This section is from the book "Faith - Healing. Christian Science And Kindred Phenomena", by James Monroe Buckley. Also available from Amazon: Faith-Healing, Christian Science and Kindred Phenomena.
(a) The charming away of warts is well established. Dr. Tuke says of them: "They are so apparent that there cannot be much room for mistake as to whether they have or have not disappeared, and in some instances within my own knowledge their disappearance was in such close connection with the psychical treatment adopted, that I could hardly suppose the cure was only post hoc. In one case, a relative of mine had a troublesome wart on the hand, for which I made use of the usual local remedies, but without effect. After they were discontinued, it remained in statu quo for some time, when a gentleman 'charmed' it away in a few days." He then tells of a case the particulars of which he received of a surgeon. His daughter had about a dozen warts on her hands, and they had been there eighteen months; her father had applied caustic and other remedies without success. A gentlemen called, noticed her warts, and asked how many she had. She said she did not know, but thought about a dozen. " Count them, will you ?" said lie, and solemnly took down her counting, remarking, "You will not be troubled with your warts after next Sunday." Dr. Tuke adds, "It is a fact that by the day named the warts had disappeared and did not return." Francis Bacon had a similar experience, including the removal of a wart which had been with him from childhood, on which he says: " At the rest I did little marvel, because they came in a short time, and might go away in a short time again; but the going away of that which had stayed so long doth yet stick with me".
(b) Blood-diseases, such as scurvy, have been cured in the same way. At the siege of Breda in 1G25, scurvy prevailed to such an extent that the Prince of Orange was about to capitulate. The following experiment was resorted to: "Three small phials of medicine were given to each physician, not enough for recovery of two patients. It was publicly given out that three or four drops were sufficient to impart a healing virtue to a gallon of liquor." Dr. Frederic Van der Mye, who was present and one of the physicians, says: "The effect of the delusion was really astonishing; for many quickly and perfectly recovered. Such as had not moved their limbs for a month before were seen walking the streets, sound, upright, and in perfect health." Dr. Van der Mye says that before this happy experiment was tried they were in a condition of absolute despair, and the scurvy and the despair had produced "fluxes, dropsies, and every species of distress, attended with a great mortality".
(c) Van Swieten and Smollett speak of consumptive patients recovering health from falling into cold water. Dr. Tuke says that Dr. Rush refers to these cases, and "inclines to think that fright and the consequent exertion produced a beneficial result".
(d) Abernethy gives a case of a woman who was permanently cured of dropsy by being frightened by a bull, relief coming through the kidneys.
(e) Of the famous metallic tractors of Dr. Perkins, which produced most extraordinary results, attracting the attention of the medical world, the effects of the use of the tractors being attributed to galvanism, and of the production of the same effects by two wooden tractors of nearly the same shape, and painted so as to resemble them in color, it is hardly necessary to say anything. But wooden and metallic were equally efficient, and cured cases of chronic rheumatism in the ankle, knee, wrist, and hip, where the joints were swollen and the patient had been ill for a long time; and even a case of lockjaw of three or four days' standing was cured in fifty minutes, when the physicians had lost all hope.
(f) I have frequently tested this principle. The application of a silver dollar wrapped in silk to ulcerated teeth, where the patient had been suffering for many hours, and in some instances for days, relieved the pain, the patient supposing that it was an infallible remedy. After I had explained that the effect was wholly mental, the magic power of the remedy was gone.
(g) In 1867 a well-known public singer was taken dangerously ill on the evening of his concert, having great nausea and intense headache; two applications of the silver dollar to his forehead entirely relieved him, and he performed a full program with his usual energy. Anything else would have been as effectual as the dollar, which was used merely because it was at hand.
(h) The following case is taken from a pamphlet published by me in 1875, entitled "Supposed Miracles".
