"I shall show you that hypnotism is the most wonderful force in nature. That it is as mighty in the realm of mind as electricity is in the realm of matter. I shall prove to you that it conquers all pain and cures all diseases, that it is an agency in reform and a detective in the path of crime, that it assists education and corrects the vicious and uplifts the suffering and degraded, that it brings health and success to those who use it."
I got this out of a little 1900 women's magazine I have on hand. The paragraph above reveals what hopes and fears and dreams people back then had.
Margaret Nicholson, of my story School Marms and Suffragettes did not trust hypnotists, not in 1910.
How do I know?
School Marms and Suffragettes is based on real family letters from the era and in one letter Margaret frets about her daughter Marion, a teacher new to the City of Montreal, going to Dominion Park. Dominion Park is a thrill park with all the usual attractions, like acrobats and jugglers and strong men and Margaret writes "I hope she doesn't go and see that Pauline. It shouldn't be allowed."
I didn't know who Pauline was until I found a mention of him in a 1910 New York Dramatic Mirror I bought on eBay. He is an hypnotist.
Yesterday, a very weird news story circulated out of Sherbrooke Quebec, where Marion Nicholson was teaching just before she moved to the big city of Montreal.
Apparently, an hypnotist's mentor had to be called back to the scene of a show at a Sherbrooke School (College Sacre Coeur) because some students still remained in a trance hours after the show. (Zombie apocalypse as the kids like to say.)
The hypnotist who performed at the show in question was only 20 years of age. My! He or she is really good, too good. The military should employ him (or her).
I've heard this kind of story before. My dad told me one about a young woman who was hypnotized to sleep in the window of (maybe)Macy's to advertise a brand of mattress and could NEVER be revived. Urban legend?
Situation comedies in my day often employed the classic hypnotist sketch, with someone getting hypnotized unintentionally. LUCY!
And I recall vaguely that an hypnotist came to my high school and made kid/volunteers run around the stage flapping their arms and clucking like chickens.
Anyway, an article about this Sherbrooke situation in the Montreal Gazette has an expert saying that kids under 14 shouldn't be hypnotized as they are particularly susceptible. Has anyone told parents? I mean, to use as a tool. I thought kids under 14 were willful, head strong and uncontrollable. Or should we use this power of suggestion while they sleep? "You will come home tomorrow and do your homework. You will not play video games."