Odic Phenomena and
New Radiations

[612. 821. 714. 9.]

By Dr. Jules Regnault.

ALL those who are interested in psychical science or "Occultism" know that Karl Reichenbach made some curious researches on the manifestations of an unknown form of energy which he called Od or Odyle. The results of his studies were made known to the public in a volume which he published in 1845; this work was translated into English in 1850. [1] The work had never been translated into French; and the French public would scarcely have known of its existence had it not been for the resume which Colonel de Rochas made of the volume in question in his book Le Fluide des Magnétiseurs published in 1891.

However, M. Ernest Lacoste has recently filled up the gap: he has translated Reichenbach's work into French, under the title: "LES PHÉNOMÈNES ODIQUES ou recherches physiques et physiologiques sur les dynamides du magnétisme, de l'electricité, de la chaleur, de la cristallisation, et de l'affinité chimique considérés dans leurs rapports avec la force vitale."

This book forms a fine volume in 8vo of 564 pages; it [146] includes an introduction by Colonel de Rochas, and the translation of eight treatises by Baron von Reichenbach.

In his introduction, Colonel de Rochas recalls to our mind how Reichenbach encountered scepticism and even open hostility from the greater number of the representatives of official science, when he published the results of his experiments. He had already acquired a certain notoriety by his works on chemistry and especially by his discovery of paraffin and creosote, but he did not belong to the staff of any University.

M. de Rochas compliments the translator on his undertaking in the following terms :—

"The French public should be grateful to M. Lacoste for having devoted several years to the translation and to the publication — under particularly painful circumstances — of the present work, sure of reaping naught but weariness and worry; for the sale of books of such a nature as the one in question is so limited that it fails to cover even printing expenses."

Let us briefly examine the different treatises of which this work of Reichenbach's is constituted.

§ A.

Certain persons, whom we call sensitives, see luminous appearances at the poles and sides of strong magnets; these flame-like appearances are different at the negative and positive poles. The positive and negative flames show no tendency to approach each other or to unite.

The positive flame may be mechanically bent hither and thither, like ordinary flame. It gives out light which is red, acts on photographic plates, and may be concentrated in the focus of a lens, but it has no appreciable calorific action.

The magnetic flame and its light exhibit so great a resemblance to the Aurora Borealis, that the writer says he [147] is obliged to consider these two phenomena as probably identical.

§ B.

Crystals present phenomena analogous to those presented by magnets, as far as flames visible to sensitives are concerned: they are polar. Sometimes they attract living matter, and produce contractions in the hands of the subject. [2] But they do not attract iron filings, they do not render steel magnetic, and they bear no relation to terrestrial magnetism. They excite a sensation of warmth at one of their extremities, and a sensation of coolness at the other. Warming the crystals causes no perceptible change in the results. [3] The force which is thus manifested can be transferred to, and collected in, other bodies by mere contact, but only for a short time, during which the charge gradually disappears. The force observed in the magnet can also be transferred to other bodies; water, when it has [148] been charged by the magnet, is easily distinguished from ordinary water by a sensitive. [4]

There appears to exist a force in the magnet which is different from magnetism, properly so-called, but which can be identified with the force observed in crystals. [5]

§ C.

Not only do magnets and crystals exert a peculiar influence on sensitives, but the same is true of terrestrial magnetism. [6] The position of the sensitive's bed is not without importance: if the sensitive lies in a N.-S. direction, that is to say, if his head is turned towards the north and his feet towards the south, he enjoys a calm, peaceful sleep; it is not quite the same with other positions: the S.-N. direction is bad; the S.-W. and S.-E. directions are particularly injurious ("quite intolerable and even dangerous"). Some sensitives experience a certain discomfort in churches, and this, it appears, is because of the E.-W. direction of a great number of these buildings.

