May 2008

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Diana W

I've tried 2 different hypnotists in the past, but with both of them I felt like I was "faking it", lifting my hand because they asked and I wanted to keep things moving, not because it floated up. But I'm certain I *could* be hypnotized, because for me, that's what a well written book does. I become part of the story, becoming completely oblivious to my actual surroundings. Maybe if J. K. Rowling or Tom Clancy were my hypnotist I'd have better results.

Craig Fluck

The late Milton Erikson, comes to mind whenever I hear/read about hynosis. His use of observation in hypnotherapy and his positive view of the unconscious mind are most enlightening. The foundation named for him still provides wonderful training opportunities.


You forgot to end with "Send me money."

Scott (Not Adams)

In your opinion, Uncle Scott, is Derren Brown doing hypnosis, or something else, particularly in "The Heist" episode where a few of his subjects end up robbing an armored car at gun point, and in "Photo Booth Hypnosis" where he gets a guy from London to Marrakech without him waking up?


Hypnosis transformed my love life. My girlfriends didn't realise there were so many rude things they actually wanted to do. It was incredible.


Holy Shit!
I went to a Catholic High School in Washington, DC, and during our Junior year we were required to go on a "retreat" with the Christian Brothers (nothing morbid or perverted coming)....
At the end of the retreat, we all gathered together and one of the Brothers took us through almost the exact same scenario that you described.
Sit down. Get comfortable. Feet on the ground. Close your eyes. Imagine yourself walking through a forest. You come across a stream and you follow it. You come to a meadow. In the distance you see someone walking towards you. You begin to recognize this person as he gets closer. He greets you and introduces himself as Jesus.


There is a danger, you can implant false memories that never happened. You only have to look at the cases were families were wrecked by someone who under hypnosis "discovered" that a relative or father raped them. By asking the question a false memory is introduced and the damage is done. It's an occultic practice thats a lot more dangerous than you think.


"That’s why any story you hear about someone recovering a memory of abuse or alien abductions or anything else under hypnosis is always bullshit."

My cousin remembered a trip to Austria she took with her parents as a little child. She remembered this under hypnosis, and of course if it were a memory that was "planted" there by the hypnotist then the illusion of "remembering" it would only last until her parents told her that they had never been to Austria.

Could this be a case of hypnosis increasing the power to "focus"? Or is it another case of constructing a memory around a partially remembered photograph?

LA Clay

That was really long, you should write books


How do you come out of Hypnosis?

Lea Johnston

This sounds very simlia to NLP, which covers most of the topics you descibe.
Its an incredible tool when used by an expert, as with most things, its not what you know, but how you use it.

Instinctive Traveller

thank you! that was most entertaining and informative.

you know what? my friend is into this hyponsis thing and he makes a great deal of it, as in he says you can be controlled. i suppose everyone i know thinks the same. you've really turned a light on.

thanks again.


I've often heard the claim that someone can't be 'hypnotised' into committing a crime, but that doesn't seem consistent with what I've seen.

In one example, I've seen someone hypnotised and given a bucket of water. They were then told if they saw someone on fire, they should not panic but simply throw the bucket of water on the person to put out the flames.

Then (of course) they were told that a particular audience member was on fire.

The result - as expected, they threw the bucket of water on the audience member.

Clearly, the person under hypnosis had committed (or potentially committed) a crime - throwing a bucket of water over someone is clearly the crime of assault. (If you don't believe me, pick a random politician and try it. I know of at least one prison sentence for assault after someone threw a single egg at a politician) Remember that the person being hypnotised had no way of knowing if the audience member had agreed to be on the receiving end of this prank - so they had no way of knowing if was honestly a crime or not.

Surely, then, it is clearly possible to convince someone to commit at least that crime by hypnosis.

Surely there are others ?

If you can give a bucket of water to a person under hypnosis and convince them to dump it on a random person (because you are told that they are on fire) surely you could give the person under hypnosis a gun and tell them it is a water pistol, and that they are playing a water pistol game with the audience member.

What would the result be -- assuming that the person being hypnotised is the 1 in 5 group?

What if the person was a bank teller (or at a change counter) and you hypnotised them into 'imagining' a genuine $100 dollar note everytime you gave them Monopoly money?

Surely once you can fool someone into imagining things you suggest, you can commit many crimes ?


jerry w.

Relax, just sit back, make yourself comfortable. You deserve it, don't you?

Very soon you won't feel the discomfort of that massive wallet in your pocket.

It really stopped this afternoon, it's almost like as soon as you took all those dirty $20.00 bills out and left them in your home.

You know, in an envelope with my name and address on it.

The one you'll mail later today when the sun is shining and the birds are singing.

You know how much you like that feeling, the only thing holding it back is that envelope with my name and address that you forgot to mail, we should take care of that soon, huh? Free your mind and your heart will follow. Into the sunshine.

If you're feeling too tired to mail it, paypal would be o.k. The birds will sing for that too, maybe where the sun doesn't shine.

We like that, don't we?

Just keep your eyes closed and think about all the nice things you could do when you're more in tune with the sunshine and singing birds.

I'm waiting for you to take us there......

Tweet tweet tweet......

Mmmm, sunshine....

Aditya Simha

Hell, if hypnosis helps with dates, then sign me up for it!

Joseph Zastrow MD FAAFP

Rich's comment; {Scott, I have been diagnosed with cancer, and having been subject to two separate "miracle healings" earlier in life, for lack of better terminology,}

See David Spiegel's work at Stanford regarding metastatic breast cancer. The hypnosis group on average lived 18 months longer than the control group.

