Paranormal Phenomenon Omnibus

Hypnosis

Introduction / History / As a Criminal Tool / Explanations / Electronic Hypnosis and Subliminal Messaging

What if you could control people's actions, reach their unconscious without their awareness, and compel them to act against their wishes? The subject of Hypnosis and subliminal manipulation has been a tool to achieve such ends. The word hypnosis comes from the Greek hypnos – "sleep". The X-Files referenced the subject of hypnosis on numerous occasions, with more of a twentieth century angle. Such episodes as "Blood" dealt with a hybrid of hypnosis and subliminal messages, and "Wetwired" dealt with similar ideas. Dr. Heitz Werber used regression hypnosis, considered a more reputable form of the field, to draw out Mulder's suppressed memory of his sister's abduction in the 70s. The subject was peripherally cited in "The Field Where I Died," "The Red and the Black," "Demons," "Orison," and "Jose Chung's From Outer Space"

Introduction / History / As a Criminal Tool / Explanations / Electronic Hypnosis and Subliminal Messaging

The subject of Hypnosis has held a long fascination with the general public, and it reached its zenith in the last years of the nineteen century, when George Du Maurier's novel, Trilby, (1894) garnered tremendous success. That tale dealt with an attractive artist's model in the Latin Quarter of Paris, who is one day hypnotized by a Hungarian musician named Svengali in order to cure her headache. He eventually hypnotizes her into becoming a great singer (in her normal state she can't sing on key) and eventually she is led to her ruin when Svengali is killed. Since Hypnosis was being becoming increasing popular during that period and beginning to achieve a certain medical respectability, psychiatrists lost no time in assuring the public that a real life Svengali was impossible. If a person under hypnosis was ordered to do something that he would normally find repugnant, he would instantly wake up.

Yet the hypnosis of human beings dates from the late eighteen century. The hypnosis of animals had been known in Europe since 1636, when mathematician Daniel Schwenter observed that if a small piece of bent wood was fixed on a hen's beak, the hen would stare at it and go into a trance. Ten years later the German Jesuit priest, Athanasius Kircher, described how if a hen's head was tucked under its wing, a few gentle swings through the air would send it into a trance, a method that French peasants still use at market when buying a live hen.

Franz Mesmer – the man with whose name hypnosis is associated with – was, in fact, the discoverer of a completely different technique. While the founder of "animal magnetism," using magnets to increase the flow of vital energy around one's body, one of his disciples, Armand Marie Jacques de Chastenet, tied a young peasant named Victor Race to a tree – whom he was treating for asthma – and made 'mesmeric' passes over him. Race's eyes were closed, yet he continued to reply to de Chastenet's remarks, and on his orders, untied himself and walked off across the park. de Chastenet had discovered hypnosis. He would often give public demonstrations of mind reading. The notion of an ability to influence hypnotized subjects telepathically was demonstrated consistently throughout the nineteenth century, but medicine dismissed it as myth. Once Mesmer was driven out of France, and died in 1815, the medical profession made certain to treat hypnosis as a fraud until Jean-Martin Charcot rediscovered it at the end of the century.

Introduction / History / As a Criminal Tool / Explanations / Electronic Hypnosis and Subliminal Messaging

One of the interesting, and relevant issues for here, is if hypnosis can be used to commit crimes? There have been countless, fascinating examples of the phenomenon being used to commit crimes, and exploit the vulnerable. Beginning with Jean-Martin Charcot in the late eighteen hundreds, he tried to make a hypnotized girl remove her clothes in a medical class, before she immediately woke up. Charcot noticed that patients suffering from hysteria behaved as if they were hypnotized. He demonstrated that a man who was convinced his arm was paralyzed would behave exactly as if it was, although there was nothing wrong with him medically. His problem was cured through hypnosis, whereby Charcot announced to the medical profession that hypnosis was simply a form a hysteria. His colleagues believed the mystery had been solved, and it ceased to be regarded as a fraud.

The use of hypnosis to commit criminal acts has been documented for a long time. In the 1800s, the French psychologist Pierre Janet was able to place one of his patients, a woman named Leonie, in a hypnotic trance from the other side of Le Havre and summon her to come to him. These experiments were performed under test conditions for the Society for Psychical Research. In the 1870s a stage hypnotist named Carl Hansen demonstrated a spectacular trick; he would tell the hypnotized subject that the subject would become as rigid as a board. The subject was placed across two chairs, with their head on one and their heels on another, and several people would sit or stand on their abdomen and the subject did not bend in the middle.

In 1934 a Heidelberg hypnotist named Franz Walter met a woman on a train and caused her to pass into a trance simply by taking her hand. After raping her, he ordered her to work for him as a prostitute, even going so far as to order her to make several attempts on her husband's life; when these failed he ordered her to commit suicide. A police surgeon succeeded in "unblocking' her memory, and Franz Walter was sentenced to ten years in prison.

