From India to the Planet Mars: A Case of Multiple Personality with Imaginary Languages

From India to the Planet Mars: A Case of Multiple Personality with Imaginary Languages

Théodore Flournoy
With a Foreword by C. G. Jung
Commentary by Mireille Cifali
Edited and Introduced by Sonu Shamdasani
Copyright Date: 1994
Pages: 388
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt13x18vt
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    From India to the Planet Mars: A Case of Multiple Personality with Imaginary Languages
    Book Description:

    A classic in the field of psychology,From India to Planet Mars(1900) depicts the remarkable multiple existence of the medium Hélène Smith, who claimed to be the reincarnation of Marie Antoinette, of a Hindu princess from fifteenth-century India, and of a regular visitor to Mars, whose landscapes she painted and whose language she appeared to speak fluently. Through a psychological interpretation of these fantasies, which consisted in the subliminal elaboration of forgotten memories, Théodore Flournoy vastly extended the scope and understanding of the unconscious, and in particular, of its creative and mythopoetic capacities. In the introduction to this work, Soriu Shamdasani evokes the rich cultural and intellectual setting which Flournoy published his findings, and discusses their impact on Freud, Jung, and other pioneers psychology.

    Originally published in 1994.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-7283-1
    Subjects: Psychology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Editorial Note (1994)
    (pp. vii-viii)
    Sonu Shamdasani
  4. Foreword Théodore Flournoy
    (pp. ix-x)
    C. G. Jung

    During the time of my relationship to Freud I found a fatherly friend in Theodore Flournoy. He was already an old man when I got to know him. Unfortunately he died only a few years later. As I was still a doctor at the Burghölzli when I read his book,From India to the Planet Mars, it made a great impression on me. I wrote to Flournoy that I wanted to translate it into German. It was after half a year that I received his reply, in which he apologized for having let my question lie unanswered for so long....

  5. Introduction Encountering Hélène: Théodore Flournoy and the Genesis of Subliminal Psychology
    (pp. xi-2)
    Sonu Shamdasani

    In the seances at the fin de siècle, women became men and men became women. There was no limit to who one could be or to how many. Terrestrials and extra terrestrials swapped places and exchanged notes on their habitations. Plato and Socrates returned to offer courses in postmortem dialectics. The departed returned to repledge their loves and continue their intrigues. Evidently the spirits had a rather theatrical way about them and a taste for the decidedly camp, not to mention for black comedy. Linguistic and aesthetic forms were broken, which paved the way for the artistic convulsions that were...

  6. Preface
    (pp. 3-8)
  7. CHAPTER ONE Introduction
    (pp. 9-16)

    In the month of December, 1894, I was invited by M. Aug. Lemaître, Professor of the College of Geneva, to attend some seances of a non-professional medium, receiving no compensation for her services, and of whose extraordinary gifts and apparently supernormal faculties I had frequently heard.

    Having gladly accepted the invitation of my worthy colleague, I found the medium in question, whom I shall call Mlle. Hélène Smith, to be a beautiful woman about thirty years of age, tall, vigorous, of a fresh, healthy complexion, with hair and eyes almost black, of an open and intelligent countenance, which at once...

  8. CHAPTER TWO Childhood and Youth of Mlle. Smith
    (pp. 17-27)

    The psychological history of Mlle. Smith and her automatisms is naturally divided in to two separate periods by the important fact of her initiation in to spiritism at the beginning of 1892. Before that time, not suspecting the possibility of voluntary communication with the world of disincarnate spirits, she naturally manifested nothing more than a few spontaneous phenomena, the first flutterings of her mediumistic faculties which still lay dormant, the exact nature and progress of which it would be interesting to know in detail; unfortunately, in the absence of written documents concerning that pre-spiritistic period, we are confined to the...

  9. CHAPTER THREE Mlle. Smith Since Her Initiation into Spiritism
    (pp. 28-50)

    Having endeavored in the preceding chapter to reconstruct in its chief characteristics the history of Mlle. Smith up to the time when spiritism begins to be mixed up with it, I would have preferred in the present chapter to make a detailed study of her psychological life during these last years, without however, as yet, touching upon the content, properly so called, of her automatisms. Not having been able to accomplish this design to my satisfaction, for want of time and patience, I shall endeavor at least to systematize my notes somewhat by grouping them under four heads. I shall...

