The Lowdown: “An American Tragedy: Rape Under Hypnosis”

The January, 1960 (Volume 5, Number 4) issue of The Lowdown magazine includes a three-page (just under one page of text and backed by a lurid double-page spread image of staring eyes) relating the “personal” experience of “a young and pretty former prostitute who was hired by THE LOWDOWN to track rumors that doctors were hypnotizing housewives and seducing them.”

The text does not offer any proof that there were even such rumors, only mentioning a doctor in New Mexico who allegedly hypnotized several women, including getting one of them pregnant: no other details were included. Instead the story reads like a “true confessions” personal story about two different encounters that are light on specificities that could have been pieced together from any number of period resources about hypnosis.

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Bachelor Goes to a Hypnotism Party”

The December, 1964 (Volume 5, number 6) issue of Bachelor magazine published a five page photo spread of a “hypnotism party”. The photographs include female nudity.

What will they think of next? Among the arty set, the old party pickups like alcohol and marijuana just can’t hold a candle to the kicks one can get from a candle-waving hypnotist.”

During soirée at sculptor Ed Lass’ apartment in N.Y.‘s Lower East Side, dull moments were ended when hypnotism began.”

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The Hypnotism Museum — A Dream

I’ve looked, and there is no museum devoted to hypnosis anywhere in the world, at least nothing with any kind of web presense or news stories about it. The best I found through a web search was a short-lived exposition almost 20 years ago.

This is disappointing, since there are plenty of museums to even the most trivial of subjects, so why not hypnotism? Plus, I’ve spent the past *mumble mumble* decades collecting The Hypnosis in Media Collection, and I’ve invested a lot of time, money, emotion and devotion to it and I want to see it in the hands of people who would be as committed to it as me: I want it to be continued, maintained and used. I just don’t have the time, the energy, the contacts, the funds or the expertise to do it.

So what would the Hypnotism Museum look like? Possibly a location like a movie memorabilia store I found in Los Angeles over a decade ago, when I was looking for hypnosis-related movie memorabilia, publicity photographs, posters, etc. It was literally on the bottom floor of a two-story urban mall, with ethnic stores around it and a Japanese restaurant / bar on the upper floor that overlooked the hall on the lower floor. Only in Los Angeles …

Anyway, I can dream, though, and I can imagine, and I can convert those dreams and imaginings into words. (And maybe, one day, into reality.)

Here they are:

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The Lust Sleepers”

The Lust Sleepers” (1964) by J X Williams

A classic example of the 1960’s hypno-porn. John Thursday, the protagonist, makes a living providing hypnotic services for voyers and subjects. When one of his subjects commits suicide, he flees to New York where he gets blackmailed to assist Reich, who runs BDSM parties at his remote manor with a heavy emphasis on B and S.

The inside cover text reads:


John Thursday has a special trick. His sincere looks mask the ability to hypnotize any unwilling wanton until she casts aside all her inhibitions to perform any shameful set Thursday can think to command. Like Greta, on the office couch, who goes through such throes of ecstasy there is nothing left for her … but the long fall outside the office window. Like Rita, the redhead on the plane, who shows Thursday what love / hate really means. Like Mae, whose trance revealed a degradation that was alarming in its intensity. Or like Reich, the twisted degenerate who used extortion to persuade Thursday to do his evil bidding.

The back text reads:

TORTURE CELLAR… That’s where the sadistic Reich kept all his little impliments [sic] of pleasure. The shackles, the cells, the whips. Right there beneath his palatial country estate. And it is so easy for him to find guests to people his weekend orgies. Each of them going through their shameless paces at Reich’s bidding, never knowing what exquisite pleasures waited below… pleasures for Reich, that is… as the whip tenses in his hand. Into this hell-hole he blackmails John Thursday… to perform Thursday’s special degrading trick on Mae Davis… while all the other changing partners watched in delight…

GoodReads has a very good description of it here.

I believe J X Williams is a house name, because there are far too many books with that name listed from this and allied publishers.

The Shadow” — The Origin

Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?”
“The Shadow knows”

With that, one of the most successful pulp characters was introduced to the radio and magazine audience. Even today, that phrase is recognized and the character remembered: the Shadow, who possessed the hypnotic power to “cloud mens’ minds”.

But The Shadow had a convoluted history: he didn’t always have that power; in fact, he wasn’t a pulp character in the first place!

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