A state or condition in which an individual becomes highly responsive to suggestions, and may also exhibit enhanced psychic abilities. The hypnotized person seems to follow instructions in an uncritical, automatic fashion and to attend closely only to those aspects of the environment indicated by the hypnotist.
A profoundly responsive subject hears, sees, feels, smells, and tastes in accordance with the hypnotist's suggestions, even though they may be in direct contradiction to the actual stimuli impinging upon the subject. Further, memory and awareness of self can be altered by suggestions. All of these effects may be extended posthypnotically into the individual's later waking activity.
Austrian physician Franz Anton Mesmer discovered hypnotism in the 1770s, calling it 'animal magnetism'. As a therapeutic technique, animal magnetism or mesmerism spread throughout Europe. It was discovered that subjects felt no pain under surgery, and that in some cases side effects of a deep magnetized trance included clairvoyance, telepathy, remote viewing and eyeless vision.
In the 1840s, Scottish surgeon James Braid, who coined the term 'hypnosis' from the Greek word for sleep, advanced the study of the subject. He developed more precise methods and discovered that a hypnotic trance could be induced by merely staring at a bright light or by suggestion alone.
Subsequent physicians in the nineteenth century elaborated the theory that in a hypnotic trance a patient's will was paralyzed and that unconscious mental processes could be observed.
This led to the concept, developed by psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud and others, that through hypnosis a patient's repressed thoughts and desires could be revealed. This concept remained dominant until well into the twentieth century, when alternative theories arose: that hypnosis is nothing more than a deep form of relaxation, or that patients under hypnosis are merely 'role-playing', or that the hypnotic state is only one more level of the human system of cognition. In fact, while much is now known about the physiology of the hypnotic trance, its precise causes are still little understood.
Hypnosis has been shown to be effective in enhancing memory and learning, and in treating various physical and psychological disorders. Hypnosis and relaxation exercises have been integrated into many alternative treatments.
Some mediums use self-hypnosis to communicate with spirits during channeling, and during parapsychological experiments it has been used to enhance the abilities of those psychics who specialize in remote viewing.
See Aura, Altered State of Consciousness, ESP, Seance, Asport, Rappings, Automatic Writing, Findhorn, Glastonbury Scripts, Theosophy, Psychic Archaeology, British Society for Psychical Research, Parapsychology, Poltergeist, Spiritualism, An Introduction to the Study of Animal Magnetism, Animal Magnetism, Animal Magnetism: At Home with Celebrities and Their Animal Companions, Animal Magnetism for Musicians, Exposition, or a New Theory of Animal Magnetism, From Mesmer to Freud: Magnetic Sleep and the Roots of Psychological Healing, Mesmer and Animal Magnetism: A Chapter in the History of Medicine, Mesmerism: The Discovery of Animal Magnetism (1779); A New Translation, Progress of Animal Magnetism in New England, Three Famous Occultists: Dr John Dee, Franz Anton Mesmer, Thomas Lake Harris, Fun With Hypnosis: The Complete How-To Guide, How to Hypnotize Yourself and Others, Hypnotism Made Easy, The Complete Book of Self-Hypnosis, Mystic Gifts and Charms - New Age Gift Shop & Wicca and Pagan Supplies, Love Spells -- Use these powerful love spells to help you find and keep your true love, The Tarot Store, The Chakra Store, Divination & Scrying Tools and Supplies, Unique Amulets, Talismans, Good Luck Charms, and Love Tokens, Powerful Witch Doctor Spell Kits, Powerful Spells - Cast by Andreika the Witch, Webmasters Make $$$, AzureGreen - Celebrating All Paths to the Divine, ISIS - Tools for Your Soul's Journey, and The Pyramid Collection - Myth, Magick, Fantasy and Romance.
Sources: (1) Dictionary of the Occult, Caxton Publishing; (2) The Encyclopaedia Britannica Eleventh Edition Handy Volume Edition, Oxford University Press; (3) Gochenour P., Mesmerism: a Theory of the Soul, Gale Group.
| || |