Hypnotism - is it bunk or is it real?

Nostromo

Ad Honorem
Jan 2014
2,504
Queens
My uncle went to a hypnotist to quit smoking cigs (he was a bad chain smoker) and it actually worked... for a while.
 

Black Dog

Ad Honorem
Mar 2008
9,990
Damned England
I was at a college in north Wales and a hypnotist came along one night. In the name of not getting on the wick of the locals, local people were invited too. They normally shun students.

The locals who attended were mostly women, as you'd expect. But the rest were people I knew, this being a small college.

The hypnotist had one man who I knew lying on his back, shrieking that he was giving birth. Another was prancing around the stage, like a fairy. He didn't normally do this.

And then the hypnotist got a young local woman up on stage and told her that she was a woman who had been cruelly dumped by the only man she'd ever loved and that this had broken her heart. After building this up, he told her that the man who had been so cruel was right there, in the audience. He singled out a bloke I knew.

She stormed right off the stage, and gave him one hell of a slap. Then she burst into tears and sobbed and put her arms around him. I know for a fact that she'd never seen him before, because he was a Geordie and this was North Wales.

It was very convincing, and what did it for me was the fact that two very different groups of people were participants, and the nature of the student-local relationship mostly precluded any connivance.

Naomasa, yes, your trick worked on me. Could you explain?
 

sculptingman

Ad Honorem
Oct 2009
3,693
San Diego
Has anyone on Historum ever been hypnotised or hypnotised anyone else? Does anyone know if it's definitely real and how easy is it to do?

If it was real then surely it could be used against terrorists or criminals?

I'm quite interested in learning hypnotism, there's so many things I could do! :cool:
Hypnotism is not even remotely what folks tend to think it is. It is literally nothing moe than acting under suggestion. The submission to another's expressed will.

People can be grouped into three broad categories. The suggestible. The Anti-suggestible, and the non-suggestible.

Of these categories, the Non-suggestible are the people who can not be hypnotized... They simply do not pay any attention to suggestion. They are the only true free agents in human society.

The anti-suggestible are odd ducks, because they recognize when others are trying to press their will upon them, but rather than just ignoring the suggestion... they react to perceived suggestion by doing the diametrical opposite.
In this sense, they are not true free agents, because they are still being steered by suggestion... reacting as if the attempt to manipulate them was the most important thing to oppose... rather than considering the suggestion freely and choosing based upon the suggestions actual merits to them.

And the suggestible are the vast majority of people. They range from readily suggestible to resistant- and any individual can also swing from readily to resistant in the course of a day- or weeks.

Hypnotism can not recover memories. It can not give you super strength. It can not make you break a bad habit.
And the sad truth is, that the vast majority of people, the vast majority of the time BEHAVE precisely as if they are acting under suggestion.
Drive on any highway in the rush hour and the fact that no-one is using the shoulder to move ahead? THAT is acting under suggestion...


Frederick Pohl wrote a sci fi novel called the cool war- about advertising and hypnosis in which he recounts as part of the narrative something that he actually experienced.
He was at the after party from a Vegas show in which a 'hypnotist' had hypnotized a bunch of audience members- tapping out those that did not get hypnotized, and putting the remainder thru a bunch of silly stunts.

AT the party- someone asked the hypnotist where he got his qualifications... where he learned to hypnotize.
And he said- Nowhere- I have no qualifications, and never 'learned' to hypnotize.

And the people standing there were shocked and said 'then its all just a trick!?"

to which he replied... "Here's the thing... All I know is that if I start the act with enough people on stage...that I will Always end up with half a dozen who will do everything and anything i tell them to do...
so you tell me, Are they hypnotized?"

And the answer is that- yes they are- because the only definition of being hypnotized is that you follow suggestion.

Hypnotism is nothing but surrendering your will to someone else- be that a therapist- or a fast food commercial that gets you to buy a burger.


Oh- and that whole thing about "not remembering" anything when you 'wake up" yeah- that's horse puckey.

The subject is simply agreeing to pretend they don't remember.
 
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Belgarion

Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
6,815
Australia
I have been hypnotised once and while I have trouble believing all this stage hypnotism is genuine, it really works in a medical sense.
 

Earl_of_Rochester

Ad Honoris
Feb 2011
13,609
Perambulating in St James' Park
Hypnotism is not even remotely what folks tend to think it is. It is literally nothing moe than acting under suggestion. The submission to another's expressed will.

People can be grouped into three broad categories. The suggestible. The Anti-suggestible, and the non-suggestible.

Of these categories, the Non-suggestible are the people who can not be hypnotized... They simply do not pay any attention to suggestion. They are the only true free agents in human society.

The anti-suggestible are odd ducks, because they recognize when others are trying to press their will upon them, but rather than just ignoring the suggestion... they react to perceived suggestion by doing the diametrical opposite.
In this sense, they are not true free agents, because they are still being steered by suggestion... reacting as if the attempt to manipulate them was the most important thing to oppose... rather than considering the suggestion freely and choosing based upon the suggestions actual merits to them.

And the suggestible are the vast majority of people. They range from readily suggestible to resistant- and any individual can also swing from readily to resistant in the course of a day- or weeks.