There have been other contemporary examples of hypnosis being used as a criminal tool. In 1985 two Portuguese criminals, both named Manuel, succeeded in parting a number of victims from their life savings through hypnosis. One woman described how she had been simply talking to one of the men when he took her hand and she then described feeling "cold all over," falling into a stupor in which she obeyed orders to go home and withdraw her savings. The two men were caught later by accident when a hairdresser heard one of her clients being told (over the telephone) to meet them and give them money; she had heard of the earlier case, called the police, and the men were eventually deported.

There was another case in May, 1991 of a hypnotist named Nelson Linott who was tried in the Bristol Crown court of the charge of raping and/or assaulting one hundred and thirteen girls while under hypnosis. Fifty-seven at the time, he had learned hypnosis In South Africa, after a varied career as a driving instructor, a swimming pool superintendent, a barkeep, and a restaurateur. Linott had established the Britannia Lodge Health Center in Appledore, Devon, where, among other things, he undertook curing people with all kind of complaints, from nail-biting to smoking. This gave him the status and access to exploit such women.

Introduction / History / As a Criminal Tool / Explanations / Electronic Hypnosis and Subliminal Messaging

An answer as to what hypnosis is has been hard to define, and has remained unanswered to this day. Bernard Hollander's book Hypnosis and Self-Hypnosis (1928) offered a few suggestions: He points out that a subject under this state forgets his body. If his attention is drawn to his body, it feels heavy and immobile, and yet the patient is not asleep. Hollander draws the comparison that a hypnotized person is similar to someone absorbed in a play – the mind is wide awake but completely abstracted. This seems to imply that we have two minds, one of which deals with the surrounding world and copes with immediate experience, while the other can go "inside itself," into a subjective world.

Around the time that Freud was studying with Charcot in Paris, an American newspaper editor, Thomson Jay Hudson, was also investigating the mystery. After Hudson attended a hypnotic performance by the eminent physiologist of his day, William B. Carpenter, he was impressed with the subject's great knowledge under hypnosis, when all evidence pointed to the subject having fairly average intelligence. As Hudson studied similar cases, he came to the conclusion that we possess two minds – what he called the "objective mind," which copes with everyday reality, and the "subjective mind," which can become totally absorbed in an inner world. It should be noted that Hudson's theories share similar themes to C.G. Jung's work The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious, 1934, although the principle theories by Jung are the inverse of Hudson's intent.

But Hudson concluded that the subject displayed signs of genius under hypnosis, when the operations of his collective mind, like those of his body, were suspended. In other words, the objective mind serves as a kind of anchor, or ball-and-chain, on the subjective mind, but individuals of great genius have an odd faculty for allowing the two to work in harmony – like children. Hudson developed these theories in his book The Law of Psychic Phenomenon in 1893, further arguing that figures like Shakespeare and Mozart were able to tune in at will to the powers of the subjective mind. The miracles of Jesus and various saints, were simply manifestations of the same power. Hudson conducted his own experiments, healing with the aid of the subjective mind, later claiming he healed five hundred people, and he only failed in two cases and these – oddly enough - were patients who had been told that he had intended to cure them.

This led to Hudson's conclusion of another underlined peculiarity of the subjective mind: its powers have to work spontaneously, without self-consciousness, and that as soon as it becomes self-conscious, it freezes up, thus explaining why so many "psychics" fail when they are tested by skeptics. Because we have two minds, as previously mentioned with the Carl Hansen case, the objective mind is put to sleep, and then the hypnotist takes over the role of the objective mind.

While hypnosis captured the interest of both Freud and Jung early in their careers, Jung felt that his reputation as a hypnotherapist was instrumental in the establishment of his private practice. Both Freud and Jung abandoned hypnosis because they could not understand how the results were obtained. Furthermore, Freud was also bothered by the erotic transference induced through hypnosis – transference is the unconscious redirection of feelings from one person to another. To this day, hypnosis has not been incorporated into Jungian theory even though modern day hypnotherapy is far different from the authoritarian hypnosis that was known by Freud and Jung in their day.

One must also come to an understanding about how the physical brain works, and medically how the phenomenon might be explained. Hudson's "two minds" theory eventually would receive scientific backing decades later. Even by the nineteenth century it had been recognized that the two halves of the brain have different functions. Among others, the left half deals with speech, and the right half, the ability to recognize shapes and patterns. If there is damage to either lobe, one would lose the power to articulate or form patterns. The left side of the brain also governs logic and reason, while the right is involved with facial recognition and musical appreciation. One of the odd facts of human physiology is that the left side of the brain is controlled by the right side of the brain, and vice versa. The reasons are currently unknown, but many believe it makes for greater integration.

