proper personal suggestion

If you were a writer of accident insurance and had climbed to the top of a high building, there meeting a carpenter, I suppose you would say to him, "It would be quite dangerous to fall from here." I would not; but would look him in the eye, then at the ground and ask how far it was, and the other ideas would be immediately forced into action. I might then say something about how often people fall, or ask him if he ever fell. I will promise you that by following out this line, if, in ten minutes he was asked to be insured, and had the money, he would be.


The art of talking is to know what and how to accentuate, to force the listener to make your argument himself. The mere statement of fact produces no result; but suggestion, properly applied, will cause the hearer to evolve what you evolved, to separate the attributes that you have separated, and, by so doing, will convince himself (realize). He will have emphasized through the proper channels the associated attributes favorable to you. Always talk in affirmatives, using a positive for, and thus hold the picture in your hearer's mind.


An actor does not act. He leads his auditors; they do their own acting. How is it possible for Bill Jones, who has never experienced the different emotions that Hamlet is supposed to have had, to reproduce them? How can his mind reproduce something that he has not experienced? Acting, so-called, carries with it no conviction, nothing real. The successful actor is one who can force his auditors to do their own acting. The attributes, scenery, music, costumes and wordpicturing, merely arouse a memory in the auditor. I have seen "Camille" played by an actress and company talking entirely in Italian, and enjoyed it better without comprehending a word, than any performance of that play I had ever witnessed in the English language.

If our actors would devote more study to emphasis and leading their auditors, they would succeed far better than they do at the present day by trying to simulate (trying to reproduce something they have never experienced), which is an impossibility.

The Lord's prayer

Many of the incongruities in the Bible are now comprehensible to me, the translators failing to convey the original through the translation. For example, take a correct translation of the Lord's Prayer, and see how different the meaning from the one you have learned:

"Our Father Who are in Heaven, we hallow Thy name that Thy Kingdom may come and that Thy will may be done, here upon earth, even as it is in Heaven. Give us, day after day, our necessities, and forgive us our debts as we ought to forgive our debtors; leading us out of temptation and delivering us from evil. For Thine is the power as also the kingdom, forever and eternity. Amen."

Note the entire absence of negation.

The devil

The word "don't" is the cause of more sin than his Satanic Majesty ever conceived; for, in fact, this word is the devil.

The ten commandments have been the cause of, and are responsible for, more sin than they have ever prevented.

The Indian and missionary

I was born in the extreme west, in Oregon. My grandfather walked across the plains in 1840, and was well acquainted with the Indians. He, with other pioneers, always had a great dislike for missionaries. I asked him why, and he said they caused all the trouble with the Indians. How was that? The Indians were good and peaceable as long as the white man treated them justly. When the missionary came among them and said, "Don't steal," the Indian asked, "What is 'don't steal' "? and the good missionary explained it to him; the Indian said, "Why, I never thought of that, guess I will try it." The advent of missionaries is always associated in the "minds" of the early pioneers with the beginning of thievery on the part of the Indians.


The mother says to her children, "Now, little ones, I am going out. I want you to be good, and, while I am gone, don't play with the fire." Up to this time the thought of fire was composed of the attributes that it gave forth heat, that it would burn. In fact, these were the only attributes they had of fire other than the comfort to be derived from its heat. For the first time, the mother now associates with the thought of fire that it is something to be played with, and the moment she goes out, responding to her suggestion, the thought of playing with the fire is aroused in the "minds" of the children, and they begin playing with it and are burned, perhaps to death.

According to the just laws of to-day, that mother should be arrested for infanticide. She has unintentionally killed her children by speaking the words, "Don't play with the fire," and is just as guilty of their death, as though she left a can of nitroglycerin for them to play with. If we wish children to keep from the fire, we should say to them, "Now, little ones, move all your toys over in this corner of the room; I want you to play here until I come back."