The human body is not an inert mass capable only of serving as a reflecting agent; it can also produce the new form of energy studied by Reichenbach; the fingers of another person behave towards the nerves of sensitives in the same way [149] as a magnet of average power. "Fiery bundles of light flow from the finger-tips of healthy men, in the same way as from the poles of crystals," declared Reichenbach's sensitives. Bodies may be charged with the force residing in the hand, exactly as with the crystalline force; and this force may be transmitted along a wire for example; it can be accumulated in diverse objects. The force in the human body is polar, like that in crystals; it presents a primary transversal axis, and a secondary vertical axis. Animal magnetism is but a new manifestation of the form of energy observed in magnets and crystals. [7]

§§ D and E.

Further sources of this peculiar force exist. Let us mention in particular the solar rays; the moon's rays are also very rich in this force. It is excited by friction, and appears to exist in artificial light. Chemical action is also a wide and comprehensive fountain of this force: whether it be simple chemical action, or that of combustion, or of the voltaic pile. Electricity is also a source of this influence — likewise graves.

"The spectral or ghost-like luminous appearances, seen over graves, which have been ridiculed and denied by the healthy, are of purely, chemical and physical nature, but can be seen by the eyes of the highly sensitive."

§ F.

Amorphous substances are much less active than crystals; nevertheless they exercise a certain influence over sensitives in catalepsy.


To sum up:

"We stand," says the author, "in a connexion of mutual influence, hitherto unsuspected, with the universe; so that, in fact, the stars are not altogether devoid of action on our sublunary, perhaps even on our practical world, and on the mental processes in some heads."

Reichenbach gives the name of Od (or Odyle) to this unknown form of energy; in addition, he gives a particular nomenclature for the sources from which it proceeds: crystallod ("the od derived from crystallisation"), electrod, photod, thermod, etc., according as it proceeds from crystals, electricity, light, heat, etc.

§ G.

He devotes his seventh treatise to the dualism in the phenomena of Od. [8] The od manifested in the right hand is generally accompanied by a sensation of coolness; that in the left hand gives a sensation of warmth; the right hand corresponds to the north pole, the left hand to the south pole of a magnetic needle.

"The positive band follows not a course precisely identical with, but one very analogous to, that of the negative right hand, as regards intensity of force."

Electro-positive substances, and particularly metals, with the exception of tellurium and arsenic, excite a sensation of warmth such as is felt with the left hand of man; electro-negative bodies produce a sensation of cold similar to the sensation felt in the right hand. For a sensitive, therefore, all bodies are either cool or warm. The author calls positive od that which corresponds to the south pole of a magnetic needle, and which gives a sensation of heat; negative od is that which corresponds to the other pole, and which gives a sensation of cold. En passant, let us point out that magnetic poles are named in a diametrically opposed fashion in German-speaking countries and in France; consequently, [151] the German positive pole corresponds to the French negative pole, and reciprocally.

The different parts of a plant behave differently from an odic point of view; the caudex descendens in a general sense is found to be positive, the caudex ascendens in general, negative. In the details, each organ is found polar. [9] In the human body the odic force is unequally distributed in regard to space, and also with reference to time. This force is manifested especially in certain parts of the body, and, in particular, at the mouth, the hands, the forehead and the occiput.

"The mouth of healthy persons is a point by means of which all objects may be charged with odic force more strongly than by the bands."

The mouth is negative od, and this fact leads the author to make an original remark concerning the true nature and significance of a kiss:

"The lips are one of the foci of odyle; and the flames, which our poets describe as belonging to them, do, in fact, play there. It may be asked, how can this be consistent with the fact that the mouth is negative? But in fact, the two statements harmonise very well: for the kiss gives nothing, but rather seeks, strives after an equilibrium which it does not attain. It is not a negative; but physically, as well as psychically, its state is one of negativity."

The odic tension varies during the day: it diminishes when hunger appears, it increases after a meal; it also diminishes in the evening when the sun sinks below the horizon. With regard to the head, odic tension is at its maximum in the forehead during the day, and in the occiput during the night.

