The Law Of Psychic Phenomena - online book

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HYPNOTISM AND CRIME.                     125
dagger is placed in his hands. An imaginary man in a distant part of the room is pointed out, and the subject is informed that the said man is his mortal enemy; and he is duly advised that the best thing he can do under the circumstances is to proceed to slaughter the enemy aforesaid. This he has no hesitation in doing, and he proceeds to do it with great dramatic effect. He sneaks up to his victim in the style of the last heavy villain he has seen on the stage, and plunges the imaginary dagger into the hypothetical man, amidst the applause of the assembled village wisdom.
The next subject is duly hypnotized, and informed that he is a noted pickpocket. The guests are pointed out as a good crowd to work for " wipers," or whatever is thieves' slang for pocket-handkerchiefs. The subject accepts the suggestion at once, and, with much show of cunning, proceeds to relieve the guests of whatever is within his reach.
The next subject is advised that he is an accomplished burglar, and that a neighboring house is overflowing with plunder. He enters into the spirit of the suggestion with great alacrity, and a committee is duly appointed to accompany him to the scene of pillage. The neighbor is, meantime, apprised of the proposed burglary, and every facility is afforded, in the interest of " science." (The reader will remember that actual occurrences are being described.) The burglary is completed with great skill and promptitude, and a miscellaneous collection of valuables is brought away and equitably divided with the hypnotist.
The above are fair samples of the " scientific " experiments which are just now being largely indulged in, and which are believed to demonstrate the possibility of employing hypnotism as an instrument of crime. " If the average subject," it is argued, " in a state of profound hypnotic sleep, is so amenable to the power of suggestion as to plunge a paper dagger into an imaginary enemy at the bidding of a hypnotist, it follows that a criminal hypnotist possesses unlimited power to cause any one of his subjects to plunge a real dagger into any victim whom the hyp-