Say something

We have said something. It was all affirmative. We told them what we desired them to do, not what we desired them not to do. Every time we use the word "don't," we make a positive affirmation against ourselves. Mothers are so small-minded that they believe their daughters to be as experienced as themselves – in bad – always harping to them "Don't do this, that and the other," things that up to this time the girls never thought of. Many girls are ruined by their mothers trying to make them good through their "don'ts," arousing a series of ideas just contrary to those desired.

Ministers' sons

Why is it that ministers' sons are proverbially "bad"? Because sin is being instilled in their minds by the constant mention of sinful acts, preceded by the word "don't," the good father always striving to find "badness" which he tells the son not to do, thus telling him of sins hitherto unthought of.

Oh! Say something

Tell the children what to do; it is quicker and comprehensive. Say something. Oh! if I could only get the mothers and teachers to comprehend that a negative is always an affirmative against, or the opposite to what you are trying to say. Learn to say something. Here is a common expression, "I will not see you until to-morrow." That is not what you intend saying, you intend to say that you will see me to-morrow. You have no way of being certain that you will not see me before, and may see me a dozen times before to-morrow, but what you mean to say is that you will try or endeavor to see me to-morrow.

A child is playing in the street, and you say to it, "Don't play in the street." Is that what the child desires to know? No. What the child desires to know is where it may play; again, you say to the child, "Don't stand out in the rain," but what you intend to say is, "Come in out of the rain." Say something and perhaps your hearer will comprehend you, but when you use a negative you are saying nothing (?), and "nothing" is incomprehensible.

Learning to lie

The tone in which a word is uttered is of more importance than the word itself. To illustrate: A mother says to her child, "If you don't stop that, I'll whip you." The child continues, seeing in the mother's face an expression which, associated with the tone, plainly says "continue," as they have forced a continuance of the thought, being positive against the words uttered. After a few years, the mother says to her husband, "We must remove from this locality, as the neighbors' children are teaching ours to lie." (Do you see it?)


Many times have I lectured before the pupils of the normal schools in many states, and must say that I found the mode of teaching the most ridiculous attempt at instruction imaginable. If I had a ten-year-old boy, reared with me, who did not possess more actual knowledge than any of the pupils I have lectured before in the normal schools, I would be tempted to spank him, or to send him to an institution for the imbecile. These poor would-be teachers, having no experience in life, seated day after day on a bench, having words poured into their ears without the association of the other senses, it being impossible to get a conception with less than two, or a comprehension without affecting three senses – and one sense only, their hearing being affected, the words poured into their ears are merely idle ones, and then these poor creatures are supposed to go out into the world to teach children that, which they, themselves, have failed to comprehend. Not the fault of the teachers, but the fault of the scientific  (?) manner of teaching.

Scientific teaching

Our teachers show us (through the eye) how to do something which they do through the feeling sense. Our eyes cannot accept feeling memories. You show (?) me how to pare an apple? No, you allow me to see you pare an apple. Schools, other than those of manual training, are failures.

Here is a suggestion that will make a fortune for some ingenious lover of children. Make a set of the letters of the alphabet in pieces, each to fit only in its proper place; have the joints of a pronounced angle, curve or square, so that the child can be taught to fit, correlate, "think"; to learn that an acute angle will not fit a right angle or circle, et cetera. The moment the child has learned this, it has learned to "think," and not before. When this has been learned, the child will instantly, from out the heap, pick the parts (attributes) that form the letter. Reader, if you had such an alphabet, you could not instantly do so. You are not a ready thinker.


Pictures are false, one has to be taught to read them. Showing a child a picture of a cow, saying "cow," associating form (?) and sound, starts the thought, but not of the real cow. After a child has seen a real cow, the picture may recall the true memory. A picture is only a word. Writing arouses sound memory, and a picture arouses sight memory, but the real thing must first be registered in the memory.

I knew a lad of twelve years exceptionally bright, who went into the country, looked at a cow for five minutes, and said, "That must be a cow." This lad had exceptionally fine tutors and opportunities for learning, yet it took him five minutes to deduce that he was looking at a cow. The suggestion of the environment did more to force the conviction than anything that he had seen pictured.

