Here’s an interesting quote from William Walker Atkinson:
“A writer in the “early seventies” of the last century said: ”All of us emit a sphere, aura, or halo, impregnated with the very essence of ourselves; sensitive knows it; so do our dogs and other pets; so does a hungry lion or tiger; aye, even flies, snakes and the insects, as we know to our cost. Some of us are magnetic – others not. Some of us are warm, attractive, love inspiring and friendship making, while others are cold, intellectual, thoughtful, reasoning, but not magnetic.
Let a learned man of the latter type address an audience and it will soon tire of his intellectual discourse, and will manifest symptoms of drowsiness. He talks at them, but not into them – he makes them think, not feel, which is most tiresome to the majority of persons, and few speakers succeed who attempt to merely make people think – they want to be made to feel. People will pay liberally to be made to feel or laugh, while they will begrudge a dime for instruction or talk that will make them think.
Pitted against a learned man of the type mentioned above, let there be a half-educated, but very loving, ripe and mellow man, with but nine-tenths of the logic and erudition of the first man, yet such a man carries along his crowd with perfect ease, and everybody is wide-awake, treasuring up every good thing that falls from his lips. The reasons are palpable and plain. It is heart against head; soul against logic; and is bound to win every time.
If you will notice the man and woman who are considered the most “magnetic,” you will find that almost invariably they are people who have what is called “soul” about them – that is, they manifest and induce “feeling,” or emotion. They manifest traits of character and nature similar to that manifested by actors and
actresses. They throw out a part of themselves, which seems to affect those coming in contact with them. Notice a non-magnetic actor, and you will see that although he may be letter perfect in his part, and may have acquired the proper mannerisms, gestures and other technical parts of his art, still he lacks a “certain something,” and that something may be seen to be the ability to communicate “feeling”.
Now, those who are in the secret know full well that many of the successful actors, who seem to burn with passion, feeling and emotion on the stage, really feel but little of these qualities while acting – they are like phonographs, giving off sounds that have been registered in them. But if you will investigate still further, you will see that in studying their parts and practicing the same privately, these people induced a stimulated emotion, such as the part called for, and held it firmly in their minds, accompanying it with the appropriate gestures, etc., until it became firmly “set” there – impressed upon the tablets of the mentality as the record of a phonograph is likewise impressed upon the wax.
Then, when afterward they played the part, the outward semblance of the feelings, with the motions, gestures, emphasis, etc. , reproduced itself and impressed the audience. It is said that if an actor allows himself to be actually carried away with his part so that he feels the same keenly, the result will not be advantageous, for he is overcome with the feeling and its effect is upon himself rather than upon his audience.
The best result is said to be obtained when one has first experienced and felt the emotion, and then afterward reproduces it in the manner above stated, without allowing it to control him.”