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Boris Sidis, Ph.D.

© 1898. New York, D. Appleton and Company.




        THE problem that interested me most was to come into closer contact with the subwaking self. What is its fundamental nature? What are the main traits of its character? Since in hypnosis the subwaking self is freed from its chains, untrammelled by the shackles of the upper controlling self; since in hypnosis the underground self is more or less exposed to our view, it is plain that experimentation on the hypnotic self will introduce us into the secret life of the subwaking self; for, as we pointed out above, the two are identical. Now I have made an kinds of experiments, bringing subjects into catalepsy, somnambulisms, giving illusions, hallucinations, post-hypnotic suggestions, etc. As a result of my work one central truth stands out clear before my mind, and that is the extraordinary plasticity of the subwaking self. If you can only in some way or other succeed in separating the primary controlling consciousness from the lower one, the waking from the subwaking self, so that they should no longer keep company, you can do anything you please with the subwaking self. You can make its legs, hands, any limb you like, perfectly rigid; you can make it eat pepper for sugar; you can make it drink water for wine; feel cold or warm; hear delightful music; feel pain or pleasure; see oranges where there is nothing; nay, you can make it even eat them and feel their taste. In short, you can do with the subwaking self anything you like. The subwaking consciousness is in your power like clay in the hands of the potter. The nature of its plasticity is revealed by its complete suggestibility. Unlike clay, however, it can not be hardened into any permanent and durable form.

         I wanted to get an insight into the very nature of the subwaking self; I wanted to make personal acquaintance with it. "What is its personal character?" I asked. How surprised was I when, after close interrogation, the answer came to me that there could possibly be no personal acquaintance with it, for the subwaking self lacks personality. Under certain conditions a cleavage may occur between the two selves, and then the subwaking self may rapidly grow, develop, and attain the plane of self-consciousness, get crystallized into a person, and give itself a name, imaginary or borrowed from history. But this newly crystallized personality is, as a rule, extremely unstable, ephemeral, shadowy in its outlines, tends to subside, to become amorphous, again and again gets formed, rising to the surface of life, then sinks and disappears for evermore. The two selves blend, and once more form one conscious individuality.

         The following account by an automatic writer1 is extremely interesting from our point of view. I bring the account in full, as I find it of great value.

         "The experiment," writes Mr. A., "was made Easter, 1883, on one day, and, after an interval of a week, continued on three consecutive days. Upon the first day I became seriously interested; on the second puzzled; on the third I seemed to be entering upon entirely novel experiences, half awful, half romantic; upon the fourth the sublime ended painfully in the ridiculous.

                                        "FIRST DAY.

         "Ques. Upon what conditions may I learn from the unseen?

        "Ans. My hand immediately moved, though not to a very satisfying issue.

        "Q. What is it that now moves my pen?

        "A. Religion.

        "Q. What moves my pen to write that answer?

        "A. Conscience.

        "Q. What is religion?

        "A. Worship.

        "Q. What is worship?

        "A. W b w b w b w b.

        "Q. What is the meaning of w b?

        "A. Win, buy.

        "Q. What?

        "A. Know(ledge).

        "Here I knew the letters which were to follow, and the pen made a sudden jerk, as if it were useless to continue.

        "Q. How?


        We find here the secondary self emerging from its prison, giving unintelligent and unintelligible answers, as one dazzled by the light of day.

                                        "SECOND DAY

        "Ques. What is a man?

        "Ans. Flise.

        "Q. What does F stand for?

        "A. Fesi.

        "Q. l?

        "A. le.

        "Q. i?

        "A. Ivy.

        "Q. s?

        "A. sir.

        "Q. e?

        "A. eye.

                                        "’Fesi le ivy sir eye.'

        "Q. Is this an anagram?

        "A. Yes.

        "Q. How many words in the answer?

        "A. 4.

        "This was made out as:

                                        ‘Every life is yes.'"

         The secondary self could not stand long the mid­day light of the waking consciousness, and plunged once more into the depths of the obscure regions, whence it came.

