Hypnosis, the Macabre to the Amazing – Part Two

After the influence of Mesmer on hypnosis, or Mesmerism, the public had mixed feelings about the subject. Was hypnosis evil or helpful or both? It was decidedly frightening to some including medicine and the church.

Then along came Edgar Allen Poe, who produced stories and theater with hypnosis as the theme. He wrote three stories based on hypnosis with the most popular being, Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar.

In the story M. Valdemar did not want to die so a friend separated his mind from his body using hypnosis at the moment of death. Of course in the story this caused agonizing suffering much worse than death itself!

History of Hypnosis

The fear of hypnosis and the misunderstandings of the power behind it became universal. The church and the medical community became vocal in their admonitions against it. This was apparent even in modern times.

I was practicing hypnosis in Kentucky in the early 1980s. A small group of churches known as Living Waters became aware that I used hypnosis for pain control and relaxation with my patients.
They published a brochure naming me as the “Witch of Endor” in their community.

At the same time, one of the surgeons told me that he did not want me “stealing his patients’ thoughts” and that I was not to use hypnosis with them.

Other physicians, the Kentucky State Police and clients found hypnosis helpful, however, and worked with me as long as I lived in the area.

Dr. Milton Erickson was an American psychiatrist who specialized in hypnosis and the founder of the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis.

History of Hypnosis

In 1935, at the age of seventeen, he contracted Polio and was paralyzed so badly he could neither walk nor talk. Doctors believed that he could not survive.

During this illness he became aware of the power of nonverbal communication; body language, tone of voice and the way non-verbal expressions often contradicted spoken words.
He also developed “body memories” of how his body used to work. By concentrating on those memories he eventually developed the ability to speak and use his arms again.

His doctor recommended that only his upper body be exercised so Erickson planned a 1,000 mile canoe trip to enable him to build enough strength to attend college. By the end of his adventure, with many challenges, he was able to walk with a cane. He spent the next fifty years conducting research on suggestion and hypnosis in his psychiatric practice and became famous for his work.

He was very active in spite of unrelenting, intense physical pain and the progressive loss of mobility in later years from the polio’s effects.

The Ericksonian approach to hypnosis practice is very different from the traditional. He wrote over one hundred forty articles and five books still used today. Rather than the hypnotist issuing standardized instructions to a passive patient, Erickson stresses the importance of an interactive relationship and engagement of the inner resources and life experiences of the subject.

His influence was universal and led to many innovations and a great deal of research into the science of hypnosis. Neurolinguistic Programming is a direct result of his work along with the emerging fields of Brain Retraining and the use of PET scans to show the changes in the brain from this work.

Today, hypnosis is used by professionals and non-professionals alike to demonstrate the power of the mind to influence the physical reality we inhabit.

Anyone with the ability to enter into hypnosis has the ability to use this power to Change Your Mind and Change Your Life.

If you’re interested in learning more about this topic, please call our hypnotherapy office in Lake Mary at 407 536-5371 or contact us online

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    Alexis Brannon is a Certified Clinical  Hypnotist and Certified Instructor for medical practitioners in hypnosis.. She is not a mental health practitioner and does not provide medical or psychological services or counseling through Brannon Hypnosis Center. 


    Alexis will request medical clearance or psychological clearance before working with any client receiving psychological care or experiencing serious medical issues.

    Users of this site and clients should always refer to a licensed mental health professional for any issues relating to mental  health and well-being.


    Results are individual and vary with each client. Specific outcomes may not occur and are not guaranteed or implied, nor can they be considered typical.

    All clients of Brannon Hypnosis Center should be eighteen years of age or older. Consents for training will be requested before the first session.