Neurypnology (Hypnosis)
or The Rationale of Nervous Sleep
Considered in Relation With Animal Magnetism
Illustrated Numerous Cases of its Successful Application in the Relief and Cure of Disease.
James Braid, M.R.C.S.E., C.M.W.S. &c.
1843 AD
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In 1843 AD, James Braid, doctor, discovered "hypnotism" and coined the word. He believed he could cure many diseases including Epilepsy; Rheumatism; Paralysis and hysteria. His greatest successes were with hysteria: "The most striking cases . . . for illustrating the value of the hypnotic mode of treatment, are cases of hysteric paralysis . . . In such cases, by . . . substituting a salutary idea of vigour . . . the patients are found to have acquired . . . voluntary power over their hitherto paralysed limbs, as if by a magical spell or witchcraft." Obviously hysterics are the only one's who the power of the will can change through hypnotism. Braid was attracted to Franz Anton Mesmer, with his claims of being able to transmit animal magnetism to sick people as a cure. Braid was able to prove that Mesmer's claims at "mesmerizing" people was "a system of collusion or delusion, or of excited imagination, sympathy, or imitation". He correctly understood that Mesmer was merely hypnotizing people, "I still consider the condition of the nervous system induced by both modes to be at least analogous". A lot of people today think that the hypnotist possesses the power to control another's actions at will, but in fact, Braid correctly rejected this claim not only of Mesmer, but of hypnotism: "not at all on the volition, or passes of the operator, throwing out a magnetic fluid, or exciting into activity some mystical universal fluid or medium". In other words, there is no power being transmitted by the hypnotist to the person being hypnotized. Instead, Braid understood, we know today, that people hypnotize themselves. The two key concepts required to hypnotize anyone is the belief that the hypnotist can hypnotize, and a submissive, suggestive personality or disposition at the time. Hypnosis is seen to day with charismatics and pentecostals who are "slain in the spirit" by the "powerful man of God". They falsely believe he is transmitting the power of the Holy Spirit and they therefore fall backwards and "do the dead chicken" on the floor for a couple of minutes. It is learned behaviour and the "slain" are obeying the hypnotist's command! Slain in the spirit has occult origin and is seen in many other non-Christian religions. In the first century the apostles performed true miracles and imparted genuine power of the Holy Spirit through the laying on of their hands. (Acts 8:4-21; 19:1-7) Modern hypnotists know they have not power, but often make the audience believe otherwise. For example, the fabulous hypnotist Reveen, will picture himself with a spell-casting hand as though he is zapping the person being hypnotized with some good old Mesmer magic! (Neurypnology; the Rationale of Nervous Sleep, Hypnotism, Hypnosis, James Braid, 1843 AD)


Psychiatrists and Psychologists are like hypnotists:

1.      Modern psychiatrists seem unaware of what psychoanalysts know well, namely how powerful are the words that a patient hears from an authority figure like a psychiatrist. The opportunity here for suggestion, coercion and manipulation are quite real. Patients are often looking to psychiatrists for answers and definitions as they struggle with questions such as who am I or what is happening to me. Of course we all struggle with these questions, and the human condition is such that there are no definitive answers, and anyone who comes along claiming they have answers is essentially a fraud. Biologic psychiatry promises easy answers to a public hungry for them. To give a patient nothing but a diagnosis and a pill demonstrates arrogance, laziness and bad faith on the part of the psychiatrist. Any psychiatrist needs to be continually aware of the very real possibility that they are or can easily become agents of social control and coercion. (Against Biologic Psychiatry, Dr. David Kaiser, Psychologist, Psychiatric Times, December, Dec. 1996, Vol. XIII, Issue 12)

