29. Inert matter is insensible. Perispiritual fluid is equally so; but it transmits the sensation to the sensitive center, which is the spirit. Painful injuries to the body reflect themselves then in the spirit like an electric shock, by the intermediation of the perispiritual fluid, of which the nerves appear to be the conducting threads. This is the nerve-power of the physiologists, who, knowing not the connection of this fluid with the spiritual principle, have not been able to explain all the effects.
An interruption can take place by the separation of a limb, or dissection of a nerve, but also partially, or in a general manner, without any injury, in moments of emancipation, over- excitability, or preoccupation of the spirit. In this state the spirit thinks no more of the body; and in his feverish activity he attracts, as it were, the perispiritual fluid to him, which, being withdrawn from the surface, produces there a momentary insensibility. We could still admit that in some circumstances a molecular modification is produced in the perispiritual fluid itself, temporarily disabling its ability of transmission. Thus, in the ardor of combat, a military man does not perceive he is wounded. A person whose attention is concentrated upon a work hears not the noise which is made around him. An analogous effect, but more pronounced, takes place with somnambulists in lethargy and catalepsy. Thus, in short, can be explained the insensibility of convulsionaries and of certain martyrs (“Revue Spirite,” January, 1868: Study of the Aïssaouas).
Paralysis does not proceed from the same cause. With it the effect is entirely organic. It is the nerves themselves, the conducting threads, which are unqualified for the fluid circulation; it is the chords of the instrument which are broken or injured.