“”Let us remark, besides”, rejoins Dr. Calmeil, quoted by Figuier, “that for striking upon the bodies of the Convulsionnaires use was made either of massive objects with flat or rounded surfaces, or of cylindrical and blunt shapes.
The action of such physical agents is not to be compared, in respect to the danger which attaches to it, with that of cords, supple or flexible instruments, and those having a sharp edge. In fine, the contact and the shock of the blows produced upon the Convulsionnaires the effect of a salutary shampooing, and reduced the violence of the tortures of HYSTERIA.”
The reader will please observe that this is not intended as a joke, but is the sober theory of one of the most eminent of French physicians, hoary with age and experience, the Director-in-Chief of the Government Insane Asylum at Charenton. Really, the above explanation might lead the reader to a strange suspicion.
We might imagine, perhaps, that Dr. Calmeil has kept company with the patients under his care a few more years than was good for the healthy action of his own brain. Besides, when Figuier talks of massive objects, of cylindrical and blunt shapes, he surely forgets the sharp swords, pointed iron pegs, and the hatchets, of which he himself gave a graphic description on page 409 of his first volume.
The brother of Elie Marion is shown by him striking his stomach and abdomen with the sharp point of a knife, with tremendous force, “his body all the while resisting as if it were made of iron.””
H. P. Blavatsky