Friday, December 30, 2011


Dr. Quackenbos Helped Her to Win Fame in a Night.
Startling Disclosures of His Influence Upon Halting Ministers, Artists, and Students Whom "Stage Fright" Has Paralyzed.
From December 20, 1901.

The medical fraternity of the entire city discussed yesterday the paper read Wednesday night before the Medico Legal .Society by Dr. John Duncan Quackenboss, emeritus Professor of•Psychology In Columbia University, in which be told of a young actress who a few months ago won fame In a single night while under the spell of hypnotic suggestion.

The spell was put upon the actress by Dr. Quackenbos himself after she had come to him a -sufferer from stage fright at the very threshold of her career. Under its influence, according to Dr Quackenbos, she appeared in a new play -in a Broadway theatre, and under the management of one greatest managers of the country. After her performance the press of city united in commending her work. The audience called her before the curtain seven times. and she became famous at once.

This case was cited by Dr. Quackenbos, as he stated, to give point his contention that hypnotism or Mesmerism is a tremendous force in the being not only of man but of the lower animals, and even of insects, and the scientists of •today are but standing at the threshold of a mysterious realm.

Quackenbos seen yesterday at his office supplemented this example hypnotic suggestion with others equally startling. He denied, however that the actress mentioned in his paper was at the time she made her great success this Fall in a trance-of the Trilby order.

He said:
“I applied in her case principles that are not entirely new. As the time for her first night drew near she became attacked with stage fright and her manager brought her to me as a last resort. In her case I studied her part in the play, and as near as-it was possible for me to do so, saturated myself with its spirit. She was to visit me three times. She made two visits, and on each of these occasions I put her into a hypnotic sleep, and while she was in this state I impressed upon her by the power of suggestion that she was actually the character that She was to portray.

“I filled her with the idea that she was superior to her surroundings, and brought out by suggestion every dramatic capability that had lain dormant within her. I impressed upon her that her acting throughout would be consistent with her interpretation of the heroine of the play in which she was to take part, and would be sincere and natural in,its tone. After two sleeps she became imbued with absolute confidence, and, refusing a third treatment, went before the footlights a consummate mistress of art.

“She was not in a. trance the night she made her first appearance, and I was not even present in the theatre, but the subliminal force in her being had been made for the time the dominant force, and her self-consciousness was completely obliterated.

“That is all there is in the treatment. The operator brings into activity the dormant psychic power in the subject. Hypnotic suggestion will not give a man knowledge. It simply enables him to comprehend things that he has known, but half forgotten; It will bring to his fingers’ ends all the knowledge he has ever had and Inspires him with an overwhelming confidence in himself.

“There is a young woman violinist appearing In this. city to-day, who a short time ago was almost ruined In her art by self-consciousness. I know nothing about violin playing, but by putting her into a hypnotic sleep and impressing on her that she was capable of the very highest expression on her instrument, she performs now as. one Inspired. See her some day and notice the utter absence of self-consciousness in her work.

“I have also had a 'number of ministers of various denominations who got in that state where they dreaded coming of Sunday. They come to, me at regular intervals. I put them into a hypnotic sleep and by suggestion make them think that it is not themselves talking, but the spirit of God talking through them. Some powerful sermons preached in local pulpits recently and reported in the press have come immediately after a hypnotic sleep.

“Recently I had a young woman singer come here from California to study under one of the most distinguished teachers In the city. She has a splendid voice, but had certain vices of expression which the teacher, told her would take. two years to .correct. One hypnotic sleep was sufficient to correct these faults entirely. and almost Incur the enmity of her music teacher. It was done by simply impressing her with, a conviction that the faults did not exist.

“The same method has ,worked successfully with scores of students in Columbia University. I had one young man last June, the son of- a wealthy man in the city who was promised a trip abroad if he successfully passed hi examinations. He felt absolutely hopeless of being able to pass and came .to me in despair to be experimented upon. The experiment was a complete success, and he took his coveted trip through Europe. By hypnotic suggestion all the knowledge gained by him during the year was simply brought to his fingers’ ends, so to speak.
“Hypnotism is a vast subject, and has been abused by charlatans and tricksters, but there is much in it.”

From December 20, 1901.

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