Hypnotism - G. C. Barnard – Relieving pain and anesthesia
Type of Spiritual Experience
Guy Christian Barnard was a Literary critic and little-known writer on mediumistic and psychical phenomena. His most famous work on psychical research, "The Supernormal," was published in 1933. In it Barnard attempts to establish a strong case for the extension of the living personality to explain the apparent evidence for survival.
A description of the experience
Hypnotism - G. C. Barnard
The work of French investigators has been confirmed by some very careful and scientifically devised experiments by Dr. Robert W. Alrutz (Summarized by him in a paper, "Problems of Hypnotism", in Part 83 (Vol. 32) of the Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research) ….
Dr. Alrutz's experiments are of particular value on two counts; first, by reason of their precision, and, secondly, by reason of the precautions taken to exclude all suggestion, whether due to expectation, to autosuggestion arising from faint sense perceptions (by the subject) of the operator's movements, or even to telepathically transmitted suggestions.
Generally speaking, the subject was first lightly hypnotized, and then, his face being covered with a black cloth and his ears sometimes plugged, was submitted to experiment.
In order to investigate the effect of passes, Dr. Alrutz enclosed the subject's two arms in light wooden boxes which had glass tops, and which were fixed on the arms of the chair in which he sat. One of these boxes might be wholly or partially covered with a sheet of metal, of cardboard, of paper, flannel, or of some other material. Under these conditions the subject was quite ignorant
- as to which arm was being subjected to passes,
- whether this arm was screened or not,
- what substance was used as a screen,
- whether the passes were up or down.
In other experiments Dr. Alrutz arranged matters so that he himself did not know which arm was screened, nor which portion of it was screened; and in still other cases, third parties, who were ignorant of the various results to be expected, did the actual process of making passes or of arranging the screens in the absence of Dr. Alrutz, who afterwards came in and investigated the subject's sensibility, deducing from this the nature of the screens and passes which had been used. In this way all possibility of telepathic suggestion was removed.
The results obtained by these experiments definitely showed that
- when downward passes were made the sensibility of the part thus "magnetized" was notably diminished;
- while upward passes increased the sensibility.
Also that screens of card, paper, flannel, etc., effectively cut off the effluence, while screens of glass or metal transmitted it.
Dr. Alrutz was able, by the use of passes, to anaesthetize one side of the patient while increasing the sensibility of the other side, and he investigated the degree of sensibility with regard to pain, warmth, cold, pressure, smell, and sight, as well as the knee-jerk reflex, using instrumental methods as far as possible. He found, what has also been found by other investigators, that in
- light hypnosis there is some degree of hyper-sensibility and hyper-irritability (with regard to the senses and muscles respectively), both of which may be increased by upward passes; while in
- deep hypnosis there is diminution of the sensibility and iritability.
From all these observations and experiments we see that there is indubitably a physical influence which can be exerted by one person on another, without any direct contact between the two, and without the knowledge of the subject. The chief phenomena of hypnosis, namely hyper-aesthesia and anaesthesia, can certainly be produced by means of this influence, and in all probability the hypnotic state itself can be so produced.
We may note also in this connection that the traditional methods adopted by the Indian Yogi to achieve a trance condition which is essentially analogous to hypnosis are very largely physical, although, of course, there is here plenty of auto-suggestion as well. The chief methods of Yoga appear to be control of the respiration, combined with a fixed "Asana" posture (usually involving the compression of some nerve centre) and concentration of the gaze either on the navel or on the tip of the nose - i.e. some form of squinting similar to that first used by Braid. All this is also to be accompanied by absolute concentration of thought, or, in advanced cases, by its deliberate obliteration.