Hypnotism - Debate UK Parliament Hansard 1952 & 1994

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A debate about Hypnotism in the UK Parliament during 1952 to pass the Hypnotism Bill. Makes interesting reading...

Quote:In commending the Bill to the House I should like to read one of the many letters which I have received from people who have suffered from these stage demonstrations. This is a pathetic letter from a girl of whom I have no knowledge, but her letter seems to me to be quite genuine. She writes as follows:

    ""In 1949 I was happily at work in the Ever Ready Battery Company, and when I say happily I mean that it would have been difficult to find a happier factory to work in, nice work, mates, foremen, bosses, canteen and last, but not least, good money. One fateful night I decided to visit a Palace with a couple of friends. There was a hypnotist appearing, not a well-known one. I have not heard of him since."

    ""I went on the stage, just 'for a lark.' I don't remember much about it, after that, I was brought home in the manager's car. My doctor tried to locate the hypnotist, unsuccessfully. I was taken to hospital. I remember waking up in a hospital bed. This was October, 1949. I was given electrical convulsion treatment about three times a week. I don't remember much about it."

    ""Then in January, 1950, I was taken to the main building of Brentwood Mental Hospital. No treatment could have been a bigger 'shock' to me than what I saw there. I was a voluntary patient, so I was only there four days. I discharged myself. However, in the following May I tried to commit suicide. I was very mentally ill. I again 'woke up' in hospital.""

The writer says that she is still ill and unable to work, although the trouble started in 1949.

A debate about Hypnotism in the UK Parliament on 12th December 1994.


Quote:Stage hypnotism has been a long-standing concern of mine since I was alerted to its dangers by one of my constituents, Mrs. Margaret Harper. Some years ago, her daughter, Sharon Tabarn, was hypnotised at a club in Leyland in Lancashire. At the end of the trance, she was told to come out of it as if she had had a 10,000 volt electric shock. Her husband took her home in a somewhat dazed state, and five hours later she died.

The coroner's inquest found that this was an accidental death. The expert witness, a Dr. Heap, declared that there was no connection between hypnosis and any physical side-effects. That is patent nonsense. The Home Office pathologist said:

    ""It is hard not to think there was a link.""

Quote:Dean Chambers from Blackpool had his arm paralysed for four weeks as a result of the condition under which he was placed under hypnosis. A young man from High Wycombe who was hypnotised by Paul McKenna, who is quite famous in this area, had to go to a psychiatric unit two days later where he was detained for six weeks and was still receiving treatment seven weeks later. While he was hypnotised he was put into regression, which is against the code of conduct, and was left unattended, which is also against the guidelines.

Mr. Nickson of Prestatyn became unable to work as a result of stage hypnotism, and was unable to hold a conversation and has attempted suicide. His case is attested by Mr. Trevelyn, the consultant psychiatrist for Clwyd. David Burill of Blackpool was hypnotised by Alan Bates and collapsed immediately after being brought round. He went crazy—his words—and had to be re-hypnotised by Bates. He suffered from violent headaches for weeks afterwards.

Ruth McLoughlin, a Glasgow university student, was hypnotised in October by Stefan Force and doctors found afterwards that her heart rate had dropped to a dangerously low level. Those are a few of the complaints that I and others have received.

Dr. Prem Meisra, who works in Glasgow, described a patient who became a compulsive eater of onions after being told to eat onions instead of apples while in a trance. It sounds funny but it is not. Another of his patients went into a trance again every time someone clapped, and a further patient began to suffer from a schizo-affective disorder.

Quote:My constituent, Miss Gibbs, has raised with me the case of Mr. Christopher Gates. On 10 march this year, they went to see the Paul McKenna hypnotic show at the Wycombe Swan theatre, where Mr. Gates was hypnotised for more than two hours. As the hon. Gentleman said, Home Office guidelines were not followed, as he was put into regression and left unattended throughout the interval. After the show, he felt unwell. He was referred to a psychiatric unit for four weeks. Nine months later, his condition has deteriorated severely, and he now thinks of himself as eight years old and behaves like an eight-year-old. He must be accompanied by an adult at all times.
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Gates vs Mckenna 1998
Full Judgement


Gates lost because his team was unable to prove to the judge, that it was more likely than not that the stage hypnosis act with McKenna had caused his Schizophrenia, which seems reasonable. However the judge seems to have accepted that Gates stage hypnosis had unmasked his Schizophrenia.

However at para 59, the judge seems altogether too skeptical about hypnotism as even a 'thing', saying...

Quote:Nor am I persuaded that a person under hypnosis is an automaton, or in some distinctively abnormal neurophysiological state, or capable of behavioral responses which cannot be invoked by none hypnotic suggestion.

He repeats this assertion even more more strongly at para 68.
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Interesting idea of using hypnotism to to increase the probability of telepathy - spontaneously, whilst the subject is engaged in some task. Never heard of this before.

Excerpt from the book: Telepathic hallucinations: the new view of ghosts. Frank Podmore. Published 1909,

Quote:The case is recorded by M. Charles Richet, Professor of Physiology at the University of Paris. The percipient was again Madame B. (Leonie), whose acquaintance we made in a previous chapter.

No. 17. From Professor Richet.
On Monday, July 2nd [1888], after having passed all the day in my laboratory, I hypnotised Leonie at 8 p.m., and while she tried to make out a diagram concealed in an envelope, I said to her quite suddenly 'What has happened to M. Langlois? 'Leonie knows M. Langlois from having seen him two or three times, some time ago, in my physiological laboratory, when he acts as my assistant. ' He has burnt himself,' Leonie replied.
'Good,' I said, 'and where has he burnt himself?' 'On the left hand. It is not fire. I don't know its name. Why does he not take care when he pours it out ?
' 'Of what colour,' I asked,
' is the stuff which he pours out ?
' ' It is not red, it is brown ; he has hurt himself very much the skin puffed up directly.' "

Now, this description is admirably exact. At 4 p.m. that day M. Langlois had wished to pour some bromine into a bottle. He had done this clumsily, so that some of the bromine flowed on to his left hand, which held the funnel, and at once burnt him severely. Although he at once put his hand in water,wherever the bromine had touched it a blister was formed in a few seconds a blister which one could not better describe than by saying, 'the skin puffed up.' I need not say that Leonie had not left my house, nor seen anyone from my laboratory. Of this I am absolutely certain, and I am certain that I had not mentioned the incident of the burn to anybody. Moreover, this was the first time for nearly a year that M. Langlois had handled bromine, and when Leonie saw him six months before at the laboratory he was engaged in experiments of quite another kind. Or course, I give here all the words I used, and only the words I used, when I interrogated Leonie." "It is not red, it is brown," is a very fair description of the nondescript colour of bromine.
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And the end of all our exploring 
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