Spiegel D; Bloom JR; Kraemer HC; Gottheil E
Effect of psychosocial treatment on survival of patients with metastatic breast cancer.
Lancet, 1989 Oct 14, 2(8668):888-91.

Abstract: The effect of psychosocial intervention on time of survival of 86 patients with metastatic breast cancer was studied prospectively.

The 1-year intervention consisted of weekly supportive group therapy with self-hypnosis for pain. Both the treatment (n = 50) and control groups (n = 36) had routine oncological care.

At 10-year follow-up, only 3 of the patients were alive, and death records were obtained for the other 83. Survival from time of randomization and onset of intervention was a mean 36.6 (SD 37.6) months in the intervention group compared with 18.9 (10.8) months in the control group, a significant difference. Survival plots indicated that divergence in survival began at 20 months after entry, or 8 months after intervention ended.

{When I was a kid, my family doctor was a hypnotist.}

Not too many of us around anymore... but hopefully we will make a comeback. Sadly this therapy is not re-imbursed well and so many doctors have little time to give such a wonderful therapy. It receives regular false ridicule by stage hypnotists. But for the few of us who practice "clinical hypnosis" within family practice I assure you it is rewarding.

Scott, maybe Dilbert the hypno-mythbuster can make an appearance? What you could do to convince the public in one Sunday strip would take us physicians years.

We have cocaine that can be used as a perfectly good topical nasal anesthetic, but it can also be abused for fun and frolic. Hypnosis is quite similar; it is a powerful medical tool in medical hands and a potential problem in the wrong hands.

It is about time the public gets a proper education on how hypnosis can help them and stop the chicken quaking stories. Thank you for your Blog!


I wonder if you will create a sudden increase in the demand for hypnotist classes. I want to learn it!
You know how they always have those things where a great hypnotist comes to town to hypnotise people into losing weight or quitting smoking and so on? From what you've said then these are perhaps more real than I had thought, but still scams. Yes, real hypnosis might be going on, but it will probably require more than one session, and at least up to 5, to create a change in that person's life as a result of the hypnosis even if the person does want to change. So all that money people pay to go is not well spent.
I also read in some science magazine (New scientist or scientific armerican) that some people cannot be hypnotised, whereas you say everyone can be. It may depend on the exact definition. They did have research showing that belief in hypnosis was not a factor in being able to be hypnotised. You could believe in it and not have it happen or vice versa.


"But religion can convince someone to kill himself by creating an imaginary afterlife with plentiful virgins for martyrs. So on a scale of dangerous imaginary things, hypnosis is somewhere closer to advertising, well below peer pressure, nowhere near religion."

I think you have to be fair and differentiate between religion itself and the actions of adherents. You are clearly referencing Islam in this sentence and falling into the trap of putting religion as the root of all evil. It is not religion that is evil, it is an ideology teamed with a corrupt, persuasive leader that causes people to forgo reason and commit crimes. This is what the anti-religious ideologies of the 20th century and the destruction they caused taught us. No one blames science for Nazi killing of handicapped people although they tried using social Darwinism to justify it. The scientific community rejects it. So just as there is such a thing as responsible science, there is such a thing as responsible religion. When people understand this and start blaming *humans* themselves and not religion or science, only then can the secular and religious communities move forward for the betterment of humanity.


Sorry, I know that was off-topic but just some thoughts. Nice post nonetheless.


So if a person's mindset can be altered with hypnosis, even subtly, and they volunteer for it. Wouldn't this be an example of a Moist Robot re-programming itself, even if with a third party, and therefore, a point in favour of Free Will?


Simply fascinating! It is the clearest explanation of hypnosis I have ever seen. Thank you. Keep up the good work.

Matthew Kovich

Any tips on finding a qualified hypnosis instructor?

I've been hypnotized (and experienced "the phenomena"), and also studied it in a psychology class - it is everything you say it is.

I'm going to be a teacher, so besides the obvious benefits of the "super powers", I think it could help me tremendously.

If you have the time, any tips would be appreciated -


Psychologists have been doing research with & on hypnosis for about 100 years. For lots of information on the science behind hypnosis and suggestion check out:


I was hypnotized many years ago in a pub. My Nana had talked me into going out with them for this hypnotists show a few days earlier, I was absolutely shattered on the night but couldn't talk my way out of it because she was so excited about going.

The guy had some interesting patter but I was basically tuning out and wishing for bed, then he asked everyone in the audience to lace their fingers together and imagine their hands were fusing together at the joints.

He then told everyone to pull their hands apart - I and about 8 other people couldn't so he 'invited us on stage'
In all honesty I don't remember much, it was a long time ago and my thinking was a little fuzzy, there was a non-stripping strip tease and some messing about, but there started off with a stage full of people and by the end of the night there was just me and I don't know when the others were dismissed.

It was an interesting experience, it was like I was watching the room through a partition or window, I was present but not.. it was like I was just too tired to care and so did practically anything the guy suggested. If he'd have asked me to do something I found repugnant i knew I could 'come out of it' but I wasn't so against any of his suggestions that I could be bothered to.
When he 'woke me up' again I was Sooooo not tired anymore, I was buzzing and raring to go, so much so I was almost manic according to my friends. I went from the pub to the local club had a brilliant night and woke up the next morning feeling fabulous.

Methinks that must make me one of the 'lucky bastards' you describe.


I'd definitely do it again that's for sure.

Listo Cómics

Highly educational! Thank you for sharing!


Great post Scott! It got me thinking about the time I was hypnotized by the Great Kreskin, which I just blogged about here.

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