HYPNOTISM AND CRIME. \2J
tist. He is most likely aware of the nature of the proposed experiments. He enters into the spirit of the occasion, resolved to accept every suggestion offered, and to carry out his part of the programme in the best style, knowing that no possible harm can befall him. Moreover, he knows that if he performs his part to the satisfaction of his auditors, he will receive their applause; and applause to the subjective mind is as sweet incense. For, be it known, the average hypnotic subject is inordinately vain of his accomplishments.
All those considerations are, however, merely negative evidence against the supposition that the innocent hypnotic subject can be made the instrument of crime, or the victim of criminal assault against his will. These experiments prove nothing, that is all. Nor do they disprove anything. We must, therefore, look elsewhere for positive evidence to demonstrate the impossibility of making the innocent subject the instrument or the victim of crime. This evidence is not difficult to find.
It will be unnecessary to travel outside the domain of admitted, recorded, and demonstrated facts in order to prove the utter impossibility of victimizing virtue and innocence by means of hypnotism. Indeed, it is difficult to understand how any one who recognizes the law of suggestion, and its universal application to psychological phenomena, can believe for one moment that hypnotism can be made the instrument of crime. Yet we find disciples of the Nancy school who seem to imagine that to hold that it cannot be so employed is equivalent to an admission that the law of suggestion is not of universal application. The fact is that just the contrary is true. It is one of the strongest demonstrations of the universality of the law that hypnotism cannot be so employed.
The first proposition in the line of the argument is that when two contrary suggestions are offered to the hypnotic subject, the strongest must prevail. It needs no argument to sustain this proposition; it is self-evident.
The next proposition, almost equally plain, is that auto-