Text: Robert H. Collyer to Edgar Allan Poe — December 16, 1845


Boston, December 16, 1845.

Dear Sir, — your account of M. Valdemar’s case has been universally copied in this city, and has created a very great sensation. It requires from me no apology, in stating, that I have not the least doubt of the possibility of such a phenomenon; for I did actually restore to active animation a person who died from excessive drinking of ardent spirits. He was placed in his coffin ready for interment.

You are aware that death very often follows excessive excitement of the nervous system; this arising from the extreme prostration which follows; so that the vital powers have not sufficient energy to react.

I will give you the detailed account on your reply to this, which I require for publication, in order to put at rest the growing impression that your account is merely a splendid creation of your own brain, not having any truth in fact. My dear sir, I have battled the storm of public derision too long on the subject of Mesmerism, to be now found in the rear ranks — though I have not publicly lectured for more than two years, I have steadily made it a subject of deep investigation.

I sent the account to my friend Dr. Elliotson of London; also to The Zoist — to which journal I have regularly contributed.

Your early reply will oblige, which I will publish, with your consent, in connection with the case I have referred to.

Believe me yours, most respectfully,
Robert H. Collyer.





[S:0 - MS, 18xx] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Misc - Letters - R. H. Collyer to Poe (RCL596)