Main Page

difficult to obtain except through careful adherence to instructions.

And here it is a good time to quote Miss Hurst. "The people, who came on the stage, as subjects, to take part in these teste, unconsciously performed a large part of what was done, made a considerable part of the exhibition, and furnished the greatest cause of all the wonder, merriment and fun. The force put in motion by me simply provided the starting point- furnished the pivot — as it were, for them to revolve upon, and they did the rest. Nine-tenths of my subjects came to my tests with a call of mystery draped over their minds, and their thoughts and faculties shackled with a blind expectancy and anticipation that some weird, occult, wonderful force was to take possession of them, and cause them to do my bidding«"


To get the positions of the parties to this test, clearly outlined in the mind, see illustration No. 4. The man A is requested to grasp the chair B firmly, press it to his breast and keep it there. He is instructed to attempt to put his chair to the floor when the performer places her hands upon it, as shown in illustration. Her right palm is against the back, <*-bout four inches from the seat, and her left hand is pressed against the center surface of the seat..

The manner in which the subject, holds this object causes hie whole body to become perfectly rigid and stiff. His legs are like stilts, and his backbone like a shaft of iron. As he stands there, hugging the chair, he has no more suppleness in his limbs and body than a post, and he is just as easily pushed off balance as' is a post standing on end.

His instructions are to put the chair to the floor, and at the same time he must hold the chair firmly to his body. He can't out the chair down without releasing it from his tight embrace and limbering up his backbone, his legs and his muscles. He will seldom do this for fear of letting the chair get away from his firm control. Suppose he relaxes himself enough to start the chair downward, the gentlest pressure from the performer's hand at the back of the chair, which is a potent lever in the position in which it is held, causes this human cost to lose balance; and the least effort he makes to get on his feet steadily, and regain his balance, causes him to lift the chair upward instead of putting it further downward.

When he has tried this several times, and the chair does not go down to the floor, call in the others to assist him, shown in illustration No. 4 as D and E. It makes no matter how many come into the test, the result is the same. In spite of all they can do, these men will work against each other and keep the chair ud.' By the little exertion of force used, the performer keeps them thrown off their balance all the time, and instead of forcing the chair to the floor, they are kept busy trying to keep their balance and stay on their feet. With the position of body and limbs, and with the chair as a powerful lever, it requires but little exertion to keep them off their balance, and in a constant effort to regain it, so that, their force is all expended in this way instead of forcing the chair downward. The performer constantly deflects their force, and instead of it operating downward, it operates laterally and is lost.


An umbrella is opened as shown in illustration No. S. The subject and performer stand under it, and the former grasps the handle firmly at A and B, while the performer places her hand firmly against it at C. He is requested to stand firmly and steadily and hold the umbrella still. The result of the performer's hand being placed at C is always remarkable and extremely ludicrous.

Within a few moments after the contact at C, the experimenter loses his balance, and then totters around trying to regain it. He soon begins to gyrate about at a terrible rate. The umbrella takes on his motions, and its momentum and the force of air beneath its folds accellerate these wild contortions. It acts like an enraged vulture, and under some furious conditions will actually turn itself inside out by his efforts to control it.

Nothing is done by the performer except to keep a firm contact at C, release the contact somewhat When the experimenter pushes, and increase it when you feel him give way in the other direction. The gyrating, buoyant motion of the umbrella keeps the dance going at a lively rate when it once gets started. The performer need only try to keep ud with the time. The position of the man's arms and the umbrella extended and distended as they are, give a powerful leverage. The more he tries to hold the umbrella still in his extended and stiffened arms, the more easily can the slightest pressure at C serve to keep things in motion. The subject actually uses most of his energy against himself.

Page 578

Figure 7
0 0

Post a comment