The Word Foundation


Harold W. Percival



Section 23

Animal magnetism. Hypnotism. Its dangers. Trance states. Painless injuries inflicted, while in trance.

The cure of disease is the drawing feature in other schools also, such as those of hypnotism, mesmerism and self-suggestion in its many applications. Both hypnotism and mesmerism are in the last analysis based upon self-suggestion. The manner in which the forces involved in these practices work cannot be understood unless the following things are remembered: that the four senses are four distinct beings; that each of these beings controls a complete system and one of the four bodies; that these four systems and bodies act through the involuntary nervous systems on the breath-form; that the breath-form coordinates the four systems and bodies and controls automatically the involuntary movements of the solid body; that the doer is the conscious dweller in the fourfold body and is one of the three parts of the Triune Self; that the flesh body has an atmosphere; that the Triune Self has three atmospheres in which its three parts belong; that the Triune Self is as the Supreme Being to the doer and that the Light acts through the mental atmosphere of the doer; that the Light of the Intelligence enables the doer to think; that the thinking is passive or active; that nature-imagination is passive thinking and the doer-imagination is active thinking; that these two kinds of thinking leave their mark on the breath-form and cause all physical actions and states of the body, including its disease or health.

Hypnotism is a means by which one person gets control over the solid and the three inner bodies, the senses, the breath-form and the doer in another. The state of the subject is called hypnosis, hypnotic sleep or mesmeric sleep, from a condition which resembles natural sleep. While in this artificial sleep, the subject is as though he were in a dream or in deep sleep. He is not conscious as in the waking state, and the nerves through which rightness and reason are related are almost paralyzed. He is not aware of what is going on around him any more than if he were naturally asleep. The hypnotizer has to put the subject into this artificial sleep in order to get control over him. The means he uses are included in what is called the science of hypnotism.

There are three forces, forces of magnetic quality, in the three inner bodies or masses within the visible physical body, (Fig. III), which forces are possessed in some degree by everybody and by some persons can be used as a hypnotic power. These forces have been sometimes called animal magnetism or mesmeric force. They are generated when feeling-and-desire impart their nature to these forces moving in the body and these are united and directed by the breath-form. These forces flow in waves through and around the body in the physical and psychic atmospheres and bear the mark of the breath-form. They leave their impress on walls, furniture, garments and the ground, and are the means by which animals identify a human. They are effluvia that move in curves and waves from the body and can be given direction through the eyes, the hands or words and by forceful desire, sometimes called willpower. The hypnotist projects the force of his own fluid body through his hands into the fluid body of the subject, the force of his own airy body by words into the airy body of the subject, and the force of his radiant body through his eyes into the radiant body of the subject. Then it is as if his three bodies were grafted on to the three bodies and the breath-form of the subject. This mesmeric force has adhesiveness and a quality of magnetizing negatively to itself a breath-form against which it is directed.

If the hypnotic sleep is produced by the use of this force alone, the hypnotist holds the patient’s hands while he gazes into his eyes, or makes passes over the patient’s body, or tells him that he is going to sleep; or he stands behind the patient and makes passes down his spine. Hypnosis can be produced also by tiring out certain nerve centers in the head, as by letting the patient gaze upon a shining object, or letting him hear monotonous sounds, or having him roll back the eyes until he becomes drowsy, and then projecting the mesmeric force into the inner bodies of the subject. Usually such means to tire the patient and make him dull and non-resistant are combined with the use of the magnetic force to put him in a hypnotic trance, if he submits.

While hypnosis can be induced by the tiring of the nerves without the use by the hypnotist of the mesmeric force, no control can be exercised over the subject without that force. But one cannot be controlled or even be put into a hypnotic state unless he consents or submits.