The conclusions to be drawn from this first part are:

1. That the magnet has a sensible action on the human organism.


"The power of exerting this action not only belongs to the loadstone, but nature presents it in an infinite variety of cases. We have first of all the earth itself, the magnetism of which acts, more or less strongly, on sensitives. . . . We have, farther, all crystals, natural and artificial, which act in the line of their axes; also heat, friction, electricity, light; the solar and stellar rays; chemical action especially; organic vital activity, both that of plants, and that of animals — especially of man: in reality the whole material universe."

2. "That the cause of these phenomena is a peculiar force, existing in Nature, and embracing the Universe, distinct from all known forces, and here called od (or odyle)."

3. "Although distinct from what has hitherto been called magnetism, this force appears everywhere where magnetism appears. But, conversely, magnetism by no means appears where od is found. This force has therefore an existence independent of magnetism; while magnetism is invariably found combined with od."

4. "The odic force possesses polarity. It appears with constantly different properties at the opposite poles of magnets. At the north-ward pole it generally causes, on the downward pass, a sensation or coolness, and in the dark, a blue and bluish-grey light; at the south-ward pole, on the contrary, a sensation of warmth, and red, reddish-yellow and reddish-grey light. The former sensation is accompanied by decidedly pleasurable feelings, the latter with discomfort and anxious distress. After magnets, crystals and living organised beings exhibit distinct odic polarity. . . . In animals, at least in man, the whole left side is in odic opposition to the right. The force appears concentrated in poles in the extremities, the hands and fingers, in both feet, stronger in the bands than in the feet. . . . Men and women are not qualitatively different.

5. "Amorphous bodies, without crystalline direction of their integrant molecules, show individually no polarity.

6. "The odic force is conducted, to distances yet unascertained, by all solid and liquid bodies. . . . The conduction of od is effected much slower than that of electricity, but much more rapidly than that of heat.

7. "Bodies may be charged with od, or od may be transferred from one body to another. In stricter language, a body, in which free od is developed, can excite in another body a similar odic state. This transference is effected by contact. But mere proximity, without contact, is sufficient to produce the change, although in a feebler decree. Bodies while conducting od, or when charged with it, do not exhibit polarity; which seems to be associated with certain molecular arrangements of matter. . . .


8. "In the animal economy, night, sleep and hunger, depress or diminish the odic influence; taking food, daylight, and the active waking state, increase and intensify it. In sleep, the seat of odic activity is transferred to other parts of the nervous system."

§ H.

The experiments which form the basis of the studies presented by Reichenbach in his first seven memoranda were made on five girls. It was objected to him that his investigations were not sufficient; therefore he repeated and completed his experiments, extending his investigations over a greater number of persons, in various states as to health, and in various conditions of life; he experimented with nearly sixty sensitives. And, apropos, it may be interesting to recall to the reader's mind the following passage of Reichenbach's work [p. 264]:

". . . I am certainly within the mark when I say that at least one-third of people in general are more or less sensitive. For, wherever I turn, I find healthy sensitives ; and this not in dozens, for I could, if it were necessary, collect hundreds of them in a few days. With whatever amount of doubt or incredulity these assertions or mine may be received, the immediate future will and must prove their accuracy. Sensitiveness is not, as I myself believed only a year ago, a rare thing, but a very generally diffused property, which people will soon find everywhere, according to what I have stated, and will thereby open up a new, and not unimportant, field of observation in the study of the conditions of which man is susceptible."

The results of these new investigations furnished an eighth treatise, which appeared two years after the others.

The second part of the book includes an introduction, in which the author differentiates od from other forces (heat, electricity, magnetism), and the eighth treatise, which is [154] devoted to the odic luminous phenomena seen over the magnet. [10]

In order to perceive the flames visible over powerful magnets the precaution must be taken to remain for one or more hours in absolute darkness. The magnet is able to communicate its odic light to any body whatsoever; this light diminishes under the influence of heat; the electric atmosphere, on the contrary, intensifies the odic glow. [11]

The odic flame can be affected, — scattered, moved about hither and thither, — by the breath or by a current of air, and thus mechanically set in motion. Crystals, human hands, animals, can, by their vicinity, increase or diminish these flames; the action which is produced by their proximity is analogous to the action which one magnet produces on another.

