Mrs. R., aged twenty-seven, was brought to my office by her husband. Her history is briefly this: One night at about two o clock, she was attacked with a severe chill, which lasted for about half an hour. When the chill was on, she firmly pressed the teeth together and shrieked, and when the chill subsided, she sat up in bed, mumbled a few words and made certain gestures. When her husband asked her why she behaved foolishly, she stared at him for a few minutes and began to weep piteously and asked him in a tone not natural to her, “Do you not recognise me? I have come here to see my daughter.” She than began to behave in an insane manner, which frightened her husband.
An old lady whom they often sought in cases of emergency was at once sent for. The old lady after questioning her a while, came to the conclusion that it was the spirit of her dead mother that had visited her. She took some water, muttered something over it, and handing over the water to her, asked her to drink it. She refused to drink it, but after much entreaty finally did so. A few minutes afterwards she regained her consciousness and remembered nothing of what she had said or had done. She complained of pains over the whole body and did not sleep well that night. At daybreak she got up and went on with her usual household work, without complaining of any trouble. During the daytime also, she did not complain of anything.
The second night, at about the same time, she was again attacked with a chill. The old lady was at once summoned. On entering the room she saw her sitting up in the bed and tearing her clothes. As on the previous day, she prepared some water and offered it to her. She took it and drank it and asked for more water. After drinking a large quantity of cold water she began to shiver and sing songs, and began to behave in an insane manner. They did not know what to do. While they were discussing as to what should be done, she said, “I am very much pleased; I shall go now but come back again.” After a few minutes she regained her consciousness and remembered nothing. This went on for a few days and her husband began to get anxious. A friend of his advised him to consult an exorcist, for
“This is the land of palms and riches,
This is the land of charms and witches.”
The exorcist, on being informed of this, came and wrote on a piece of paper, in her presence, certain magic words and cabalistic figures. He rolled this piece of paper up and enclosed it in a small case.
After purifying and sanctifying it by certain ceremonies and mantras (hymns) he tied this talisman to her wrist, with a small piece of silk thread, assuring her that she would in future be immune from the attack of spirits. To the joy of all, she had no fit that night. But the next night she got the chill and behaved in the above-described manner. Her husband then decided to give her treatment and called in an allopath, who for more than a month treated her with Bromide mixtures, with no benefit whatever. So he brought her to me, to see whether I could cure her. After an examination I found nothing wrong with her.
Her constitution was anaemic, lean and lank. On asking her about her menstrual history, she became very cross and did not answer any of my questions. As I did not get any symptoms from her, I did not promise a cure. I gave her Bell. 200, three powders to be taken thrice a day for four days, but finding no change I gave her Ignatia 200, for a week, with no results. I then prescribed Phos. Acid 200, for three days, thinking that she might be suffering from silent grief, but this remedy also failed. One day I bluntly asked her husband whether he ill-treated his wife. He replied in the negative.
After much cross-examination he informed me, that one of her brothers had died and after a few days her only sister also passed away. She wanted to go to her native place, but on account of his business he could not take her. Thinking this to be a case of homesickness, I now prescribed Capsicum 200, with instruction to give one powder, an hour before the expected attack and one immediately after the attack and the third at noon. The next day he told me that she did not get the attack. I continued the same remedy for a week and found to my great joy, that she remained free from trouble. Both Ignatia and Phos. Acid are good remedies for homesickness, but in this case they failed to cure, whereas Capsicum succeeded.