Archive for the ‘Nonfiction’ Category

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.”

⇒ Continue reading “Bachelor Goes to a Hypnotism Party””

30 Days of Hypnosis: Day 12

What’s your favorite pop culture reference about hypnosis?

Whew! So many possibilities.

The first one that comes to mind is “The Hypnotic Eye”. A movie about a sinister stage hypnotist who entrances his lovely subjects certainly plays to many of the public misconceptions regarding hypnosis, plus the producers had a professional stage hypnotist instruct the actor how to perform on camera as well as hypnotizing the actresses to go in to a trance on cue. Regrettably, it suffers from low public knowledge so it barely registers as a pop culture icon.

Another one that comes to mind is the classic spiral motif that so represents hypnosis in popular culture. That and the spooky, swirly music that seems to always accompany it in any advertisement or television episode scene transition. The same also goes for dangling crystals and staring eyes.

But I guess my favorite has to be “Trilby”. No other work so influenced the pop culture regarding hypnosis throughout its history. It is one of the few culture icons that directly influenced the English language, with the addition of “Svengali” as a term for a manipulative mentor.

Incognito: the Secret Lives of the Brain” by David Eagleman

The brain is just several ounces of neural tissue, not particularly durable and pretty vulnerable if it were not for the bone shell it resides in. Still, it is the seat of all control operations of any living creature that possesses even the most rudimentary brain and is capable of doing a number of amazing things, several things all at the same time. Yet is also one of the most mysterious organs known, its many and varied functions only sketchily understood, in part because of its complexity and complex internal structure, hidden from view and direct manipulation deep within the skull, accessible for the most part only indirectly and therefore very difficult to investigate directly.

Incognito: the Secret Lives of the Brain” is a book by a neuroscientist, David Eagleman. which attempts to shed some light on the subject. It is a book primarily destined for the lay person and is designed to show just how the brain is so complex and mysterious, yet understandable if only by a process of observation and deduction.

Commentary: This book mirrors much of what I’ve been thinking regarding the internal processes of the brain, although I was coming to the subject through the “brain as a computer” paradigm. The brain may be just one organ but it comprises many, many separate sections and functions, some of which are complimentary and some of which are even combative. It is a wonder that it even functions at all, and, of course, anyone can come up with examples from personal observation or experience when it doesn’t in one way or another, small or large.

My one biggest annoyance was that it was just a little too superficial for my tastes. It talked a lot about the what of the brain and its functions but not so much on the how and why of it. Granted, this book was intended for the general audience but I would have liked to see a little more meat to the descriptions and more space devoted to contemplation of the causes of how the brain does what it does. There are some flashes of that, as for example the description of how baseball players track fly balls in the outfield, where they do not automatically calculate the trajectory to figure out where to run to to catch the ball: instead, they watch the track of the ball and if it appears to deviate from a straight line, meaning they or the ball are moving away from the path, they change direction to return it to a straight line. But mostly the brain is treated as a black box of many internal devices, left unexplored.

My other annoyance was that it doesn’t mention hypnosis at all in the text, and only once in a footnote, remarking how it can affect the results of a particular type of test results.

Recommendation: For the average reader who wants to understand more about the operation of the brain, this would be a good start. However, it is rather shallow for someone who wants a more in-depth explanation of the various brain functions, and almost worthless for any one who wants to understand the particular subject of hypnosis functions.

A Holiday Treat — The (Physical) Hypnosis in Media Collection

As a special Holiday present, I present the (physical) Hypnosis in Media collection in its semi-entirety.

The bookshelf unit here holds the main part of the Collection. As you can see, it is divided in half, with the left half holding figures and artwork behind the glass doors, larger books and folders below, and the doors below holding the media elements that don’t fit anywhere else. The right half holds most of the fiction and nonfiction books. As you can see, the bookcase is by no means large enough to hold everything, as there are parts of the collection on the floor before it.

This is the upper part of the left half, which has the figures and artwork. On the upper shelf you can see the two figures from the Silent Screams figure line, from the movie “The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari” on the top, along with the Princess Ariel figure, and smaller toys with hypnotic themes in the middle. At the back of the lower shelf as a animation cel of Hypnotia from the “Iron Man” animated series, several dozen HeroClix figures in the lower left and my latest acquisition, the Ringmaster mini-bust, in the center. The boxes on the right contain a number of stereotypical hypnotic foci, including several crystals and even a couple of hypno-disks. The HeroClix figures are a large but not complete of all of the characters with hypnotic or mind control abilities, including Professor X, Saturn Girl, Super-Gorilla Grodd, the Puppet Master, the Mad Hatter, etc.

The folders and notebooks on the shelves below the  glass doors consists of the results of research projects carried out in the past, including the material behind the search for ‘Secrets of the Sleep Merchants’ detailed elsewhere, a set of publicity photographs of Pat Collins and details of her life, comic strip and book collections and reference materials, smaller magazines and pamphlets that might get damaged if put elsewhere, the two records released by Pat Collins, as well as anything that doesn’t fit in anywhere else.

The fiction part comprises roughly 200 pieces, including several collections, double-stacked on the first two shelves and in front of the non-fiction stacks on the third shelf.  The non-fiction section also contains roughly about 200 books, not including the various pamphlets and booklets that are in another bookshelf. These books are strictly hypnosis related: there is a separate section for media references, such as indices and reference books on various TV series, movies, etc.

This is by no means the complete collection: there is a storage case with several dozen video tapes elsewhere that I am slowing digitizing and converting to DVD format, along with the comics collection stored in the garage, as well as the regular fiction collection that takes up most of another bedroom / library. All in all, I estimate I have somewhere in the range of 500 — 600 books, over 250 comics and dozens of magazines and papers in the collection proper and maybe another couple hundred books and I can’t even guess how many comics elsewhere.

Copyright © 2010-2021 Terry O'Brien / Arisian Enterprises All Rights Reserved

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