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How To Hypnotize

Dr. Cocke's Method--Dr. Flint's Method--The French Method at Paris--at

Nancy--The Hindoo Silent Method--How to Wake a Subject from Hypnotic

Sleep--Frauds of Public Hypnotic Entertainers.

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

ollows: 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.


Dr. Herbert L. Flint, a stage hypnotizer, describes his methods as


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.'

I do not, however, use this method with all patients. It is an error to

state, as some specialists do, that from their formula there can be no

deviation; because, as no two minds are constituted alike, so they

cannot be affected alike. While one will yield by intense will exerted

through my eyes, another may, by the same means, become fretful, timid,

nervous, and more wakeful than he was before. The same rule applies to

gesture, tones of the voice, and mesmeric passes. That which has a

soothing and lulling effect on one, may have an opposite effect on

another. There can be no unvarying rule applicable to all patients. The

means must be left to the judgment of the operator, who by a long course

of psychological training should be able to judge what measures are

necessary to obtain control of his subject. Just as in drugs, one person

may take a dose without injury that will kill another, so in hypnosis,

one person can be put into a deep sleep by means that would be totally

ineffectual in another, and even then the mental states differ in each

individual--that which in one induces a gentle slumber may plunge his

neighbor into a deep cataleptic state.

That hypnotism may be produced by purely physical or mechanical means

seems to have been demonstrated by an incident which started Doctor

Burq, a Frenchman, upon a scientific inquiry which lasted many years.

While practising as a young doctor, he had one day been obliged to go

out and had deemed it advisable to lock up a patient in his absence.

Just as he was leaving the house he heard the sound as of a body

suddenly falling. He hurried back into the room and found his patient in

a state of catalepsy. Monsieur Burq was at that time studying magnetism,

and he at once sought for the cause of this phenomenon. He noticed that

the door-handle was of copper. The next day he wrapped a glove around

the handle, again shut the patient in, and this time nothing occurred.

He interrogated the patient, but she could give him no explanation. He

then tried the effect of copper on all the subjects at the Salpetriere

and the Cochin hospitals, and found that a great number were affected by


At the Charity hospital in Paris, Doctor Luys used an apparatus moved by

clockwork. Doctor Foveau, one of his pupils, thus describes it:

The hypnotic state, generally produced by the contemplation of a bright

spot, a lamp, or the human eye, is in his case induced by a peculiar

kind of mirror. The mirrors are made of pieces of wood cut prismatically

in which fragments of mirrors are incrusted. They are generally double

and placed crosswise, and by means of clockwork revolve automatically.

They are the same as sportsmen use to attract larks, the rays of the sun

being caught and reflected on every side and from all points of the

horizon. If the little mirrors in each branch are placed in parallel

lines in front of a patient, and the rotation is rapid, the optic organ

soon becomes fatigued, and a calming soothing somnolence ensues. At

first it is not a deep sleep, the eye-lids are scarcely heavy, the

drowsiness slight and restorative. By degrees, by a species of training,

the hypnotic sleep differs more and more from natural sleep, the

individual abandons himself more and more completely, and falls into one

of the regular phases of hypnotic sleep. Without a word, without a

suggestion or any other action, Dr. Luys has made wonderful cures.

Wecker, the occulist, has by the same means entirely cured spasms of the


Professor Delboeuf gives the following account of how the famous

Liebault produced hypnotism at the hospital at Nancy. We would

especially ask the reader to note what he says of Dr. Liebault's manner

and general bearing, for without doubt much of his success was due to

his own personality. Says Professor Delboeuf:

His modus faciendi has something ingenious and simple about it,

enhanced by a tone and air of profound conviction; and his voice has

such fervor and warmth that he carries away his clients with him.

After having inquired of the patient what he is suffering from, without

any further or closer examination, he places his hand on the patient's

forehead and, scarcely looking at him, says, 'You are going to sleep.'

Then, almost immediately, he closes the eyelids, telling him that he is

asleep. After that he raises the patient's arm, and says, 'You cannot

put your arm down.' If he does, Dr. Liebault appears hardly to notice

it. He then turns the patient's arm around, confidently affirming that

the movement cannot be stopped, and saying this he turns his own arms

rapidly around, the patient remaining all the time with his eyes shut;

then the doctor talks on without ceasing in a loud and commanding voice.

The suggestions begin:

'You are going to be cured; your digestion will be good, your sleep

quiet, your cough will stop, your circulation will become free and

regular; you are going to feel very strong and well, you will be able to

walk about,' etc., etc. He hardly ever varies the speech. Thus he fires

away at every kind of disease at once, leaving it to the client to find

out his own. No doubt he gives some special directions, according to the

disease the patient is suffering from, but general instructions are the

chief thing.

The same suggestions are repeated a great many times to the same

person, and, strange to say, notwithstanding the inevitable monotony of

the speeches, and the uniformity of both style and voice, the master's

tone is so ardent, so penetrating, so sympathetic, that I have never

once listened to it without a feeling of intense admiration.

The Hindoos produce sleep simply by sitting on the ground and, fixing

their eyes steadily on the subject, swaying the body in a sort of

writhing motion above the hips. By continuing this steadily and in

perfect silence for ten or fifteen minutes before a large audience,

dozens can be put to sleep at one time. In all cases, freedom from noise

or distractive incidents is essential to success in hypnotism, for

concentration must be produced.

Certain French operators maintain that hypnotism may be produced by

pressure on certain hypnogenic points or regions of the body. Among

these are the eye-balls, the crown of the head, the back of the neck and

the upper bones of the spine between the shoulder glades. Some persons

may be hypnotized by gently pressing on the skin at the base of the

finger-nails, and at the root of the nose; also by gently scratching the

neck over the great nerve center.

Hypnotism is also produced by sudden noise, as if by a Chinese gong,