My usual stance on hypnosis/post-hypnotic suggestion/brainwashing is that it's baloney. And that's not based on nothing, but admittedly, based on little. I guess I've come to understand that LSD (which I've done a lot of reading about) isn't particularly useful in post-hypnotic suggestion.

But as I hear more about Sceintology and their methods I wonder if I'm wrong about hypnosis/brainwashing.

I'm also interested in, but not yet buying, the 'Manchurian candidate' theory behind RFK's murder.

Anyone know about the science behind any of this?

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Hypnosis in my understanding, doesn't work in the way that it professes to work. The subject only follows commands etc because of a willingness to "play along". It's fun to act out in front of a crowd, especially when you can excuse your actions as not being your fault. (see, not quite drunk girls wanting attention... they're not acting promiscuous, the alcohol is... yeah right.)

Now, brainwashing however is a totally different concept. Completely different field of study.
Yes, it's real, quite real. But people have a misconception of what it is.

Brainwashing is simply the process of repetitively delivering a message under penalty of pain or discomfort, during a state of shock.
Your natural survival instinct forces you to believe the message in order to make the pain/discomfort stop... and the state of shock makes it impossible to think rationally about that message enough to tell yourself "just lie to them, and believe the truth later".

Unfortunately, most interrogation techniques in use also double as an accidental brainwashing technique. The victim/prisoner will begin believing they really have planned or committed violent acts that haven't actually happened, because they believe you won't stop torturing them until they believe what you're accusing them of.
(More often than not, the torturer is telling them exactly that, we wont stop until you confess)


It's incredible what the mind can do to itself for the sake of survival.
It's also astounding how easy it is to preform brainwashing on people who are socially dependent. Which is a more disturbing form of peer pressure.
"Hypnosis in my understanding, doesn't work in the way that it professes to work. The subject only follows commands etc because of a willingness to "play along". "


May one ask the basis of your understanding? Where did you study hypnosis to be able to assert the claims of hypnosis been falsified?

Really Be fascinated to see you (or anyone else) pretend lower your heat rate or pretend not to feel a needle stuck into your arm.


Making a fatuous claim is perfectly fine ,as long a you can back it up,turning it into a reasonable statement rather than merely a demonstration of ignorance.
As with everything, the only thing we have to go on is our experiences.

I know of that heart rate reduction trick you mentioned. I've seen it performed in two stage acts. Only thing was, there was no screen to the heart monitor, and the heart monitor wasn't wired into anything but a power outlet... and somehow, the house speakers were playing the supposed audio indication from it.

... basically, it's a stage trick. Hook up an EKG... and have the house speakers playing the sound of an EKG slowing. Misdirection, it's the basis of almost all magicians tricks.

As for sticking a needle in someone's arm. Even I don't feel pain from my injections etc unless I'm looking at the needle. Otherwise, it feels like someone's poking me.
Plus, that's an incredibly easy stage trick in itself... I can do that trick with knives too.

In every single "hypnosis" I've witnessed, I've also witnessed tell-tale signs of conscious pausing, hesitation, and otherwise the subject pausing with an expression on their face indicating the thought "Should I play along?"

I couldn't bring myself to "play along" with one such act. He wasn't pleased, lets just say he had some very unkind words afterward about me supposedly trying to "ruin" his career by not playing along.

You can believe in it if you want.
But I've been shown sufficient reason to believe it's just a stage act.

Last point...
NEVER call me ignorant. I make a point to witness and test everything I can that intrigues me, or puzzles me.

Just because you can't let go of a fantasy, doesn't mean you can attack me because I did.
Push me, I push back.
"demonstration of ignorance"
no, just a demonstration of rationality in the face of your demonstration of denial to protect a fantasy.
For those of us who've spoken here of autohypnosis/self-hypnosis, willingness to 'play along' is exactly the point. Again, as I was taught; no one can hypnotize you. Only you can hypnotize yourself. If you aren't playing along then you're right, it won't work.

Off the stage however, when one has a need say to overcome a phobia or cure the incurable headache, there is no denying that we are capable of more than what our conscious selves alone know how to do.
I have to say its been interesting reading all the replies here. Its nice to see that some people have good experiences with hypnotists and hypnotherapy.

I might have been hasty in my simplification of what it is, however my experiences of it has so soured me against it in all forms that its hard to get past my bias about it.

My mother, and grandmother got involved with a group off people that offered "seminars" on improving yourself and others through hypnotherapy. I was of course enrolled as my my sister. I was never able to self hypnotize, but I pretended too in-order make my mom and my grandmother happy. The thing was this organization had a tiered pricing structure and of course if you wanted the full experience and gifts that hypnosis would bring to your life it was going to cost money (surprise surprise). Later when my mom left the organization, she asked me what I really thought of the people running it (I was 14ish I think at the time), I said I didn't trust them or like them because they only made me feel bad about myself.

Now I know that was just one group of people who were for all intents and purposes running a scam, and is probably not indicative of the whole, however since then hypnosis has been a no go for me, since I was at last given a choice about if I wanted to participate or not.
Just found these videos on YouTube made sense to me

Wow, I'm interested in hearing more, unless it was too traumatic or embarrassing for you. But, without telling us what you were forced to do, can you tell us how they performed the hypnosis, and if under that sort of hypnosis you think you can be trained to kill someone Manchurian Candidate style?
This sounds like a whole lot more than simple hypnosis to me. Jebus, sounds more like brainwashing of the sort reported by escapees from North Korea! It's an absolutely appallingly terrifying and hideous thing to do to someone. WTF were these people playing at? They should all be in jail for kidnapping and assault.
Hypnosis does not work on me ! I tell that to my hypnotherapist every saturday when I go to wash her car and cut her lawn :-)


I have had hypnosis as a relaxation therapy for many years now and if done by a skilled person it is really good value.

It is difficult for me to imagine that someone could be hypnotized against their will. The only way this would work could possibly be intensive mind-washing including psychoactive drugs, sleep deprivation, disorientation, and hypnotic sessions.

It would be a full on torture session :-(

Many people are Mind washed into religions by being told not to think but to believe but that is a different process.
Here's a guy on Atheist Nexus who's just joined and wants to sell hypnosis CDs.
I'm very skeptical, but once I went to a hypnosis show when I was really tired...not sleeping the night before, and worse I had a few beers so I probably could have curled up and taken a nap. Normally hypnosis has no effect on me.

For some reason, I felt my body relaxing and being receptive to the hypnotists words. I was still conscious enough to not go up on stage and to break the spell, but it was akin to a sleepwalking feel..for example he had us raise our arms and it was like that trick where you put your arms against the door and then you can't lower them...I had to wake up my arm again. I doubt that there is much useful therapy here, but I think hypnosis is basically getting people into a sort of REM sleep where they can hear what's going on but don't think it's real, and then you can influence them.

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