                                         "THIRD DAY

         "Ques. What is man?

        "Ans. Sefi Haslesbli lies.

        "Q. Is this an anagram?

        "A. Yes.

        "Q. How many words in the answer?

        "A. v (5).

        "Q. What is the first word?

        "A. See.

        "Q. What is the second word?

        "A. e e e.

        "Q. Must I interpret it myself?

        "A. Try.

        "Presently I got out:

                                                            ‘Life is the less able.'

        "I do not know whether any other interpretation can be given to the letters, but these fulfil the requirements; and the action of the pen, assisting in the process of interpretation, pointing to the letters, accepting these and rejecting those combinations, left no doubt in my mind that I had hit the meaning.

        "But now I was so astonished at the apparently independent will and intellect manifested in forming the above anagrams that it was not without something of awe that I put:

        "Q. Who art thou?

        "A. Clelia.

        "Q. Thou art a woman?

        "A. Yes.

        "Q. Hast thou ever lived upon the earth?

        "A. No.

        "Q. Wilt thou?

        "A. Yes.

        "Q. When?

        "A. Six years.

        "Q. Wherefore dost thou then speak with me?

        "A. E if Clelia el.

        "I made out, 'I Clelia feel.'

        "But upon my asking whether this was right Clelia wrote again, thus,

                                        ‘E if Clelia e l. 20.'

         "Q. Is 20 ;your age?

        "A. ∞ (She was eternal).

        "Q. Then 20 what?

        "A. Words. . . .

                                         "FOURTH DAY

        "Ques. Wherefore dost thou speak with me?

        "Ans. (Wavy line. Repetition and emphasis): Wherefore dost thou speak with me?

        "Q. Wherefore dost thou answer me?

        "A. (Wavy line) Wherefore dost thou answer me?

        "Q. Do I answer myself?

        "A. Yes.

        "Q. Is Clelia here?

        "A. No.

        "Q. Who is, then, now here?

        "A. Nobody.

        "Q. Does Clelia exist?

        "A. No.

        "Q. With whom did I speak yesterday?

        "A. No one.

        "Q. Why didst thou lie?

        "A. (Wavy line) Why didst thou lie?

        "Q. Do souls exist in another world?

        "A. M b.

        "Q. What does M b mean?

        "A. May be.

        "Q. What was the last answer of yesterday again?

        "A. Eif Clelia o el.

        "I. e., ‘I feel no Clelia.'

        "Or the original may have been:

                                        "I Clelia flee.'

        "And the 20 meant no, negativing my interpretation.

        "My pen now became altogether wild, sometimes affirming and sometimes denying the existence of Clelia, and finally performed as follows:

        "I wrote ce. and u. c., and placed my pen in the middle. It refused to point to either, but upon my writing 'partly each' above, my pen underlined my words."

        This case beautifully illustrates the evolution and dissolution―the birth, life, and death―of the personality acquired by the subwaking self. At first the secondary subwaking self lacked rationality in its answers; soon it gathered round itself more consciousness, intelligence, rationality, and even rose for an instant into the high plane of self-consciousness; but there it could not maintain itself long, and once more it subsided into the obscure regions of subpersonal life, whence it emerged possessing none the less memory of what had passed before. The subwaking self of the fourth day is fully justified in saying that Clelia does not exist. Who, then, speaks? Nobody―that is, no personality, no independent self-conscious being, but only the subpersonal, secondary, subwaking self, an unconscious cerebration, if you please.

        And still Clelia did speak, Clelia did exist, there was a self-conscious being that communicated with Mr. A.; but how could the subpersonal self convey the idea that Clelia, the personal being, is not anything apart from itself, from the subwaking self? The subwaking self exists, but Clelia―what is she by herself? Nobody, nothing. The subwaking self in the darkness of its impersonality could not grapple with the puzzling problem. Clelia is a reality and still she has no being. Clelia is the subconscious self, and yet the subconscious self which is still in existence is not Clelia. How solve this intricate, perplexing problem? The subpersonal self, by its very nature, could not grasp the situation, and it grew bewildered, and became agitated, and the pen ran riot, now affirming, now denying the existence of Clelia, at last assenting to the significant suggestion "ce. and u. c.―partly each." The subwaking self was helped out from its seemingly insurmountable difficulty.

