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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