Train the proper senses

Tell the children what to do. All thoughts are composed of sense impressions, therefore impress the proper senses. I may watch a blacksmith for a lifetime, yet cannot make a horseshoe until my sense of feeling acquires the proper memory. Three senses must be affected to form a comprehensive thought.

As to fraud

Can a man remain in business and sell goods which he fails to deliver? Can a merchant who has no goods to deliver accumulate money enough to establish himself in the respect of business men?

Can the manager of an opera house afford to pay fifty dollars a night expenses for a week, and allow a man who has no goods to deliver to occupy his house? Can an established printer for a one-third cash payment afford to print an entire order, if the party he is printing for has no goods to deliver in order to pay his bills? Can a man with no goods remain in a state for a year, in a town for a week and earn a living?

Prima facie, whose word carries the most weight, the proprietor of a store or one of his cheap hirelings? Many of my hirelings have exposed (?) me. During my first two years on the road it was a common occurrence every time I refused to raise salaries for somebody to expose (?) me. To date, two of them are in the penitentiary for life, another a paralytic; or, in other words, those who made the alleged exposes were all degenerates. Why is the word of the employe having nothing at stake, taken in preference to that of the proprietor, whose money and reputation are at stake? It is not, except by the degenerates, who are prone to believe everything "bad."

My New York expose (?)

After my New York City engagement, the most sensational expose (?) was effected. The fellow who did so thought I had then left for Lansing, Michigan. I met his first attempt, which was a failure. After I did leave, he succeeded in furnishing the New York papers with some sensational stories. The exposes (?) were made as to the sleeping act (hibernation). The first proof of the falsity of his statements is that he never made a sleep for me. Only these sleeps were made during my Eastern tour, viz.: In New York, Kilmer; Hartford, Conn., Stevenson; New Haven, Conn., Slinker; Meriden, Conn., Leonard; Bridgeport, Conn., Kilmer; Willimantic, Conn., Mahoney.

My advent in New York was as follows: I arrived in New York City with some six subjects, and opened in the Herald Square theater one afternoon, before about six hundred doctors; demonstrating with my subjects many things that were contradictions to what the medical profession taught, particularly the three different rates of pulsation, simultaneously. The subjects were stripped to the waist, allowing no possibility of trickery, and this test done some three or four times with each. Some of the doctors claimed that the subjects were trained.

Heart does not control the circulation

Even now, I will not control admit that for the sake of argument, but it still proves my point, that the heart does not control the circulation; otherwise it could not be trained. Just so, some people say the subjects are not hypnotized. Still, if they were not hypnotized they are in a condition, and whatever that condition is, I call it hypnotized. I will not fight for the term, words mean but little.

I then opened at Hammerstein's Olympia theater. My managers informed me that when people in New York City visited the theater, they went to see a show, not to take part in it; that volunteers were impossible; that I had better get some subjects. I put an advertisement in one of the papers, had many applicants, and on a Sunday afternoon I hypnotized some sixty, put them to work and picked out the better ones, to whom I paid one dollar a performance.

Now, if they were "fakers," they demonstrated themselves to be more clever than any actors in New York City, and they should have been drawing three hundred dollars per week; but, through the "fake," or whatever you want to call it, I possessed the ability to make great actors out of this raw material in one hour, and at one dollar per night.

You, gentle reader, say, "Ah, you are clever." No, when you claim that you say I am a fool, because it is certain that if I could so teach people, Manager Frohman would hire me at an enormous salary as a stage manager to furnish him with actors at one dollar per night. I am very certain that if I am so clever, and could rehearse and teach these subjects to do as they did in the brief time I had, the schools of acting in New York City would pay me a large salary to either work for them or to keep out of the business.

This degenerate, who made the alleged expose, was the chum of a Bowery professor then giving exhibitions in a dime museum in Fourteenth Street. His chum failed to teach him to take on hypnosis. After thirteen hours, an hour each day, I succeeded in teaching this fellow to take on hypnosis, after which he proved to be a clever subject. I took him on the road with me, and in two of the cities we visited, had to send him out of town to prevent his being arrested. To-day, the police of Bridgeport have, pigeon-holed, a criminal warrant against him.

