Interview With Professional Hypnosist
CIA Declassified Mind Control Document
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MORI ID: 140394 A/B, III, 6, 7
25 February 1952
[Three Lines Deleted]
Interview with [Deleted]
1. On Thursday 21 February 1952, the writer had an extended interview with [line deleted]. The conversation lasted from 3:00 PM to approximately 6:30 PM. The interview was laid on through the Contact Branch and introductions were made through [deleted] of the New York City Contact Office. No difficulties were encountered in this matter.
2. [Deleted] is a professional hypnotist of exceptionally good reputation. He apparently has other means and has been a professional engineer and accountant. His apartment is in a deluxe apartment neighborhood in [deleted] and is in exceptionally good taste. [Deleted] resides with his sister.
3. [Deleted] is about six feet tall, wears horn-rim glasses, has a strong, aggressive look, and, physically, is quite impressive. He appears highly intelligent, was courteous, amiable, and co-operative throughout. Before getting to cases, the writer fenced with [deleted] for approximately three-quarters of an hour, talking generally about hypnosis and not disclosing positive security interests. After establishing in the writer's mind that [deleted] was competent and thoroughly understood the meaning of secrecy, the writer opened up and discussed positive matters. Set out below are a series of questions and answers which cover, in substance, the details of the interview with [deleted].
Q: What are your experiences in general with hypnotism?
A: I have been a professional hypnotist for at least 15 years. At present, I am employed on a very confidential basis two days a week working in the [line deleted]. I also work constantly. [Two lines deleted] I work as a [deleted] and I work continuously with all types of patients at [deleted]. I am not teaching hypnotism now, but I have taught many individuals hypnotism in the past.
Q: What part, do you think, did hypnotism play in the [deleted]; and other show trials by the USSR and their satellites?
A. In my personal opinion, hypnosis possibly combined with duress, and possibly drugs, is how the "confessions" were brought about. I have long been interested in these trials and I believe it entirely possible to bring these things about through these techniques. It would take a great deal of continuous application and study of the individual to produce these results, but the enemy has plenty of time and is capable of using any methods.
Q: Can you obtain information from an individual, willing or unwilling, by hypnotism?
A: Definitely, yes. Many of the medical cases I work on are involved in obtaining personal, intimate information, and through hypnotism, I have been quite successful in obtaining this. If an individual refuses to co-operate with hypnosis, the doctors with whom I work use drugs, always sodium amytal.
Q: Do you think that this system would be useful in obtaining information from a recalcitrant, obstinate, and entirely uncooperative individual?
A: Yes, definitely. That is the only way to approach this type of individual, but even at that you would have to study your individual psychologically and the matter would require great skill. All people have to be approached in different manners as far as hypnotism goes, but if you could gain their confidence or at least indicate so, they would clearly understand you were not hostile to them and your battle would be more than half won.
Q: How far do you think individuals could be controlled by hypnosis?
A: This is a very difficult subject. Post-hypnotics will last twenty years and will be very strong if re-enforced from time to time. However, if direct control is wanted, and particularly without re-enforcement, perhaps twelve hours would be the most you could expect and even then a possibility exists that the person under hypnosis might suddenly be awakened by some external stimulus.
Q: Have you ever had any experience with drugs?
A: Yes, many times. I have worked with doctors using sodium amytal and pentothal and have obtained hypnotic control after the drugs were used. In fact, many times drugs were used for the purpose of obtaining hypnotic control.
Q: Were any other drugs used? Do you know any "new" drugs or are there an "wonder" drugs that can be used in this business?
A: No. I have known doctors to try other drugs but they do not have any success and almost without exception in my work, sodium amytal and pentothal are the weapons used. If I had to tackle a case, tough and unwilling, I would rely on sodium amytal. I do not know of any "wonder" drugs. I do not believe they exist, and none of the psychiatrists and doctors I work with use anything but those I have mentioned.
Q: Have you ever heard of hypnosis being used in connection with electroshock?
