Among numerous other types of astonishing hypnotic anomalies discussed at length in my recent post here, nineteenth century literature contains many accounts of dramatic clairvoyance in hypnotized subjects. I have discussed such accounts here and here and here. Some cases from the twentieth century are discussed here. One of the more interesting nineteenth century accounts of clairvoyance under hypnosis is found in the document here by William L. Stone, consisting of a very long letter he wrote to a Dr. Brigham with a date of September 10, 1837. Stone was the author of quite a few books that included works of history, biography and a skeptical critique of religious fanaticism.
Stone discusses how he did some reading about hypnotism (which was then described by various names such as Mesmerism, animal magnetism or somnambulism). He describes arriving in the city of Providence on August 26, 1837 to see a woman named Loraina Brackett, who four years previously had an iron weight accidentally fall on her head, resulting in a gradual loss of vision culminating in blindness. Brackett's medical history was related to Stone by a Dr. Capron who introduced Stone to Brackett. In his letter Stone calls Loraina Brackett "blind," but in another book the same Dr. Capron relates the exact medical history of Loraina Brackett, noting that as of August 31, 1837 "her vision is partially restored." In that other book a Henry Hopkins who housed Loraina for five weeks with his family states she was able to discern the outlines of objects. There is no clear discrepancy here, as people with only partial vision are often called "blind" or "legally blind."
On page 13 Stone states this: "In regard to Miss Brackett, I was assured, upon authority not to be questioned, that the power of seeing objects not present, or rather of transporting herself in imagination from one place to another, no matter how distant, and of viewing objects and scenes which she had never seen or heard described, and giving correct accounts of them herself, had been strikingly displayed in many instances."
On August 28 Stone met Loraina Brackett, at a house with multiple witnesses Stone names. Dr. Capron began to hypnotize Loraina. Stone says, "In five minutes the patient gave signs of drowsiness, and in four minutes more she was in a deep and profound slumber — insensible, as we ascertained by experiment, alike to the touch and the voices of all present, excepting her physician." On page 17 Stone describes the first test of clairvoyance. Wearing sunglasses that held wads of cotton to block vision, the nearly blind Loraina was taken to a room in which there were pictures brought by Stone from the house of one of his friends. Stone states this:
"She took up a portrait, while standing on the side of the room opposite to my friend and myself, and putting it to the side of her head, almost behind, as she remained alone, inquired — ' Is not this a likeness of John Foster? — John — Yes, it is John Foster.' I immediately passed around the table to her, and held a brief conversation with her respecting the character and writings of Foster — of whom there had not been a word said, before she selected his picture and pronounced his name. Her reading of the names on the prints was very slow, as she read by lettering, as the freemasons call it ; that is, by studying each letter, and first repeating it in a whisper, as though to herself. But she made no mistakes that were discovered....Sometimes she would exhibit the simplicity of childhood, as in the case of an allegorical print suspended by the wall. The Inscription was — 'America guided by Wisdom.' My friend asked her to read it. She replied, that she would read half of it if he would read the other half. She then, after a moment of study, read 'America guided' — and would read no more; insisting, playfully, that the gentleman referred to must read the other two words."
The print "America Guided by Wisdom"
Dr. Capron then introduced the hypnotized Loraina to Stone, causing her attention to be focused on Stone:
"Having satisfied ourselves of the wonderful powers of 'vision without the use of visual organs,' as exhibited upon these objects, and of which I have given but a brief outline, Dr. Capron, by an exercise of the will, withdrew her attention from the whole circle to himself, and then gave her a particular introduction to me. Leading her to a seat, I sat down by her side, and the Doctor transferred her hand into mine, and clothed me with the power of enjoying her exclusive company."
There then follows quite a few pages describing a mental journey in which Loraina and Stone kind of mind-traverse Manhattan. Such a kind of clairvoyant journey has been reported very many times in the literature describing a clairvoyance of hypnotized subjects. In such a "mind trek," a person who is not hypnotized and who is said to be "in rapport" with a hypnotized person (often holding that person's hand) will kind of mentally traverse some path the non-hypnotized person is very familiar with, and observe whether the hypnotized person seems to point out details that should have been unknown to that person, as if the hypotized person could see with clairvoyant perception various details along the path.
After Loraina seemed to perceive well various features along the path to Stone's house in Manhattan, Stone guided this mental journey to his own house on Church Street, which Loraina had never physically visited. Mentally guiding Loraina into the house, Stone asked her to look at various pictures on his walls. Later Dr. Capron asked her about the pictures in Stone's house. We read the following:
"The Doctor continued — 'Mr. Stone told me there was a painting over the side-board — what kind of a picture was that ?'
'It was a lake, with mountains around it. I thought it very beautiful.'
Such is the fact. The picture is a charming mountain landscape, the scene being a beautiful lake among the Catskill mountains, by Hoxie.
' Well, what other pictures did you see ? What is that picture which Mr. Stone told me was hanging over the settee?'
'Oh, it was a curious picture. It represents three Indians sitting in a hollow tree, which looks as though it had been dug out on purpose. And the tree is filled with marks.' [Hieroglyphics.]
This was the most wonderful reply we had had yet. The picture is a composition landscape, by Hoxie, containing the portrait of the decaying trunk of an enormous sycamore tree, standing in the neighborhood of Montezuma, N. Y. The artist has introduced a group of three Indians, and has likewise traced a number of hieroglyphics within the open trunk. These hieroglyphics are seldom noticed by visitors, unless specially pointed out. And yet this blind lady, with bandaged eyes, who had never been in New York, nor heard a whisper of the existence of the picture, had discovered them ! The fact seems not only incredible, but absolutely impossible. But, as I believe, it is nevertheless true."