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Boris Sidis, Ph.D.

Simon P. Goodhart, M.D.

© 1904




MR. HANNA fell asleep about 4 A.M., June 9; he was visited at hourly intervals, and found sleeping very soundly. At 9 A.M., in response to a request to arise, he said, “I must get up,” but turned over and fell asleep again. He was left undisturbed and arose at 9.30. He seemed familiar with his surroundings. Dr. G., thinking Mr. Hanna continued in his primary state, said to him:

            “You may think I am rather familiar, but you see I have known you longer than you really think. I have known you for some weeks now, though you may not know it.”

            Mr. Hanna replied, “Yes, I know that.”

            He was then asked to relate the order in which the gentlemen he spoke of a few hours ago were seated around the dining-table; the interrogation referred, of course, to the dinner-table around which his fellow-students had sat in college days. He replied, “Let me see, there was Dr. S., Dr. D.,” and so on, mentioning the order and names of the gentlemen at supper the evening before, but he had no idea of having mentioned the students. He was again in his secondary state. He was then asked if he had ever slept in such a folding bed before. In his primary state of the early morning he had been asked the same question and had replied in the affirmative, making such comment as to show full familiarity with it. To the same question put to him in his present secondary state, Mr. Hanna replied negatively; he said, “Never knew of one.”

            In his primary state, when he was informed of the loss of memory and of events which had occurred during the secondary state, and of which he was ignorant, and when asked how he felt, he characterized himself as Rip Van Winkle. Now, in the secondary state, when asked what the words Rip Van Winkle might possibly mean, he replied he had never heard such a word and didn’t know its meaning. In order to mislead him, he was asked whether it was a street or a hotel. He said it might possibly be the name of a hotel, as hotels like to have “high-sounding names.” “Yes, it might be a hotel,” he repeated.

            It was evident that, having lapsed into his secondary state, he was continuing the life and carrying on the memories of that state. He was again in full possession of everything that had occurred since the accident, exclusive of the events of the early morning in the primary state, but had lost all memories of events up to the time of the accident and also of the interval during which he was in the primary state. After having passed again into his secondary state and having been informed by his brother how totally changed he was, how his friends and events of the one state were lost to his mind in the other, he felt greatly depressed and was almost in despair. He was fully conscious of his misfortune and complained bitterly, fearing that he might at any time and in any condition lapse from one state into the other, with absolute loss of knowledge of his surroundings and of his friends of the other state. He realized that in his present state of psychic alternation he could hardly be trusted to go about independently.

            When he was assured that a speedy cure would be effected, he was rather sceptical. The account given to him of the absolute change from one psychic state to another impressed him deeply. When told that the two states were fixed and that finally in the one he would have an indirect knowledge, by information from others, of what happened in the other state, he turned to us with the rather pertinent inquiry, “And how do you know that there will not come a third state in which I will not remember either of the two?” Mr. Hanna seemed depressed and absorbed within himself, but this soon passed off. In his secondary state his emotions changed rapidly; were readily influenced by passing events; they were unstable, less persistent than in his other states. His sensitiveness in the secondary state was very acute and he was extremely susceptible to external stimuli. This fact becomes especially prominent by a comparison of the secondary with the primary and normal states.1 (See Plates I, II.)



1The delicate sensitiveness and extreme organic susceptibility in his secondary state to external stimuli manifested itself also in a form which to his family appeared as clairvoyance. Thus he was able to find objects hidden from him, and was uniformly correct in guessing in which hand a small coin was held, both hands being concealed from view. His knowledge seemed to be a kind of intuition, or, as he said, “instinct,” which be could not explain or understand. This condition was absent both in the primary and complete states. This fact greatly awed Mr. Hanna's family, who attempted to conceal it even from us. In like manner the straps with which he was bound after the accident he invariably located, in spite of the fact that his family made every effort to conceal them, since their presence agitated him.

                We must add, however, that these facts were not under our direct observation. We simply record them, to indicate the sensitiveness of the secondary personality, but cannot vouch for the exactness of the observation, as it has not been accurately investigated.


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