Page images
PDF

ing, enjoying their breakfast bacon, when they became suddenly aware of the presence of a stranger who had stepped from the shadow of the surrounding pines. Emaciated, unkempt, in rags, he presented a pitiful sight. Startled to their feet by his ghastly appearance, and with thoughts of the terrorizing bandit uppermost in mind, they began a wild scurry for their fire-arms, when who should one of the party recognize in theunexpected visitor, but the long-lost Alec. The members of the party discovered very quickly that something was wrong with him mentally, for even in his weakened condition, he was cross and very irritable, muttering revenge on all civilization, with no recollection of the principal events of his past and home. They broke camp at once, and started with him across the border. In the course of a few days he was taken to a well known hospital in eastern Canada, where it was discovered that he had suffered from a fracture of the skull. He was operated on without delay, and successfully. 11 is story had a happy ending, for before he left the hospital, his mind had recovered its own proper personality, and Alec became himself again, as shrewd as before, and as honest. Thus, by the surgeon's hand, two interesting mysteries were solved, and a desirable citizen saved for days of further usefulness.

Fine questions of law and right shade into one another with a nicety difficult to unravel, in certain phases of doublepersonality. Smith, say, wras considered a perfectly sane man up to a year ago. He deserts a wife, and all trace of him is lost until ten years later. An old friend discovers him in a remote part of the country, married again, with a family. He is prosperous and respected in his new environment, and is as sane as any man in the community. He has changed little in the ten years in physical appearance, but absolutely fails to recognize his old friend, or any incident in his own former life as Smith, for his name is now Brown, and he is just as much another sane individuality, as if he had literally been born again. What is his standing legally? Would it be right to punish the present Brown, when it was the former Smith who was guilty of

wife desertion? Is Brown guilty of bigamy? Should Brown be compelled to go back to the former wife, Mrs. Smith, a woman who would be as strange to him under his second personality, just as much as to any stranger? Who is Brown, anyway,—in law, in justice, and in fact? Outwardly he is certainly Smith, but in his heart has never, in all truth, heard of him. Such a problem actually came up before a California court some years ago. The case was of a kind to make any thinking person ask himself "Who, indeed, am I," and leave the question unanswered. A person is accustomed to believe that if anything exists in this universe, it is surely himself. Perhaps a recital of the instance just referred to, may give that person room for doubt.

John Anderson was a fairly prosperous fanner, who rented some eighty acres in one of the corn-belt states. He had a wife and family, with whom he lived in perfect accord, as well as with his neighbors. He was hard-working, prudent and saving, and as sound in intellect as you or I. Owing to the delicate health of one of the children, and for reasons of ambition, he conceived the idea of going to southern California to buy an orange grove, to have a home of his own, and live in peace and quiet with his family for the rest of his days. His frugal habits and continuous toil had provided enough for this purpose, so he went on alone, with the intention of sending for his family as soon as he could find the kind of place he wanted. For some time letters were received at frequent intervals; everything seemed to be progressing favorably with him, and then no more letters came, and all trace of him was lost. Months of waiting went by, and years. The mother and children were verging on poverty, and had long given up the father as dead. One day surprising news was brought by a neighbor, who had just returned from the West, and had known Anderson in former days. He had met Anderson face to face in California; had found him living in most prosperous circumstances with a new wife and family. But he had failed to recognize the old friend, who had grown up with him from boyhood, and seemed so changed in thought,

actions, and everything but his external are unable to assign a physical cause are appearance, that the old neighbor was most baffling, leading to speculation into beginning to wonder whether or not he unknown regions of the psychic world, himself was losing his own proper Undoubtedly further research will throwidentity. This news of Anderson resulted much light on this very interesting subin a purse being made up for the long- ject. A few years ago, a man in high abandoned woman, and the neighbor professional standing, residing in one of and Mrs. Anderson went to California to the Wisconsin towns on Lake Michigan, take legal steps to enforce her rights disappeared without any reasonable and bring: her husband back, if possible, cause whatsoever. A wide search was

instituted for hund r e d s of miles around, but in vain. At the end of some weeks all hope was abandoned, at least of ever finding him alive. Then rumors from various farmers just beyond the Mississippi began to come in. One farmer had hired a vagrant farm-hand for a couple of days, who, after putting in several days of hard labor, suddenly d i s a ppeared without pay. Another farmer

the many little familiar incidents known had, he thought, employed the same man only to themselves, of their many under the same circumstances. Then years together, Anderson appeared sin- another report, and another, of similar cerely dumfounded, and first with tears import, came flashing over the wires, in his eyes, and then in anger, flatly told All the descriptions fitted exactly that of her she was mistaken ; that he had never the missing lawyer. Devoted friends heard of the man Anderson, and that his hurried to that part of the country from name was Arnold,—George Arnold. The which the rumors came, with the hope of matter got into court. All were con- finding the wanderer. They were able vinced that the man was Arnold. But to trace him from farm to farm, and then on hearing the other side, became equally from one village to another. In a certain convinced that he must be Anderson, town on the river was a factory for the No shadow of doubt was thrown on the manufacture of buttons. Some one said man's sanity. The court was at a loss, that a man answering the description of Then Anderson, or Arnold, was taken their friend was employed there. They ill with pneumonia, and in the course of hurried on, and there, in the garb of a week was dead, solving the problem the commonest of workmen, was their so far as he was concerned. Then all cultured, learned friend, engaged in the parties agreed that the case was one of useful, but lowly occupation of making double-personality. What the court's pearl-buttons from clam-shells. He was decision would have been had the man happy, and seemed to enjoy his work imlived. is of course unknown. mensely, and couldn't understand why