        The subwaking self is devoid of all personal character; it is both subpersonal and impersonal. And when it attains the plane of self-consciousness and the conditions are favourable to its remaining there it is always roaming about, passing through the most fantastic metamorphoses, assuming with equal case all kinds of personalities without regard to time, station, sex, or age. In automatic writing and kindred phenomena the sub waking, subpersonal self is now Luther, now Mme. Pompadour, now Mozart, now Charlemagne, now Aristotle, Plato, and now an Indian brave or squaw. With marvelous plasticity, with an unequaled placidity, it assumes indifferently all kinds of character and of person, for it has no individuality. This impersonality of the hypnotic self is clearly revealed in the following hypnotic experiments performed by me in the Pathological Institute of the New York State Hospitals:

        Mr. V. F. was brought by me into a deep hypnotic condition, and a post-hypnotic suggestion of personality metamorphosis was given to him.

        Experimenter. I will wake you up and you must write by the aid of the automatic recorder, "I am to become Sidis, and Miss B. (the librarian of the Institute, who was then present at the experiments) will be yourself, V. F." You will ask her how her health is, how she is getting on with her work. Then you will hypnotize her. You must tell her to sit down in the hypnotic chair, and if she does not want to you must compel her. You must carry out my commands. On awakening, you will forget everything. (Wakes up.)

        A few seconds later a sudden change passed over his all being, and he abruptly turned to Miss B. with

        "How do you do? How are you getting on with your work? "

        B. Pretty well.

        Subject. Sleep well?

        B. Yes.

        Sub. Have dreams?

        B. No.

        Sub. Get up early?

        B. Yes.

        Sub. How early?

        B. About seven.

        Sub. Well, that is better than you used to do. You used to get up at ten.

        I then walked up to the subject and addressed him by his name, V. F. With a wave of his hand and with a half-humourous, half-ironical smile of the man who knows better, he pointed to Miss B., saying, "This is V. F."

        Exp. Pardon me, what is your name?

        Sub. (with a smile). My name is Dr. Sidis, and―let me see-your name is Miss B. Will you sit down, Miss B.?

         I did not tell the subject to take me for Miss B., but it seems that by the process of exclusion he had to take me for that lady.

        Sub. (turns to Miss B.). Now I am going to hypnotize you.

        He leads Miss B. over to the hypnotic chair, but as she does not want to sit down he pushes her down by force. Miss B. laughs and puts her hands over her face. .

        Sub. Now put your hands down and compose yourself.

        Miss B. laughs.

        Sub. (impatiently). What are you laughing at? Just concentrate your mind on sleep.

        Miss B. continues laughing.

        Sub. Now what is the matter?

        Exp. I think Mr. V. F. docs not want to be hypnotized.

        Sub. (angrily). I have him under my control; possibly your standing there might interfere and affect him. (Turns to Miss B.) Here, now, don't purse your mouth up like that. Miss B. still continues laughing.) "What is the cause of all this? You must not allow yourself to get worked up. Sleep, sleep, sleep. (Then suddenly raises her hand to see whether it is cataleptic.)

        As the lady began to feel rather uncomfortable, I went up to the subject, passed my hand over his face, and he at once passed into the usual passive somnambulic trance.

        Exp. What is your name?

        Sub. Dr. Sidis.

        Exp. No, your name is not Sidis, but V. F. What is your name?

        Sub. V. F.

         Later on, when I asked the subject how he could take me for Miss B., "Miss B. for himself, and himself for Sidis, he simply answered: "I felt like being Dr. Sidis, and there I saw V. F., for some reason or other, dressed in female attire. I took you for Miss B. I did not and could not question myself. I was very angry when you interfered and suggested that Mr. V. F. did not want to be hypnotized. I felt like showing you out of the room, asking you to mind your own business there in the library room, but then I changed my mind and simply asked you to step aside."

