The technique of hypnosis has dazzled, mystified, and terrified the Western imagination for nearly two centuries. Since its very inception endless debate has raged over the actual effectiveness of hypnosis with many reputable scientists dismissing it as nothing more than a parlor trick of stage magicians. And to be certain, the origins of hypnosis are quite mystical. In some occult traditions, the technique of hypnotism is traced back to ancient Egypt.
"The figure of Isis is sometimes used to represent the occult and magical arts, such as necromancy, invocation, sorcery, and thaumaturgy. In one of the myths concerning her, Isis is said to have conjured the invincible God of Eternities, Ra, to tell her his secret and sacred name, which he did. This name is equivalent to the Lost Word of Masonry. By means of this Word, a magician can demand obedience from the invisible and superior deities. The priests of Isis became adepts in the use of the unseen forces of Nature. They understood hypnotism, mesmerism, and similar practices long before the modern world dreamed of their existence."That some primitive form of hypnosis, or at least self-hypnosis, was born out of 'lost words' is not as far fetched as it may sound. In fact, many of the world's most ancient religions practiced some form of trance-like state that was brought on by 'lost words' or mantras.
(The Secret Teachings of All Ages, Manly P. Hall, pgs. 131-132)
"This Word -like the lost Word of Hiram Abiff, also of Solomon's Temple -is a recurring theme in Masonic ritual and literature as well as in ancient Jewish lore, and has a special place in the Qabala, which concentrates on words and letters and the power certain combinations and pronunciations can give to the initiated practitioner. This idea of the power of language is reflected in the Gospel according to John, the most mystical of the four Evangelists, which begins, 'In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.' In the Gnostic writings found at Nag Hammadi and in other places, a great emphasis is placed on words of no identifiable meaning, what archaeologists call 'abracadabra,' or meaningless sounds.
"Obviously, since it seemed that no words from everyday vocabulary of a language possessed any special power (else we would have all witnessed it many times in our lives), the magic words must be those that have no usage in common speech, words that are otherwise unrecognizable. Gibberish. And since these magic words could be phoneticized and written down anyway -and possibly seen by the unworthy -the secret of their power must lie in their method of pronunciation, a method that would be passed down to the initiate during the course of special ritual. In the later occult lodges of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, this method was known as 'vibration' rather than pronunciation, for it was acknowledged that speech (and, indeed, all sound) is vibration or sound waves. Therefore, magical pronunciation must consist of a special way of creating those very sound waves, a method of speaking or chanting or singing that would convey the power of the word in its very sound, its particular vocalization.
"The constant repetition of select words or phrases over and over again -like the mantra of Hinduism and Buddhism, designed to lead a practitioner to exalted states of awareness, into contact with God -was the technique Dr. Ewen Cameron used in the depatterning experiments at his infamous clinic in Montreal on behalf of the CIA..."
(Sinister Forces Book Two, Peter Levenda, pgs. 161-162)
I shall cut Levenda off there before I get to far ahead of myself as the origins of hypnosis are still under consideration. But keep in mind that the concept of a mental 'reprogramming,' brought about by a kind of proto-hypnotic state has existed in certain religious circles for a very, very long time. As to the modern notion of hypnotism, it is generally traced back to the curious figure of Franz Anton Mesmer, and his notion of 'animal magnetism.'
"Mesmer first hit upon his discovery while treating a Fraulein Oesterlin in 1773-1774. Fraulein Osterlin suffered from several severe symptoms, and Mesmer noted the cycle of their appearance and withdrawal. Mesmer was aware that doctors in England had experimented with treating patients with magnets, and decided to do the same. He attached magnets to Fraulein Oesterlin's stomach and legs. She improved considerably. Mesmer came to believe that it was not the magnets alone that cured her, but his own animal magnetism. The age of mesmerism was born.
"The basic tenets of mesmerism are that a subtle, physical fluid fills the universe and forms a connecting link between man, the earth and the stars; disease is the result of blockages of this fluid in the body; and techniques exist to enable these fluids to move freely. The famous 'mesmeric passes' were attempts by practitioners to help the magnetism in its flow. It's clear that while he didn't consider himself an occultist, many occultists do in fact adhere to some form of Mesmer's basic idea. A form of it is evident in much holistic healing. It is also clear that a very similar notion appeared in the 20th century in the form of Wilhelm Reich's 'orgone energy'. In Reich's case, the relationship between an uninhabited, healthy flow of orgone energy and sex was unambiguous. In Mesmer's case, the animal aspect of his magnetism raised a considerable number of eyebrows."