A hypnotic trance resembles natural sleep. In natural sleep, when the body gets tired, the senses relax the hold they have on the doer through the breath-form. If the doer consents to this letting go, it slips back from the pituitary body toward the cervical vertebrae. Thereby the doer lets go of its breath-form and of the senses. Then the doer no longer has any control over the movements of the body. In a hypnotic sleep, on the contrary, the body is not necessarily tired, but the senses are weakened by an artificial strain upon their nerves. This strain causes the senses to relax the hold on the doer which they have through the breath-form. However, the doer can always prevent their letting go, and that with less effort on its part than when it prevents the body from falling asleep when actually tired at night. In the hypnotic sleep the doer accepts the suggestion of the hypnotist that it is going to sleep, and submits. But it cannot be forced to do this; it has its choice. This is the difference between natural and hypnotic sleep, and relates chiefly to the mechanical part.

As no person can be hypnotized against his will, the fact that one is in the hypnotic trance indicates that he was not unwilling to have the hypnotist use his hypnotic force. Non-resistance by the subject makes his breath-form negative to the magnetic force. The force then magnetizes the breath-form of the subject. The subject is impressed with the character of the forces and of the one who imparts it. The senses and the breath-form are then subject to the force, and the hypnotizer becomes a substitute for the doer as far as the breath-form is concerned.

When the subject is in the trance, the suggestions or commands of the hypnotizer take the place of the nature-imagination, and the four senses convey to the breath-form what the hypnotizer tells them, and not what they would convey under natural conditions. What he suggests to the sight is at once seen and pictured on the breath-form as suggested. When he tells a patient that a chair is a tiger, the sense of hearing conveys that meaning to the breath-form, and that connects the sense of hearing with the sense of sight and communicates to the sense of sight, by the sensory nerves of sight, the meaning of tiger. The sense of sight by its motor nerve sends back to the breath-form the picture of a tiger. In every case the breath-form receives the impression of the suggestion as made, and communicates the meaning of it to the proper sense by the sensory nerves of that sense; and only when the motor nerves of the sense have sent the impression back to the breath-form, does the subject see, hear, taste, smell or contact the suggested object. The whole process is instantaneous, quicker than lightning. In this way sounds are heard, flavors tasted, odors smelled, by way of the three inner bodies and the breath-form, exactly as they are suggested.

Sight, hearing, tasting, and contacting by smell may be dulled or sharpened to an extraordinary degree according to an order coming through the breath-form. The workings of the four systems can be accelerated or slowed, impaired or increased. So breathing can be made deeper, the circulation stimulated and digestion made more active according to the orders given to the senses by the breath-form upon the receipt of impressions from the hypnotizer. The involuntary sense impressions and involuntary movements of the systems in the body are then due to the reaction of the breath-form to nature-imagination compelled by the hypnotizer. On the other hand voluntary movements of the body, and feelings and desires and thinking are due to doer-imagination upon orders conveyed to the doer by the breath-form on hearing the suggestion, and then imaged back upon the breath-form by the doer.

When the hypnotizer tells the subject that the chair is a tiger and nature-imagination has impressed the picture on the breath-form, the breath-form conveys to feeling the impression of tiger. The panting breath, the red tongue, the long teeth, the glaring eyes, are produced and terror is depicted on the features of the subject.

The terror is felt according to the previous impressions on the breath-form by “tiger” and what it connotes. The feeling passed on through desire and by that to rightness starts mental activities as to what movements to make, whether to run, climb, fight or submit. The character of the patient will determine this, unless the hypnotizer tells him what to do, because a hypnotizer has control of the actions of the doer’s breath-form. The mental activities of a subject in the hypnotic state are automatic and mere repetitions of past thinking. The Light of the Intelligence does not enter into the thinking unless the hypnotizer gives new problems to be answered.

There are two kinds of hypnotic trance, the nature-trance and the doer-trance. In the nature-trance the subject deals with his own or another’s physical body. He may when in this state be made to see and describe the conditions in his own body or the body of another. He can be made to see distant persons, scenes and objects and hear distant sounds; he can be required to report the near or distant past, and sometimes to detect crimes. Anything the four senses can do may be done in this trance.