"The odic flame," says Reichenbach, "is a material something; most probably a body rendered luminous; but it is not magnetism."

We know how different are the luminous phenomena of electricity in air, in vacuo, or even under diminished atmospheric pressure. In order to test the effect of the air on odic luminous emanations, Reichenbach frequently placed magnets under the exhausted receiver of the air-pump in the presence of sensitive persons. One of these sensitives was a blind man; he was led to the air-pump, before exhaustion was begun. He saw nothing. Reichenbach began the exhaustion; when it was about half completed, the sensitive saw light. And as the rarefaction increased, this light also [155] increased and reached its maximum of size and brightness, for this blind man's mutilated organs of vision, when the mercury in the gauge stood at 0.12 to 0.16 of an inch, the utmost decree of exhaustion which could be obtained with Reichenbach's air-pump. When the air was rapidly readmitted, unknown to the blind sensitive, the latter was disagreeably surprised by the sudden extinction of the light and return of darkness.

Reichenbach's many observations on this influence of vacuo yield him the following results: "The odylo-luminous phenomena are affected by changes in the pressure of the atmosphere. Under diminished pressure they increase considerably in brightness."

But there is still a higher degree of these luminous phenomena: This is a perfectly regular Iris or rainbow. [12] "The variegated play of moving colours, when all things combine to permit its tranquil development, arranges itself in determinate forms, and follows fixed laws." There is a predominance of red at the positive, and blue at the negative pole. "This was when the poles were upwards, and conformably placed in the meridian." But the colours change with the position of the magnet. Reichenbach wished to see whether the Iris had an independent existence of its own, neither bound down to nor unaffected by the points of the compass, up to a certain point; or whether he might succeed in isolating and exhibiting separately its component colours. [13]


For that purpose he had a number of hollow four-cornered caps of iron made to fit on the end of the pole of a large bar magnet. He found that if the four points of the cap corresponded to the cardinal points, and if the pole of the magnet be turned upwards, the sensitive sees different coloured flames at each point: blue or dark green at the North, red at the South, grey at the East, white or yellow at the West.

"In concluding these details concerning the odylic flame, I shall make one more practical application," says Reichenbach. "It is a fable, widely spread in Germany, and which has been often made, by our dramatic poets, the ground-work of the most striking scenes, that ghosts, witches, and devils, assemble for their hellish dance by night on the Blocksberg. Everything in the world, even such a fable as this, bas a cause or origin in nature; and we can now see that this myth is not destitute of a natural foundation. It bas long been known that, high on the Brocken, there are rocky summits which are strongly magnetic, and cause the needle to deviate. More minute investigation has proved that these rocks contain disseminated magnetic iron or load-stone; as on the Ilsenstein, the Schnarsher (Snorer), etc. The necessary consequence is that they send out odylic flames. Now, when persons of high perceptive powers for odylic light happened to come on such places in a dark night, as must often have been the case with hunters, charcoal-burners, poachers, wood-cutters, etc., they necessarily saw, on all sides, delicate flames of different sizes and colours, flaming up from the rocks, and in the currents of air flickering hither and thither. Who could blame these persons, imbued no doubt with the superstitious feelings of their age, if they saw, under these circumstances the devil dancing with his whole train of ghosts, demons and witches? The revels of the Walpurgisnacht (the night which ushers in May-day) most now, alas! vanish and give place to the sobrieties of Science;— Science, which, with her torch, dissipates one by one all the beautiful but dim forms evoked by phantasy."

Diverse experiments on these luminous manifestations permit the author to come to the conclusion that the Aurora [157] Borealis is a vast manifestation of magnetic odic flame, odic vapour, and odic light.

"The resemblance of this phenomenon of odylic flame to the polar light of the earth, or aurora borealis (and australis) is so obvious, that it must occur to everyone who may take the trouble to read these lines. . . ."

