The journey of Alvar Nuñez Cabeza de Vaca and his companions from Florida to the Pacific, 1528-1536 Page: 17 of 253
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success of their desperate attempt to cross
the continent, there is truth as well as hon-
est delusion. Indian medicine itself bases
largely upon conceptions of the kind, and
empirical hypnotism plays a part in the per-
formances of their medicine-men. Cabeza
de Vaca, unconsciously and by distinct
methods, imitated the Indian Shamans and
probably succeeded, in at least many cases,
since the procedure was new and striking.
That they attributed their success to the di-
rect aid of divine power was in strict accord-
ance with the spirit of the times and by no
means to their discredit. On the contrary,
there is a commendable modesty in their dis-
claimer of merits of their own. It should
also not be forgotten that men in their ex-
ceptional situation, without reasonable hope
of salvation, relentlessly persecuted by mis-
fortune and the worst hardships for many
years, have their imagination finally raised
to the higest pitch, and exaggerations and
misconceptions become therefore excusable.
There is no doubt that they sincerely be-
lieved their own statements. Not only the
times must be taken into account when
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Cabeza de Vaca, Alvar Núñez. The journey of Alvar Nuñez Cabeza de Vaca and his companions from Florida to the Pacific, 1528-1536, book, 1922; New York. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth3001/m1/17/: accessed May 27, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .