The following proving is made by a young friend of mine. The prover is a gentleman of good mind and of considerable reading; excellent moral character and worthy of the most implicit confidence. He speaks of the family consulting the doctor; the father called on me and appeared uneasy as to the result. I endeavored to quiet his mind and let the effect go on, at the same time gave him a powder of Nux vomica which the family could give him if they desired, and which, from the prover's remarks, must antidote the Cannabis. He says:
I took Cannabis on two occasions; first I took fifteen grains of an American preparation, which having no effect I took, about a week afterwards, three grains of an English extract which was said to be much stronger. This latter I took at about eight o'clock, a.m., and expected it to operate about twelve. This hour passed however without any unusual feelings and I dismissed the subject from my mind, thinking it was too small a dose. At half-past four I was sitting with the family, playing the guitar, when one of the tunes, a rather solemn one, seemed suddenly to assume a more melodious character; it gradually increased in grandeur bar after bar, sinking deep in my soul until I was wholly absorbed with it. The words died away and I still went on with the accompaniment, my mind carried the air and all surrounding objects faded; I lived wholly in the music, and a deep subdued joyous feeling, such as I never before felt, pervaded my whole being. At last I came to myself somewhat and turned to the others and remarked that it was beautiful and asked if they did not think so. They were much surprised at the question and said it possessed very little merit. I was now surprised in my turn and began to argue its merits, offering to play it over. At this moment a strange crawling sensation commenced in my body, it extended to my limbs down my arms, to my finger's ends and up into my brain; it traveled slowly, yet so powerful was it that I was wholly overcome with surprise. I was a little alarmed at the feeling, but immediately the word “hasheesh” passed through my mind. Ah! that was it, that was the enchanter that made my music sound so sweet. I was glad to find it had not failed; I was reassured, it was undoubtedly the legitimate effect of the drug. All these things were very nice, but yet the thrill was a thing I had not expected, and another and another following in close succession I began to wish the last dose had been as ineffectual as the first.
I commenced considering what was best to be done. I could not decide whether to sit still or go to my room. I tried to play, but an apparent ebullition in the air prevented me from seeing the notes; the thrills were growing stronger every moment and I concluded I had best leave the room lest I should do something foolish. I arose abruptly and with guitar in one hand and music-stand in the other, I sallied forth to go down stairs. No sooner did I commence to move than the thrills increased; stronger and stronger they came, closer and closer they succeeded each other until one ceased not until an almost overwhelming thrill gave notice of another's birth. In going down stairs my mind ever and anon would wander to other matters and things, and when I recalled my thoughts to what was immediately before me, I wondered to find myself still going down stairs. Then a feeling of dread uncertainty seized me, “shall I ever reach the bottom?” I doubted that I would, yet my reason told me I was going right; so I pressed on. I put my guitar away safely and this reassured me. I say reassured because I had begun to doubt that any of the things around me had existence, but I reasoned that I had succeeded in finding the guitar box and hence some things must exist, and as I had seen one right so it was likely all existed.
Still I was uncertain that I maintained control of my faculties and motive powers; an intuitive assurance however made me depend on them and I determined to go quietly upstairs to my room; I went up very quietly; indeed I seemed not to touch the steps, I trod the air as a swimmer treads water, my feet came near the steps but did not strike them. I reached my room but what to do now, it did not improve my condition.
I determined to lie down until the thrills went off, which I thought would certainly be very soon, and then I expected other effects to follow. I threw myself on the bed, but immediately sprang to my feet again, for no sooner did I lie down than I thought of having read of catalepsy being sometimes produced by the use of the drug; no, I must not lie down, I must keep my soul in my body by force of will or perhaps it would never return, and I felt that it was trying to wing itself away. As the extract was strong and so small an amount had produced so great an effect, I was afraid I had taken too great a dose and became alarmed lest it should play me foul.
The thrills had now become continuous, the commencing of each being only known by an increase in their force; my heart and veins began to throb violently, the blood began to rush to my head and I feared apoplexy. My tongue became coated with saliva and I thought my body was dissolving into fluids. I spit from the window. I afterwards thought it was foolish for me to do so as I might jump from the window for I felt certain I did not possess full command of my faculties. The uncertain aspect of things now increased, with the whole force of my reason seemingly unimpaired. I could not convince myself the furniture in the room had other than an ideal existence; this feeling was so oppressive that I determined to seek the rest of the family. But how could I reach them? I was in another sphere, I had journeyed to a world whose objects I could not realize, an uncertain world whose paths I did not know. An atmosphere surrounded my little world through which I could not pass; to break through the open doorway seemed as impossible as to wing my way through the ethereal regions to the throne above. This was my station, here must I remain. A feeling of loneliness now overwhelmed me. I must seek the rest of the family. I hurled my body through the seemingly impenetrable though invisible barrier. On, on, I went pushing my way through a resistant atmosphere or surrounding, which was a creation of my state. I know not how to express the feeling of this existence, there is no type among natural things to which I can compare it, an ethereal fluid it seemed to be, not dense as water nor rare as air, yet it resisted and I by force of will overcame it step by step.