"Now that we know that flaming lights exist over magnetic poles, larger than the magnets from which they flow, when we learn that these flaming appearances are moveable, undulating, often moving in serpentine windings, like those of a ribbon agitated by the wind, becoming at every moment larger or smaller, shooting out rays, scintillating, variegated in colour, and often nebulous, vaporous, and cloud-like; when we find that with our breath we can cause it to flicker backwards and forwards; when we observe that it increases in a rapid ratio, in we, intensity, and brilliancy, in rarefied air; and lastly, when we see it followed at every step by the play of rainbow colours, etc. — there remains hardly one essential mark of distinction between magnetic light and terrestrial polar light; unless we regard as such, the difference of intensity and amount of light, in virtue of which the polar light is visible to every ordinary eye, the magnetic light only to the sensitive eye."

The new notions brought forward by Reichenbach permit us to explain and to arrange some ancient facts which, hitherto, appeared to have no rapport with one another. The halos and rays with which certain people delight in ornamenting important personages in the principal religions would now appear to be but the representation of odic glow, odic flames, observed about these same personages by sensitives who happened to be in their vicinity. The action of magnets on the organism, which was at that time doubted, and which has since been demonstrated, is found to be thoroughly explained. The question of animal magnetism, which since Mesmer's time has caused floods of ink to be poured forth upon the public, is now elucidated. The role played by the breath and the laying on of hands in magical and religious ceremonies, appears to be justified by this fact that the hands and the mouth are the most intense sources [158] of odic force in the human body. Finally, we are able to understand the powerful therapeutic action of mineral waters, the chemical analysis of which does not reveal the presence of any active substance; these waters have been able to store up a vast quantity of odic radiations gathered from the beds of earth over which they have passed. This explains, at the same time, why these waters ought to be taken at their source in order to be truly efficacious; bottled and exported, they gradually lose the energy with which they were charged.

Further, Reichenbach's experiments tally pretty well with some extremely ancient Chinese medical theories; theories which, we believe, were quite unknown in Europe in Reichenbach's time. The doctors of the Celestial Empire believed that such or such a medicament was of a hot or cold, active or passive, dry or moist, male or female nature; or, to be more exact, belonged especially to one or the other of the two great principles in all things: Yang (positive principle) or Yin (negative principle).

We see here a curious analogy with the classification made by Baron von Reichenbach's sensitives, who divided substances into cool and warm bodies. There is something more: as we pointed out in our work, Médecine et Pharmacie chez les Chinois et les Annamites. [14] Orientals admit the existence of precise relations between certain organs, certain savours, certain colours, etc., and the seasons, hours, planetary influences, directions, etc. Black corresponds to the North; red to the South; blue to the East; white to the West; yellow to the centre. Now Reichenbach's sensitives observing a magnet, the pole of which was directed upwards, saw colours, which were analogous and even identical to those of the Chinese theory, correspond with the different cardinal points. At the South, red always corresponded; at [159] the West a pale blue or whitish colour, at the East a grey colour. It is true that blue corresponded with the North, but in going towards the North-West the colour was modified and became dark green-nearly black. These analogies appeared to us sufficiently curious to merit pointing out to the attention.

The author of these studies on odic phenomena encountered — in common with nearly every innovator — hostility on the part of the representatives of official Science. Dubois-Reymond refused to examine Reichenbach's experiments in detail:—

"because it would at least be impossible for him not to be guilty of using unparliamentary language in doing so."

This fear did not prevent him from adding that Reichenbach's work:—

"is one of the most deplorable aberrations that has for a long time affected a human brain; they are fables which should be thrown into the fire."

Nothing is easier, and more convenient, as a cloak for ignorance than to get rid of, by declaring it to be an imposture, a phenomenon which, for want of knowledge, we cannot understand, or, for want of dexterity in investigation, we cannot lay hold of.

"It was easy to foresee," says Reichenbach "that a matter of so strange and peculiar a kind, as the subject embraced in my researches, would meet with objections; and I was prepared beforehand for the necessity of defending my experiments, and the conclusions deduced from them, against both well-founded and groundless opposition and contradiction. . . . Yet I was only prepared for rational judgment and criticism. . . . I was not, I confess, prepared for an attack made on my work and on myself personally, by a Dr. Dubois-Reymond, in Karsten's Progress of Physiology in the year 1845. This philosopher does not think it necessary in the smallest degree to enter into my experiments and deductions; but from his lofty eminence, entitles my labours, courtly enough, 'an absurd romance, to enter into the details of which would be fruitless, and to him impossible.'"


