1911 ALS from the Nobel laureate to a US psychologist and psychical researcher about vetting his young Mexican protege
Autograph ID: 10001
Condition: Very good
Charles Robert Richet (1850-1935) Controversial French physiologist known for pioneering work in immunology, won 1913 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his work on anaphylaxis. He devoted many years to studying paranormal and spiritualist phenomena, coined term “ectoplasm.” A proponent of eugenics, also believed Blacks were inferior.
He studied medicine in Paris and as an intern at the Salpêtrière hospital, observed Jean-Martin Charcot ‘s work with “hysterical” patients. In 1887, he became professor of physiology at the College de France investigating digestion, neurochemistry, thermoregulation in homeothermic animals, and breathing. In 1898, he became a member of the Academie de Medecine. In 1913, his work with Paul Portier on anaphylaxis, a term he coined for a sensitized individual’s sometimes lethal reaction to a second, small-dose injection of an antigen, won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine . The research helped elucidate hay fever, asthma, and other allergic reactions.
He had many interests and wrote in many fields. He led a small permanent delegation of French Pacifist Societies in 1902. In 1905, Charles & Jacques Breguet, under his guidance, began work on a gyroplane (forerunner of the helicopter) with flexible wings. On Sept. 29, 1907 their Gyroplane No. 1 achieved the 1st ascent of a vertical-flight aircraft with a pilot to a height of 2’. The 1st rotary-wing aircraft to lift a person off the ground, it did not fly freely, controlled by ground handlers with poles.
He had a deep interest in extrasensory perceptin (ESP) and hypnosis, founded the “Annales des Sciences Psychiques” 1891, and corresponded with renowned occultists and spiritualists. In 1894, Richet coined the term “ectoplasm”, believing some mediumship could be explained physically due to external projection of a material substance (ectoplasm) from the medium’s body, but rejected as unscientific the spirit hypothesis of mediumship. President of the Society for Psychical Research in the UK 1905, honorary chairman of the Institut Metaphysique International in Paris 1919, full-time president 1930, he was sure of a physical explanation for paranormal phenomena. In his 1928 book “Our Sixth Sense”, he hypothesized a “sixth sense”, an ability to perceive hypothetical vibrations. While believing in ESP, he rejected life after death or spirits. A proponent of eugenics, he advocated sterilization and prohibiting marriage for those with mental disabilities in his 1919 book “La Sélection Humaine”, led the French Eugenics Society 1920-26.
|ALS in French on 7 ¼ x 4 ½ 15, “Rue de l’Universite” Paris letterhead, stamped date of June 1, 1911 on lower left, to “Cher Monsieur Hyslop.” While not formally translated, Richet tells Hyslop that as soon as he shalll meet Mr. Mantilla, it will be necessary to do a complete examination of him, if not by Richet than by someone else very competent, and asks Hyslop to let Richet know of his desire.
According to the March 3, 1912 New York Times:
“ The Society of American Magicians would like to meet and test the powers of Miguel Manuel Mantilla, an 8-year-old Mexican protege of Prof. James H. Hyslop of the Society for Psychical Research. The boy’s specialty is telling the day of the week of any day where the month and year are given.” Hyslop suspected that the boy, then 7, had psychical powers. The Society of American Magicians said such skills were one of the first tricks of a conjurer, calling it a “simple trick” a child could have worked out in his mind.