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REAL GHOST STORIES (Collected and Edited by William T. Stead) online

REAL GHOST STORIES by William T. Stead

Chapter II. Louis V. and His Two Souls.

In Lucie's case, indeed, these odd manifestations were--as the pure experimentalist might say--only too sanative, only too rapidly tending to normality. M. Janet accompanied his psychological inquiries with therapeutic suggestion, telling Adrienne not only to go to sleep when he clapped his hands, or to answer his questions in writing, but to cease having headaches, to cease having convulsive attacks, to recover normal sensibility, and so on. Adrienne obeyed, and even as she obeyed the rational command, her own Undine-like identity vanished away. The day came when M. Janet called on Adrienne, and Lucie laughed and asked him who he was talking to. Lucie was now a healthy young woman, but Adrienne, who had risen out of the unconscious, had sunk into the unconscious again--must I say?--for ever more.

Few lives so brief have taught so many lessons. For us who are busied with automatic writing the lesson is clear. We have here demonstrably what we can find in other cases only inferentially, an intelligence manifesting itself continuously by written answers, of purport quite outside the normal subject's conscious mind, while yet that intelligence was but a part, a fraction, an aspect, of the normal subject's own identity.

And we must remember that Adrienne--while she was, if I may say so, the Unconscious Self reduced to its simplest expression--did, nevertheless, manifest certain differences from Lucie, which, if slightly exaggerated, might have been very perplexing. Her handwriting was slightly different, though only in the loose and scrawling character so frequent in automatic script. Again, Adrienne remembered certain incidents in Lucie's childhood which Lucie had wholly forgotten. Once more--and this last suggestion points to positive rather than to negative conclusions--Adrienne possessed a faculty, the muscular sense, of which Lucie was devoid. I am anxious that this point especially should be firmly grasped, for I wish the reader's mind to be perfectly open as regards the relative faculties of the Conscious and the Unconscious Self. It is plain that we must be on the watch for completion, for evolution, as well as for partition, for dissolution, of the corporate being.

_Félida X. and her Submerged Soul._

Side by side with this case we have another in which the Conscious Personality, instead of being cured, has been superseded by the Sub-conscious. It was as if instead of "Adrienne" being submerged by Lucie, "Adrienne" became Lucie and dethroned her former master. The woman in question, Félida X., has been transformed.

In her case the somnambulic life has become the normal life; the "second state," which appeared at first only in short, dream-like accesses, has gradually replaced the "first state," which now recurs but for a few hours at long intervals. Félida's second state is altogether superior to the first--physically superior, since the nervous pains which had troubled her from childhood had disappeared; and morally superior, inasmuch as her morose, self-centred disposition is exchanged for a cheerful activity which enables her to attend to her children and to her shop much more effectively than when she was in the _état béte_, as she now calls what was once the only personality that she knew. In this case, then, which is now of nearly thirty years' standing, the spontaneous readjustment of nervous activities--the second state, no memory of which remains in the first state--has resulted in an improvement profounder than could have been anticipated from any moral or medical treatment that we know. The case shows us how often the word "normal" means nothing more than "what happens to exist." For Félida's normal state was in fact her morbid state; and the new condition which seemed at first a mere hysterical abnormality, has brought her to a life of bodily and mental sanity, which makes her fully the equal of average women of her class. (Vol. IV. p. 503.)

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