Here I noticed the two parts of my being acting separately, my will or spiritual existence was separate from my bodily existence, and spurring it onward, pushing it forwards and using it much as ah artificer uses a tool, onward it forced my body, seeming to exult in its supremacy. I cannot say whether my feelings at this time were more oppressed or buoyant, for while my mind seemed oppressed by the appearance of the objects along my rout, and fear of injury from the effect of the drug, my soul was exultant as though in a more congenial atmosphere, and glad of its partial disenthralment. I at last reached the room I sought; so long a time seemed to have elapsed since I had been last there that that I did not expect to see the family there; it was impossible for me to keep any record of time, but it seemed as though I had been a long time away and I expected to find the room tenantless, so certain was I that this would be the case that I was surprised to see them seated as I had left them. When I saw them for an instant I thought they were really there, but it was only for an instant, they immediately assumed the same unreal appearance which other things held. I had determined that I would say nothing about my having taken the drug to the others for fear of frightening them, though I had told them I intended to take it. I did not doubt I could control my tongue, but things about me seemed so unreal and they were so silent that I could not restrain myself; I must speak to them and see if they are really here, but what should I say? I rummaged my brain for a question to ask, but could think of nothing but “hasheesh,” this I did not wish to speak of, but nothing else would come to my mind; I must say something for I could bear this feeling no longer. Then my reason told me it was best that they should know I had taken the drug, as they would then know how to treat me if any dangerous symptoms occurred, so I opened my mouth and said “I have taken hasheesh.” My voice appeared strange to me, it seemed as though another person spoke; I looked around. My words had made no impression on those around me, is it possible they can sit silent, I had thought they would have all sprang to their feet, so suicidal did it appear to me for one to take the drug. “I have forgotten,” thought I, “they do not know the nature of the drug.” I explained to them that it was the drug I had spoken to them of shortly before; I told them of its effects, how everything even themselves seemed unreal, that I did not feel certain that I was even in the room with them, they all looked up and smiled and again resumed their former position without saying a word. This was agonizing, were these really only the phantoms of my friends that I had called up. “Speak to me,” I cried, “speak to mo or I will go crazy, I think I see you here, I appear to be in the room with you, yet so uncertain does everything look that I cannot convince myself that it is so. Speak to me that I may be assured that at least I am not deceived in this.” Some one answered me, I heard the voice, it seemed familiar, yet it was the phantom that spoke, still all was unreal, I myself was unreal, even my voice did not seem my own. I tried to reassure myself by conversing with them. I saw they knew not how I felt, an irresistible desire to make them know how I felt now seized me, this I felt was impossible, they had no fellow feeling with me. I was alone, no earthly being could sympathize with me, I saw the impossibility of making them understand me, yet I must make the attempt; I told them all my feelings, they seemed to think it only imagination, and that I was only using symbols to represent them, my feelings were hurt and I almost wept, it seemed as though they doubted my word.
I now began to think over my past actions while in this state, it seemed to me a dream, I could not believe I had been up-stairs or even out of the room; no, I had fallen asleep with my guitar in my hand and had dreamed I was up-stairs. I looked for my guitar, it was not there, certainly then I must have put it away or else I was dreaming yet, perhaps I had gone to bed at night and been dreaming all along, making a full day's work of dreaming.
I became convinced that this was so, but I immediately thought of the hasheesh which dispelled the illusion; I then asked how long I had been absent from the room, I was answered “about five minutes,” it had seemed to me as many hours. I asked how I looked, was told “pale, eyes half closed and dull, and my hands were cold and clammy.” I now felt a resinous matter exude from every pore of my body, it lined my mouth and throat, creating a great thirst, I got a glass of water and drank it, it seemed to form a continuous stream and ran down my throat by its own gravity without any aid from me. I became afraid to drink anymore; immediately on ceasing to drink it seemed to me that the water had formed itself into one bolus and gone down my throat within an atmosphere of its own, without touching either side. So everything appeared different after I had done it from what it did while I was doing. I would sometimes make a remark which I would think of the greatest importance and speak it in a very impressive manner that it might not be lost; immediately it would be figured to me as that of another and I would have to smile at the foolish fellow for making so ridiculous a remark.
