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Animal Hypnotism

The hypnotization of animals shows that only a very low grade
intelligence is needed for the production of this state. The famous
experiment of Father Kircher with the hen, which any one may repeat at
any time, is a good illustration. The fascination exerted upon birds
by snakes is another familiar example. The bird is paralyzed with
terror at the sight of the snake, and so cannot escape from its enemy,
fairly glueing its eyes on the terrifying object, and thus loses power
to control its wings. Stories of snake fascination are usually
told as if the eye of the snake attracted the bird, who thereupon
proceeded to approach the snake. These are, however, doubtful stories.
The paralysis of motion seems to be the main effect. The rabbit is
affected in nearly the same way. There is a tremor of horror in
anticipation, and then the animal stands perfectly quiet, though
ordinarily he would be quite able to escape, while its enemy
approaches. The underlying mechanism is evidently a concentration of
attention, which completely precludes the possibility of the exertion
of any spontaneous energy except that involved in the one act of
watching the awful object.

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