By William W Atkinson (1908)
As we have mentioned in the previous lesson, there is a general
resemblance between the manifestation of Mental Influence, known
as "Fascination," and that known as Hypnotic Influence. In the
manifestation known as Fascination, the influence is exerted
solely by Thought-Waves passing from mind to mind without a
physical medium or channel other than the ether. In Hypnotic
Influence, on the contrary, the influence is heightened by means
of passes, stroking or eye-influence.
In Hypnotic Influence the mind of the person affected, whom we
shall call the "subject," is rendered passive by a flow of mental
energy calculated to render it more or less drowsy or sleepy, and
therefore less calculated to set up powers of resistance to the
Thought-Waves of the person using the influence.
But the power employed is the same in all cases, no matter whether
they fall under the classification of Fascination or whether that
of Hypnotic Influence. The two classes of manifestation, as a
matter of fact, really blend into each other, and it is difficult
to draw a dividing line in some cases.
Hypnotic Influence is a form of that which was formerly termed
Mesmerism, which name was given to it in honor of its discoverer,
Frederick Anton Mesmer, who practiced this form of Mental
Influence during the latter half of the Eighteenth Century. As a
fact, however, the force and its use was known to the ancients
centuries before Mesmer’s time, the latter person having merely
rediscovered it. Mesmer taught that the power was based upon the
presence of a strange universal fluid which pervaded everything,
and which had a peculiar effect upon the nerves and brains of
people. He and his followers believed that it was necessary to put
the subjects into a sound sleep before they could be influenced.
But both of these ideas have given way to the new theories on the
subject now held by investigators and students of the subject.
It is now known that the "magnetic fluid" believed in by Mesmer
and his followers is nothing else than the currents of
Thought-Waves emanating from the mind of the operator. And it is
also known that the "deep sleep" condition is not necessary to
render the will of the subject subservient to that of the
operator. It is also now known that the nerves of the arms and
fingers afford a highly sensitive conductor for the mental
currents, which may be propelled over them to the mind of the
subject, or to his nerves and muscles. This fact is explained by
the well-known scientific fact that the material of which the
nerves are composed is almost identical with that of the brain –
in fact the nervous system may be spoken of as a continuation of
the brain itself. It is now also known that the eye has a peculiar
property of transmitting the mental currents along the rays of
light entering it and from thence to the eyes of the other person.
The above fact explains the phenomena of hypnotic influence, as it
is now known to science. The question of "Suggestion" also has a
bearing on the subject, as we shall see presently.
Modern operators do not produce the "deep sleep" condition usually
except in cases when it is desired to produce some form of psychic
phenomena apart from the subject of Mental Influence – that is, in
which they are merely inducing the deep hypnotic condition in
order to get the subject into a psychic condition in which the
phenomena mentioned may be manifested or exhibited. We shall not
enter into this phase of the subject in this book, for it is
outside of the immediate subject. The modern hypnotic investigator
merely induces a passive state in the mind, nerves or muscles of
the subject sufficient to reduce the powers of resistance, and
then he gives his orders or "verbal suggestions" accompanied by a
projection of his Thought-Waves into the mind of the subject.
In order to illustrate the subject, we will give you a few
experiments, which may be easily performed by anyone manifesting
the power of concentration and thought-projection. There is of
course a great difference in the degrees of impressionability of
different persons to hypnotic influence – that is to say,
difference of degrees resistance. Some persons will interpose a
strong resistance, while others will set up a very feeble
resistance, which is easily beaten down by the will of the
operator. In the following experiments you had better begin by
getting some person who is perfectly willing for the experiment,
and who will not interpose a resistance but who is willing to
become passive. Some person friendly, to you and interested in the
experiments, we mean.
Begin by having the person stand before you. Then make sweeping
passes in front of the person from head to foot. Then make a few
passes in front of the face of the subject, then along his arms.
Then take hold of his hands and hold them a little while, looking
him straight in the eyes. Make all passes downward. Avoid levity
or laughter and maintain a serious, earnest expression and frame
Then standing in front of the subject tell him to take his will
off of his legs and stand perfectly passive and relaxed. Then
looking him straight in the eyes, say to him: "Now, I am going to
draw you forward toward me by my mental power – you will feel
yourself falling forward toward me – don’t resist but let yourself
come toward me – I will catch you, don’t be afraid – now come –
come – come – now you’re coming, that’s right," etc. You will find
that he will begin to sway toward you and in a moment or two will
fall forward in your arms. It is unnecessary to say that you
should concentrate your mind steadily upon the idea of his falling
forward, using your will firmly to that effect. It will help
matters if you hold your hands on each side of his head, but just
in front of him, not touching him, however, and then draw away
your hands, toward yourself, saying at the same time: "Come now –
come – you’re coming," etc. Standing behind the subject and
drawing him backward may reverse this experiment. Be sure and
catch him in your arms when he falls to protect him from a fall to
In the same manner you may fasten his hands together, telling him
that he cannot draw them apart. Or you may start him revolving his
hands, and then giving him orders that he cannot stop them. Or you
may draw him all around the room after you, following your finger
that you have pointed at his nose. Or you may make him experience
a feeling of heat and pain by touching your finger to his hand and
telling him that it is hot. All of the familiar simple experiments
may be performed successfully upon a large percentage of persons,
in this way, by following the above general directions. We shall
not go into detail of the higher experiments of Hypnotism, as that
forms a special subject by itself. We give the above experiments
merely for the purpose of showing you that the phenomena of
Hypnotic Influence does not require any "magnetic fluid" theory,
and is all explainable upon the hypothesis of Mental Influence by
means of Thought-Waves and Mental Induction.
In the above experiments, be sure you "take off" the influence
afterward, by making upward passes, and willing that the influence
pass off. Do not neglect this.
In your experiments, if you care to undertake them, you will soon
discover the power of your eye upon the other persons. You will be
able to almost feel the force passing from your gaze to theirs.
And this is true in the case of the passes and stroking of the
hands. You will feel the vibratory waves flowing from your hands
into their nervous system. It is wonderful what power is aroused
in a person after conducting a few experiments along these lines.
Those who care to follow the subject further are referred to a
forthcoming book of this series, to be issued shortly, and which
will be called "The New Hypnotism," in which full instructions
will be given in the higher phenomena, in complete detail.
And now a word of warning - Beware of people who are always
putting their hands on you, or patting or stroking you, or wishing
to hold your hands a long time. Many persons do this from force of
habit, and innocently, but others do so with the intention of
producing a mild form of hypnotic influence upon you. If you meet
such persons, and find them attempting anything of this sort, you
can counteract their influence by sending them a strong thought
current (as stated in our last chapter), sending them the thought:
"You can’t affect me – I am too strong for you – you can’t play
your tricks on me. "It is a good plan to practice this
counteracting force when you are shaking hands with a "magnetic"
person who seems to affect people. You will soon be able to
distinguish these people by a certain force about them and a
peculiar expression in their eyes, at the same time using your
protective will upon them.
Caution young girls against allowing young men to be too free in
using their hands in caressing them, and a word of advice to young
men in your family would not be out of place in this respect.
There are many cases of sex-attraction, leading to very deplorable
results, arising from a conscious or unconscious use of this
simple form of Hypnotic Influence. The danger lies in the fact
that it renders one passive to other influences, and more readily
led into temptation and to yield to the desires or will of the
other person. A word to the wise should be sufficient. The use of
this power for immoral purposes is a terrible crime and brings
down upon the user deplorable results, which all occultists know
and teach. Every one should learn to resist such influences when
exerted upon them. Forewarned is Forearmed.
8. Influencing at a distance