The Law Of Psychic Phenomena - online book

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HYPNOTISM AND CRIME.                  139
not an evil, when life is purchased at the price of dishonor. He felt that the philosophy which it had been the business of his life to teach, could only be vindicated by his death, at the time and in the manner decreed by the State. The supreme moment had arrived; the instinct of death was upon him; and, in philosophical communion with his followers, he calmly drank the hemlock, and died the death of a philosopher.
The value of testimony in criminal cases, obtained by means of hypnotism, has been very freely discussed by those who have given their attention to the legal aspect of the question. Assuming that a person has been hypnotized, and caused to commit a crime, the question naturally arises, What means are at hand to convict the guilty party? How is evidence to be obtained, and what is its value when obtained? As it has been shown to be a practical impossibility to procure the commission of crime by means of hypnotic suggestion, it will be unnecessary and unprofitable to discuss the question at great length, and it will be dismissed after the presentation of the vital point. It is obvious that when it is demonstrated that evidence is unreliable, and necessarily unworthy of credence, it is useless to discuss the ways and means of obtaining such evidence for use in a court of justice. The intricate maze of metaphysical disquisition in which this question has been so ably obscured by writers on the subject, will not be entered. It is sufficient to know that no testimony obtained from a subject in a state of hypnotism, relating to any vital question which involves the guilt or innocence of himself or his friends, is of any value whatever. It is a popular belief, handed down through the ages, that a somnambulic subject will always tell the truth, and that all the secrets of a sleep-walker can be obtained from him for the asking. This belief has also been held regarding the hypnotic subject; and it is upon this assumption that the hypothetical value of his testimony in criminal jurisprudence depends. It is true that, on ordinary questions, the truth is always uppermost in the subjective mind. A hypnotic