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A Queer Coincidence
by [?]

“You say,” said Doctor Watson, as he rested one arm on the mantel and looked thoughtfully at the open fire,–“you say there is no proof of the actuality of what is called telepathy or thought-transference, and perhaps you are right, but I have several times in my life had experiences which were very difficult to explain except by some such theory, and if you care to listen I will tell you one of them which I have in mind.”

Our chorus of approval evidently left no doubt as to our desire to hear the story, for Watson smiled, and lighting a fresh cigar he began as follows:

“On the seventeenth of January last year there was a slight wash-out on the Northern road not far from Chicago, and the forward trucks of one of the cars on train 61, on which I was a passenger, left the rails, but luckily the train was going slowly at the time and there was little damage done except a general shaking up of the passengers in the car as the forward wheels bumped roughly over the sleepers for a few yards before the train stopped. The other cars did not leave the track, and only one man was seriously injured.

“This man had been standing on the platform at the time and was thrown between the cars and badly crushed. I was close to the end window and saw him fall, and when the conductor called for a doctor I responded at once.

“I found the man lying on a blanket surrounded by a number of the passengers. He seemed to suffer but little pain, and I feared, from a casual examination, he was badly injured internally, although he was perfectly conscious; he was bleeding at the mouth, and his legs seemed to be paralyzed. He asked faintly if I thought he was going to die, and I cheered him up, as is customary in such cases, but shortly afterwards he developed such serious symptoms that I felt forced to tell him I feared he was seriously hurt, and it was quite possible he would live but a few hours.

“Upon hearing this he became very much agitated, and whispered to me that he wished to speak to me alone, saying he had something of the utmost importance to communicate.

“I thought it was probably some message to send to some members of his family, or some instructions regarding his affairs, but after a few words I became very much interested. He talked for fifteen minutes, part of the time being sustained by the use of stimulants. His story, which was a very strange one, I will repeat as nearly as possible in his own words. After repeatedly asking me to assure him there was no possible chance of his recovery he said:

“‘It is not necessary for you to know my name, but it is sufficient for me to tell you that I received a good education in my youth and graduated with high honors at one of the large universities in this country. I always had more or less interest in the study of physiology, and during my college course conducted a series of experiments in hypnotism, and made some interesting discoveries regarding the exaltation of the senses, and especially in relation to illusion and hallucination by the aid of post-hypnotic suggestion.

“‘It had been my earnest desire to occupy the position of professor of physiology in one of the universities, but failing to obtain a position of this kind, and having no means of support, I gradually became poorer and poorer, earning a livelihood as best I could, until I became discouraged and attempted to make money in a way not quite so honest.

“‘The idea suggested itself to me during a series of experiments which I had conducted with a friend of mine. It so happened that this friend was paying teller in one of our well-known banks of Chicago, where he is to-day. He is a thoroughly honorable man in every way, but I found that he was a good hypnotic subject, or sensitive, as we call it. At first he could not be considered first class, but he was much interested in the subject, and allowed me to hypnotize him repeatedly. After a few evenings he became very easily influenced and one of the best subjects I had ever had. I could put him to sleep in a moment, simply snapping my fingers and telling him I wished him to sleep; of course this can only be done with sensitives who have been repeatedly hypnotized.