In his expose, he claims to have visited Europe; to have been used in exhibitions by Charcot and others. I doubt if he has been six miles at sea; and Charcot gave none but private demonstrations, and those with only inmates of the Hospital Salpetriere. He went to the newspapers and stated that he was not hypnotized; that he was "faking," and asked the reporters to say to him, "Drowsy, sleepy, et cetera," as Santanelli did; that he would go to sleep, stick pins into himself and become cataleptic. I can teach any subject to do this thing in three minutes, in fact, I can do it myself through a pre-inspiration, and at no time do I need to thoroughly lose consciousness. Later on, he made a twenty-four hour sleep to show that he could simulate it.

Now, dear reader, did you ever wake up on a Sunday morning too late for breakfast and try to go to sleep, to lie there until lunch-time. I will promise that before lunch-time you will get up. You cannot lie awake five minutes with your eyes closed. You cannot lie abed all day if you are well and awake. I will give a thousand dollars to the man who, free from hypnosis or drugs, will sit in a crowd for three minutes without opening his eyes.

This clever lad told how the bed was full of tubes to supply him with food; how ham sandwiches were handed to him. Oh, no; I am too clever for anything like that, if I had wanted to feed him, would have given him food in capsules or tablets. Just imagine a man eating ham sandwiches lying on his back for seven days. If not digested, they would kill him; if digested, the functions must be active.

Now comes the strange part. This clever (?) fellow, like the clever (?) public, told all about the eating, never once mentioning thirst. Man can go fifty or sixty days without food, but must have liquids. Being for seventy-two hours without water or liquids will always produce insanity, except through hypnosis. In these exposes nothing has ever been said as to the method used to give them water. Nothing has been said as to the emptying of the bladder. If food is taken into the stomach and digested, the secretions must be at work; if the secretions are at work, the bowels will move. These things were all overlooked in these exposes; the stories were told of tubes in the bed, as to procuring food, et cetera, but nothing was said of how the subject's system was freed of the waste from the food given him.

Kilner, NYC Sleep

Kilmer during New York City Sleep at Hammerstein's Olympia, April 22 to 29, 1896

No desire for contradictory facts

A story was told of his lying in a cage; this act I have never performed, but have proposed it, agreeing, if the profession desired such a test, to lay a naked subject on a sheet on a bed, put a cage over all, and seal it to the floor so as to demonstrate that nothing was passed to the subject; but the wise and learned medical profession cared for no test that demonstrated, through suggestion, the possibility of suspending hunger, thirst, bowel and kidney action; such knowledge they did not care to learn as it contradicted their teachings.

During the New York sleep, made by Kilmer, he was watched night and day by relays of students from Bellevue Hospital. When arrangements were being made, one student, who hoped to graduate that spring, insisted on having charge of the entire affair, which, finally, was agreed upon. I had nothing to do with the arrangements, which were made by my manager, whom I had only known a week. If it were a "fake," it is strange that I should allow the details to be handled by a stranger.

This would-be doctor took charge of the sleeper, stayed up some forty-eight hours, when off watch, hiding in a box to catch us feeding him. On the Wednesday night when he stood before the audience and told them that the experiment was fair, and that I had done as claimed, he was very angry. When he took charge, he told his chums that he would expose the fraud and thereby get a big advertisement for himself when he began practicing, but when he found out there was no fraud to expose, he regretted the loss of sleep and the time wasted; and later presented a bill to me for services rendered, which bill as yet is unreceipted.

The thought that a man with a "fake" would, could or dared to open at Hammerstein's with the proposition that I made is ridiculous. The sleeper to be examined, weighed, and watched from being naked to putting on a sound pair of silk tights, a silk shirt, a pair of silk pajamas, to lie on a large mattress covered with a crumb cloth (all previously examined), and for no one but the committee to touch the subject, I not going nearer than five feet from him (giving my exhibition on the stage would bring me that close). The thought of it being other than genuine could only appear in the "mind" of an ignoramus, or some one looking for newspaper notoriety.