At one time I felt constrained to let all my thoughts be known, I would think of a thing, digest it in my mind and then, with a pompous air, would make it known to those about me, something as follows, I was thinking of my thirst and feelings together, and suddenly broke forth with: “this drug is acting very strangely, it is operating upon the fluids of my body, it decomposes my blood throwing off the equivalents of water, the oxygen being thrown off at the + poles, the hydrogen at the — and the electricity produced by the decomposition as well as by the reunion of these gases as they escape through the pores in the form of perspiration, acts upon my nerves and produces this strange feeling: 'my stomach is the battery, hasheesh the acid and my nerves the conductors.'”
My tongue seemed to be under the control of my will, and things I thought best left unsaid I could generally keep to myself. My ideas of the propriety of things, however, were at times quite different from what they were in the natural state. After pacing the room (which I did continually to assure myself I still could move) I stopped suddenly, and turning to a sister I told her what I thought to be a grand discovery, clothed in the choicest language the English tongue would admit of. “This hasheesh,” said I, “acts upon the urinary glands, and I feel that could I pass water I would feel better.” This was not received as reverently as it should have been received which called forth a lecture on propriety from me, much to the amusement of the rest. I then began a censorship of my own conduct. I began noting my manner of walking and talking, at one time asking it I did not look like Mr. C. consequential; at another like Mr. F. a nervous individual; and again if I did not act like a Mr. C. a crazy man, remarking that I thought the last named had taken hasheesh.
The others now became alarmed at my strange actions and procured for me an emetic. I laughed at them and told them it was no use I had taken the drug early in the morning. — They then brought a mixture of ether, camphor, etc., I told them it would only make matters worse; I took it however at their persuasion. It put me for a while in awful agony without taking away my strange feelings, and when its first effects passed off left me extremely melancholy. I gave up hopes of coming back to my right state of mind. I asked them to send to the doctor for an antidote, being satisfied by their answering that they would if I grew worse. I turned my thoughts to what the doctor would say; “what,” said I, “if the doctor should say I would never recover; minutes seem years, what an eternity of madness would there be before me then, to know that I must die in my madness at last; how awful!” I could not bear the thought.
At the suggestion of the others I went to the parlor, they thinking it would be more cheerful. As it became dark, I became more melancholy. I said that if God did not will that the antidote should be effective it would not be effective, but if He willed it to be so; so it would be; suppose we go to God at once instead of going for the antidote. “There is no use,” said I, “of me praying, as I cannot tell whether I am talking or not, besides God would not hear the prayer of a crazy man; you are in your right senses, one of you pray for me.” We knelt down, but the prayer being on the wrong subject I in disgust turned my thoughts to other matters and talked of other things until supper time.
As I entered the room the light fell full upon me. How beautiful did that light appear; all my melancholy feelings at once left me; I felt a dark shadow lifted from my soul and all was light within. The light penetrated through my body. I seemed transparent, I could almost look into any own body and see the various organs thereof, all of which seemed to me to be reflecting from their surface a calm lustre, which filled my whole soul. On turning myself to eat, I thought everything had something hurtful in it, I could not eat meat because it had chloride of sodium on it, nor eat bread because the butter was too strong a stimulant. Being persuaded, however, I ate a piece of meat; to do so I had to call to mind the various processes and modus operandi of “feeding.”
“First,” I reasoned, “they put the substance in the mouth, and by moving the under jaw down and up and mixing the saliva with it by motion of the tongue, they masticate it.” This was easily accomplished. The spittle seemed to have legs and arms and I could feel it scrambling through the meat, but when it was thoroughly masticated I could not remember or rather could not date back to the time I put the meat in my mouth; chewing seemed to have been my regular business for some time past. It was time now to swallow it, here was a great difficulty. I could move my jaws at will, but to get command of the muscles of my throat wholly baffled all my endeavors. At last I made a sort of compromise. “They throw the bolus back on the tongue, press the tongue on the roof of the mouth, the bolus slides back, irritates the muscles of the pharynx and down it goes.” I tried this, it succeeded admirably and I applauded myself for my good generalship.
A friend called to see me after supper, I determined to keep myself rational while he remained by force of my will, which I found I could do. At this time the sedative you sent reached me, I took it and afterwards went to the piano and played until the thrills went off. I had perfect control of my fingers excepting when I tried to vary a piece I knew well, in which case I could not play anything but the proper notes of the piece, my fingers being drawn to the keys either by the force of custom or by tenor of the tune.
My experiment was not satisfactory in its results, and immediately on its conclusion I wished to try it again, but put it off for fear of again frightening my friends; since then I have felt less and less like trying it, I seem to feel more and more aversion to it the more I think of it. The full effects of this drug did not go off from me for a week, and even during the next succeeding week I brought back the thrills strongly by taking hot stimulants, though they lasted but a few seconds, and brought no hallucinations.
|The American Homoeopathic Review Vol. 03 No. 09, 1863, pages 411-420
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