“Hypnotic suggestion is the means by which such displacements are effected. The destructive thought, deeply rooted in the subconscious, makes the individual neurotic. The constructive thought, conveyed to the subconscious area by the hypnotist, disburdens the mind of this thought and takes it place as a component of the individual’s personality.”
By DR. THOMAS L. GARRETT
In last month’s article I told the story of Phineas Quimby, the noted Portland healer who diagnosed human ailments through clairvoyant hypnosis. As I explained therein, Quimby threw his assistant in to a hypnotic trance and asked him what ailed this or that patient. The assistant, a farmhand who lacked even an elementary school education, astounded newspaper reporters and other callers at the Quimby clinic by describing each ailment in the language employed by the members of the medical profession.
THERE ALWAYS ARE SKEPTICS
It goes without saying, of course, that there are a number of persons who feel that the Quimby story should be taken with a grain of salt. We shall always have in our midst those who laugh at or condemn that which they do not understand. As Elbert Hubbard once said, “If a man is not up on a thing, he is usually down on it.”
And we always have with us those who, while admitting that a thing might have happened in the past, will argue that it could not happen again and that the man who made it possible was endowed with a “freak” power that will never devolve upon any other human in all the centuries to come. This, is fact, is the way that many persons feel about Quimby.
What they do not know is that hundreds of hypnotists have been effecting similar results for many years. Quimby was given considerable publicity because he was a pioneer in this field and also because he was the healer of Mary Baker Eddy, who later founded Christian Science. These other practitioners go along from day to day diagnosing through clairvoyant hypnosis and performing other remarkable results without ever getting a line of publicity.
Now and then, however, a result is accomplished by this or that hypnotist which becomes first-page news, as happened a few weeks ago when the delivery of a baby was made painless through the use of hypnosis.
THE WORK OF EDGAR CAYCE
A remarkable man who shuns publicity, but whose results should be recorded on a sheet of deathless bronze, is Edgar Cayce, of Virginia Beach, Virginia. For more than a quarter of a century, Mr. Cayce has been diagnosing human ailments by throwing himself into a hypnotic trance. He is, of course, an adept at the art of self-hypnosis.
Moreover, his ability is even more amazing than that of the great Quimby, the Portland healer, worker through the subconscious mind of his hypnotized assistant, diagnosed the ailments of those who visited his clinic. Mr. Cayce does his diagnosing at a distance, “seeing,” with the “eyes” of his subconscious mind, the internal organs of persons who live hundreds or even thousands of miles away.
Learned physicians who have investigated Mr. Cayce’s method of diagnosing assert that he is the most remarkable human that they have ever met. Most of them cannot account for this strange faculty, but all of them, after a series of tests, agree that his findings are dependable.
In some instances, Mr. Cayce’s diagnoses indicate organic deficiencies. In others, the trouble has a psychic origin. In other words, there are cases where his subconscious mind, “seeing without eyes”, detects disorders which can be eliminated only by contacting the subconscious mind of the patient in question and displacing negative, destructive ideas which are positive and constructive.
It is an axiom of the physical realm that no two bodies can occupy the same space at the same time. When extended to the world of the unseen, this axiom requires no revision. No two thoughts can occupy the same space at the same time. And just as it is possible to displace one body with another body in the realm of physical things, it is possible to displace one thought with another thought in the realm of subconsciousness.
THE HARM FROM NEGATIVE THINKING
Hypnotic suggestion is the means by which such displacements are effected. The destructive thought, deeply rooted in the subconscious, makes the individual neurotic. The constructive thought, conveyed to the subconscious area by the hypnotist, disburdens the mind of this thought and takes its place as a component of the individual’s personality.
The abnormal conditions which are produced by undesirable thoughts are categorized as phobias, compulsions and anxiety neuroses. The phobia, which is an unreasonable fear, hampers the individual by making it impossible for him to perform certain acts or by making him apprehensive when he faces certain situations. The compulsion, which is an irresistible urge to do a certain thing, makes him a helpless robot whose behavior is akin to that of a inmate of bedlam. An anxiety neurosis causes a deep, irrational concern about things which normal persons either ignore completely or accept as trivialities.
Claustrophobia, which is quite prevalent, is the name given to the unreasonable fear of enclosed spaces. In many instances it is traceable to a childhood experience in which the patient in question was locked in a clothes closet for breaking some rule laid down by a stern parent. However, it has numerous other causes. In a case which came to my attention a few weeks ago the victim had once been cornered in a woodshed in a battle with a mad dog. In another case the patient was an ex-miner who had once been trapped in a shaft in a mine disaster. And only yesterday I heard of a case where the patient’s claustrophobia was traceable to his witnessing the exhumation of the body of a man who had been buried alive.
Hydrophobia is the psychological term used to describe the unreasonable fear of water, and thanataphobia is the name for the unreasonable fear of death. Brontephobia is the dread of lightning, agoraphobia is the fear of open spaces, and hypsophobia is the dread of heights.
The other phobias to which the mind of man is heir are all to numerous to mention. Suffice it to say, for the purposes of this brief study, that there are phobiacs who fear cats, phobiacs who fear smoke, and phobiacs who fear hypnosis.
Any attempt to list the various compulsions which torture mankind would prove abortive. One man suffers an irresistible urge to kick cats, another just has to take a bath every hour, and still another finds it impossible to pass a fire alarm box without turning in an alarm. We could categorize these urges and many more, but our files would never be complete; year after year practicing psychologists learn about compulsions which have never been catalogued. As for anxiety neuroses, they are positively indefinable and baffling. The chief trouble, of course, is that the patient burdened with feelings of anxiety does not know what he is anxious about. The agoraphobe fears open spaces, and the victim of a compulsion suffers an irresistible urge to do a certain thing; but the victim of an anxiety neurosis is afraid of something which he himself cannot name. Hence, the psychologist who attempts to disburden such patient of his feelings of anxiety finds himself in a position similar to that of a conchologist who is seeking a certain shell of which he has never been given a description.
PSYCHIATRY VS. HYPNOSIS
The only thing that makes the psychologist’s task easier than that of the conchologist referred to is the employment of hypnosis. If he were to psychoanalyze the patient he would have to ferret out the exact reason for the feeling of anxiety. In using hypnosis, however, all he has to do is to supplant such feelings with thoughts of confidence and composure.
As for phobias and compulsions, they too, can be scotched by hypnosis without any probing of the subconscious. Analysis can effect a catharsis in a phobiac only if the analyst can discover the origin of the fear, and it can relieve one of a compulsion only if the analyst can learn the origin of the urge in question. Hypnotic suggestion, however, like the immortal six hundred, asks not the reason why nor awaits a reply. It eliminates a phobia by simply displacing it with the positive thought that there is nothing to fear, and it disburdens a patient of a compulsion by assuring his subconsciousness that he is free of the tantalizing urge.
In my next article, entitled “Hypnosis in Practice,” I shall present the records of several actual cases in which hypnotists relieved patients of phobias, compulsions and feelings of anxiety.
Dr. Thomas L. Garrett
New York, N.Y.