  1. Two additional means of suggestive influence exist for those already in psychological treatment: one subtle and almost imperceptible, and the other, directive and hypnotic-like. Psychologically-prone clients, believing that the therapist has specialized knowledge, often search their psychologists' behavior, moods and remarks for hidden cues, which will influence their thinking and actions. Even the slightest reaction or response can have a great influence. As Frank notes: "The very subtlety and unobtrusiveness of the therapist's influencing maneuvers, coupled with his explicit disclaimer that [the psychologist] is exerting any influence, may increase his influencing power." (Manufacturing Victims, Dr. Tana Dineen, 2001, p 201)
  2. The study of hypnosis has much to contribute to the understanding of the psychologically-prone personality, which is susceptible not only to the indirect cues inherent in psychological treatment, but also to the hypnotic-like suggestions of psychologists. (Manufacturing Victims, Dr. Tana Dineen, 2001, p 202)
  3. For the "good therapist" designation, it would seem that two characteristics are important. The first is that the psychologist must exude an aura of warmth, attentiveness, kindness, caring and trust; be "a genuinely nice person". The other quality of this goodness is "power." Kottler, in describing what he called The Compleat Therapist, writes: "it hardly matters which theory is applied or which techniques are selected in making a therapy hour helpful . . . What does matter is who the therapist is as a human being - for what every successful healer has had since the beginning of time is charisma and power." He continues: "Perhaps more than any other single ingredient, it is power that gives force to the therapist's personality and gives weight to the words and gestures that emanate from it. It was the incredible power that radiated from the luminaries in our field that permitted them all to have such an impact on their clients... nobody would have listened to them if not for their energy, excitement and interesting characteristics that gave life to their ideas." (Manufacturing Victims, Dr. Tana Dineen, 2001, p 126)
  4. Individuals with a psychologically-prone personality are more apt to be open to such suggestions, whether or not abuse ever occurred, since fantasy-prone individuals are particularly susceptible to distortions in their memory. Bryant reports a study intended to investigate the relationship between fantasy-proneness and the age at which reported childhood sexual abuse occurred. The subjects, women who had reported sexual abuse in childhood, were assessed for their tendency to become imaginatively involved in internal events, and the extent to which fantasy played a role in their adult functioning. Bryant not only confirmed a correlational relationship between fantasy-proneness and reports of childhood abuse, he also found that "reports of abuse at a younger age are associated with higher levels of fantasy proneness." (Manufacturing Victims, Dr. Tana Dineen, 2001, p 203)
  5. Rather, they see it as leading to "the necessity of mourning... in the resolution of traumatic life events." According to Herman, "failure to complete the normal process of grieving perpetuates the traumatic reaction" for which some time imagining that you were sexually abused, without worry about accuracy or having your ideas make sense." Others give clients the instruction to "ground the experience or event in as much knowledge as you have and then let yourself imagine what actually might have happened." Corydon Hammond, past president of the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis, presupposing abuse, will typically say to a person: "You know, I know a secret about you." (Manufacturing Victims, Dr. Tana Dineen, 2001, p 223)




Neurypnology; the Rationale of Nervous Sleep, Hypnotism, James Braid, 1843 AD

James Braid (1795-1860)


Neurypnology is derived from the Greek . . . and means the rationale, or doctrine of nervous sleep, which I define to be, 'a peculiar condition of the nervous system, into which it can be thrown by artificial contrivance :' or thus, 'a peculiar condition of the nervous system, induced by a fixed and abstracted attention of the mental and visual eye, on one object, not of an exciting nature.'

By the term 'Neuro-Hypnotism,' then, is to be understood, 'nervous sleep;' and, for the sake of brevity, suppressing the prefix 'Neuro,' by the terms-


Will be understood

The state or condition of nervous sleep.


To induce nervous sleep.


One who has been put into the state of nervous sleep.


Nervous sleep.


To restore from the state or condition of nervous sleep.


Restored from the state or condition of nervous sleep.


One who practises Neuro-Hypnotism.

By the impression which hypnotism induces on the nervous system, we acquire a power of rapidly curing many functional disorders, most intractable, or altogether incurable, by ordinary remedies, and also many of those distressing affections which, as in most cases they evince no pathological change of structure, have been presumed to depend on some peculiar condition of the nervous system, and have therefore, by universal consent, been denominated 'nervous complaints;' and as I felt satisfied it was not dependent on any special agency or emanation, passing from the body of the operator to that of the patient, as the animal magnetizers allege is the case by their process, I considered it desirable, for the sake of preventing misconception, to adopt new terms, as explained in the introduction.