         Dr. H. Deady, Chief Associate in Pathology at the Pathological Institute of the New York State Hospital, gives the following account of an experiment in personality metamorphosis performed by me in his presence:

         "Mr. V. F., the subject, a man as to whose health and good character I can fully testify, was hypnotized by Dr. B. Sidis in my presence. Dr. Sidis gave the subject a suggestion that on awakening and hearing four raps he should become myself, Dr. Deady, and that he should take me for himself, for V. F. The subject was then awakened. For a few minutes he looked perfectly normal; for more than four or five minutes the subject kept up an animated conversation, smoked and joked freely. When the conversation reached its height of animation and interest, Dr. Sidis gave the signal. So faint and indistinct were the raps that they would have entirely escaped my notice had I not known of the suggestion. It seemed to me that the subject did not hear the raps, but he did hear them after all. A moment later a profound change suddenly passed over his face; something was struggling up into his mind. At first Mr. V. F. looked as if dazed; his eyes lost their natural lustre and expression, as if darkness set on them, as if the mind became en­shrouded by a dense cloud. A few seconds late!" and everything was clear again. The subject looked at me fixedly and smiled. He was myself, Dr. Deady. He assumed my role completely. He began to besiege me with questionsquestions which I had put to him when he was in his waking state. Perfectly oblivious to the presence of other people in the room, his whole attention was engrossed by me, whom he evidently took for himself, for V. F. A few minutes later he excused himself for leaving the room, pleading urgent work in the office. Without attracting his attention, I followed him at a distance. He entered my office, sat down at my desk, but was at a loss what to do. A letter was lying on my desk; he took it, opened it, read it through carefully, was lost in thought for a second or two, as if trying to remember something, but, not succeeding, put the letter back in the envelope. At this turn Dr. Sidis came into the office, and I returned to the Pyschological Laboratory where the experiments were made. Through a telephone that connects this e laboratory with the office I had the following conversation with Mr. V. F.:

        "Deady. I wish you would order an ounce of tannic acid for me.

        "Subject. Who is that?

        "D. Dr. Y.

        "Sub. Who is Dr. Y?

        "D. One of the men working in the institute.

        "Sub. Who is going to pay for it?

        "D. The office, I suppose.

        "Sub. Well, I do not know about that; I'll have to see about it. Where shall I get it?

        "D. Send to any of the druggists.

        "Sub. Well, I'll see about that.

        "D. Say, there is a man out here―says his name is V. F.―wants to see you.

        "Sub. What does he want?

        "D. I do not know.

        "Sub. I have no time to bother with him. Tell him to come some other time; tell him to go paint pictures. (The subject is an artist.)

        "D. He can't paint.

        "Sub. I know that, but I would not tell him so. Tell him to stay where he is, or to go to Jericho. I am busy.

        "D. All right. Good-bye.

        "Dr. Sidis then induced the subject to return to the room; a young lady was waiting there to make Dr. Deady's (that is, the subject's) acquaintance. "When in the room he acted Dr. Deady to life. I say 'acted,' but it was not that; he seemed to feel like Dr. Deady, he was Dr. Deady, and as such he introduced himself to Miss S., who had entered the room during his hypnotic sleep, and whom he had never met nor heard of before. When asked about the institute, the subject began to enlarge on the scope and purpose of the institution, of the pathological work on sunstroke cases done by Dr. Van Gieson and his associates, and of the knowledge the medical profession really needs. When asked about Mr. V. F. (myself), whose presence he seemed totally to ignore, he gave a merciless and cutting but truthful account of himself, an account which he would otherwise not have given in the presence of a strange young lady. The conversation then turned on hypnotism, and the subject related two of my cases as happening within his medical experience. So true to life, so complete was the subject's mimicry of my personality, that he almost expressed my inmost thoughts. . . . As the subject happens to live in the same house with me, I availed myself of the opportunity to watch the after-effects of the experiments. Dr. Sidis, it seemed, did not sufficiently remove the suggestions given to the subject during hypnosis. Mr. V. F. evidently was not in his normal state; something was working in him. When left alone he began to converse with himself; he wanted to know ‘who he was not.' Next day the subject was hypnotized again by Dr. Sidis, and the after-effects entirely vanished. Mr. V. F. felt better and happier than ever."

