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.

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