“”Dr. Calmeil, in his work on insanity”, remarks Figuier, “when reporting on the ecstatic theomania of the Calvinists, concludes that the disease must be attributed in the simpler cases to HYSTERIA, and in those of more serious character to epilepsy….We rather incline to the opinion”, says Figuier, “that it was a disease sui generis, and in order to have an appropriate name for such a disease, we must be satisfied with the one of the Trembling Convulsionaires of Cevenne.”
Theomania and hysteria, again! The medical corporations must themselves be possessed with an incurable atomomania; otherwise why should they give out such absurdities for science, and hope for their acceptance?
“Such was the fury for exorcising and roasting”, continues Figuier, “that monks saw possessions by demons everywhere when they felt in need of miracles to either throw more light on the omnipotency of the Devil, or keep their dinner-pot boiling at the convent.”
For this sarcasm the pious des Mousseaux expresses a heartfelt gratitude to Figuier; for, as he remarks, “he is in France one of the first writers whom we find, to our surprise, not denying the phenomena which have been made long since undeniable.
Moved by a sense of lofty superiority and even disdain for the method used by his predecessors, Dr. Figuier desires his readers to know that he does not follow the same path as they. ‘We will not reject’, says he, ‘as being unworthy of credit, facts only because they are embarrassing for our system.
On the contrary, we will collect all of the facts that the same historical evidence has transmitted to us…and which, consequently, are entitled to the same credence, and it is upon the whole mass of such facts that we will base the natural explanation, which we have to offer, in our turn, as a sequel to those of the savants who have preceded us on this subject.'”
Thereupon, Dr. Figuier proceeds. He takes a few steps, and, placing himself right in the midst of the Convulsionaires of St. Medard, he invites his readers to scrutinize, under his direction, prodigies which are for him but simple effects of nature.
But before we proceed, in our turn, to show Dr. Figuier’s opinion, we must refresh the reader’s memory as to what the Jansenist miracles comprised, according to historical evidence.”
H. P. Blavatsky