Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Ormond McGill on Hypnotizing Difficult Subjects

Longtime readers may recall my obit for the great Ormond McGill, Dean of American Hypnotists and father of modern stage hypnotism. Ormond was a lovely and gentle man but you might not believe it from this handy bit of advice from his seminal 1947 Encyclopedia of Stage Hypnotism:

Challenge Hypnotism

Occasionally, although very rarely, you may run up against a person who is refractory about entering into the situation with you and following your instructions. Dr. Q [McGill's stage name] would always get around such difficulty by the following secret method of putting the subject to sleep against his will. This is the famous "Bulldog Method" which has long been one of the most cherished secrets of stage Hypnotists.

Standing directly in front of the subject, push his head well back, with your left hand on the front of his forehead. Then place the thumb and first finger of your right hand directly on his exposed throat, just above the Adam's apple. You can quickly find the exact spot by the feel of the blood pounding through the veins in his throat beneath your fingers. Push firmly in upon these veins, at the same time requesting the man to breathe deeply. (Even if he doesn't wish to comply, he'll be largely compelled to do so in order to get air in such a position.) Maintain this pressure upon the veins in his throat for a moment, and at the same time push his head farther backward...and carefully watch your subject.

You will find that he will suddenly go limp. Catch this moment and shout loudly, "Sleep," and let him drop to the floor in a heap.

Step aside to give the audience a chance to see the "hypnotized" man on the floor. Then quickly bend over the subject and hit him gently on the back of the neck while saying in a loud voice, "All right now, wake up now...wide awake!"

After that demonstration you will find that the subject will be most docile and willing to follow whatever whispered instructions you care to give. It also serves to impress the other subjects on the stage to the end that they'd better co-operate along with you--or else.

(Emphasis in original)

I've decided to put together a stage hypnotism act. Anyone want to come over to my place so I can practice the "Bulldog Method"?


The Conjurer said...

Good to see you back. I met Dr Q at the Legends of Magic. He was a delight.

soubriquet said...

This sounds remarkably like the power of god acting through charismatic preachers, there always seems to be that touch to the head and then the sudden fall......

I always wondered how they worked that.

PeaceLove said...

Sounds similar, but I think it's actually the exact opposite. With charismatic preachers, the person being healed believes strongly in the effect. A purposeful touch will make them fall in an ecstatic state.

McGill is talking about creating that same effect with a skeptical, difficult subject -- which requires squeezing their windpipe until they pass out.

Hey, it works for me.