(A Dark Muse, Gary Lachman, pgs. 21-22)
As far out as the notion of some kind of mental 'transference' occurring between the hypnotist and their subject may seem nowadays, it is a phenomenon that has continued to be documented in some of the most recent studies on the subject.
"The ability of hypnotized individuals to 'tap' into the senses of other people has been reported by other investigators. The British physicist Sir William Barrett found evidence of the phenomenon in a series of experiments with a young girl. After hypnotizing the girl he told her that she would taste everything he tasted. 'Standing behind the girl, whose eyes I had securely bandaged, I took up some salt and put it in my mouth; instantly she sputtered and exclaimed, 'What for are you putting salt in my mouth?' Then I tried sugar; she said 'That's better'; asked what it was like, she said 'sweet.' Then mustard, pepper, ginger, et cetera were tried; each was named and apparently tasted by the girl when I put them in my mouth.'
"In his book Experiments in Distant Influence the Soviet physiologist Leonid Vasiliev cites a German study conducted in the 1950s that produced similar findings. In that study, the hypnotized subject not only tasted what the hypnotist tasted, but blinked when a light was flashed in the hypnotist's eyes, sneezed when the hypnotist took a whiff of ammonia, heard the ticking of a watch held to the hypnotist's ear, and experienced pain when the hypnotist pricked himself with a needle -all done in a manner that safeguarded against her obtaining the information through normal sensory cues."
(The Holographic Universe, Michael Talbot, pg. 142)
The actual phenomenon of mesmerism was not actually discovered by Mesmer himself, but by one of his followers.
"Although his name has become part of the language -we speak of being mesmerized -the credit for discovering what mesmerism actually was went to his one-time disciple, the Marquis de Puysegur, who, while magnetizing a patient discovered he had put him to sleep. The term hypnotism was coined half a century later by the Englishman James Braid."The influences on Mesmer himself have been hotly debated. Mesmer considered himself to be a strict scientist and avoided linking his practices with the occult, yet secret societies seem to have had an enormous influence on his life.
(A Dark Muse, Gary Lachman, pg. 23)
"...Mesmer may have been helped by secret societies. If so, this would not be unusual; the late 18th century was a time rife with secret societies and occult organizations. As the Baroness d' Oberkirch, an aristocratic socialite and intimate of mesmeric circles in Paris and Strasbourg, remarked: 'Never, certainly, were Rosicrucians, alchemists, prophets, and everything related to them so numerous and so influential. Conversation turns almost entirely upon these matters; they fill everyone's thoughts, they strike everyone's imagination... Looking around us, we see sorcerers, initiates, necromancers, and prophets.'From the occult circles of the Age of Enlightenment to the laboratories of some of the most classified research facilities in America's Cold War arsenal the technique of hypnotism would travel, yet it would never fully shake its mystical connections.
"Mesmer's financial problems were solved when he married a wealthy widow and set himself up in Vienna. He became a patron of the arts and his friends include Gluck, Haydn (both masons) and the Mozart family. Wolfgang Mozart -who as a Freemason and quite possibly a member of the Illuminati would be no stranger to secret societies -performed his first opera, Bastien and Bastienne, in Mesmer's private theater."
(ibid, pg. 21)
"...It began in the late 1700s with the study of the 'Mesmeric trance,' 'magnetic sleep,' and 'artificial somnambulism' -all of which we now call 'hypnosis.' Dabblers in hypnosis quickly discovered that people who were very good at 'preternatural' skills like clairvoyance, psychokinesis, and even a kind of shamanic healing ability. Many of these talented 'somnambules' and 'clairvoyantes' were as celebrated as today's big-name psychics. By the 1840s, hypnosis-related psi abilities were so common that they had become a sort of parlor trick. English gentlemen would hypnotize their maidservants, showing off the girls' clairvoyant skills to dinner party guests."A century later would mark the true coming of age of hypnosis. It was at this time, during World War II, that the Nazis and their counterparts in in US and British intelligence became obsessed with the notion of hypnosis as a tool of mind control. Much of the Nazi mind control research was performed at Dachau. The records of these experiments have been classified since 1945.