"My critic describes himself as having been 'greeted by the magnetic baquet, and the wretched magical trash of Baron von Reichenbach'; therefore he has not read that it is precisely my work which banishes for ever the 'baquet and the wretched magical trash' of Mesmer, by tearing down the veil that hid his mysteries, reducing them to their naked physical existence, and substituting sober scientific investigation in the room of all the old phantasmagoria." [15]

Those persons were few and far between who sought to verify Reichenbach's researches. In a paper entitled Les Propriétés Physiques de la Force Psychique[16] de Rochas has [161] given a résumé of the works of those who continued the work of the Viennese savant, and of those who may be looked upon as his precursors. Without trying to give a summary of this paper, we will content ourselves with recalling to mind a few of the more interesting observations. The property of exercising an action either of attraction or repulsion on surrounding objects has been observed with invalids by Arago in 1846, and by Dr. Pineau in 1858. In 1868 Bailley affirmed in a thesis the existence of a radiant neuric force, and in 1887, Baretz, of Nice, studied the properties of that force. In 1887 and 1898 de Rochas wrote, in Les Forces non-définies and in Extériorisation de la Sensibilité, concerning the effluvia which are emitted by the human body. In 1893 Dr. Luys published a work on the direct visibility of cerebral effluvia. In 1896 Narkievicky-Iodko and Dr. Baraduc caused photographic plates to be acted upon by means of exteriorised nervous force.

As the result of diverse experiments in hypnotism and suggestion at a distance, we were able to write in 1896 in La Sorcellerie[17] the following lines:—

"Around every man, as around every magnet, a field analogous to the magnetic field ought to exist; it should be a kind of nervous atmosphere which man would carry about with him wherever he went; each person would be influenced by every object, every person, near enough to him to modify his magnetic field."

And further on, after having related the experiments of Luys and Babinski on magnetic wreaths and on transfer by magnets, we added:—

"A magnetic wreath would store up the cerebral vibrations of an invalid; it could be influenced by a human being as it could by a powerful magnetic field."

All these experiments and all these theories were considered as void by the greater number of representatives of official science. But the discoveries of Reichenbach should receive [162] deeper attention; the existence of new radiations seems to be well demonstrated; radio-active bodies and in particular radium emit, constantly, radiations which can be momentarily stored up by diverse bodies and, particularly, by water.

Blondlot of Nancy has discovered the "N" rays, which, up to the present, are only manifested to our senses — and even then in only a minor degree — by increasing the luminous brilliancy of a phosphorescent screen; but which come from various sources, and especially from flames, chemical reactions, light, human beings, animals and plants. Again, have we not discovered radiations capable of being weighed, capable of being gathered up and bottled? Have not all radiations the same sources as Reichenbach's od? Have they not in a great measure the same properties? Nevertheless, it is probable that the "N" rays only constitute a part of the radiations studied under the name of odic force; these have no action on photographic plates, while Reichenbach's od and the effluvia studied by Narkievicky-Iodko and Dr. Baraduc act on the plates. It is true, that since the very recent discovery of the "N" rays, it has already been necessary to make a distinction between the N-rays and the N'rays; and the last word has certainly not yet been pronounced on this subject. Gustave Lebon, who demonstrated, eight years ago, that any body whatsoever emitted effluvia (studied by him under the name of dark light) has just presented, in the Revue Scientifique, some curious theories on the dissociation of matter, on intra-atomic energy and on the materialisation of energy, — opening up to science completely new horizons.