        I may add to Dr. Deady's account that before dehypnotizing the subject I suggested to him that he was Mr. V. F., but that on awakening he would not remember what had transpired during hypnosis. The suggested amnesia did not remove the Deady personality, but simply suppressed it into the region of the subconscious. Hence the after-effects, hence the fact of double personality.

        The phenomena of personality-metamorphosis are still clearer revealed in the following experiments:

        I hypnotized Mr. A. Fingold and brought him into a deep somnambulic state. I gave him a pencil and paper and asked him to sign his name, He signed it in English. "You are ten years old," I suggested. The subwaking self instantaneously changed and became a boy of ten, "Sign your name," I commanded. My friends present at the experiments, and myself, were surprised to see the hand changing its direction, and instead of writing from left to right, started from right to left. The subject signed his name not in English but in the modern rabbinical script used by the Eastern Jews; the subject knew no other alphabet when he was of that age. His brother, Mr. J. F., who was also present at the séance, wondered at the writing, as it curiously resembled the actual childish handwriting of the subject.2

        "You are a boy of seven. "Write a letter to your father." The following is the specimen he wrote:

         This means:

        "Papa,3 I want you to come to me. Chaim4 wants to lick me. AB. FINGOLD."

        The following is a faithful reproduction of the subject's writing:


        The same kind of experiment I repeated on Mr. F. at another séance.

        "You are twelve years old. Write a letter to your father."

        The following is an exact copy of his letter:

        The translation of it is :

        "DEAR FATHER:

                "I ask of you to send me money.

                                        "A. FINGOLD."

        And now began a metamorphosis of personalities.

        Experimenter. What is your name?

        Subject. Ab. Fingold.

        Exp. No, no. Your name is not Fingold. Your name is Sam Finestein. Who are you? What is your name?

        Sub. Ab. Fingold.

        Exp. (in a commanding voice). You are San Finestein, and you are thirty years old.

        Sub. Sam Finestein.

        Exp. How old are you?

        Sub. I am thirty years old.

        Exp. What is your occupation?

        Sub. I have none for the present. I live on interest.

        Exp. Are you married?

        Sub. No.

        Exp. (hesitatingly). But I heard you were married.

        Sub. No, I am not, and shall never court one unless she be rich.

       Exp. (hesitatingly). But, Mr. Finestein, I was told you bad two children. Are you a widower?

        Sub. (in an angry tone). I want you to understand that I am not married and never was.

        Exp. Have you ever met a man by name of Ab. Fingold?

        Sub. Yes, I think I did.

        Exp. Can you tell me anything about him?

       Sub. Very little; I met him but once. If I am not mistaken, he is a cigar-maker. He complains of headaches (the subject's disease).

        Exp. And how are you?

        Sub. Oh, I am well.

        Exp. Can you tell me anything more about Ab. Fingold?

        Sub. I told you I met him but once.

        Exp. Have you met a man by name J. Fingold? (The subject's brother.)

        Sub. Yes, I did. Is he not Mr. Ab. Fingold's brother?

        Exp. Yes. Can you tell me anything about him?

        Sub. People say he is an honest man, but that is all I know of him. He is to me a stranger.

        Exp. From what country do you come?

        Sub. From Russia.

        Exp. How long are you from Russia?

        Sub. Fifteen years. (Correct. He came here when he was fifteen years old, and being now thirty, he was just fifteen years from Russia.)

        Exp. What is the name of the city you came from?

        Sub. Brest-Litovsk. (Correct.)

        Exp. Where do you live now?

        Sub. 37 Main St., Allston. (A fictitious address. The subject lives in Boston.)

        Exp. You are Jacob Aaronson, and you are sixty years old. Who are you?

        Sub. Jacob Finestein.

