1The Indian sex cult guru arrested for drugging and hypnotizing children
In April 2017, suspected cult leader Sunil Kulkarni was arrested in Mumbai on a variety of charges involving poisoning, human trafficking, and obscenity. His cult, known as "Shifu Sunkriti," has thousands of disciples on social media, but its critics say its leader is a fraud who lures children into sex and drugs. According to police, “It is suspected that Kulkarni had given the victims anti-depression medicines, and he knows the art of hypnotism by which he influences young girls and boys.”
Allegedly, he lured youngsters to his obscenity-filled website, where he posed as a psychologist, and offered consultant positions to young victims. When two sisters associated with him were reported missing by their parents, the guru, who has prior charges of sex offenses against children, was arrested.
2The kids that are hypnotized to improve their grades and behavior
Hypnotherapist Lisa Machenberg has used hypnosis to treat nearly 1000 kids, even her own. "I started hypnotizing the children at seven months to sleep quickly, calmly, soundly, and deeply all through the night,” Machenberg said. Apparently, the process is being sought more and more by parents hoping to improve their children's grades, sports performance, or behavior.
Machenberg hopes the method will continue to be developed, “Let's learn how to use Hypno-parenting to consciously influence our children to be more peaceful in the house, and have focused concentration." Some mental health specialists feel hypnotizing children for these purposes is beyond the pale, and believe the treatment should be reserved for cases involving severe trauma.
3The woman who used hypnosis to conquer her crippling fear of vegetables
A 22-year old mother, who had refused to eat anything but brown, yellow, or white food since the age of three, finally conquered her fear of vegetables with the help of hypnosis.
Soon after becoming a mother, and needing to provide a proper diet for her child, Victoria Reynolds knew she had to change. "The smell and look of the mushed up fruit or vegetables made me petrified," said Victoria. At first, when preparing food for her child, she would resort to wearing rubber gloves, "I gave him healthy vegetables, but if I got anything on my hands, I´d freak out. Even cleaning food off his high chair and tray would make me shiver and gag."
Overcome with guilt, she sought treatment from a food phobia expert, who used hypnosis techniques that allowed Reynolds to gain control of her fear of vegetables. Now, she excitedly says, "I no longer gag or feel sick at the sight of new foods, and I can clean up after my son and prepare his food without the issues. It has transformed my life."
4The thief who mesmerized a shopkeeper during a robbery
Caught on video, a London shopkeeper appears to be entranced by a customer who makes a few odd gestures and rummages through the merchant's pockets.
The suspect entered the store, walked past the owner, and made a gesture to him. The victim then stood motionless as the thief went through his pockets, taking his wallet and hundreds of dollars worth of cash. The criminal then tapped his prey's shoulder and walked out of the store. Finally coming out of his stupor, the vendor shouted out after the crook, to no avail. The owner later said he was "stunned." A magician commented on the video, saying he believed the robber must have made prior visits to the shop to prepare his victim. “You can never hypnotize someone on the first go. I would have thought he has already gone in before and done some pre-suggestive stuff,” then added, “the shoulder touch could be a trigger.”
5The Russian hypnotist who claims he can "cure" homosexuality
In some areas of Russia, gay people are being subjected to "cures" for homosexuality that include hypnotherapy.
A pair od brothers who offer treatments for $88 a session, and consider themselves psychotherapists, believe homosexuality is a type of obsessive-compulsive disorder. The Nikitenko brothers use audio hypnosis to relieve stress from their patients, and teach them the "right ways to behave and react."
Homosexuality was removed from Russia's list of recognized psychiatric conditions in 1999, so these cures are viewed as odd by most of the Russian medical community, who feel that changing your sexual preferences with psychotherapy can be damaging.
6The Australian television hypnosis ban
In 2008, an Australian TV network was accused of breaching that country's Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice, which forbids broadcasting a program designed to induce a hypnotic state in viewers.
The Australian Communications and Media Authority claimed that during a segment about hypnotherapy and weight loss on the show "A Current Affair," there was an intentional attempt to hypnotize the viewing audience with a minute long demonstration of the hypnotic process set to swirling lights and droning music. "We're going to hypnotize the nation into losing weight," says the hypnotist, "get into a comfortable position, and trust the process." The show sparked controversy concerning subliminal messaging, and the network agreed to take measures to ensure it wouldn't happen again.
7The divorce lawyer who entranced clients to sexually assault them
A divorce lawyer in Ohio pleaded guilty to hypnotizing and sexually assaulting six clients.
Charges were pressed after one of the women became suspicious and decided to audio tape her meetings with attorney Michael Fine, a married father of two. When she listened back, she was shocked to hear Fine suggesting that she was “being made love to by the world's greatest lover....I can do it to you, with you all the time, can't I....I am the only one who knows how to trigger it." The hypnotist would then instruct the entranced victim to forget what happened at the consultations: "You'll only recollect what we were talking about your case until we see each other tomorrow,"
The woman took the tape to the police and agreed to go back for another session, this time wired with audio and video equipment. Fine instantly put her into a hypnotic state, and was about to molest her when the police burst in to arrest him. He was later disbarred and sentenced to 12 years in prison.
8The CIA experimented with hypnotic mind control for interrogations
A pair of CIA memo's from the 1950's, show that the intelligence agency spent a great deal of time studying hypnosis, and it's possible uses for their covert operations. Encoding secrets in a messenger's brain through hypnosis, so the individual has no conscious knowledge of the information, was one technique they hoped to develop.
Believing that it's easier “to hypnotize large numbers of people” than individuals”, the unnamed agent suggested hypnotizing "loyal Americans" to have split personalities so they would appear to be ardent Communists, who could then associate with Communist groups to uncover their plans. After collecting information, the unwitting double agents, would be debriefed under counter-hypnosis. Another aspect the agency felt the process could be useful for, was resistance to torture. "Hypnosis may be able on the one hand to pre-condition a subject against the pressure” of enemy influence, it asserts, “or after the fact to help undo the damage.” After the development of psychedelics, the CIA seemingly decided to pursue a different direction in their mind control experiments.
9The growing trend of hypnobirthing mothers
An expanding movement among pregnant women is to practice self-hypnosis to gain control over the stress and pain of childbirth.
According to Melissa Spilsted, the founder of Hypnobirthing Australia, it's taught to mothers by creating "hypnotic triggers, anchors, and deepeners, so that a deep state of relaxation can be more easily achieved during birthing." Some dismiss it as a hippie trend, citing studies that show no difference in the number of epidurals used in hypnotherapy-assisted births, and a lack of hard evidence. But a mother of two, who used the technique for the birth of her second child, says it changed the way she viewed the pains associated with childbirth, "It's really not painful, but it's intense; you really don't perceive it as pain. It's your muscles working hard, like a marathon runner."
10The 67-year-old woman who had surgery without painkillers
In 2008, a 67-year old woman in the United Kingdom voluntarily underwent arthroscopic knee surgery without the aid of an analgesic.
Bernadine Coady, a graduate of the British School of Hypnosis, decided to forego any anesthetic and instead relied upon self-hypnosis to deal with any pain that might be caused by the surgeon drilling into her knee. It was the second time she had undergone surgery without pain treatment. The first was ten years prior when she had a bone in her foot sawn during an operation. The pensioner was confident in her ability to control the pain, and won't hesitate to use it under even more serious operations, "I think it could be used for any operation, even heart surgery.''
According to a spokesman for the National Council for Hypnotherapy, the technique has been commonly used for centuries in many European countries.