It would seem as though the moment could not have been better chosen for the publication in France of Reichenbach's work on Odic Phenomena. Independent savants in France will be able to draw indications therefrom for their researches, and those who are partisans of criticism will be able to compare these odic phenomena with modern discoveries; it would perhaps be wrong on the part of the [163] latter to repeat once more: Nihil novi sub sole, but they will be able to verify, once again, that an unknown form of energy needs to be discovered several times before being admitted to the honours of a simple study by certain mandarins of official science. Reichenbach received nothing but abuse; M. Blondlot and his collaborators — even from the beginning — have received only praise and felicitations.

For some months, several savants have been casting doubt upon the existence of the "N" rays, but they do not refuse to examine the new discovery; some of them have even gone to Nancy with the object of observing the phenomena indicated. This is a proof of progress, and we may hope that, before long, everyone will respect this two-fold principle:

Ne rien nier a priori.
Ne rien affirmer sans preuves!

Do not deny a priori.
Do not affirm anything without proof!

Whatever the surprises may be which ulterior researches in odic phenomena and new radiations reserve for us, we ought to congratulate M. Lacoste, who, thanks to his translation, has just put Reichenbach's curious work within the reach of all French savants and investigators.


  1. The quotations throughout this article, are taken from Dr. William Gregory's English Translation of Reichenbach's work: Researches on Magnetism. London: Taylor, Walton and Maberly, 1850. — Note, ED.
  2. "In certain diseases, this force solicits the band to a kind of adhesion, resembling that of iron to a magnet." — REICHENBACH, p. 60.
  3. "In order to enable everyone to repeat these experiments, I would state expressly, that a large detached crystal with a natural termination is necessary; and that it must be larger, the less sensitive the person is. Heavy syar, fluor spar, or gypsum, are best adapted for the purpose. It is of no moment whether the band be coarse or fine in its texture, for I have occasionally found the coarsest band of a mechanic more sensitive than the most delicate hand of one whose occupation is that of writing. The crystal should be drawn over the inner surface of the hand, from the wrist over the palm and down to the point of the middle finger, as near as possible, but without contact, and at such a rate of motion that one pass occupies about five seconds. The crystal is held vertically over the band. Among my family and friends, I have found more than one-half to be sensitive. I never told them my object, but asked for the hand, drew the crystal several times over it, and then asked whether they felt anything, and what. The usual answer was, a cool or warm aura. That the sensation is very slight and delicate, it is hardly necessary to say. Had it been so strong as to require no particular attention to detect it, it would not have been now, for the first time, observed and pointed out, but would long ago have been generally known. Some persons who do not perceive it on one day, do so on the morrow, or the day after, or after a week." — REICHENBACH, pp. 39-40.
  4. "Therefore, something most pass from the magnet into the water, and remain in it; something that is not proper magnetism, which we have no chemical means of arresting or detaining, and the presence of which we cannot, by means of any of our ordinary senses recognise." — REICHENBACH, p. 75.
  5. "The force in crystals is one of those residing in, and exhibited by the magnet; it is, therefore, a part of the influences of the magnet, which may be separated and isolated." — REICHENBACH, p. 61.
  6. "After I had ascertained the existence of a powerful influence, derived from terrestrial magnetism, acting along with that of magnets, when applied to sensitive persons, all my subsequent investigations were made with the patients in the position from North to South, which I regard as the normal direction for all the reactions of magnets, crystals, or other bodies on the living, sensitive frame, whether affected with disease of the nervous system or not, but more especially in the former state." — REICHENBACH, p. 73.
  7. "One part of the collective force residing in the magnet; the crystalline force; and the force being at the foundation of what is called Animal Magnetism — these three forces, in their essence, when regarded from a common point of view, coincide or are identical." — REICHENBACH, p. 91.
  8. "Od possesses a marked dualism, which has an unmistakable analogy with that of electricity." — REICHENBACH, p. 206.
  9. "Where Nature has little to do, where her formative energy diminishes, negativity prevails; while positivity predominates where she is active and exerts propulsion." — REICHENBACH, p. 190.
