The author, Barkworth, compares actions done by people in hypnotic states. He distinguishes between mental or physical actions and voluntary, automatic or intuitive actions. Barkworth reviews several of these types of cases, occurring with or without hypnotism. A few of these cases also involve automatic writing. One case in particular involves a patient’s ability to learn music and perform it at a later time with or without the written music notes.
The author discusses cases where the duplex personality of several different patients has been brought out with the use of hypnotism. Mason’s conclusion is that the second personality would have perceptive powers beyond the main personality. Clairvoyance is an attribute of this second personality and hypnotism is a way of bringing out this second personality in a controlled setting.
A man is accused of stealing an automobile. After the crime was committed the man had no knowledge of it in court. He was said to have suffered from automatism. The man was not considered to be insane, therefore, he was found guilty and sentenced to jail. The author compares the case to Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. If one personality commits a crime, can the other personality be held responsible for it?
Dr. Myers reviews multiple cases involving altered personalities. These personalities have been brought on by a variety of means, including dreams, drug use, physical disturbance, epilepsy or hypnotism. Some of the cases involve automatic writing. Dr. Myers discusses each of these cases briefly with an emphasis on the differences between the conscious and unconscious self.