I was led to discover the mode I now adopt with so much success for inducing this artificial condition of the nervous system, by a course of experiments instituted with the view to determine the cause of mesmeric phenomena. From all I had read and heard of mesmerism, (such as, the phenomena being capable of being excited in so few, and these few individuals in a state of disease, or naturally of a delicate constitution, or peculiarly susceptible temperament, and from the phenomena, when induced, being said to be so exaggerated, or of such an extraordinary nature,) I was fully inclined to join with those who considered the whole to be a system of collusion or delusion, or of excited imagination, sympathy, or imitation.

The first exhibition of the kind I ever had an opportunity of attending, was one of M. Lafontaine's conversazioni, on the 13th November, 1841. That night I saw nothing to diminish, but rather to confirm, my previous prejudices. At the next conversazione, six nights afterwards, one fact, the inability of a patient to open his eyelids, arrested my attention. I considered that to be a real phenomenon, and was anxious to discover the physiological cause of it. Next night, I watched this case when again operated on, with intense interest, and before the termination of the experiment, felt assured I had discovered its cause, but considered it prudent not to announce my opinion publicly, until I had an opportunity of testing its accuracy, by experiments and observation in private .. .

I considered the experiments fully proved my theory; and expressed my entire conviction that the phenomena of mesmerism were to be accounted for on the principle of a derangement of the state of the cerebro-spinal centres, and of the circulatory, and respiratory, and muscular systems, induced, as I have explained, by a fixed stare, absolute repose of body, fixed attention, and suppressed respiration, concomitant with that fixity of attention. That the whole depended on the physical and psychical condition of the patient, arising from the causes referred to, and not at all on the volition, or passes of the operator, throwing out a magnetic fluid, or exciting into activity some mystical universal fluid or medium . . . For a considerable time I was of opinion that the phenomena induced by my mode of operating and that of the mesmerizers, were identical; and, so far as I have yet personally seen, I still consider the condition of the nervous system induced by both modes to be at least analogous .. .

I feel convinced hypnotism is not only a valuable, but also a perfectly safe remedy for many complaints, if judiciously used; still it ought not to be trifled with by ignorant persons for the mere sake of gratifying idle curiosity . .. In the second part of this treatise, where the cases are recorded, will be found many examples of the curative power of hypnotism . . . such as Tic Doloureux; Nervous headache; Spinal irritation; Neuralgia of the heart; Palpitation and intermittent action of the heart; Epilepsy; Rheumatism; Paralysis; Distortions and tonic spasm, &c.

'It is a law in the animal economy, that by a continued fixation of the mental and visual eye . . . with absolute repose of body, and general quietude . . . a state of somnolency is induced accompanied with that condition of the brain and nervous system generally, which renders the patient liable to be affected . . . so as to exhibit the hypnotic phenomena'

'The most striking cases . . . for illustrating the value of the hypnotic mode of treatment, are cases of hysteric paralysis . . . In such cases, by . . . substituting a salutary idea of vigour . . . the patients are found to have acquired . . . voluntary power over their hitherto paralysed limbs, as if by a magical spell or witchcraft'. He explained this as 'the influence of an expectant dominant idea, either exciting or depressing natural function, according to the faith and confidence of the patient'.

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Actual name of Hypnotist Method

from, Shadow's Stage Hypnosis, "How to Hypnotize"


Phenomena of Hypnosis

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In response to direct and specific suggestions the hypnotized person may be rendered happy or sad, angry or pleased, liberal or stingy, proud or humble, pugnacious or passive, bold or timid, hopeful or despondent, insolent or respectful. He may be made to sing, to shout, to laugh, to weep, to act, to dance, to shoot, to fish, to preach, to pray, to recite a poem or expound a theory. The expressions of the subject in response to the suggestions is most significant, as its very earnestness and profound. The attitudes and gestures are equal to the best effort of an experienced actor. Delusions and Illusions or Hallucinations may be induced by hypnotic suggestions, for instance, when a chair is taken for a dog, or a broom for a lovely women. Various physiological effects can be produced in the state of hypnosis. A subject can be caused to cry and shed tears on one side of the face and laugh on the other. The pulse can be quickened or retarded, respiration slowed or even accelerated, and perspiration produced all by suggestion. Even the temperature of the body can be affected. If a subject is told he has a high fever, his pulse will become rapid, his face flushed, and his temperature increase. If suggested that he is cold, goose bumps could develop. Hunger and Thirst, could be created or retarded. (Shadow's Stage Hypnosis)

Almost a perfect description of what happen in Pentecostal churches!