  10. "The odic light of magnets appears, as far as my researches at present extend, in five forms, exhibiting themselves as distinct to the eyes of the sensitive. These are :— "1. The odic glow; 2. Odic flames; 3. Threads, fibres, or feathery down; 4. Luminous vapour or smoke; 5. Scintillations." — REICHENBACH, p. 277.
  11. Concerning the odic flames over the magnet, Reichenbach says :— "A small magnet, charged to saturation, seems to possess not less odic tension than one of much greater size. The luminous phenomena appear of smaller dimensions, but the results are qualitatively the same." — REICHENBACH, p. 314.
  12. "Even the magnetism of the earth suffices to produce the Iris, visible to highly sensitive persons. But this phenomenon is exhibited in greater beauty and purity on electro-magnets. . . I once used a battery of two-and-a-half square feet: the Iris was splendidly developed, with smoke which rose to and illuminated the ceiling." — REICHENBACH, p. 394. [It is scarcely necessary to remind the reader that these experiments were, necessarily, made in the dark. —(Note, ED.)]
  13. "Observations made at different times, and in all different directions, yielded proof that there is only one fixed distance, differing for each individual, at which the colour of the odylic flame is pure and distinctly visible; but that, at this distance, it remains constant for the same individual, and does not vary at all; whereas, at other distances less or greater, it exhibits different shades, being dull yellow at small, bluish-grey and grey at greater distances. In order, therefore, to obtain unmixed results, we must always attend to the proper distance for the eye of each observer." — REICHENBACH, p. 397.
  14. Dr. J. Regnault: Médecine et Pharmacie chez les Chinois et les Annamites. Challamel, Editeur. Paris, 1902; pp. 18-24.
  15. The reader may care to see an extract from the protocol of certain savants who "investigated" Reichenbach's experiments; at page 50 of this protocol, for example, occurs the following passage :—
    "Dr. von Eisenstein led her (the sensitive) in this state (the supposed magnetic sleep) into a large room, where he made her sit down on a sofa, and tried, by passes with his hands, and with four bar-magnets, to raise her state to that of clairvoyance, and at the same time to destroy the influence of the sun upon her, and give the preponderance to the magnets. When he brought the magnets into the region of the heart, and the sensitive, as if involuntarily, shuddered (or was affected with slight spasm), he exclaimed:— 'Aha! here, then, resides this filthy sun?! thou hast him in thy heart? Wait a moment; I shall soon expel him,' — and now be made spiral tours near the heart with considerable energy. — The same scene followed when he magnetised her over the back, and on the pit of the stomach. The sun was remorselessly pursued, and driven out of every lurking place. At one of these operations, the sensitive sprang up, and struck at her magnetiser, "driven by indignation to box the man on the ears," says Reichenbach in commenting on these operations, who forced her down on her seat, and magnetised her lips with circular tours. When she offered to resist this, and put her hands before her face, he removed them and reproached her 'because she would not kiss the magnet, her benefactor which cured her.' The abominable sun must be driven away from her lips, and its place taken by the magnet, etc." On turning the leaf, we find the account of an experiment, in which, in a room by daylight, the sensitive was expected to see magnetic flames on the magnets presented to her, and, in addition to this, her eyes were bandaged with handkerchiefs. This ends with the following words:— "Dr. von Eisenstein, who conducted the experiment, gave us no explanation of its tendency. Baron von Reichenbach always made his experiments on the luminous emanations from magnets in darkened rooms, and found that they were seen the more distinctly the more perfect was the darkness. Why Dr. von Eisenstein tried this experiment in a room brightly illuminated by reflected daylight, why he chose the time when her eyes were blind-folded; whether he wished to test her power of divination, or whether he wished to prove something else, we know not. He gave us no explanation of the experiment just described." Similar drivelling is not unfrequently met with in course of the report. Who would have the patience of wading through 200 pages of it?

  16. Les Frontières de la Science, De Rochas, 1st Série. Leymarie, Paris.
  17. Dr. J. Regnault: La Sorcellerie (ses rapports avec les sciences biologiques). Felix Alcan, Paris, 1897; p. 255.

Originally published in The Annals of Psychic Science 1:3 (March 1905).

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