Hypnosis fascinates me
by Jose Silva
By the late 1940s, the study of hypnosis had attracted my attention. I had read about hypnosis in several psychology books and wondered how difficult it would be to learn it.
I was trying to figure out how to start when I read an ad in a San Antonio newspaper about a hypnotist who was teaching weekend classes.
I went to San Antonio every weekend to attend the course, and bought the books the hypnotist recommended. I also researched as far back as I could to find books covering the beginning of hypnosis, from the days when the practice was called "magnetism," then "mesmerism," and finally "hypnotism."
During my research, study, and practice of hypnosis and hypnoanalysis, I came across information about many famous men who played a part in the history of this technique. He was John Van Helmont (1577-1644) who used to cure wounds with loadstones, stones from the magnetic variety of the mineral known as magnetite. People believed back then that applying movements with a loadstone over a wound would accelerate the healing process.
Athanasius Kircher (1601-1680) experimented with cataleptic trance of animals.
John Joséph Gassner (1727-1779), a catholic priest, went on record as being the first medical hypnotist.
I began to observe certain common characteristics in my research: there was usually a strong belief, a faith, involved in the process, and often some kind of trance state was involved with either the healer or the subject.
Franz Anton Mesmer (1734-1815) came on the scene. He was born in Vienna, studied theology and law, held both a Ph.D. and an M.D. but never practiced.
In 1784 one of Mesmer's students, Marquis Chastenet De Puysegur, became known for practicing with Mesmer's research findings.
It was Abbe De Faria (1756-1819) who went on record as being the first "hypnotist" because he used the phrase, "Go to sleep."
Du Potent, around 1820, was appointed by the French Academy of Medicine to observe the benefits of hypnosis in medicine.
By the year 1846, Dr. John Elliotson (1808-1863) had already trained subjects to use clairvoyance for diagnosing obscure, difficult-to-diagnose health cases. On June 25, 1946, Dr. Elliotson delivered "The Harveian Oration" in which he explained how he used these clairvoyants to diagnose obscure health problems.
In July 1846, Dr. Esdaile (1808-1859) established a temporary hospital in Calcutta, India, to research the use of Mesmeric passes as an anesthetic to be used in surgery. Dr. Esdaile performed hundreds of painless surgical operations, including major operations such as amputations, with this kind of anesthesia. Dr. Esdaile also found that the incidence of infection when this kind of anesthesia was used was only five percent of the infection rate with chemical anesthesia.
Dr. James Braid (1795-1860) was using mesmerism in 1841. It was Dr. Braid who changed the name of mesmerism to hypnotism. He coined the word "hypnotism" because he thought he was putting his subjects to sleep. He adopted the Greek word "Hypnos," which means "Sleep."
Later, Dr. Braid became aware that the state of mind that his subjects were entering was not a sleep state, but a state of greater awareness. He tried then to change the name, but it was too late. He had already published a book for medical doctors, titled Hypnotism for Medical Use. Although he knew the word he had created was a misnomer and tried to correct it, the term "hypnosis" has been used ever since.
At one time, Dr. Braid offered to demonstrate the benefits of hypnotism in medicine to the British Medical Association, but the association refused the demonstration.
In 1841, the Nancy School of Medicine was founded by Dr. Liebeault, while Dr. Jean Martin Charcot (1825-1893), a neurologist, founded the Salpetriere School of Medicine in Paris.
Professor Bernheim published a book, De La Suggestion (Suggestive Therapeutics) in 1884. He and Dr. Liebeault have gone on record as the "fathers of modern hypnotism.
Another person who appeared on the scene who recognized and used clairvoyants to diagnose health problems was Phineas Parkhurst Quimby (1802-1866).
Quimby made his transition three years after Dr. John Elliotson made his. I am not aware that they obtained information about clairvoyants from each other, but they seemed to have done a lot of things that were very similar.
It was Quimby who healed Mary Baker Eddy, who later became Quimby's pupil. It was later revealed that Mary Baker Eddy established a system of healing and established the Christian Science religion.
By 1949, just five years after I'd started studying psychology on my own as a soldier during the final part of the Second World War, I was practicing hypnosis and had formulated a method of mental training that I thought would help children do better in school.
My first projects did not deal with healing and clairvoyance, but with toning down my children's hyperactivity, and increasing their attention span and their concentration.
I had a regular routine worked out with the children, but one day that routine was disrupted in a way that began to bring all of my experiences in life and my study, research, and investigation to a focal point, and then started me onto a new path that led to a new career and to the establishment of a new science that is destined to change our entire way of life on this planet and the way we function as humans beings.
Next: My daughter starts guessing my mind