        Exp. (emphatically). You are Jacob Aaronson, and you are sixty years old. Who are you?

        Sub. Jacob Aaronson.

        Exp. How old are you?

        Sub. Sixty years.

        Exp. What is your business?

        Sub. I retired from business.

        Exp. (hesitatingly). Have you any money of your own?

        Sub. You are too inquisitive.

        Exp. Are you married?

        Sub. Oh, no, I would not marry again.

        Exp. Again? Have you been married once?

        Sub. Yes; that was about forty years ago, but my wife died two years after marriage, and I made up my mind not to marry again. She was a loving wife. I shall go to my grave a widower.

        Exp. Would not you like to make your will?

        Sub. I do not expect to die so soon. Although my hairs are gray, still I am strong enough.

        Exp. Have you met a man by name Sam Finestein?

        Sub. I think I met him about thirty years ago. (Subject was now sixty, and as Sam Finestein he was but thirty.)

        Exp. What do you think of Sam Finestein? He says he does not want to court any girl unless she is rich.

        Sub. You know we have not much to think of such a fellow.

        Exp. Have you met one by name Ab. Fingold?

        Sub. Let me see―let me see―let me see (trying hard to recollect). It is a long while since I saw him last―about forty years. (The subject is twenty years of age.)

        Exp. Can not you tell me anything about him?

        Sub. I can not tell you anything about him; it is a long while since I met him last. I had no business with him. I met him but once. He did me no harm, nor has he done me any good.

       Exp. Where do you come from?

       Sub. From Russia.

        Exp. How long are you from Russia?

        Sub. Forty-five years. (45 + 15 = 60.)

        Exp. Would you like to tell me the amount of money you possess?

        Sub. What for do you want to know it?

        Exp. It is good to know for the sake of reference―for the sake of business.

        Sub. But I do no business.

        Exp. (hesitatingly). Still I should like to know.

        Sub. (decisively). I shall not tell you. It is rather suspicious. What do you want to know it for? It is suspicious.

        I made him then pass through a whole series of events. I suggested to him he had a poor nephew. He promised to start "the poor fellow" into business―to give him five hundred dollars. He was, however, better than his word, and gave the nephew one thousand dollars. "What can one do with five hundred dollars," he said.

        Exp. (hesitatingly). Would not you like to sign a check all one thousand dollars?

        Sub. (decisively). I shall sign no checks. I give cash money. (He produced from his pocket imaginary money.)

        Exp. Would not you like to enter into business, Mr. Aaronson?

        Sub. I worked enough in my life. Let young people do the work.

        During the time of his being J. Aaronson he behaved like an old invalid, rocking himself slowly and comfortably, speaking in a low, drawling tone, and assuming an air of superior knowledge and experience in his conversation with his nephew, telling the latter, "You talk like a young man."

        Exp. What is your name? Who are you?

        Sub. Jacob Aaronson.

        Exp. (authoritatively). No, you are not Aaronson! Who are you?

        Sub. Sam Finestein.

        Exp. (authoritatively). No, you are not Finestein! Who are you?

        Sub. Ab. Fingold.

        I gave him now a post-hypnotic suggestion that after awakening, when he will see me rub my hands, he will become Sidis and take me for Fingold. I woke him up. He felt all right; spoke to his brother. I began to rub my hands. Something began to struggle within him. He looked at me hard, fixedly. I went on rubbing my hands. He rose from his chair and became Sidis, addressing me as Fingold. It would take up too much space to describe all he did and said; I can only say that he mimicked me to perfection. My friends could not restrain themselves from laughing. He then proceeded to hypnotize me, doing it in a careful and guarded way. He rubbed my head, telling me: "You have no headaches―the pain is gone. I took away the pain. You feel well, comfortable, cheerful," and so on. He then took a chair, placed it near mine, sat down, took my hand in his, and said: "I give you five minutes to sleep. The sleep will refresh you, and you will wake up strong, healthy, and in good spirits." He took out his watch and looked at the time. At the end of the five minutes he gave me again the suggestion of feeling well, etc., and commanded me to count till five, and wake up. I did not count. He raised his voice, and in a tone full of authority commanded, "Count till five, and wake up!" I counted till five, but did not open my eyes. "Wake up! wake up fully!" he urged. I kept my eyes closed. He felt my pulse; put his ear to my chest. "Be quiet! Be quiet!" he soothed me. Then suddenly in a loud, impressive voice, emphasizing each word, he authoritatively commanded, "Count till five, and wake up!" I counted, and opened my eyes. All the time I watched him closely from the corner of my eye; his face bore an air of unrivalled gravity. Mr. Fingold's subwaking self assumed the Sidis-personality, and for the time being it was Sidis.

