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Freud, S. (1897). Letter 56 from Extract from the Fliess Papers. The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, Volume I ( 1886-1899): Pre-Psycho-Analytic Publications and Unpublished Drafts, 242.

Freud, S. (1897). [SEA242a1]Letter 56 from Extract from the Fliess Papers. The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, Volume I ( 1886-1899): Pre-Psycho-Analytic Publications and Unpublished Drafts, 242

[SEA242a1]Letter 56 from Extract from the Fliess Papers Book Information Previous Up Next

Sigmund Freud

[SEA242a2]… What would you say, by the way, if I told you that the whole of my brand-new primal history of hysteria was already well-known and had been published a hundred times over-several centuries ago? Do you remember how I always said that the mediaeval theory of possession, held by the ecclesiastical courts, was identical with our theory of a foreign body and a splitting of consciousness? But why did the Devil, who took possession of the poor wretches, invariably defile them, and in a revolting manner? Why are their confessions under torture so like the communications made by my patients in psychical treatment? Some time soon I must delve into the literature of the subject. Incidentally, the cruelties make it possible to understand some symptoms of hysteria which have hitherto been obscure. The pins which appear in the most astonishing ways, the needles on account of which the poor things have their breasts cut open but which are invisible by X-rays though they can be found in the story of their seduction

[SEA242a3]Once more the inquisitors prick with needles, to discover the Devil's stigmata, and in a similar situation the victims invent the same old cruel story (helped perhaps by the seducer's disguises). Thus, not only the victims but the executioners recalled in this their earliest youth.

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