Tests of no value

During the test of a twenty-four hour sleep made for the New York Herald (no test being of any value of less than seventy-two hours), the wise doctors who knew nothing of hypnosis, tested this subject as to his feeling.

Feeling vs. hypnosis

For Heaven's sake, what has feeling to do with hypnosis? They stuck pins into him, they dropped water on his eyelids; they put him through all kinds of torture, but through pure fortitude (?) he stood it. When this is possible all laws of suggestion can be overcome. When "normally," a man can control what the doctor calls his reflexes, he is worthy of more money than he got out of the alleged expose.

A good liar

One wise (?) doctor called to him that there were rats in the room, and because the subject did not respond, said he was not in hypnosis, because the hypnotized subject responds to "suggestion." Why, if the subject could hear and respond to him he would be awake, because that is what constitutes the waking state. The subject did not hear him, did not respond to him, thereby proving that he was in hypnosis. After the subject was awakened, they asked him if he did not suffer severe pain while they dropped water on his eyes; and, like a good liar, he said, "Yes," the answer being put into his mouth by the question asked.

Why, if he suffered from the dropping of the water on his eyelids the reflexes would have acted, the doctors would have seen it, and the subject could not have endured it. But this subject knew what he was up against, that the doctors were not testing him as to hypnosis, but were simply there to prove their views as to suggested anesthesia, he taking the pre-inspiration that he would sleep for the twenty-four hours and suffer no pain, which he did.

The wise (?) doctors named everything that he did and then asked him a question; or, in other words, they put the answers in his mouth, which he gave them, taking his word for it that he could endure pain and suspend his reflex actions without hypnosis. These doctors knew this to be an impossibility, yet the desire for newspaper notoriety was so strong that they pretended to accept this degenerate's word. Assuming that he could do so, proved nothing. Lack of feeling is not hypnosis. How can a man prove or disprove something which he knows nothing about? I, myself, could prove no hypnotist to be a fake; all that would be possible for me to do would be to force the hypnotist to produce a phenomenon that would be satisfactory to me.

I perform many operations on hypnotized subjects. The two severest are the stretching of the rectum and the cutting around the tender phrenum. With the first I always get a groan, with the other a very pronounced reflex action, and yet when the subject awakens he remembers nothing of it. The extent of pre-inspiration I do not know, but in my long years of experience, have met with but three, viz.: no feeling, rigidity, awakening.

These alleged exposes have all been good advertising, inasmuch as intelligent people are in no hurry to take the word of one who has nothing at stake against one who has everything.

Poor man

The wisdom (?) of the general public is highly amusing. If you want to feel sorry for mankind stand in front of a show-window where a subject is asleep. A certain percentage of these know he is not asleep, "because he is placed there;" the next is certain he is not asleep because he moves (no man moves in his sleep); and some ladies are certain to go by and claim he is not asleep because he breathes. These three are the chief explanations as to why the subject is not asleep.

Everybody asks how he is fed, and will he not be hungry when he awakens? No one appreciates the absence of thirst. If everything is a combination of attributes, a condition or combination must be produced in the subject that has these functions suspended. The suspension of hunger and bowel action are easily explained, but I have no explanation to offer as to the suspending of thirst and kidney action, knowing only that with a subject who has perfect confidence in me I can suspend the four functions for a period of seven days and longer.

My subject will awaken in a bright and strong condition; his bladder will be perfectly empty and the first drink of water he takes will pass through him within ten minutes. The subject is lying in hypnosis, with the thought that he will have no hunger, no thirst, no bowel or kidney action, and will awaken on the seventh day. This thought being locked in the "mind," the action that is part of it is certain to take place.

This sleeping act was suggested to me in Xenia, Ohio, by a child asking about the picture of a bear sleeping all winter in a cave. It occurring to me that if a bear could "sleep" all winter, a man could sleep a week. I experimented and succeeded.