In company with the Rev. J. B. Faulks I called at a place near Euglewood, N. J., to procure a boat. There was a delay of half an hour, and the day being chilly, we repaired to a house near by and there saw a most pitiable spectacle. The mother of the family was suffering from inflammatory rheumatism in its worst form. She was terribly swollen, could not move, nor bear to be touched. I said to Mr. Faulks, "You shall now have an illustration of the truth of the theory you have so often heard me advance." He mildly demurred, and intimated that he did not wish to be mixed up in anything of the kind. But, after making various remarks solely to inspire confidence and expectation, I called for a pair of knitting-needles. After some delay, improved to increase confidence and surround the proceedings with mystery, operations were begun. One of the hands of the patient was so swollen that the fingers were very nearly as large as the wrist of an ordinary child three years of age. In fact, almost all the space naturally between the fingers was occupied, and the fist was clinched. It was plain that to open them voluntarily was impossible, and to move them intensely painful. The daughter informed us that the hand had not been opened for several weeks. When all was ready I held the needle about two inches from the end of the woman's fingers, just above the clinched hand, and said, "Now, Madam, do not think of your fingers, and above all do not try to move them, but fix your eyes on the ends of these needles." She did so, and to her own wonder and that of her daughter the fingers straightened out and became flexible without the least pain. I then moved the needles about, over the hand, and she declared that all pain left her hand except in one spot about half an inch in diameter.
(i) The efficacy of the touch of the king to cure scrofula is authenticated beyond question. Charles II. touched nearly 100,000 persons; James in one of his journeys touched 800 persons in Chester Cathedral. Macaulay's history shows how, when William III. refused to exercise this power, it brought upon him " an avalanche of the tears and cries of parents of the children who were suffering from scrofula. Bigots lifted up their hands and eyes in horror at his impiety." His opponents insinuated that he dared not try a power which belonged only to legitimate sovereigns; but this sarcasm was without basis, as an old author says: "The curing of the king's evil by the touch of the king does much puzzle our philosophers, for whether our kings were of the house of York or Lancaster, it did cure for the most part." This reminds the student of ecclesiastical history of the consternation of the Jesuits when the extraordinary "miracle" was wrought upon the niece of the famous Blaise Pascal.
(j) The daughter of an eminent clergyman in this city had been sick for a long time, entirely unable to move and suffering intense pain. One of the most famous surgeons of New York declared, after careful examination, that she had diseases of the breast-bone and ribs which would require incisions of so severe a character as to be horrible to contemplate. Three times the surgeon came with his instruments to perform the operation, but the parents could not bring themselves to consent to it, and it was postponed. At last the late Dr. Krackowitzer was called in ; he solemnly and very thoroughly examined her from head to foot, taking a long time, and at last suddenly exclaimed, " Get out of bed, put on your clothes, and go down-stairs to meet your mother in the parlor!" The young lady automatically arose and obeyed him. The next day she took a walk with her mother, and soon entirely recovered. Dr. Kraekowitzer stated that he recognized in her an obstinate case of hysteria, which needed the stimulus of sudden command from a stronger will than her own. I received this narrative from the young lady's father; she has never had a relapse, and is still living in excellent health. Had she been cured by a faith-healer believed in by the family, the mistaken diagnosis of the eminent surgeon would have been heralded far and wide, and the cure considered a miracle.
(k) The cure of obstinate constipation when all medicine had lost its effect, by a medical man who required the patient to uncover the abdomen and direct his thoughts entirely to the sensations experienced in that region, is vouched for by Dr. Carpenter.
(l) The cure of a case of paralysis by Sir Humphrey Davy is a scientific fact of the first importance. He placed a thermometer under the tongue of the patient simply to ascertain the temperature; the patient at once claimed to experience relief, so the same treatment was continued for two weeks, and by that time the patient was well. In this case the imagination of the patient was not assisted by an application to the affected part.
In all the foregoing cases the cure or relief was a natural result of mental or emotional states. As long ago as the time of John Hunter, it was established by a variety of experiments and by his own experience that the concentration of attention upon any part of the human system affects first the sensations, next produces a change in the circulation, then a modification of the nutrition, and finally an alteration in structure.