Hypnosis—what’s doable, what’s doubtable (part 1)

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I have hypnosis anxiety. There, I said it. I mean, I have a fairly adventurous spirit. I’ve jumped out of an airplane in Xenia, OH, and drifted over Santa Fe, NM, in a hot air balloon. I like to hike and bike and, in the winter, cross country ski. I’ve spent a weekend caving and rappelling with a group of fellow novices and lived to tell about it. I’ve gone camping in Canada equipped with nothing more than a ground tarp and a frying pan just for the thrill of viewing a meteor shower from a new angle. I’ve handled snakes in the wild and have been attacked by a raccoon. I haven’t ziplined yet, but I intend to. As you know, I sued the FBI and now I’m going after the CIA. Some days, I can be fearless as all get out.

But hypnosis? That terrifies the crap out of me. 

I don’t generally like the thought of someone getting into my head and telling me what to think or do or say. I’ve spent years customizing my internal filter into what I believe does the best job of presenting the true me to the world, and I prefer that it be switched on at all times. When I signed on to look into the Ronald Tammen disappearance, I had no idea that it would put me at this crossroads, where I would consider being hypnotized just to see what it’s all about, but what do you know, here I am. 

What am I so afraid of? Lots of people do it. Heaven knows I have a few issues that it could probably help with.

In attempting to answer a question that recently came up on this blog, I’d been doing some research—reading, reaching out to experts…the yoozh. The question that was raised then was: can a person be hypnotized by being stared at from across a room? Specifically, it applied to H.H. Stephenson’s alleged Wellsville, NY, sighting of Ronald Tammen, whom he said was staring at him, as if he was looking through him, and yet Stephenson inexplicably said nothing to the young man. A resource of mine, a retiree who used hypnosis frequently in the treatment of patients, was willing to entertain the notion that, if it was Ron who was seated there, there was a chance that Ron was either in a trance or had been given a posthypnotic suggestion not to recognize anyone from his former life. Another hypnosis expert had suggested to me earlier that, again, if it was Ron, he was probably just thinking something like, “I know that guy from somewhere, but where?” But as for the notion that Tammen was hypnotizing Stephenson with his stare, in my retired expert’s view, it isn’t feasible.

OK, fine. Good to know. But it got me to thinking about hypnosis in general and how I really don’t understand it very well because I’ve never been hypnotized before. I’ve written about things that I’ve never done myself—things that require years of training on the part of the doer—but being hypnotized is different since it requires zero training on my part. It’s actually quite passive. I started Googling “hypnosis” along with the name of my town, and discovered that there are a whole lot of hypnotists near where I live. I found one with a kind face and a long list of credentials who has been practicing for decades and reached out to him yesterday.

And so, dear readers, I’ve decided that this is the next step. I’m going to give it a try. For me. For you. I will do this as part of my background research so that I can become more enlightened about the hypnotic process. My new resource is also willing to entertain some of my questions about hypnosis, a list of which I’m developing now. If you have questions on this topic that you’ve been wondering about—pertaining to Tammen or something more general—feel free to jot them down in the comments section, and I’ll consider adding them to my list.

Oh, and please understand that this could take some time. I’ll be in touch.

13 thoughts on “Hypnosis—what’s doable, what’s doubtable (part 1)

  1. I will keep you in my prayers and meditations. Your work is not finished here. Seriously though, I have never thought I could be hypnotized, but one time an amateur had me holding my arm up much longer than (he said) should be possible. I would love to know: what are the traits that indicate if someone is easy to hypnotize, or more difficult, or impossible.

  2. Jen – Loved your March 1st post on the hypnotists/psychologists! I’d probably be a bit wary, but good luck with your own hypnosis session!

  3. Best of luck with the hypnosis session. I look forward to hearing about the experience. I, myself, am on a similar journey–I’ve been ordered to a sleep clinic due to an abnormal 88% oxygen drop when I was under during a surgical procedure back in December. I brushed it off, but my doctor demanded that I now go because the event was more serious than I realized. So I guess I’ll be hooked and wired up doing strange tests MKULTRA style 😉

  4. Hypnosis related questions:
    Do various truth serums work well with hypnosis?

    In regards to people using hypnosis for weight loss or smoking cessation, etc, does a person’s belief in the viability of hypnosis:

    1. Make them more susceptible(that word has a bit of a negative connotation I don’t intend) to hypnotic suggestion?
    2. Amount to a placebo effect of the hypnosis session?
    3. Depend on the specific issue they are seeking hypnosis to treat?

    If you really want to bare your soul to your Loyal Readers, a few questions to be asked of you under hypnosis(I realize you might right now answer these emphatically. But it might be interesting to see if you respond differently while hypnotized)

    1. What did you hope and/or expect to find when you started this quest?
    2. If you were President for life, what would you do to ensure such a program as MKUltra never again happened within the halls of a governmental agency?
    3. Do you always want to know the truth, even when it might be really ugly, as in this case?

    Just some thoughts off the top of my head. Not trying to offer you up as a hypnotized sacrificial lamb either! No problem at all to decline.

    Oh, and I don’t know the privacy issues, but maybe you could film the session…..maybe?

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