  10. CHAPTER FOUR The Personality of Léopold
    (pp. 51-86)

    Is léopold really Joseph Balsamo, as he pretends? Or, since he has nothing in common with the famous thaumaturgist of the last century, save a certain superficial resemblance, is he, at any rate, a real being, separate from, and in dependent of Mlle. Smith? Or, finally, is he only a pseudo-reality, a kind of allotropic modification of Hélèn herself, a product of her subliminal imagination, just like our dream creations and the roles suggested to a hypnotic subject?

    Of these three suppositions it is the last which to my mind is undoubtedly the true one, while in Mlle. Smith’s eyes...

  11. CHAPTER FIVE The Martian Cycle
    (pp. 87-122)

    The title of this book would naturally commit me to a review of the Hindoo romance before investigating the Martian cycle. Considerations of method have caused me to reverse this order. It is better to advance from the simple to the complex, and while we certainly know less concerning the planet Mars than of India, the romance which it has inspired in the subliminal genius of Mlle. Smith is relatively less difficult to explain than the Oriental cycle. In fact, the former seems to spring from pure imagination, while in the latter we meet with certain actual historical elements, and...

  12. CHAPTER SIX The Martian Cycle (Continued): The Martian Language
    (pp. 123-164)

    Of the various automatic phenomena, the “speaking in tongues” is one which at all times has most aroused curiosity, while at the same time little accurate knowledge concerning it has been obtainable, on account of the difficulty of collecting correctly the confused and unintelligible words as they gush forth.

    The phonograph, which has already been employed in some exceptional cases, like that of Le Baron,* will doubtless some day render inestimable service to this kind of study, but it leaves much still to be desired at the present moment, from the point of view of its practical utilization in the...

  13. CHAPTER SEVEN The Martian Cycle (Concluded): The Ultra-Martian
    (pp. 165-172)

    All things become wearisome at last, and the planet Mars is no exception to the rule. The subliminal imagination of Mlle. Smith, however, will probably never tire of its lofty flights in the society of Astané, Esenale, and their associates. I myself, I am ashamed to acknowledge, began, in 1898, to have enough of the Martian romance.

    Once having satisfied myself as to the essential nature of the Martian language, I did not desire to make a profound study of it, and since the texts had made their appearance so slowly, for two years, as to threaten to continue during...

  14. CHAPTER EIGHT The Hindoo Cycle
    (pp. 173-209)

    While the Martian romance is purely a work of fantasy, in which the creative imagination was able to allow itself free play through having no investigation to fear, the Hindoo cycle, and that of Marie Antoinette, having a fixed terrestrial setting, represent a labor of construction which was subjected from the start to very complex conditions of environments and epochs. To keep within the bounds of probability, not to be guilty of too many anachronisms, to satisfy the multiple demands of both logic and asthetics, formed a particularly dangerous undertaking, and one apparently altogether beyond the powers of a person...

  15. CHAPTER NINE The Royal Cycle
    (pp. 210-222)

    If I were obliged to give this cycle a place proportioned to that which it occupies in the somambulic life of Mlle. Smith, a hundred pages would not suffice. But permit me to pass rapidly over facts concerning which I should only be obliged to repeat the greater part of the observations called forth by the preceding romances, which apply equally well,mutatis mutandis, to the personification of Marie Antoinette by Ηélène.

    The choice of this role is naturally explained by the innate tastes of Mlle. Smith for everything that is noble, distinguished, elevated above the level of the common...

  16. CHAPTER TEN Supernormal Appearances
    (pp. 223-264)

    The mediumship of Mlle. Smith is full of facts supernormal in appearance, and the question which offers itself for our solution is that of determining to what extent they are supernormal in reality.*

    The title of this chapter, I must assert, is not to be understood in a partisan sense. The term “appearances” is not used in its unfavorable acceptation, as meaning that they are deceptive, and that there is nothing behind them. It is taken in a frank and impartial sense, to designate simply the exterior and immediate aspect of a thing, without prejudging its real nature, in order,...

  17. CHAPTER ELEVEN Conclusion
    (pp. 265-268)

    This volume reminds me of the mountain which gave birth to a mouse. Its length would be excusable if only it marked a step in advance in the field of psychology or physiology, or as to the question of the supernormal. As such is not the case, it is unpardonable, and nothing more is left me to do except to make clear its deficiencies in this triple aspect.

    First: From the physiological point of view, it is apparent that Mlle. Smith, as is doubtless true of all mediums, presents during her visions and somnambulisms a plenitude of disturbances of motility...

  18. Appendix One The Making of Martian: The Creation of an Imaginary Language
    (pp. 269-287)
    Mireille Cifali
  19. Appendix Two: Passages Abridged from the 1900 Translation
    (pp. 288-335)