In the 1970s, hypnotist Charles Lamont got the idea of promoting himself as an "x-rated hypnotist." He kept this up until the 80s. But what exactly did this involve? Below is the only description of his act that I could find:
His name is Charles Lamont, and he bills himself as "the X-rated hypnotist." Lamont did his thing for a full house at the Tally-ho nightclub in North Wilmington last week. The club wants him back.
The crowd, including those who volunteered to be hyponotized, loved the act. Apparently the only one disgruntled was a fellow who sort of went under by accident and turned out to be the best subject of the second show.
When his friends told him what kind of fool he had been, he got angry and stormed out of the club.
But first he let Lamont know he wasn't pleased to have hugged and nuzzled the gentleman sitting next to him on the stage, a gentleman he had been led to believe was a beautiful young lady. Or to have fondled in public a foam rubber appendage he thought was real.
But the dignified, bearded fellow we first met seemed quite happy when he was done. Maybe nobody told him about his antics.
At Lamont's suggestion, he: told the girl sitting next to him his name was, um, something you say when you're asking for a sexual kick; drank a glass of water he thought tasted like urine (and quickly spit out); thought the young lady next to him was naked (and smiled widely).
And the clincher. Lamont told him to imagine he was both male Japanese samurai and his horny female sweetheart. Oh the moaning, oh the gestures, oh the intensity.
Another fellow in the first show was told that everyone in the house was having an orgy. He watched, smiled and shook his head in amazement.
But Lamont soon snapped his fingers and that fantasy ended. Another suggestion may last longer. Lamont told him he'll want to make love to his wife till the sun comes up — every Tuesday night from then on.
Near the end of the first show, which turned out to be the better even though there were more volunteers for the secon, all three of the men were told they were musclemen. Oh how they strutted. Then they were told they were gays on Fire Island. They strutted again, but somewhat differently.
One guy was told to take a drag off a cigarette. It would be the best joint of marijuana imaginable. He flew quite high until Lamont snapped his fingers and told him to go back to sleep...
The girls, including a chesty lovely who was "almost wearing" a striking dress, according to Lamont, were given less lively roles. (Among both sexes thre were some who didn't "go under." Lamont worked around them.)
"You have to go easy with the girls in the first show," said Lamont after that one. "Their boyfriends might get mad, things like that."
But the female volunteers weren't much more active in the second show. Mostly they served as straight men, so to speak, for the guy who later was sorry about the whole thing.
November 1956: Hypnotist Arthur Ellen urged President Eisenhower to put his Thanksgiving turkey in a trance before executing it, promising him that a hypnotized turkey "tastes better due to the absence of adrenalin in the bloodstream and plucks easier because the muscles holding the feathers are relaxed."
Port Angeles Evening News - Nov 19, 1956
It's not recorded whether Eisenhower took the advice of the hypnotist. However, Wikipedia notes that, "The Eisenhower Presidential Library says documents in their collection reveal that President Dwight Eisenhower ate the birds presented to him during his two terms."
The tradition of Presidential turkey pardons only officially began with Reagan, although both Kennedy and Nixon spared some birds.
Below: Eisenhower in 1954 feeds a cranberry to a soon-to-be-eaten Thanksgiving turkey.
Michael Stivers had an interesting career. He was a professional wrestler, who used the stage name "Pretty Boy Behning." He was also a police officer for 13 years, but around 1990 he quit that profession to become a hypnotist.
At first, he ran a pretty ordinary hypotism business — using hypnotism to help people lose weight or quit smoking. But around 1991 he discovered a unique way to specialize and differentiate his practice. He became a "breast enlargement hypnotist."
His pr material explained: "The larger-breast style of self-hypnosis relaxes the subject, then allows her to will an increased blood flow into the fatty tissues of the breast, much like that during menstruation or pregnancy. Daily conditioning through self-hypnosis allows what amounts to a permanent enhancement."
But according to a 1991 AP story, some patients had mixed results:
A 58-year-old Tampa woman who wouldn't give her name said her bust measurement grew 3 inches through hypnosis in April, but then shrank 1 ½ inches.
As far as I can tell, Stivers stayed in business until at least 1995.
In 1958, Dr. David Briggs claimed that hypnotizing his students increased their academic performance by up to 15 percent.
Reminded me of the Hypnotizing High School Principal I posted about back in October. The difference being that in the 1950s a professor hypnotizing his students was seen as a quirky but harmless experiment. But a principal who did essentially the same thing in the 21st Century got accused of contributing to the deaths of his students.
Newsweek - Apr 14, 1958
Valley Morning Star (Harlingen, Texas) - Apr 3, 1958
Down in Florida, the Sarasota County School Board has agreed to pay a settlement of $600,000 to the families of three high school students who died. One of the students was in a car accident, and the other two committed suicide. But all three had previously been hypnotized by George Kenney, the High School Principal. Kenney had been hypnotizing many students (about 75 in total) in the belief that it would help them with athletic and academic performance.
The case against Kenney is that the hypnosis may have been a causal factor in the deaths because it somehow messed up the fragile brains of the teenagers. Dr. Alan Waldman, a specialist in neuropsychiatry, testified that, "The wires that connect the neurons are still getting the fatty covering that insulates them. It doesn't stop forming till the early 20s. And they're a child's brain. That's a factor."
‘Hypnotist Henry Blythe, gives his daughter Sally, 17, advice before she starts a driving lesson at Torquay, England, Jan 15, 1960. Blythe says he hypnotizes her as he has some 40 other new drivers, all of whom have passed their test. Sally has not yet taken her test.’ [via Retronaut]
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.
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."
Paul Di Filippo
Paul has been paid to put weird ideas into fictional form for over thirty years, in his career as a noted science fiction writer. He has recently begun blogging on many curious topics with three fellow writers at The Inferior 4+1.