This short story deals with mesmerism (hypnotism), which I understand was a common practice in the early nineteen century.
The story evolves around a young man from Virginia, who has developed a dependent relationship with a doctor who is studying the practices of hypnotism.
So this young man used to suffer from neuralgia. Every morning along with a breakfast of strong coffee he took morphine to dull the pain. One day after having breakfast he set out for his daily walk in the Ragged Mountain.
He returns late at night with a bizarre tale of foreign encounters in which he dies of a snake bite to the temple.
As the man is telling his tale, the doctor confirms that it was not a dream.
Within a few days the gentleman is dead, presumably because the doctor accidentally applied poisonous leeches to his temple.
After reading this story I was like ‘What the fuck!’ Is this a rambling of a drug user, a time travel, reincarnation or coincidence.
If you ask me, I think the narrator, the doctor and the young man were all stones and hallucinating.