Sudden Jerk Method
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Hypnotist Jim Hoke used this method of instantaneously hypnotizing with great skill. Whilst passing through the audience, when he notices a spectator showing symptoms of susceptibility to hypnosis. He will suddenly reach out, grip the persons hand, and give a forceful jerking forward causing the persons head to flop down to their lap. At that very instant he will command "Go the sleep this very moment!" Immediately he will then place his free hand on the back of the party's head and press down, while rapidly continuing suggestions, "Melt down, melt down into deep hypnosis now." From experience the hypnotist can become expert in seizing the "moments of anticipation" of members of his audience resulting in instantaneous hypnosis. It looks miraculous. Hoke will pass through an audience snapping person after person into hypnosis by this method. The effect is compounding on the spectators, seeing it work in another excites expectations that it will work on oneself. (Shadow's Stage Hypnosis)

Precisely what Pentecostals do in their meetings! Phrases like, "receive the Spirit", "here it comes", "get ready for it" are very common just before slaying in the spirit. Touching often occurs. Faith healers actually shake heads, give sharp hits to the head.

Head Tap Technique for Deepening
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It is suggested that every tap in the top of the head will increase the depth of hypnosis. The operator commences a series of regular tapping upon the top of the subjects head. The subjective effect of the method being that each tap is recognized by the subconscious meaning, "You are going down deeper and deeper into hypnosis." It is an effective technique for deepening hypnosis. (Shadow's Stage Hypnosis)

Pentecostals will use a whole series of different touches. Touch head, chest, palms etc. All the while saying, "open up to God" types of phrases.

posthypnotic suggestion
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Possibly the surest way to obtain instantaneous hypnosis is to give the hypnotized subject a posthypnotic suggestion that when you do such and such he will immediately become hypnotized. The "such and such" can be any cue desired. A simple one would be to suggest: "When I look into your eyes and tell you to 'GO TO SLEEP' you will instantly become hypnotized. The subject is then awakened. You can then test the response. Passing by the subject, suddenly turn and look in his eyes and forcefully state: 'GO TO SLEEP.' Immediately hypnosis is induced. (Shadow's Stage Hypnosis)

This is seen often in Pentecostal churches. The audience is trained so that when the faith healer says or does certain things, the result is slaying in the Spirit. One faith healer turned the slew the entire choir, except for an old deaf man who didn't HEAR the cue!!!

expectancy method
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Expectancy to being hypnotized is a great factor in being hypnotized, instantly. That is why subjects watching others being hypnotized become excessively responsive themselves. By way of example : A person is sitting beside a subject being hypnotized on stage. They see him "go to sleep" on you command. If you suddenly turn your attention to that person, look him squarely in the eyes and shout, "SLEEP!" Down he goes. It takes experience to use this method effectively. The hypnotist has to learn to recognize the symptoms of readiness in the potential subject. i.e. Intensity of interest, a focusing of the eyes, even an increasing of the breathing rate. The skill of successful instantaneous hypnotizing comes through an instinctive recognition of anticipation plus forceful boldness! (Shadow's Stage Hypnosis)

What more can be said, identical to Pentecostals!!! The audience is expecting people to be slain in the spirit!!!

The Head Rap Method
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A sudden pain will often snap the subject into hypnosis. This method is related to the foregoing. Passing by a subject, suddenly catch his eye. You can tell when this occurs as his eyes set upon yourself on the instant with something of a surprised, bewildered blank look in their focus. Having captured such attention, suddenly snap the knuckles of your right hand with a rap (not too gentle) on the top of his head. At the moment of contact with the skull, shout, "SLEEP!" The subject will instantly snap into hypnosis. You can then soften things by suggesting: "The pain from the rap is all gone now, for you are in hypnosis. You feel all comfortable now. Go deep to sleep now in profound hypnosis" (Shadow's Stage Hypnosis)

Pentecostal preachers actually use this!!! They PUNCH people in the head with their palm as if they were serving a volley ball! The blow knocks the head back! The faith healer shouts all kinds of things at the point of contact, exactly like the hypnotists!


 By Steve Rudd: Contact the author for comments, input or corrections.

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