Hypnotism can not recover memories. It can not give you super strength. It can not make you break a bad habit.
And the sad truth is, that the vast majority of people, the vast majority of the time BEHAVE precisely as if they are acting under suggestion.
Drive on any highway in the rush hour and the fact that no-one is using the shoulder to move ahead? THAT is acting under suggestion...


Frederick Pohl wrote a sci fi novel called the cool war- about advertising and hypnosis in which he recounts as part of the narrative something that he actually experienced.
He was at the after party from a Vegas show in which a 'hypnotist' had hypnotized a bunch of audience members- tapping out those that did not get hypnotized, and putting the remainder thru a bunch of silly stunts.

AT the party- someone asked the hypnotist where he got his qualifications... where he learned to hypnotize.
And he said- Nowhere- I have no qualifications, and never 'learned' to hypnotize.

And the people standing there were shocked and said 'then its all just a trick!?"

to which he replied... "Here's the thing... All I know is that if I start the act with enough people on stage...that I will Always end up with half a dozen who will do everything and anything i tell them to do...
so you tell me, Are they hypnotized?"

And the answer is that- yes they are- because the only definition of being hypnotized is that you follow suggestion.

Hypnotism is nothing but surrendering your will to someone else- be that a therapist- or a fast food commercial that gets you to buy a burger.


Oh- and that whole thing about "not remembering" anything when you 'wake up" yeah- that's horse puckey.

The subject is simply agreeing to pretend they don't remember.


And yet that last bit would go a bit against what black dog was saying. Surely there must be some sort of progress people go through to act like prats, otherwise everyone on camera/stage would do whatever anyone else said.

This also has certain historical consequences and may explain some of the actions of Hitler's willing executioners.
 

Earl_of_Rochester

Ad Honoris
Feb 2011
13,609
Perambulating in St James' Park
Earl ... "there's so many things I could do!" The Self, the "I", craves power, and power magnifies the "I" and a seemingly endless chain of effects all leading to suffering. I know your intentions are "pure" and you would like to transform the world into a better place. Good intentions aren't enough. The world is a complex fabric, and we see/know so little of it that error is almost a given. Let the world tend to its own bruises and warts for a little longer whilst you weed your own garden. Put your attention on living in such a way as to mitigate the suffering that you do. We complain of the lack of civility in modern intercourse, but we can't control the way others think, or speak, or behave. We do, however have the potential of controlling ourselves. It seems easy, but it is not.

Pure you say? Why er, yes... Yes of course. I would never dream of ahem, lowering myself to perverse or nefarious activities. Tho I do wonder whether it may have some affect on life's little enjoyments.

BTW, we may not be able to visit this May, but this visit is among our highest priorities. Even if we get there, we won't be able to stop in Rochester to see you. We will be in Canterbury from the evening of the 18th until sometime in the morning?? of the 20th when we go up to London for two days. From London the plan is to ride Britrail up to Berwick-on-Tweed and Stirling before taking the train down to Liverpool for a flight back to Shannon, Ireland. Given Natalie's problems, we may have to cut entirely the Scottish leg of the trip. Can we get refunds on BritRail Passes? Oh well...

Canterbury is a splendid town, let me know when you plan to visit and I'll gladly show you some of the places I know there. Most of the museums are free tho I'm not sure about the cathedral. You'd probably have to check the national rail website for tickets. It's generally cheaper to book in advance and travel during off peak hours (10am-3pmish).
 

Naomasa298

Forum Staff
Apr 2010
35,919
T'Republic of Yorkshire
Naomasa, yes, your trick worked on me. Could you explain?
The trick is, of course, not actually hypnotism but it's a device used by a stage hypnotist to weed out people whop are not susceptible.

Your fingers will naturally move together if you do this. You can stop it happening either by relaxing your hands or tensing them to force your fingers apart.

The hypnotist suggests to the audience that he is the one responsible for making it happen. I do it by saying "watch my hand, as you watch, your fingers will move closer together".

Anyone who resists is someone who doesn't like the idea of being hypnotised and will not allow themselves to be put into the hypnotist's "power". When you're doing stage hypnotism, you don't have time to overcome this, so you have to pick the audience members who are most susceptible. This is one way of narrowing it down.
 

Black Dog

Ad Honorem
Mar 2008
9,990
Damned England
If someone suggested to me that I prance around a stage, I'd tell them to get stuffed.

Similarly, by the example I saw, a north Welsh woman is unlikely to interact with an English student like that, and rarely are people such good actors even if they try their best. There may be some other explanation, but collusion between hypnotists and subjects was extremely unlikely and, as I said, play acting was also unlikely to be so convincing. Most people simp!y can't act, and that includes many actors.

Another incident that happened with had a funny ending was that one subject, whilst being "hypnotised", " admitted" that he was "anxious" about continuing his studies at a much larger university, since he was worried about "homophobia".

Some daft woman, who didn't get that he isn't gay, wrote on his behalf to the university, expressing his concerns. When he finally went to the university, he had a welcoming committee of gays and accomadation in the " gay block". Of course, he was entirely baffled, as he had no memory of his "homosexuality" whilst under "hypnosis".