It is not always an easy matter to trace they should want him to go back to home the cause of these cases of lost-identity, and friends, now totally forgotten. He Many occur without any sign or history was another identity entirely, who had of brain-injury. The cases in which we returned to the simple life with a ven

The meeting between the two was pitiful. All who witnessed it were impressed with the man's innocence, and actually took sides against the woman for bringing trouble and notoriety to such a solid member of the community. But the wife held her ground. His eyes, hair, gait, manner of speech, all were the same she had known so long. As she recited these various facts, and

[graphic]

Fig.3: The Case Of Alec,
The Scotsman.

A. personality proper, al-
most totally "submerged"
— second personality. B.
in full command—an ab-
normal and sometimes
dangerous condition.

gcance. In the course of a few days, he was restored to home and his former personality, and said in explanation that a compelling' craving for a simple life had caused the trouble. It would seem from this instance, that mental labor alone is not sufficient for the needs of many brain-workers, and that if those who employ their mentality only, would resort daily to some simple manual work. Nature would not make such violent demands when these needs are ignored. Manual work is the essence of the simple life, and the brain-worker, of any, can least afford to overlook this fact.

The incidents or accidents leading up to double-personality, cause the manifestation by '"letting loose" the secondego, or "other self," which lies sleeping in all of us. To all intents and purposes, this second personality is as sane and healthy as the first, but—it is entirely different. Intellectually, this secondpersonality is often keener; morally, it is on a lower plane.

Within the past year, the son of a merchant was thrown from a wagon, owing to the horses running away. He was only sixteen years old, a handsome and manly young fellow, as promising a son in every way as any one could wish. He lay at home for weeks, hovering between life and death, as a result of his injuries. In the course of some months he had apparently fully recovered, and was physically as robust as ever. Mentally lie was exceedingly brilliant, and astonished his parents and friends with his scintillations of wit and depth of philosophical

thought. His parents, particularly, felt a strangeness while in his presence they had never felt before. And then strange stories reached their ears of petty thefts committed by him; of carousals beyond their comprehension; of waywardness and delinquencies which seemed wholly foreign to his former character and habits. Finally a daring burglary was committed, and the youth apprehended as the offender. It was the final blow to the sorrowing parents. Extenuating circumstances were set forth, and the case never came to trial. Instead, the son was taken to a hospital, an opening was made in the skull, and a piece of bone, which had been causing pressure on the brain, removed. He was soon out again, and up to his newly-acquired offenses. The operation had proved a failure. Not long after, in the midst of a drunken revel, he put an end to himself with a common poison. This pitiful tragedy of a young life was due to an injury of the head, an injury not considered, as to its bearing on the future, at the time it occurred.

Today, through a better understanding of these unfortunates, and other victims of delinquency, many of them are cared for in psychic institutions, where they properly belong; and, thanks to Victor Horsley, of London, who made the first experiments in brain surgery on monkeys, many of these saddest of cases in the annals of the curiosities of lost-identity, can be completely cured by operative interference as practiced by the skilful hands of skilful surgeons.

[graphic]

AN OBJECT LESSON OF THE UNITED STATES OFFICE OF PUBLIC ROADS. AT MONROE, LA.

The old highway to the left, and the new.

$250,000,000 HIGHWAY ROBBERY

By

CHARLES FREDERICK CARTER

FORTY million dollars were wasted on the public roads of the United States through ignorance, incompetence, and indifference in 1904. As the same amount was wasted in the same way in 1910, the American people would seem to be holding their own nobly.

But these statistics present only half a truth which, like other half truths, is misleading. In 1904 the expenditures on public highways aggregated $79,000,000, while in 1910 they had increased to $100,000,000. That is to say, instead of wasting half the hard earned money devoted to road improvement we have become so enlightened that we only waste forty cents out of every dollar. Truly, we may plume ourselves on such a record.

Still, this is but the preface to that great National joke, the public road: for the direct waste which may be charged to the lack of suitable highways, according to Logan Waller Page, Director of the United States Office of Public. Roads,

foots up the neat little sum of $290,000.000. The way Mr. Page figures it out, the annual loss due to incorrect, and inadequate methods in the construction, maintenance, and administration of public roads may be set down at $40,000,000, while the burden imposed through excessive cost of transportation from the farm to the railroad station reaches the impressive sum of $250,000,000.

The latter item is based upon statistics gathered by the-Government, which show that the aggregate weight of crops hauled to market annually is more than two hundred and fifty million tons. The average haul is 9.4 miles, and the average cost 23 cents per ton per mile. This makes the total cost amount to $540,500,000. In Europe, where good roads are the rule rather than the exception, the cost of hauling is much less than half what it is here. Hauling on the famous highways of France, for example, costs but 10 cents per ton per mile; in England, the same; while Belgium reduces this low rate half a cent, and Germany

a

[graphic][merged small][merged small][merged small][graphic][ocr errors][merged small]
« PreviousContinue »