While lecturing in New York City, as a rule I concluded my lecture by giving some demonstrations with a subject, and also having a subject pre-inspire himself with the thought of "no feeling," and stick pins into himself, demonstrating my claims as to the so-called Auto-suggestion of the alleged exposers. After doing this at a lecture one night, an old "horse" came upon the platform and informed me that he could stick pins into himself.

Wise, curious or a fool (?)

While I was getting my wraps, the president of the society for whom I was lecturing wagered this young man that he could not do so. The young man did and won the money. What is the use of trying to teach the people anything? After you read this book, I am afraid that you will know but little more than you did before you started, as it is impossible to put in through one sense what "nature" intended to put in through another. It seems that the president of this society, although seeing the demonstration made, was not satisfied until he had lost a five-dollar bill. The same with you reading this book unless you take a subject (providing you are capable), and demonstrate to yourself the truth I have told, you have simply absorbed a lot of words, which, of themselves, mean nothing.

I know one very brilliant man who, notwithstanding he acknowledged that expression was the result of thought, that there could be no expression without thought, turned around and asserted that he believed a subject could "fake." What to do with such people, how to convince them I do not know. Man's comprehension is only to the extent of his experience. Try to simulate and see if it is possible; try to laugh and put the real ring into it, and see if you can; try to cry and see if you can get the tone.

I spend months conceiving a condition possible to be produced in a subject, sometimes doing much experimenting to find the proper inspiration to give him to produce the result desired, and any hypnotist who will have the inspiration taken in shorthand, can repeat the experiment, stealing the result of my thought, yet they never give me credit for any of my originations.

I did the sleeping act a year before any hypnotist ever dreamed of reproducing it. In fact, until they had taken subjects who had traveled with me and had learned how to give the inspiration, they were doubtful as to its being accomplished, and, with the general public, believed it to be a trick. They are welcome to the inspirations, yet it is no more than just that they should give me credit for them.

I know a law

In the Middle States, many wise (?) doctors are every day expecting me to kill some subject with my crazy (?) experiments. They wonder how I have continued so long without doing so, failing to appreciate that I possess knowledge of a law, and am not, like them, working in the dark; that my physiology is correct, and neither myself nor the subject I am experimenting with are taking any chances.

I direct the temperature of a subject so low that an ordinary clinical thermometer will fail to register it, thus proving that the accepted theory that combustion produces the heat of the body is wrong. When I reported this to a certain hospital, the wink was passed around, none of them daring to contradict me, inasmuch as they knew I had always succeeded in making good my claims. It happened the night that one of the internes, who was quite a clever amateur, had begun his vacation, and he accomplished in twenty-four hours what I did in twenty minutes; yet I had to conceive it was possible to do so. Our physiologists are wrong from beginning to end, and I state this unreservedly.

In New York, when I explained that "no feeling" was produced by the sympathetic nerves closing over the cerebral nerve-ends and insulating them, it was declared, "Very ingenious, but very unscientific." Thank Heaven for that! All drug anesthesia is produced by congestion, by forcing the Sympathetic System to insulate the cerebro-spinal nerve-ends or centers, and I challenge the scientific (?) world to demonstrate otherwise.

Read and re-read

Dear reader, a superficial reading of this book is time wasted; read and reread, and every time you will find more truths. Can you comprehend them, now they are offered you? The simplest of words have been used, my best has been done to comprehensively correlate the thought offered; yet you must keep referring back, and if you persist, some day the entire philosophy will dawn upon you, and you will say, "Oh, how simple (all truths are simple), why did I not comprehend at first?" Because a new set of attributes has had to be separated so that you could perceive, then conceive, and, lastly comprehend them.


Comprehension – look it up in the dictionary; and, if you can comprehend the definition, you can do more than I. What is comprehension? It is the comparing, realizing, having memories to be aroused with which to compare those of which I am writing. If our memories are slight, our comprehension will be correspondingly slight. To understand or comprehend anything, its attributes must be parted and associated with those of our sense impressions.

The larger the number of the attributes "appreciated," the greater our comprehension. We have been taught Law of Nature, Hand of God, Free Agency, Responsibility, Will Power, all of which are incomprehensible, inasmuch as we have no sense impressions with which to compare them; consequently, they are but incomprehensible words.