        I went behind his chair, passed my hand over his face, and simply said, "Sleep!" He closed his eyes and passed into a passive state.

        Exp. What is your name? "Who are you?

        Sub. Dr. Sidis.

        Exp. No, you are not Dr. Sidis! Who are you? Sub. Jacob Aaronson.

        Exp. No, you are not Jacob Aaronson! "Who are you?

        Sub. Sam Finestein.

        Exp. No, you are not Sam Finestein! Who are you?

        Sub. Ab. Fingold.

        "When Mr. Fingold awoke he did not remember anything. "I slept a long time," he remarked. I then put my hand to his forehead and told him, "Try hard, you can remember everything." A flood of facts and items poured into his consciousness.

         In the presence of two Boston High School instructors, Mr. S. and Mr. E., I made similar experiments on their former pupil Mr. W. Mr. W. was now a boy of six; now a boy of twelve; now a Mr. Thomas Davis, a labourer in a sugar factory, thirty years of age, married, and having two children; now teacher of rhetoric; now Mr. E. The change from one personality to the other was instantaneous, and the acting was lifelike. The subwaking self actually passed through the experience of each personality it assumed; it lived that particular life, it was that personality.

        When Mr. W. awoke he remembered everything. It was a dream. He remembered how he worked nights in the sugar factory, remembered the looks of the factory. He did work there. He remembered the house in which he lived with his wife and the two "kids," as he named his children. He remembered he was a teacher of rhetoric examining and censuring his idle class, and that he was Mr. E.

        The dreaming, subpersonal, subwaking self is chameleon in its nature; it is almost absolutely plastic; it can get metamorphosed into all kinds of beings, it can assume indifferently and instantaneously all sorts of characters and personalities, for it has no personality of its own. Once a personality is assumed, the sub­waking self mimics it to perfection. Quick as lightning, like an evil genius, the subwaking self gets into possession. of all ideas and clusters of associations that relate to that assumed personality, embodies, incarnates itself in them, and struts about a different person.

        Subpersonal and impersonal as the subwaking self is, it has a rich store of memories, and as it gets crystallized into a new person it takes up memories adapted to that assumed personality. Thus, Mr. F. was Sam Finestein, thirty years of age; he was fifteen years from Russia, because he left that country when he was about fifteen years old. As Jacob Aaronson he was sixty years of age; he was forty-five years from Russia, and again for the same reason.

         Recently I suggested to A. Fingold a fictitious personality of a Thomas Mc Vane. He told me he was Irish; came from Dublin; was a bricklayer; was a devout Catholic; went to church every Sunday; spoke of the "Holy Pope" in terms of reverence and awe; upbraided his sons for being great drunkards.

         The subwaking self is impersonal, and still it possesses memory of all the personalities it has assumed. In the case of Mr. F., as well as in the case of my other subjects, the emphatic denial of each subsequent personality brings immediately to light the precedent one. The personalities lived through form a chain of contiguous memories. The subwaking self seems to know only one kind of association―that of contiguity.



1.  Myers, Some So-called Spiritualistic Phenomena, Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research, November, 1884.
2.  While the subject lost his capacity for writing English, he still understood it perfectly well, since the commands and suggestions were given to him in English. This seems to indicate that the motor memory is especially subject to suggestion.
3.  He wrote, instead of "father," the word "tate" (a word mostly used by Russian Jewish children).
4.  A name in common use among the Russian Jews.


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