THE INFLUENCE OF MIND UPON MATTER,
AND THE CAUSES OF INSANITY AND THE
WHICH AFFLICT HUMANITY AT THE PRESENT DAY.
by DR. JOHN W. FRANCIS
The rude nations of the earth believed that disease was the result of
evil spiritual agencies, and the untutored savage, without the aid of
books or any of the advantages which the learned physician possesses of
studying the human system, arrived at the conclusion that disease was
inflicted by living, unseen individualities.
Science has discarded that idea. It has dissected the human body, and,
finding the result of the diseases, has assumed to have found the cause;
assumed that it is mere bodily disarrangement. Yet any intelligent
physician will tell you that in his own experience he has witnessed the
effect of mind upon the body; that he can give a bread pill to a patient,
informing him that it is a purgative, and it will act in that manner;
that a certain powder will create nausea or a burning sensation, and it
will produce those results when the powder itself is harmless.
As the body, if permitted to decay, comes to be infested with vermin, so
the spirit, if allowed to remain idle and inactive, will become infested
by spiritual vermin which will taint and destroy it; and the savage idea
that disease is caused by spiritual agency is correct.
If an individual permit any one idea to obtain predominance, and he dwell
upon that idea to the exclusion of other thoughts, he will attract
spirits who fill the air—not organized spiritual beings who inhabit the
spirit world, but half-organized beings (polypus) who live in this
atmosphere and were originated from the brains and the physical organisms
of the inhabitants of the earth; these beings, finding his mind
concentrated or magnetized to a point, will effect an entrance. Suppose,
for instance the person centres his mind upon the loss of a friend or of
money: this concentration becomes a magnet, which, like the rays of
sunlight acting upon a portion of vegetation, produces decomposition upon
which spirit vermin may feed. So by dwelling too continuously upon one
thought, certain faculties of the mind become excited by constant action,
while others become paralyzed and the result is insanity.
Now spiritualists, or believers in spirit intercourse, should be the most
healthy persons in the community, for they understand, or should
understand, the laws of psychology which teach that constant dwelling
upon one thought will bring spirits of like character who will intensify
that thought, and they also know that they have but to use their will and
the whole magnetic relations will change and a new influence will be
brought to bear.
Tell a man he has heart disease, make him believe it, and his heart will
beat like a sledge-hammer. Tell him his liver is diseased, make him
believe it, and he will feel bilious and look bilious.
Tell a man he looks well, compliment him upon his appearance, and he will
feel well, look spruce, and his spirits will become elastic.
It has been a matter of surprise to some why the spirits have taken such
an interest in the science of medicine, and why they have developed so
many as healers. It is that they may teach man that disease is generally
a magnetic condition; and they hope to teach the community, through those
physicians whom they develop, to discard drugs and rely upon magnetic
influences and the power of the will to keep the body in its normal
condition of health.
Too much stress cannot be laid upon the power of the will in dispelling
disease, and in expelling it.
A diseased patient may be likened to a medium who is possessed by a
spiritual being of low order. The very low condition of the spirit causes
him to adhere and cling to the medium, and unless the will is directed to
exorcise him, he will keep his subject continually under his influence
and the proper individuality of the person will be annihilated.
Thus, disease, like an evil spirit, takes its hold upon an individual,
and can only be overthrown from its position by a strong will, which
sends it shrinking away like a criminal from the body it has infested.
If the will of the patient is not sufficiently strong, then the will of
some good friend must be used. These good friends are known as healing
mediums. Also a change of air and scene should be obtained, which brings
the will into a new action, and thus dislodges the tenant.
The will is like a sharp two-edged sword, which cuts right and left, and
leaves no chance for skulking to anything to which it has directed its
I will close my remarks by repeating that the savage is right in his
belief, and that disease is indeed the result of—I might call them
spiritual harpies, who, though they may not in these civilized times be
driven out by the beating of drums, the tom-tom, and the howling of
frenzied savages, yet can be dislodged by kindred manipulations, such as
mesmeric passes, deep breathing, and a positive though almost quiet
exercise of the will.
Some of my brethren of the profession will be surprised to find these
views advanced by one whom they believe held more rational opinions on
earth; but there are others whose keen intellects have pierced through
the wisdom of the schools, and have discovered that the physics they have
concocted, when applied to the complex mechanism of the human system, in
palliating the disorders of one function disarrange some half a dozen
others, and that the soul and the body are so interblended that we must
heal a disease of the body through and in conjunction with the spirit,