isis unveiled: chapter chapter VI (seeds of truth)

“The commission say that “it has collected and communicated facts sufficiently important to induce it to think that the Academy should encourage the researches on magnetism as a very curious branch of psychology and natural history.”

The committee conclude by saying that the facts are so extraordinary that they scarcely imagine that the Academy will concede their reality, but protest that they have been throughout animated by motives of a lofty character, “the love of science and by the necessity of justifying the hopes which the Academy had entertained of our zeal and our devotion.”

Their fears were fully justified by the conduct of at least one member of their own number, who had absented himself from the experiments, and, as M. Husson tells us, “did not deem it right to sign the report.”

This was Magendie, the physiologist, who, despite the fact stated by the official report that he had not “been present at the experiments”, did not hesitate to devote four pages of his famous work on Human Physiology to the subject of mesmerism, and after summarizing its alleged phenomena, without endorsing them as unreservedly as the erudition and scientific acquirements of his fellow committee-men would seem to have exacted, says:

“Self-respect and the dignity of the profession demand circumspection on these points. He [the well-informed physician] will remember how readily mystery glides into charlatanry, and how apt the profession is to become degraded even by its semblance when countenanced by respectable practitioners.”

No word in the context lets his readers into the secret that he had been duly appointed by the Academy to serve on the commission of 1826; had absented himself from its sittings; had so failed to learn the truth about mesmeric phenomena, and was now pronouncing judgment ex parte.

“Self-respect and the dignity of the profession” probably exacted silence!”

H. P. Blavatsky

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