Nothing but matter is appreciable, as all impressions received or forwarded can act only through matter.

Destruction an impossibility

Space, eternity, beginning and end, destruction, are mere words. Destruction of matter is an impossibility, and what you call destruction is but the dissolution of form, nothing else.

Man is individual only as to form; all of which he is composed is from his environment, of which he is necessarily a part. The individual parts that compose his entirety to-day will be different to-morrow, for even our alleged scientists tell us of waste; we know in part of the supplies – food, yet we fail to comprehend the Law of Suggestion.

As we subsist on all lower (?) matter, gaseous, mineral, vegetable and "animal," we surely are of all of them. As an individuality, our importance is no greater nor less than that of a grain of sand on the sea shore.

Why should we live?

Why, then, should we live? We have never been dead, neither can we die. We have always been, are, and always will be, inasmuch as that of which we are composed has always and ever will exist. We are a part of the Universe (the matter) that for a time in this form will abide.

Our so-called consciousness is not of itself greater than that of other "living" matter. We are simply a conglomeration of lesser form of life, and nothing more. By what right, through what sense proof, do we dare to place ourselves above That of which we are; That, that gave us our parts, attributes; That, that continues to supply and relieve us, lest we disintegrate? How dare we claim to be other than of our environment; of the whole, the all, God, good?

Spirit and soul

We have no conception or comprehension of spirit, soul; they are but words. The soul, the spirit, if it be, must naturally be of the ALL. And yet we dare to assume it to be inherent in ourselves, and to be separate gods of our own. No, no, that cannot be; like Caesar we are too ambitious, and like Caesar, we will fall.

This may seem harsh; yet truth, though it hurts, never injures.

A disturber

He who comes among us with something "new," is a disturber, and, therefore, should be crushed. The Nazarene was crucified, not by the Jews, although they were afraid of him. They said, "He is of us, and a disturber. We will suffer if He continues." Pontius Pilate, representing the authorities at Rome, killed Him for disturbing the accustomed ways.

Gallileo was banished.

Jean Jacques Rosseau was pursued from hamlet to hamlet; yet were it not for him, there would be no United States of America, or Republic of France. He gathered the thought and gave it to the world.

Hahnemann [2] was driven from pillar to post, yet the truth he discovered is and always will be.

[2. ]

Like a broad highway

Life is a broad highway where the masses follow; perhaps twice, and never more than three times in a century, some one strays away, out of the highway, and starts over the mountain. The moment he has gone far enough for the masses to see him, they call, "Come back, you fool, you will be lost!" and if he fails to turn, they stone him "to attract his attention," or to kill him lest he be lost and die. The world, the masses, are kind (?), they want to protect the "fool" from destroying himself; they would rather destroy him. After the "fool" has successfully crossed the mountain, another "fool" follows in his pathway; soon more "fools" follow, and at last the masses go, each and every one saying, "I knew he would cross all right, he was too 'smart' a fellow to attempt crossing if he was not sure of getting there."

This is history.

Why was this book written? I am a fatalist, believing that what is, was to have been; that our duty is to impart, to lead others over the path we have discovered, and if we can only make that pathway clear to a few "fools" who will follow as we have gone, I believe I will have responded to my suggestion. I believe myself to be blessed with at least "fair" conception, and to quote from Omar Khayyam:

"Myself when young did eagerly frequent
Doctor and Saint, and heard great argument
About it and about: but ever more
Came out by the same door wherein I went."

I love man, and, through my hypnotic experience, found that he was not as described by our scientific thinkers (?), so began to study him in my unscientific way, and having learned somewhat of him, am forced to offer to the world this thought as to the Law of Suggestion.

First, place your subject, then give him the attributes. Reader, this book is written to place you. Should more attributes be desired, they will be furnished you.

Man does not choose; he knows of no ill until he has conceived of good. He must be led; and it is the duty of man, after conceiving, to lead his fellow man.


Hands ready to clap. All Right!


[ end ]


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