GOING TO AND FRO
[REGARDING GIANTS AND HYPNOTISM]
[Lucifer, Vol. VII, No. 41, January, 1891, pp. 436-437]
The giants of old are a fiction—say the wise men of the modern West. Whenever the bones of an alleged gigantic race of men are found, and speedily made a pretext for the glorification of verse 4, chapter vi, in the revealed Book—there invariably comes a Cuvier to crush the flower of superstition in the bud, by showing that they are only the bones of some Dinotherium giganteum of the family of tapirs. The “Secret Doctrine” is a fairy tale and the races of giants that preceded our own, a figment of the imagination of the ancients, and now—of Theosophists.
The latter are quite willing to admit that the occasional appearance of giants and giantesses from seven to nine feet in our modern day, is not a complete proof. These are not giants in the strict sense of the term, though the scientifically demonstrated tendency to revert to the original type, is there, still unimpaired. To become a complete demonstration of this, the skeleton frames of our modern Goliaths and the structure of their bones, ought to be proportionate in breadth and thickness to the length of the body and also the size of the head. As this is not the case, the abnormal length may be due as much to hypertrophic causes as to reversion.
To all such problems one answer has been constantly given, “time will show” (See, The Secret Doctrine, Vol. II, p. 277 et seq.) “If the skeletons of the prehistoric ages have failed so far (which is positively denied) to prove the claim
here advanced, it is but a question of time.” And now it is believed the time has come and the first proof is very satisfactory. We quote from The Galignani Messenger of June 21 and 23, 1890, the news of the following find, from an article headed “Giants of Old”, which speaks for itself:—
Giants figure so often in our legends and the most ancient histories of the world that it has been a serious question whether a race of gigantic men has not existed at some remote period of time—for example, during the quaternary epochs of the large mammals, the mastodon, mammoth, and so on—and whether the type may not have survived into later times. Pigmies would have a better chance of continuing to subsist under the supremacy of the normal man. The giants, like the greater quadrupeds, would be exterminated. Our oldest human fossils, however, such as the Neanderthal and Cro-Magnon skulls, do not indicate an extraordinary stature. Very tall skeletons have, no doubt, been found in some dolmens and barrows, but they are supposed to belong to the bronze age race, which is still an element of the European population. M. G. de Lapouge has recently made a discovery which tends to re-open this question. At the prehistoric cemetery of Castelnau, near Montpellier, which dates from the eras of polished stone and bronze, he found last winter, among many crania, one of enormous size, which could only belong to a man very much over 2 metres (6 ft. 6 in.) in height, and of a morphologic type common in the dolmens of Lozère. It was the skull of a healthy youth about 18 years of age. Moreover, in the earth of a tumulus of vast extent, containing cists of the bronze age, more or less injured by superposed sepulchres of the early iron age, he found some fragments of human bones of a most abnormal size. For instance, part of a tibia 0.16 metre in circumference, part of a femur 0.13 metre in girth, and the inferior part of a humerus twice the ordinary dimensions. Everything considered M. de Lapouge estimates that the height of this subject must have been about 3½ metres (11 ft.)—that is to say, a veritable giant, according to the popular notion. He must have lived during the quaternary period or the beginning of the present, but whether he was an instance of hypertrophy or one of an extinct race of giants, it is impossible as yet to say. Singularly enough, tradition fixes the valley of a giant very near the spot in the cavern of Castelnau where the bones have been taken from the tumulus.
“Hypertrophy”—extending over the “length, breadth, and thickness” of the body, crowned, moreover with a head, or cranium “of enormous size”—looks suspiciously like an
empty pretext to make an exploding theory hold out a little longer. It is well that science should be cautious, but even the forty “Immortals” in all the majesty of their academical slumbers, would be laughed at were they to attempt to make us believe that the abnormal size of the Russian child-giantess, the six-and-a-half footer, aged nine, was due to chronic dropsy!
The criminal use of hypnotic suggestion has come largely to the front in the Eyraud-Bompard trial at Paris. The evidence given by Professor Liégeois of the famous medical school at Paris, was particularly interesting. He related the case of a woman whom he had hypnotised, and to whom he had made the suggestion that she had seen two tramps steal £20 from a lady, and he told her to go to a magistrate and lay an information. She did so, and gave an exact description of the two men, repeating her statement on several subsequent occasions. The professor also gave the further following evidence:
There is a case of a dentist in Paris who, in a state of hypnotism, was seen to steal things out of a broker’s shop. Further experiments were made upon him, and he was known to commit thefts in his normal state, have no reason whatever for doing so, which were suggested to him while in a state of hypnotism. An eloquent preacher, who had often heard of hypnotic “suggestion,” experimented on a young man who was a good subject, telling him to go and steal a certain thing and bring it to him. The young man did exactly as he was told. On another occasion, acting under directions given him in the same state, the same person astonished the congregation by commencing in a loud voice to read the Gospels. A third time he was sent to steal and was caught in the act. An officer in barracks suggested to a hypnotizable bugler that he was a sub-lieutenant. The bugler at once went to the colonel to announce his promotion, to the astonishment of the colonel, who said, “The man is mad! Take him to the infirmary.” When the bugler awoke some hours later he remembered nothing whatever about it, and his adventure caused much amusement among the officers. Dr. Liégeois wished to show the jury some photographs of a hypnotizable person to whom it was suggested that he had received a severe burn, and this so entered into his system that in thirty-six hours marks appeared on the body as if the
burn had really taken place. The President: “I cannot allow that; it is quite irregular.” Dr. Liégeois then went on with this narration of cases, citing one which occurred at Vouziers more than half a century ago, where two murders were committed by a man in an hypnotic state, who was declared irresponsible for his actions.
There is no doubt that the general publication of the details and methods of hypnotic suggestion has brought society face to face with a very serious peril. Many persons will probably think that, after all, there is a good deal to be said for the ancient plan of keeping secret knowledge which placed in the hands of unscrupulous persons control over the subtler forces of Nature.