Exteriorization of Motricity

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Exteriorization of Motricity

Term used by early psychical researchers to denote action of the medium's motor force outside the periphery of the body. It was offered as an explanation of telekinesis (now known as psychokinesis ). The term appears to have originated with Eugene Rochas in his book L'Exteriorisation de la motricité (1896) and was later adopted by other researchers, including Paul Joire. Evidence for Rochas's theory was derived from observation of the curious synchronization between the movements of the medium Eusapia Palladino and her physical phenomena. The extinguishing and relighting of a lamp, for instance, corresponded with a slight movement of the index finger of Palladino in the hollow of the hand of Italian researcher Cesare Lombroso. Many such sympathetic movements were recorded.

To prove that the motor nerves of mediums were at work, various apparatuses were constructed. The best known were the biometer of Hyppolite Baraduc and the sthenometer of Paul Joire. Others included the dynamoscope of Dr. Collongues, the magnetometer of Abbé Fortin, the galvanometer of Puyfontain, the spiritoscope of Robert Hare, the magnetoscope of Ruter, and the fluid motor of the Count de Tromelin.

These instruments show, wrote Charles Lancelin, "that there is a repulsive force generated from one side of the body and an attractive force from the other side. In normal human beings these forces should be equal. When they are not, odd things are likely to happen in their immediate environment. Their relative power may be tested by means of these instruments."

With the sthenometer, Joire claimed to have proved that the exteriorized nervous force could be stored for a short time, like heat, light, and electricity, in wood, water enclosed in bottles, linen, and cardboard. Objects were said to be charged with the force by simply holding them for a time in the hand. Placed near the sthenometer, they affected the needle in proportion to the intensity of the source that produced it. A British physician, Charles Russ, constructed an instrument, described in the Lancet (July 3, 1931), to demonstrate that energy radiates from the human eye.

The idea of psychic force is a difficult one to substantiate, as there is a significant difference between a force that might cause deviation in a delicately suspended needle and the energy required to move solid objects at a distance as in pychokinesis, or to cause stress and deformation in metals as in metal bending. It is not clear whether one force in different modalities or different forces are involved.