240. Subjugation is a bond that paralyzes the will of him who is subjected to it, and makes him act in spite of himself. In a word, it is a real yoke.
Subjugation may be moral or corporeal. In the first case, the subjugated is instigated to do things often absurd and compromising; which he is deluded into believing sensible : it is a kind of fascination. In the second case, the spirit acts on the material organs, and provokes involuntary movements. It shows itself in the writing medium by an incessant desire to write, even at the most inopportune moments. We have seen those who, in default of pen or pencil, would write with the finger, wherever they might be, even in the streets, on the doors and walls.
Corporeal subjugation sometimes goes further ; it may urge to the most ridiculous acts. We knew a man, neither young nor handsome, under the domin ion of an obsession of this nature, constrained by an irresistible force to kneel to a young girl whom he had never before seen, and ask her in marriage. At other times, he felt on his back and loins a violent pressure, which forced him, in spite of his opposing will, to kneel and kiss the ground in public and crowded places. This man passed for crazy among his friends, but we were convinced he was not at all so ; for he was per fectly Conscious of the ridicule of which he was unwill ingly the cause, and suffered horribly from it.
241. Formerly the name of possession was given to this dominion exercised by evil spirits, when their influence extended to the aberration of the faculties. Possession, for us, would be synonymous with subju- > gation. We have two reasons for not adopting this term ; the first, that it implies beings created for, and perpetually devoted to, evil, while really there are only beings, more or less imperfect, who can all be made better ; the second, that it also implies the idea of taking possession of the body by a foreign spirit — a sort of cohabitation ; while really there is only con straint. The word subjugation perfectly renders the thought. Thus, for us, there are no possessed, in the ordinary sense of the word ; there are only obsessed, subjugated, and fascinated.