If you examine the brain, the upper part--the cerebral hemispheres--could be described as walnut-shaped with a bridge connecting the two halves. The bridge is a knot of nerves known as the corpus callosum, or the colossal commissure. Some rare individuals, by some biological mishap have no corpus callosum, yet seem to function normally In certain individuals with refractory (uncontrollable) epilepsy, a corpus callosotomy (severing of the corpus callosum) was done in an effort to prevent complex type or grand mal seizures. Experiments in the 1960s led to a greater understanding of these issues--that such operations had the effect of preventing one half of the brain from knowing what the other half knew. It would then seem that the hypnotist "anesthetizes" the left brain–makes it fall asleep–while the right brain is wide awake. Eric J. Dingswall's Abnormal Hypnotic Phenomena cited countless examples of 'telepathy under hypnosis' that had been demonstrated repeatedly in the nineteenth century.

Introduction / History / As a Criminal Tool / Explanations / Electronic Hypnosis and Subliminal Messaging

Yet, in our contemporary era, could modern technology via the television, radio signals, and digital media, achieve the same results? As suggested in such episodes as "Blood" and "Wetwired", it is possible. Yet in the case with "Blood", which blurs the line between hypnosis and subliminal manipulation, it did take an outside agent like a chemical alarm pheromone to drive people to act on the manipulation. While there's little evidence that humans exhibit such pheromones, mice, for example can sense 'bad vibe' pheromones if their space is stressed. The first human pheromone was discovered, found to be given off from the armpits of women to synchronize the menstrual cycles of other women in the vicinity. It's possible that other human pheromones are yet to be discovered. The compound identified in the episode "Blood," lysergic dimethryn, resembles lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) and that a 'fight or flight' reaction was triggered by the attackers, touching on their deepest unconscious fears.

There is a clear distinction by many that hypnosis and subliminal messaging are separate phenomena. In a hypnotic state, the mind is open to the power of suggestion, which has been cited here, as under the control of the person whom the subject allows to take their mind to a subconscious level, where it is assumed that the brain is receptive to any and all messages it processes. Subliminal messages, on the other hand, occur naturally and not at the mercy of an outside force. There are examples of subliminal messaging in advertising, as in the case of retail stores. This has been achieved with white noise to adjust certain behaviors. The most basic example with advertisers is product placement in retail stores. The practice has been tried in TV advertising by inserting two or three frames of a message into a scene. The practice has also been used in audio. All sounds are transmitted into the ear. These aural beats are transmitted into the brain, compartmentalized, and can be intrinsically processed. But can these practices be used in an insidious fashion by governments, and corporate power brokers to in fact 'program' destructive behavior?

In the X-Files episode, "Wetwired," Mulder brings to the Lone Gunmen an electronic device usually used to scramble cable signals, but this device is used to emit subliminal messages at 15 flashes per second, prompting a photic driving response (a term for a neurophysiological measure) using Tachistoscopic images (displaying an image for a very limited amount of time) to trigger a psychotropic effect (effecting mental activity, perception, or behavior), inducing a kind of virtual reality for the subjects. The byproduct was a rise in serotonin (a neurotransmitter synthesized chiefly in the gastrointestinal tract, that also has some cognitive functions, including memory and learning).

Underground conspiracy researchers have argued that governments have already employed the blending of hypnosis and subliminal messages in secret operation experiments. It has been argued that the National Security Administration and HARRP have conducted countless mind control projects. While there have been the conventional mind control techniques of sleep deprivation or psychotropic drugs, there have also been alleged cases of posthypnotic suggestion applied electronically, as inferred by the "Blood" / "Wetwired" episodes, through the means of Thought labels (subtle signals) that have been achieved through a posthypnotic delivery method.

When you consider that the subconscious mind operates at a speed of about 1200 to 1400 words per minute, many times faster than the conscious mind that operates at 250 to 450 words per minute, such a posthypnotic script can be read or imprinted at a faster rate. Such a technique was used in theatres of the 60s with the phrase 'drink Coca Cola.' The frame rate of a film is 30 frames per second. At 1/30th of a second, the conscious mind could not recognize the image, but the subconscious mind could read it clearly. The audience increased their Coca Cola consumption by 65%. The same techniques have been applied with sped up audio. Behavior modification processes have involved Triggering Techniques, Real-time Subconscious implant delivery, Prescheduled Subconscious implant delivery, and Event-Triggered (conditional) implant delivery.

Such subjects would have great difficulty in identifying these techniques unless they employed the following items for analysis: Professional state-of-the-art technology recording equipment, digital acoustic wave editing equipment, advanced engineering knowledge of acoustic wave science, phonetics and linguistics experience, hypnosis theory and scripting, and ideal environment conditions for recording. The delivery methods could be achieved through one's television or radio.

Therefore, the application, in theory, of conducting hypnosis or subliminal transmission electronically, without the need of an individual as the catalyst is plausible. Some have argued that the technology was perfected and conceived under CIA studies from the late 50s and early 60s.

This field holds fascinating questions about the power of the subconscious, what little understanding of why hypnosis seems to work, and how contemporary technology has become it's own Svengali–controlling the destiny and actions of others without their awareness.

Source:
"The Mammoth Encyclopedia of the Unsolved" by Colin & Damon Wilson, published by Carroll & Graft, © 2000

Article by Matt Allair
Page Editor: XScribe

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