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What is hypnosis and does hypnosis work? Well, hypnosis is the induction of a conscious state during which the person seemingly looses the sense of voluntary action and is highly receptive to direction or suggestion. It's used as a therapy to bring back past memories or to have some behavioral changes.
There can be different kinds of hypnosis like the self-hypnosis or sleep hypnosis. However, the art of hypnosis itself remains controversial till date. Let us have a look at some of the worst cases of hypnosis.
In 1952, a 21-year-old Gerald Rosenblum was studying at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. On October 2, his mother walked down the basement and found him hanging.
Immediately his death cause was given as suicide. A month later his death was brought in front of a Jury. There, a lawyer for the Rosenblum family presented evidence that Girard's death wasn't a suicide but instead, it was a failed attempt at suspended animation by self-hypnosis.
A wealthy farmer Anderson Gray was involved in a lawsuit and one of the witnesses in the case was neighbor Thomas Patton. Gray wanted to finish Patton and he decided to make someone else do it. He went to his friend Thomas Macdonald and said that Patton was spreading rumors about his wife. They had an argument and then both of them left.
Gray visited Macdonald again and hypnotized him, Macdonald tried to protest but the hypnotic influence was too strong. Gray was also able to influence Macdonald to take a perfect shot and tell where he would find Patton. Macdonald shot Patton under Gray's influence and Gray was sentenced to jail whereas Macdonald was found not guilty but under someone's influence.
In the year 2011, a terrible case of hypnotizing came into light. A principal of a school was indulged in hypnotizing his students. He claimed that he could take away the tension and anxiety of the students. Around 70 children were under his influence and 3 of them committed suicide sometime after the principal had performed hypnosis on them.
The parents went to court and the principal was given one year's probation for practicing hypnosis without a license. The school board was also ordered to pay $200,000 to each family.
Robert Simpson lost his life due to on stage hypnosis by a hypnotist "Professor" Arthur Everton. Simpson was drunk during the process and Everton after putting Simpson in a state of trance stood on his stomach to woo the audience. Everton showed the audience that Simpson was long gone by placing his one feet on a chair and his head on another.
Surprisingly, Robert died later that night and the probable cause was given as a heart attack but the death could have been due to the hypnosis done to him earlier that night.
Sharon Tabron, a brit, was very fond of drinking so she went to see a hypnotist at a pub in Leyland. He claimed that he could break her trance and that she will feel a 10,000-volt electric shock in her seat. She was awakened by a shock and then she left the pub.
On her way home, she complained about feeling dizzy and hours later she choked on her own vomit and died. Her death was ruled as an accident but her mother blamed the hypnosis show for her death. She also called for a ban on public hypnosis show but nothing ever happened.
In Copenhagen, a guy named Palle Wichmann walked into a bank and started demanding money from the managers. Two of the managers refused to give the money, so he shot them immediately. Upon his arrest, he said that the murders and the attempted robbery were not his faults and that he was under the influence of someone.
This someone later came to be known as Bjorn Nielson, who was his inmate at the prison. He later said that Bjorn had hypnotized him three times a week for over a period of three months. He also admitted to an earlier robbery when he gave all the money to Bjorn. Paul was sent to a mental hospital, and Nielsen was given a life imprisonment.
Marie Colombos was having a baby and she was worried about the pain. She was interested in giving birth under hypnosis so she contacted Robert Gilbert who specialized in hypnotism. Even the local newspapers claimed that Robert had helped another woman to give birth painlessly by using hypnosis. So she decided to meet him at her house in California for a practice session.
The police came after some time and found Colombos lying on the couch with a faint smile. Robert said that he hadn't done anything wrong and his hypnosis was safe. Even after an `autopsy no cause of death was found.
Augustin Gouffe was a businessman who was known for his sexual fantasies and adventures. He bumped into his friend Michel Eyraud one night. Eyraud said that she had broken up with his girlfriend Gabrielle Bompard and that she wanted to see Gouffe.
Eagerly Gouffe went to meet Bompard and as Gouffe seduced Bompard, Eyraud slipped a noose around his neck and strangled him. Then both looted the body and shipped it 500km across.
They were caught later and the trial made headlines all over Europe and America. Bompard said that she was hypnotized by Eyraud. Bompard had received 20 years in prison and Eyraud was publicly executed by a guillotine.
For more information about the case, you can read here.