A: No. I am familiar with the electroshock convulsion and coma, but I have never attempted to obtain hypnotic control thereafter and have never heard of anyone doing this. However, some of my friends who are psychiatrists constantly use electroshock, and I have complete access to their work. I shall make some experiments along these lines in the near future, and when I see you again, we will discuss the results of this.
Q: Are there any individuals you might know who would be worthwhile in contacting along these lines?
A: Offhand, I cannot think of anyone except [two lines deleted] is perhaps one of the outstanding [deleted] in the country, thoroughly understands drugs and is well acquainted with my work. As far as hypnotists are concerned, I do not believe there are five competent professional hypnotists in the U.S. today, and I have nothing but contempt for the college professor who talks about hypnosis. Only the professional who can handle hypnosis in front of the public and on a large scale is capable of really giving first-rate advice or information on hypnotic work.
Q: Would you be willing to act as a consultant to this Agency? ([Deleted] was fully informed that the writer was making no offers and in no position to recruit personnel. This offer was being made in general terms.)
A: Yes, I feel that we are at war, and if I can be of any help whatsoever, I shall be glad to give my time. If you need me on any given case, I will be glad to come.
Q: Would you accept pupils for private caching?
(Same explanation as above)
A: Yes. I think I could train an individual or at least give him a substantial background in two weeks, working out with him three times a week.
Q: Do you have any ideas that hypnotism could be used as a weapon?
A: Yes, I have thought about this often. It could certainly be used in obtaining information from recalcitrant people particularly with drugs. Furthermore, it can be used as a morale factor and in addition, it could be used as a recruiting source for special types of work. I will explain the last two. You have large D.P. camps in Europe and Asia. You have to entertain these people. A good professional hypnotist is a good entertainer. Using mass hypnotic methods, he could drive home thoughts that would be of great benefit to our side. Individuals that he gained control of through hypnotic influence could be converted to strong supporters of our viewpoint through suggestion. The opposite of this, of course, would hold true. Furthermore, along these lines, a good hypnotist running hypnotic shows for entertainment would pick up a great many subjects, some of whom might be exceptionally good subjects for us. These subjects could easily be tabbed and put to use.
Q: Have you ever been able to produce hypnosis without an individual's knowledge?
A: Yes, through the relaxing technique and on rare occasions [I've] been able to produce hypnotism against a person's will. However, you cannot count on this and to attempt to attach an individual who did not want to be hypnotized alone would be almost an impossible task. In that type of case, I would use sodium amytal and/or sodium pentothal.
Q. Do you have any special techniques that you think are valuable?
A. All techniques are valuable. I use about 18 different approaches to individuals ranging from fear to anxiety, to deception, etc., etc. All individuals are different and a hypnotist always studies his subjects carefully, psychologically and otherwise, before attempting hypnosis with them. Only skilled professional hypnotists have proper training and work at it often enough to be skilled hypnotists. I would be glad to show you all my techniques when we have time to discuss them.
There is a peculiar and somewhat dangerous technique involving pressure on the carotid artery. The technique of using pressure on this artery is largely a matter of timing. Pressure in the right place cuts off the flow of blood to the brain, apparently causing a rapid coma-like condition -- during this condition, hypnotic control can sometimes be obtained. The technique is not easy to learn. I have tried it only a few times, but it has been successful.
Q: How effective are post-hypnotics; over what distances and time can they be effective?
A: Properly used post-hypnotics will last twenty years. They can be made more effective by re-enforcement from time to time. Post-hypnotics are not affected at all by time or travel or distance away from the person who placed the post-hypnotic. As a rule, post-hypnotics should be 100% effective in good subjects, and they would certainly be more effective than a person operating under direct hypnotic control, since a person in a hypnotic trance can suddenly be brought out of it for various reasons, particularly after many hours, while a post-hypnotic will always remain strong.
Q: Can individuals be made to do things under hypnosis that they would not otherwise?
