Hypnosis: Bob gives dangling watch a chance by Bob Karolevitz Phyllis says she can't be hypnotized.
She said she couldn't. I said she could � and apparently I was wrong. So I asked Grandson Sam to do a little research for me, and � among other things � this is what he found on Google:
"? those who think hypnosis is rubbish can't be hypnotized."
Well, that pretty much summarizes Phyllis's thinking on the subject, but I keep wondering if there's more to it than dangling watches and smooth talk.
For instance, I once witnessed a collegiate basketball center "cured" of slamming the ball against the backboard � and missing layups until a soft touch was enhanced by a hypnotist.
Then I saw a professional master of ceremonies get hypnotized to keep from getting sick before he went on each time � and it worked.
The phenomenon was sort of like water-witching. You didn't know how it happened, but it did!
Of course, I think most so-called hypnotists are charlatans, especially the showroom types who work bars and club dates. Yet they put on a good act, and their highly suggestible subjects � out of the audience � are appropriately mesmerized by the practitioner to the delight of the slightly tipsy spectators.
Incidentally, "mesmerism" comes from Franz Anton Mesmer, the Austrian mystic and physician who was run out of Venice in 1778 for treating his patients with what he called "animal magnetism." He was discredited, but his magic cures became the forerunner of modern hypnotism.
(The term "hypnotism" was coined in the middle of the 19th century by an English physician named James Braid. I just threw that in so you'd know I did my research, other than Sam's.)
Today hypnosis is practiced in medicine, dentistry and police work. It supposedly has helped people stick to a diet, quit smoking and stop drinking. They say that it even made warts disappear.
Still, the images of sorcery, witchcraft and exorcism persist, perpetuated by movies, books, television shows and cartoonists. There are lots of stories of repressed memories of sexual abuse, mystical insights and occult happenings, too. UFOs and aliens in space ships also get into the act.
Fortunately, many states do not allow testimony induced by hypnotism to stand up in court because it is usually unreliable. That's one good thing to say about it.
Like Phyllis, I've never been hypnotized. But unlike her, my reason is the fear that I won't wake up once the hypnotist goes away.
There are many myths about hypnosis, and that's one of them. Another is that a person in a trance will reveal poor potty training or other embarrassing traits which they don't want known.
All I know is that hypnotism sometimes works, and I'm gullible enough to give it a chance.
By the way, I also believe in Santa Claus, the Easter bunny and tooth fairies!
© 2004 Robert F. Karolevitz