The manner in which the doer acts in this nature-trance is that the doer through the breath-form turns the senses inward, from the outward focus they usually have. The hypnotizer can force this to be done by commanding the doer to so direct the senses or he can direct the senses himself by the influence of his mesmeric force on the breath-form. The outer surface of the physical world is what is perceived in the waking state; the three inner surfaces are the fluid-solid, airy-solid and radiant-solid. They are the replica and the inside of the solid-solid state. When the sense of sight looks through the eye, its vision is limited by the focus of the eye, and it sees only the outer surface. When the sense looks not through the organ of the eye but looks as the sense of sight it can see the inside surfaces of things. The reason the sense of sight cannot see astral-physically in the waking state is that the feeling and thinking of the doer will not let go of the sense and give it freedom to act naturally, so that the sense would focus towards the inside as well as the outside. In fact, in former times, the doer was able to use the sense as it might do now under the direction of a hypnotist. The feeling and reasoning of the hypnotist are apart from the working of the senses in the subject entranced. Therefore the senses in the subject act naturally and both ways.

The other hypnotic trance is a doer-trance. In this condition the doer is in contact with the senses which are turned inward and act clairvoyantly or when it uses the body-mind or when it is by itself in its own state as feeling-and-desire, free from contact with the senses. However, in the doer-trance the doer may get information from the senses, as in the illustration of the picture of the tiger whereby the feeling was affected by the hypnotizer’s conceptions and the subject ran away or fought.

There are three states of the doer-trance. The first state comprises all that relates to feeling. When in this state the subject may be made to feel pleasure or pain about physical things or any resulting joy or sorrow. Or a subject may be prevented from feeling any pain while he is receiving an injury which would produce great pain in the waking state, like an amputation or by a cautery. Injuries may even be inflicted without leaving any evidence, as when a piece of steel is run through the arm of a subject and no blood flows, no scar is left or there is only a mere indication of a scar, or as when persons walk over a bed of glowing coals or hold live coals in their mouths, during religious frenzy. The subject may be made to experience the feelings of others as they are going through certain events like surgical operations or dying. Voluntary movements of the body in trance are performed in this state.

In the second state the subject can be made to think. He may be made to diagnose or analyze diseases which the breath-form in the nature-trance has reported, and to prescribe remedies for himself or for another.

While in the third state the subject may be made to consummate certain knowledge concerning the causes of actions, or to reveal something of the past. While the doer is forced back into this state the physical body is rigid or appears to be dead. A hypnotizer is seldom able to put a subject into this state, or if he does get one into it, he is seldom able to get any information. The reason is that the doer is then far removed from its ordinary state and its ways of thinking, and cannot well be held in contact with physical things. It soon becomes engrossed in itself and the hypnotizer will have difficulty in bringing it back to the second and the first state. Usually death follows this cataleptic condition.

When the phenomena of artificial sleep became more generally known in modern times, a few physicians availed themselves of the hypnotic sleep to administer suggestive treatment. A few surgeons performed operations, which under ordinary circumstances would have been most painful, on hypnotized subjects who had no sensation of pain. After the use of anesthetics became common, mesmerizing for operations was discontinued. Some physicians, however, still make use of hypnosis in their treatment of patients.

In view of the power which a hypnotist exercises over the doer of his patient, it is a question whether all the advantages which may result from hypnotic treatment, especially of nervous troubles, will compensate for the dangers of the practices. Of course it is always wrong to hypnotize or allow oneself to be hypnotized for experimentation or buffoonery. But even for medical purposes hypnosis is not advisable, because it puts the patient under the control of another, and not every person who practices medicine can be trusted. However, no one can compel another, even while the other is in a hypnotic trance, to commit any act which the deep seated moral conviction of the subject tells him to be wrong. The great danger of allowing oneself to be hypnotized is, that once a person has submitted to hypnotic control, others can throw him into a hypnotic trance more easily. The breath-form and the doer are made negative to the desire of any person with magnetic force.