A: This is a muchly debated subject and, in my opinion, as a general rule, no individual will do anything against his moral code or upbringing under a hypnotic trance they would not do otherwise. However, it should be remembered that by the proper type of conditioning and a very intelligent and understanding approach using psychology, individuals could be taught to do anything including murder, suicide, etc. This would be difficult, but I believe it could be done by a careful process of conditioning a person psychologically while under a hypnotic state, setting a stage for the act as it were. I do not have much faith in test experiments in colleges because they are, by their very nature, experiments or tests. I do believe that you could carry out acts that would be against an individual's moral feelings if they were rightly, psychologically conditioned. Of course, it would not be as much of a problem to have an immoral person commit an immoral act or a murdered commit a murder, since by their nature they would have no hesitancy to do such a thing in their normal life. I do not know of any drugs that would do this under any circumstance, but I do feel that the [deleted] and other familiar cases in which individuals confessed to crimes which they could not have possibly committed was brought about by hypnosis, as I mentioned before, and lengthy psychological conditioning. The question itself, of course, is one that has been debated a great many times, but is difficult to actually arrange a "practical" test.
Q: Do you have any special techniques or ideas for detecting if an individual is under hypnosis or not?
A: Yes, I have several methods for detecting this and if I see you again, I will go over them in detail with you. There are certain tests that I make which I think are very effective. Along this same line, I also use several methods for detecting when individuals are faking or play acting with me or feigning hypnosis.
Q: Do you have any system for detecting good hypnotic subjects, particularly not along the lines of stage entertainments?
A: No particular system, but there are certain techniques that I apply in looking for good subjects. Most of these are basically standard tests and are, undoubtedly, known to you. (Reference was made to standard tests for suggestibility, all known to the writer.) In this connection, when I see you again, I will show you some of the methods I use along these lines.
Q: Can hypnosis be broken by another hypnotist if specific instructions have been given to a subject to prevent this?
A: I have been able to do this, but this is not easy and requires a great deal of time and effort, but I believe that almost any hypnotic control can be detected and broken if sufficient time and a careful psychological approach are used.
Q: Does alcohol assist in the obtaining of hypnosis in a subject?
A: I do not believe it helps. There are many other more important aids to hypnosis than a social drink or two. The first of these I believe would be anxiety, another would be fear, third might be exhaustion. However, in many cases, alcohol does make individuals more pliable and in that sense might have some results.
Q: Do you have any material that you think might be of interest to me along these lines?
A: Yes. As you know, an individual who has been hypnotized makes a very excellent courier. Even assuming that the post-hypnotic control could be broken or the individual hypnotized, it could still be protected as follows:
A person could be regressed to a certain time and date and then given the message and unless the person who subsequently gained control of the subject regressed the subject to the correct date and time set out, he could not get the message. Even more secure would be to move the individual forward. If he were moved from thirty years of age to thirty-five years of age at a given date and time and then given the message, unless the individual could guess the age, the time and the date in the future, he could not obtain the message.
In my opinion, the use of this hypnotic technique is valuable from your point of view. Certain it is that by hypnotic control over an individual you can extract information probably better than any other known way. Furthermore, in good subjects you can create complete amnesias which should be helpful. In addition, as I mentioned above, I think this technique could be used on a mass scale as I explained both as a morale factor or for propaganda purposes.
Some people in the Army I know are giving thought to these items, but whether it can ever be sold at the top-level, I cannot say. I think it would be very valuable. I will try when I return from my trip to contact a number of individuals, psychiatrists, and doctors that I know and without discussing any reasons, obtain from them any information that they may have on new drugs or techniques. I do not believe that there are any new drugs and I do not believe there is anything such as the "wonder" drugs which will produce instant talking when given to an individual. I believe our hypnotic capacities are as good as the [deleted] and I also believe that they have not "wonder" drugs or any other drugs we do not know about. The only thing they have is plenty of time, and they care nothing for normal conventions.
For matter of record, [deleted] professed great interest in this type of work stating that in his opinion, it had long been neglected by our Government. He stated he would contribute time and effort if he were called upon to do so and volunteered to assist in any case if he were called upon for assistances.
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