(Remote Viewers, Jim Schnabel, pg. 143)
"The ready supply of prisoners at Dachau provided a steady stream of guinea pigs for these chemical experiments and tests. Cannabis and mescaline were both used -sometimes in very large doses -along with hypnosis to see if any of these mechanisms could be used as truth serums, magical potions to unlock the secrets of the mind. At the same time, in the United States, OSS agents were using the same or similar drugs on unsuspecting targets -such as Mafia 'made men' -to see if the same objectives could be attained. Gradually, in the US, hypnosis was also used, sometimes in combination with drugs. And if false information, or 'suggestions,' could be implanted in the subject, then we have an instance where the goals of psychological warfare and regular intelligence work overlap. In the case of the latter, the methodology was fine-tuned to the individual subject for a specific purpose: as it turned out, this purpose -as seen by the CIA and by their counterparts in other countries -was assassination."
(Sinister Forces Book One, Peter Levenda, pg. 143)
In the post-War years the OSS' successor, the CIA, became obsessed with developing a formula for creating a 'Manchurian Candidate,' a programmed assassin that could be trusted to carry out his duties without knowledge of them. To this end any number of techniques including mind altering drugs were employed. But it was hypnosis that the Agency felt held the most promise.
"On February 19, 1945, Morse Allen simulated the ultimate experiment in hypnosis: the creation of a 'Manchurian Candidate,' or programmed assassin. Allen's 'victim' was a secretary whom he put into a deep trance and told to keep sleeping until ordered otherwise. He then hypnotized a second secretary and told her that if she could not wake up her friend, 'her rage would be so great that she would not hesitate to kill.' Allen left a pistol nearby, which the secretary had no way of knowing was unloaded. Even though she had earlier expressed fear of firearms of any kind, she picked up the gun and 'shot' her sleeping friend. After Allen brought the 'killer' out of her trance, she had apparent amnesia for the event, denying she would ever shoot anyone."
(The Search for the "Manchurian Candidate", John Marks, pg. 195)
Attempts were made to further refine Allen's techniques in the mid-1950s by a young Ph. D candidate named Alden Sears via a CIA front known as the Geschickter Fund.
"Sears, who later moved his CIA study project to the University of Denver, worked with student subjects to define the nature of hypnosis. Among many other things, he looked into several of the areas that would be building blocks in the creation of a Manchurian Candidate. Could a hypnotist induce a totally separate personality? Could a subject be sent on missions he would not remember unless cued by the hypnotist?"The University of Denver is an interesting choice of location. I will remind the reader that marijuana, in conjunction with hypnosis, was considered by both the Nazis and the CIA as a potential formula for mind control. The former Nazi chemist and CIA consultant Friedrich Hoffmann wrote a paper entitled "Isolation of Trans-*6-Tetrahydrocannibinol from Marijuana" on the effects of pot as a truth serum for Journal of the American Chemical Society, for instance. It was published in the April 20th, 1966 issue -4/20. The University of Colorado at Boulder is one of the main universities associated with the cannabis holiday. Is it possible that this association derives from the time when Sears was conducting his experiments on hypnosis in Colorado in the mid-1950s? This would hardly be the only connection between the date of 4/20 (Hitler's birthday) and mind control.
(ibid, pg. 199)
"Admiral Roscoe Hillenkoetter was the first Director of the CIA; he was also later to become a member of NICAP, that organization of professional scientists, military men, engineers, and civilians created to uncover the truth about UFOs. Hillenkoetter remained convinced about the reality of the phenomenon all his life. But on April 20, 1950 -ironically enough, Hitler's birthday -he approved the creation of a special project to discover a means to combat the Russian mind weapons, whatever they were. This project was called BLUEBIRD...
"...CIA security chief Sheffield Edwards who decided to call the project -a program for exploring the uses of hypnosis and other means to protect Agency personnel from enemy psychic penetration -BLUEBIRD. Why, then, did he choose the name BLUEBIRD for the first-ever CIA mind control project, the forerunner of the more infamous MK-ULTRA?"
(Sinister Forces Book One, Peter Levenda, pg. 187)
Why, for that matter, did the Company select Hitler's birthday to instigate their first official mind control experiments? Why, further, did that date end up becoming a cannabis holiday in two regions of the country awash in CIA medical experiments? The scope of these questions are beyond the scale of this piece, but for more information on the curious intelligence and fascist links to the 4/20 celebration, check here.
Its also worth noting that the University of Colorado at Boulder was also the location of the infamous Condon committee, a panel dedicated to the investigation of UFOs. Both cannabis and UFOs have had an odd overlap with hypnosis and mind control. Keep the connection between the CIA and the legendary UFO organization NICAP in the back of your minds as hypnosis will play a major role in both mind control and the modern UFO phenomenon, as we shall see in part two of this series.