The Law Of Psychic Phenomena - online book

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HYPNOTISM AND CRIME.                     123
viewed from the standpoint of an audience assembled to witness experiments of this character, that it would be strange indeed if the average man were not impressed with an indefinable dread of the power of the hypnotist. He sees him, by means of certain mysterious manipulations, throw his subject into a profound sleep, and awaken him by a snap of the fingers. He sees the subject impressed with all manner of incongruous ideas, made to believe that he is Diogenes, or a dog, at the will of the operator. He is made to ride an imaginary horse-race, astride a deal table, or to go in swimming on the bare floor. He is made to see angels or devils; to wander in the Elysian fields of paradise, or to scorch in the sulphurous fires of hell; to feel pain or pleasure, joy or sorrow, all at the caprice of the man in whose power he has placed himself. All this, and much more, can be seen at public exhibitions of hypnotism, and under conditions that leave no doubt in the mind of the observer, of the genuineness of the phenomena. He sees his friends, for whose integrity he can vouch, go upon the platform and become subject to the same mysterious power. Still doubting, he may go upon the stage himself, only to find that he is amenable to the same subtle influence, controllable by some power that is to him agreeable, yet mysterious, indefinable, incomprehensible. At first he perfectly comprehends all his objective surroundings, remembers afterwards all that took place, and very likely fancies that he obeyed the suggestions of the hypnotist merely to please him and to avoid doing anything to mar the harmony of the occasion. Later on he learns that his supposed complacency was really an irresistible impulse to obey the will of the hypnotist. As the experiments proceed he experiences the sensation of double consciousness. He is told that in his hand he holds a delicious fruit, a strawberry, perhaps. He is still possessed of sufficient objective consciousness to know that there is really no strawberry in his hand, and yet he sees it plainly, feels it, smells it, tastes it, and experiences all the satisfaction incident to having actually eaten the fruit. He