Ralph Pearson's 15-minutes of fame came in 1951, when he briefly gained some notoriety as the Drugstore Hypnotist. He was a drugstore owner who hypnotized his customers, making them believe they were flying an airplane, or that they were the Statue of Liberty. This was in the days before CVS and Walmart, when people actually hung out and socialized in drugstores.
The Milwaukee Journal, May 18, 1951
Men Kiss Absent Women, Fly Imaginary Airplanes in Drug Store of Hypnotist
Miami, Fla.—(AP)— A stranger walking into Ralph Pearson's drugstore any night in the week would be amazed at some of the antics there.
What would you think, for instance, if you saw a man flying an imaginary warplane, another at the soda fountain kissing a woman who wasn't there, and a girl posed as the Statue of Liberty.
Regular customers are never surprised, though. They know it's just Pearson practicing his hobby of hypnotism.
Besides having fun, Pearson accomplishes a lot of good by putting people in trances. He has cured several of the smoking habit, for example.
"I'm losing a lot of my cigarette business," he says. "But I don't mind. Most of the smokers I've cured are young people who should not be smoking, anyway."
One schoolgirl told Pearson she hated school.
"I hypnotized her and quietly suggested while she was in a trance that school was a good thing and she should enjoy it," he recalls.
"After I woke her up, I said, 'How's school going lately?'
"'Fine,' she said. 'I can't wait to go in the morning.'"
Pearson cured another schoolgirl of biting her fingernails. Another stopped drinking coffee after one session with him.
Pearson hypnotized one girl, told her she was the Statue of Liberty, and she held the pose for 15 minutes. After he woke her up, she said her arm wasn't even tired.
A young man who was about to lose his job because he overslept every morning now wakes up daily at 7 a.m. on the dot, Pearson claims.
"Too bad I can't hypnotized myself," the druggist added. "I stay up so late hypnotizing people, I'm too tired to get up in the mornings."
The druggist has attracted so much attention with his hypnotism, nobody watches the television set in his store any more.
"We'll either have to sell the store and go into the hypnotism business or stop this stuff," said Mrs. Pearson. "It's getting to be a three ring circus around here."