The Story of Captain, The Horse with the Human Brain. George Wharton James.

The Story of Captain, The Horse with the Human Brain

Pasadena, CA: Radiant Life Press, 1917.

First Edition. Softcover. Very good. 8vo, pp. 48 + 7 b/w plates, in original stapled pictorial wrappers. Some chipping and tiny tears to wrappers;contents clean. James first saw Captain, a performing horse owned by W.A. Sigsbee of Chicago, at the Panama-Pacific Exposition in San Francisco in 1915. Amazed by the horse's apparent ability to count, add, and subtract; play "Nearer My God to Thee" on the chimes; and perform a variety of tricks in response to verbal commands, James resolved to learn more about the horse and his trainer. Here their story is told in full from Captain's point of view ("There are some people who think I don't like to give performances. I don't know why, except that I do get tired a little once in a while, and sometimes my master wants me to be quiet and good when I feel frisky and frolicsome and want to kick up my heels. I always feel better the busier I am...."), and Sigsbee has his say as well. After conducting his own "scientific investigation" of Captain's abilities, James concludes that there is no explicit trickery involved in their show, but that the horse may pick up on cues of which the audience--and likely even the trainer--is unaware. This leads to his more general observation that there is still much to learn about animal intelligence. "There is too much assumption in human beings about most things, animal instinct and human reason not excluded. What I wish to protest against, with emphasis and vigor, is the assumption that we know all there is to know about intelligence, that we know the limits Nature herself has placed upon its development, and that all efforts to foster further development are useless. I affirm that we do not know; that we have never, as yet, even tried to know; and that until men with loving, devoted, sympathetic singleness of heart and purpose seek to develop all there is in the mentality of all the lower animals, dogs, cats, deer, as well as horses, shall we begin to have a real foundation for our assumptions upon the subject."

Item #18962

Price: $100.00

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