Format: Global Grey free PDF, epub, Kindle ebook
Pages (PDF): 93
Publication Date: 1903
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First let us quote what is said of hypnotism in Foster's Encyclopedic Medical Dictionary. The dictionary states the derivation of the word from the Greek word meaning sleep, and gives as synonym "Braidism". This definition follows: "An abnormal state into which some persons may be thrown, either by a voluntary act of their own, such as gazing continuously with fixed attention on some bright object held close to the eyes, or by the exercise of another person's will; characterized by suspension of the will and consequent obedience to the promptings of suggestions from without. The activity of the organs of special sense, except the eye, may be heightened, and the power of the muscles increased. Complete insensibility to pain may be induced by hypnotism, and it has been used as an anaesthetic. It is apt to be followed by a severe headache of long continuance, and by various nervous disturbances. On emerging from the hypnotic state, the person hypnotized usually has no remembrance of what happened during its continuance, but in many persons such remembrance may be induced by 'suggestion'. About one person in three is susceptible to hypnotism, and those of the hysterical or neurotic tendency (but rarely the insane) are the most readily hypnotized."
First we will quote the directions for producing hypnotism given by Dr. James R. Cocke, one of the most scientific experimenters in hypnotism in America. His directions of are special value, since they are more applicable to American subjects than the directions given by French writers. Says Dr. Cocke: "The hypnotic state can be produced in one of the following ways: First, command the subject to close his eyes. Tell him his mind is a blank. Command him to think of nothing. Leave him a few minutes; return and tell him he cannot open his eyes. If he fails to do so, then begin to make any suggestion which may be desired. This is the so-called mental method of hypnotization.
"Secondly, give the subject a coin or other bright object. Tell him to look steadfastly at it and not take his eyes away from it. Suggest that his eyelids are growing heavy, that he cannot keep them open. Now close the lids. They cannot be opened. This is the usual method employed by public exhibitors. A similar method is by looking into a mirror, or into a glass of water, or by rapidly revolving polished disks, which should be looked at steadfastly in the same way as is the coin, and I think tires the eyes less. "Another method is by simply commanding the subject to close his eyes, while the operator makes passes over his head and hands without coming in contact with them. Suggestions may be made during these passes.
"Fascination, as it is called, is one of the hypnotic states. The operator fixes his eyes on those of the subject. Holding his attention for a few minutes, the operator begins to walk backward; the subject follows. The operator raises the arm; the subject does likewise. Briefly, the subject will imitate any movement of the hypnotist, or will obey any suggestion made by word, look or gesture, suggested by the one with whom he is en rapport.
"A very effective method of hypnotizing a person is by commanding him to sleep, and having some very soft music played upon the piano, or other stringed instrument. Firm pressure over the orbits, or over the finger- ends and root of the nail for some minutes may also induce the condition of hypnosis in very sensitive persons. "Also hypnosis can frequently be induced by giving the subject a glass of water, and telling him at the same time that it has been magnetized. The wearing of belts around the body, and rings round the fingers, will also, sometimes, induce a degree of hypnosis, if the subject has been told that they have previously been magnetized or are electric. The latter descriptions are the so-called physical methods described by Dr. Moll."
Dr. Herbert L. Flint, a stage hypnotizer, describes his methods as follows:
"To induce hypnotism, I begin by friendly conversation to place my patient in a condition of absolute calmness and quiescence. I also try to win his confidence by appealing to his own volitional effort to aid me in obtaining the desired clad. I impress upon him that hypnosis in his condition is a benign agency, and far from subjugating his mentality, it becomes intensified to so great an extent as to act as a remedial agent.
"Having assured myself that he is in a passive condition, I suggest to him, either with or without passes, that after looking intently at an object for a few moments, he will experience a feeling of lassitude. I steadily gaze at his eyes, and in a monotonous tone I continue to suggest the various stages of sleep. As for instance, I say, 'Your breathing is heavy. Your whole body is relaxed.' I raise his arm, holding it in a horizontal position for a second or two, and suggest to him that it is getting heavier and heavier. I let my hand go and his arm falls to his side.
"'Your eyes,' I continue, 'feel tired and sleepy. They are fast closing' repeating in a soothing tone the words 'sleepy, sleepy, sleep.' Then in a self-assertive tone, I emphasize the suggestion by saying in an unhesitating and positive tone, 'sleep.'