Fate Magazine” — ‘Special Hypnotism Issue’ — July, 1954

The venerable “Fate Magazine”, first published in 1948, has been in almost constant publication ever since. Self-described as “the world’s leading magazine of the paranormal” it combines nonfiction varying from personal anecdotes on the paranormal to studies and research on the various subjects under the collective description of “paranormal” to fiction, letters, regular columns and advertisements.

History: “Fate Magazine” was founded by Ray Palmer (editor of the SF magazine “Amazing Stories” and one of the promoters of the “Shaver Mysteries”) and Curtis Fuller, another editor. The first issue included an article recounting an encounter with a UFO and is considered one of the major elements in starting the UFO craze at the time.

Contents: The July, 1954, issue was a special issue devoted to hypnotism.

From the editorial:

This is our hypnosis issue. There was a time when hypnotism was looked upon much as psychical phenomena are today. The majority of the people didn’t believe in it. Practitioners were hounded. Scientists wouldn’t admit it existed. And methods of inducing hypnosis were primitive and often ineffectual.

There were also all manner of theories on the nature of hypnotism. some people believed it was due to the ether that surrounds us. Others ascribed it to animal magnetism.

This shouldn’t discourage us. Doctors today know how to treat many diseases. They can describe their effects upon the body or help the body combat, how the blood builds up antibodies or what an antibody is — they’re still pretty much in the dark.

Maybe this is why the field of mind research and psychical research is so often frustrating. We are seeking to find out not only what works but why. And we aren’t coming up with many answers to the latter questions.

So it is with hypnotism. There aren’t many persons today who doubt that it exists. … But when we think about it carefully, we must admit that we don’t understand this wonderful, marvelous facility of the mind much better than Mesmer did.

The editorial is followed by several articles on hypnosis, forming the main part of the digest-sized magazine.

  • FATE Reports on Hypnosis’
  • Psychiatry Looks At Hypnosis’ by John C Ross.
  • Dangers of Hypnotism’ by Virginia Stumbaugh
  • Sex and Hypnosis’ by Ormond McGill
  • How Hypnotherapy Helps in Sex Problems’ by Guy Archette
  • Viewing Another Life Through Hypnosis’ by Vaughn Shelton
  • How to Hypnotize’ by Dr. Herbert Charles
  • Hypnotism in Medicine’ by Dr. Herbert Charles
  • Hypnotism Comes Out of Moth-Balls’ by Alion J Smith

All in all, these articles comprise about 60 pages of the total 128 pages.

The information presented is about what would be expected from the time period nd is a good indication of exactly what was the consensus of hypnosis knowledge by the experts at the time.

I should also include a sampling of the artwork included as part of the chapter headings, as they do indulge in some stereotypical imagery. Given as they were all simple line art from a magazine printed on cheap paper over 50 years ago, I was able to scan only a few of them.

[galleryview=id: 1; showPanels: true; showCaptions: false; showFilmstrip: true; panelWidth: 600; panelHeight: 400; panelScale: nocrop; transitionSpeed: 800; transitionInterval: 0; fadePanels: false; frameWidth: 60; frameHeight: 40; filmstripPosition: top; pointerSize: 8; frameScale: crop; frameGap: 5; frameOpacity: 0.3; easingValue: swing; navTheme: light; startFrame: 1; pauseOnHover: false;]

Addenda: The very evocative (and very stereotypical) issue cover was by Virgil Findlay, a prolific (but largely forgotten, if only for the fact that he has no Wikipedia page) artist of the pulp era and beyond. He possessed a remarkable style and made considerable use of the stippling technique. The magazine cover was one of the very few pieces he produced in full color. (I know the person who at one point owned the original artwork. I would love to get my hands on it but I’m afraid that if it ever went up to auction it would easily cost in five figures US.)

It should be noted that one of the advertisements near the back of the magazine include one for Melvin Powers’ Wilshire Books and his “Hypnotism Revealed” (his first published book) and “Advanced Techniques of Hypnotism” and one for Ormond McGill’s “A Better Life Through Conscious Self-Hypnosis”.


  • Fate Magazine” website
  • Fate Magazine” cover gallery and brief history of the magazine

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