The Boston Herald, September 29th 1910
HYPNOTIC ‘DOCTOR’ INVITED HERE
Clinical Research Association Wants to Be Shown Proof of Dr. Ketchum’s Claims.
NEW PROBLEM IN MEDICINE
Illiterate Man Represented as Diagnosing Rare Cases While Hypnotized
Can an illiterate man, with no knowledge of medicine or surgery, correctly diagnose disease and prescribe medical or surgical treatment when in a hypnotic state? Dr. W. H. Ketchum of Hopkinsville, Ky. says he has a hypnotic subject who can do this.
The American Association of Clinical Research, now holding its second annual meeting in the Boston Society of Natural History building, says, in effect, that it is “from Missouri.” It has invited Dr. Ketchum to attend its next meeting, accompanied by his subject, and submit him to a test. A vote to this effect was passed at yesterday’s session, after Dr. Ketchum’s report of the case had been read and discussed.
The Kentucky physician reports that he has used this man in over 100 instances, and only in two has his diagnosis failed of being absolutely correct or his prescription for treatment failed to produce a cure.
He states that in one instance the daughter of an official of the American Book Company, living in Cincinnati, had been pronounced incurable by six of the best diagnosticians in the Middle West. The hypnotic subject was used, he declared their views all wrong, made a different diagnosis, suggested a simple surgical treatment, and when it was followed, the girl  was well inside of three months.
Some of the doctors who heard this report yesterday were skeptical, some were incredulous, while others were willing to be shown, and the vote to ask Dr. Ketchum to make good resulted.
Dr. Ketchum writes that four years ago he heard of a man, then only 24 years of age, who had the reputation of doing “wonderful things” when in a hypnotic sleep. He sought him out and began experimenting with him, with the result, finally, of having him produce the results already mentioned. Dr. Ketchum says:
“He simply lies down and folds his arms and by auto-suggestion goes to sleep. While in this sleep, which to all intents and purposes is a natural sleep, his objective mind is completely inactive and only his subjective is working.
“By suggestion, he becomes unconscious to perception of any sort, and, strange to say, his best work is done when he is seemingly ‘dead to the world.’ I next give him the name of my subject and the exact location of the same and in a few minutes he begins to talk, as clearly and distinctly as any one.
GOES INTO MINUTE DETAIL
“He usually goes into minute detail in diagnosing a case, and especially if it be a very serious case. His language is usually of the best, and his physiologic terms and descriptions of the nervous anatomy would do credit to any professor of nervous anatomy. There is no faltering of his speech, and all his statements are clear and concise.
“He handles the most complex ‘lawbreakers’ with as much ease as any Boston physician, which to me is quite wonderful in view of the fact that while in his normal state he is quite an illiterate man, especially along the line of medicine, surgery or pharmacy, of which he knows nothing.
“After giving in detail a diagnosis and also minute etiology, symptoms and treatment of a case, he is awakened by a sign that he will see this person no more.”
Dr. Ketchum added that when once more awake his subject knew nothing about the case concerning which he had been talking, and that when questioned on scientific aspects of the matters he had just spoken so learnedly he showed absolute ignorance of them.
In the discussion which followed the presentation of this unusual report, it was suggested that perhaps the hypnotic subject merely used the subconscious mind of the physician who hypnotized him, without the latter’s knowledge. No one present, however, pretended to understand the case, and the most favorable attitude expressed toward the matter was a willingness to be shown.
The American Association of Clinical Research, of which Mr. E. Stillman Baily of Chicago is president and Dr. James Krauss of Boyiston street, Boston, is secretary, is a comparatively new organization. Its membership is open to physicians of every school, and, as Dr. Krauss stated last evening, “It has antagonism for no school of medicine; it is a collection of earnest investigators from all schools.”
SECRETARY READS PAPER
Last evening a public session was held at which the secretary, who holds his medical degree from the University of Berlin, read a paper on “Some Elementary Facts in Medicine,” in which he said:
“The main object of the association is the systematic, scientific investigation of the science and art of medicine by conclusive methods that will leave no doubt as to the truth of any conclusion that may be reached.
“The public has it in its power to exercise a potent influence on medicine if this influence be given for the furtherance of rigid clinical research and is not allowed to run after false gods.
“The benefits derived from truths conclusively established are obvious. It will no longer be possible to fasten the ignorance of individual practitioners upon the shoulders of the entire profession or to measure the science of medicine by the knowledge of single men, even the most learned. If men fail in their daily ministrations, it does not mean that the science of medicine fails. The truths of medicine will conquer all the ills of the flesh.
President Baily gave a talk, illustrated with latern slides, on “Research Work in Radio-Activity.” He reported a case of the cure of cancerous growth on a man’s finger by a means of radium and then showed some shadowgraph slides made by the radio-activity of the minute particles of radium contained in the ashes of the bandage which had held the radium application in place, reduced in solution to very attenuated degrees.
The meeting of the association will be continued through today, with morning and afternoon sessions. This evening there will be a banquet, and a sightseeing trip Friday.
The Boston Herald, September 29th 1910
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