Storms upon the Mother’s Mind

“Prenatal Influences,” Religio-Philosophical Journal, May 23, 1875:74

Mr. S. S. Jones—In your paper for January 2d, I find the following statement from the pen of T. B. Taylor, M.D.:

“At Carbondale I found the most wonderful case of Psychology on record.  Dr. Vincent Hinchcliff—a physician and a Spiritualist—at Eight Mile Point, was shot by some Christian (?) Bushwhackers, riddling his body with sixteen buckshot.  His horse also fell dead in his track.  That was in broad daylight, about 300 yards from his own house.  The blackened devils leapt from their ambush and yelling like so many fiends, ran toward a wood.  Mrs. H. was the first to reach her murdered husband, and found his arm broken above and below the elbow, his neck broken and six or eight bullet-holes in his breast.  A short time afterwards Mrs. H. gave birth to twins, both of which were dead, and one of which bore all marks of the murdered father; six bullet holes in its breast, arm and neck broken as was the father’s.  These facts I obtained from the mother, the nurse, and the Doctor in attendance.  Now will some of our wise ones explain this case?”

Mr. Taylor closes by saying, “Now will some of our wise ones explain this case?”  So I say.  Here is something for the wise ones to explain, and for many years I have truly wished to see the scientific men of the world solve such cases.  I will add a few cases corresponding exactly with the one related by Mr. Taylor.  While I lived in the State of Mississippi, Gen. Thomas Falconer, who was, I believe, president of the Constitutional Convention, reared a nice young man, an orphan boy.  At the proper age he married.  Some six or eight months after the ceremony, the young man and his wife went to a lagoon in a river-swamp, to fish with a hook and line.  The young man took his rifle with him, and while there she discovered a large alligator under a log, and pointed it out to her husband.  In an instant the alligator received a rifle bullet square through his body, just behind his fore leg.  The blood spouted from the bullet hole, and the animal struggled and rolled around at a terrible rate, the blood running freely all the time.  The young wife was badly frightened; hurried home, and a physician was called, but in spite of all his skill, a premature birth followed, and on examining the child, it was found to have a bullet-hole through its body in the very place where the alligator was shot.  This happened in Wayne Co., Miss., about the year 1845.

A few years after the above case happened, while I lived in Clark Co., Miss., one of my near neighbors, John Green, had a daughter who married a man by the name of James Hennis.  About a year after they were married, the raccoons commenced eating Hennis’ roasting-ears, and he got my brother, G. W. Gardner, to set a steel-trap for them.  When Hennis went to examine the trap his wife said, “If there is one in it, you must fetch it to the house, for I never saw a live one.”  My brother and Hennis did drag a live raccoon to the house in the trap, in compliance with her request, caught about mid-way of one of its hind feet.  Mrs. Hennis came out and looked at the animal, saw it gnaw and tear its foot with its own teeth; saw my brother smash its head with a heavy piece of board, then take his knife and split its body open from the end of its breast bone down between its hind legs, to see if it was fat.  Mrs. Hennis, in a fainting condition, went back into the house.  Some five months after this, Mrs. Hennis gave birth to a child; its skull bone was in several pieces; the whole head felt soft as if it had been smashed, and it had eyes exactly like a raccoon; its body was split open from the pit of the stomach past the extremity of the abdomen.  One of its feet had the scar of the steel-trap, as though it had actually been caught in the same.  Contrary to the expectations of everybody, this unfortunate creature lived six months and then died.  Its mother was the sister of the Rev. William Green, a Baptist minister, who now lives and preaches in Barry, Ill.  There are now several living witnesses to the case above related.  [. . .]

A woman runs to her husband, some 300 yards distant, and she sees six or eight shot-holes in his dead body.  The same wounds on her husband are found upon one of her offspring.  Why was not the same wounds on both the children?  Why were they not injured alike?  I can’t tell.  Will some one tell me?  The eye of the mother sees a bullet-hole in the alligator, or in the dead man’s body—the eye throws the force upon the mind of the mother, and creates bullet holes through her offspring.  What a force there must be in mind!  What a mystery—kills the offspring instantly, but leave the mother alive.  Hush about the mystery of the Bible and Modern Spiritualism till we scientifically solve the cause of the above.  [. . .]

M. Gardner
McDade, Texas.

“Prenatal Influences,” Religio-Philosophical Journal, June 19, 1875:106

[. . .]

First, then, the eternal law of cause and effect is as ceaseless in its workings in our physical nature as in any other element of our being.  Indeed, it is in this invisible, soul or spiritual realm of our being that all causes exist, and through their adapted agencies, stamp their effects upon visible matter.  In the cases alluded to, there are three points that may be considered in solving the problem, why those scenes beheld by the mothers, should be daguerreotyped upon their offspring.  First, the mother may be regarded as the grand moving cause—the origin and source from whom sprung the results under consideration.  In her being, from the moment of conception, is to be found the direct primary cause, the prototype of every lineament, feature and shade of appearance that go to make up the finished picture of her unborn child.  Her spiritual being is the great battery, the positive center of a grand and mighty work that is going on in her system.  The embryo in the matrix is the minor, negative center, a newly formed nucleus, around which gathers every element essential to its existence, evolution and further perfection.  The positive center, its mother, is the source upon which it depends for all help and advancement.  The mother, during her state of pregnancy, is, as it were, a real double, having two, instead of one, to build up and sustain.  Her every act, thought and emotion flow to the slumbering immortality by attraction or gravitation, through the voluntary and involuntary laws, and stamp their image upon the little sensitized plate, so to speak.  These are the means used, and may be called the third or middle element in the triune labor of procreation.  When all is harmonious, healthy and active, from the parental cause to the germinating seed, inclusive, the natural result is a well developed human offspring, physically and mentally.  This same law operates uniformly throughout the broad realms of universal nature.  Sometimes in the outward world, storms occur, sweep over earth with great fury, devastating the beautiful forest and vegetable scenery she was so grandly developing, more or less, owing to the extent to which she was thrown out of balance or equilibrium.  Similar incidents occur in the mental sea; any scene, physical act or mental movement that disturbs the harmony, tranquility or equilibrium of the mind, throws it into a condition favorable for direful results—the disturbed equilibrium will find her equipoise if she has to find it in death.

Remember, now, the embryo is a second center of the mother’s life into which flow the elements, conditions and emotions of the maternal mind, leaving their impressions upon its being.  If the physical disturbance is too great for the unborn child to resist, it will be still-born, while its mental being will wear the lineaments of the picture thus produced, perhaps, for many ages to come, depending upon the force and nature of their composition.  In answer to the first inquiry—“Why were they not injured alike?”  “Why not the shot holes appear on both instead of one?”  We will suggest this thought.  The mother knew that there was developing in her system a child; but she may have not known there were two.  The scene that disturbed in the flash of thought, was transmitted to the embryo or foetus in harmony with her consciousness of the fact of there being one child; her whole thought being concentrated thereon; the other receiving the results of the involuntary force or action in death, without the effects produced through the mother’s knowledge as above expressed.  The law of her duality as an individual, may, too, have had something to do in the matter.  Our best minds of the modern age, hold that each human being is dual; that their front and right sides are positive, while the back and left are negative.  I find this to be true in the treatment of disease.  The involuntary force resulting alike in death may have coursed its way to the twins unborn, through each of those physical channels; while the aura of the brain, with the impressions of the mind, coursed their way through a single path, being governed by maternal consciousness. [. . .]

J. H. Mendenhall
Cerro Gordo, Ind.

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