Today's Memory

Richard Lee Byers‘ Today’s Memory

Richard Lee Byers‘ Today’s Memory

Richard Lee Byers‘ Today’s Memory

James Braid starts research the hypnotism

Originally shared by Richard Lee Byers

Happy birthday (sort of) to hypnotism! On this day in 1841, James Braid attended a demonstration of animal magnetism. His curiosity aroused, he undertook a study of the subject that greatly improved our understanding.

Among his other contributions, Braid established that the mesmerist didn’t impose the trance state on the subject through a “magnetic agency” or by beaming any other sort of mojo through his gaze. Instead, entering the altered state of consciousness was a subject-internal (albeit operator-guided) transition.

When you think about it, this insight was kind of a tough bounce for fans of the pulps, comics, and other forms of melodrama. But happily, Dracula, the Shadow, and many of pop fiction’s other A-list mesmerists partake of the supernatural or at least the secret mystical arts of the East. Thus we need not doubt their ability to cloud weaker minds.

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