Definition.—Hypnotism is a subjective psychical condition, composed of sis, a pseudosleep-like state, in which the subject's natural susceptibility to sug gestions is increased, and usually a hypnotic period of varying lengths, dur ing which certain acts, suggested by the hypnotist while the subject was in a state of hypnosis, are performed.
[According to Moll, "A person in an hypnotic state is called an hypnotic, or subject. A hypnotist is a man who hypnotizes for scientific purposes. A hypnotizer is a man who makes hyp notism a profession." J. T. ESKRIDGE.] A post-hypnotic suggestion is a sug gestion made during the period of hyp nosis for the patient to follow out after the stage of hypnosis has passed away, and the subject has returned to appar ently normal consciousness. It is able that, during the time in which post hypnotic suggestions are actually being followed out, the .subject is in a state of partial hypnosis.
Inducing Hypnosis.—There are sev eral methods by which hypnotic sleep may be induced. When these have been divided into two classes they have been termed the physical and psychical.
[The latter I prefer to call the sug gestive method, and is the one that usually employ except for very nervous, self-conscious, or hysterical subjects. I shall only briefly refer to some of the physical methods of inducing hypnosis, and then describe in greater detail the one I commonly employ, as I found it attended with least nervous strain to the subject hypnotized. J. T. ESKRIDGE.] It is well for the patients to avoid, during the induction of hypnosis, as well as during the hypnotic state, everything that tends to excite or increase their nervous tension. Hypnosis may be in duced by requesting the patient to fix his eyes intently on some bright object —such as a button or a lighted candle held a short distance from the eyes, a little to one side and nearly on a level with the top of the head—until the eyes close from fatigue, when the hypnotic condition may be completed by the hyp notist making passes with his hands from above downward. The hands need
not be in actual contact with the patient, but the operator should stand in front of his subject and the stroking should be from the upper portion of the face downward as low as the hips or knees. Braid often resorted to the above method. Staring at a spot on the ceiling or at revolving mirrors has been success fully employed to induce hypnosis. The eyes must be held in an uncomfortable and strained position. The best position for this is looking upward and slightly to one side.
[Professor Charcot employed at times, especially for the hysterical, a sudden flash of an electric spark, the noise of a loud-sounding gong, or a stern command to go to sleep. lie also modified the Braid method by placing pieces of glass close to the bridge of the nose. This procedure causes strong convergence of the eyes and quickly produces sleep, but it often throws the hysterical subject into a cataleptic condition. He induced hypnosis in some by pressure on an "hypnogenic" or "hysterogenic" zone, such as an ovary or the top of the head.
It is said that if a powerful magnet is brought near some hysterical subjects it will cause sleep. J. T. ESKRIDGE.] After an hysterical person has been hypnotized a few times her staring in tently at her own image in a mirror may cause hypnosis, the patient remaining in a cataleptic condition. Some employ a species of fascination by requesting the subject to look the hypnotist fixedly in the eyes until suggested movements are made or spoken commands are per formed. The effect of the fascination is apparently increased if the subject grasps the hands of the operator while each stares in the other's eyes. If the hypnotist presses on one or both ears of the subject or firmly holds the eyelids closed and exerts gentle pressure on the eyeballs, through the closed lids, sis may result, especially if the person operated upon is endeavoring to concen trate his mind intensely on some subject.