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Observations placeholder

Messing, Wolf - The power of suggestion in hypnotism – The count who thought that pigeons were building a nest inside his head



Type of Spiritual Experience

Inter composer communication

Number of hallucinations: 1


A description of the experience

Wolf Messing –the true story of Russia’s greatest psychic – Tatiana Lungin

"I often used hypnosis to cure psychological disorders.  A certain Polish count, who had a somewhat weak, unhealthy appearance, developed a strange paranoid delusion: he thought that pigeons were building a nest inside his head. The medical consultants didn’t know how to treat this fantastic obsession.  The count himself obstinately refused treatment, afraid that if he were operated on, his head would be removed along with the pigeon's nest. Having finally exhausted all possibilities, the doctors turned to me.

"I employed a completely different method of dealing with the patient. I clearly saw that it would be useless to use common sense in this case. The count's reasoning ability was severely clouded. Playing the fool, so to speak, I entered into a conspiracy with the sick man.

"For our first meeting, I brought with me a long shiny pipe on a tripod, something like a portable telescope, complete with all kinds of little screws and wheels. I placed my instrument against the count's head and painstakingly 'scrutinized' the contents of his head.

"'Yes Count,' I said, 'you are indisputably right. There is a pigeon's nest in your head, and I'm afraid that yet other families may settle in.'

"'You see! 'the Count replied.' The others doubted. Day and night I feel them flapping their wings, and now a cat has begun sneaking up on them. Then there'll really be a rumpus! My head will fly to pieces.'

"I responded confidently, 'I can drive away your uninvited residents in such a way that they'll never return to bother you.’

"The count said he would be most grateful to me. So, once more placing the 'telescope' to his head, I loudly counted his invisible feathered residents, and told him they now had a clutch of eggs. I assured him, however, that the birds would soon leave the nest, since animals dislike their intimate lives open to man’s scrutiny. I said they would soon fly away to find a better, more comfortable place.

"I said goodbye to the count and drove back to my hotel. Early the next morning the count sent his carriage for me.

"'Thank you, thank you greatly,' he said when he greeted me.  'The damned birds flitted away! But the new fledglings have hatched. The old ones flew away, but now there are these new ones ... and the young ones make even more noise!'

"With my miraculous telescope, I once again examined the count's forehead, confirmed the presence of the young brood, and set up a final session for the next day.  A decisive cleaning out of the count's Poor head was in order. I led three assistants, equipped with live pigeons hidden in a basket, into his garden where they sat unnoticed behind the gooseberry bushes. After binding the count's eyes with a silk scarf I led him by the hand down to the bushes.

"'This is an important moment, Count,' I said solemnly.  'Listen carefully. I fired a pistol shot, the signal for my assistants to let the pigeons loose. At the same moment I pulled a dead pigeon out of my pocket and thrust it into the count's hands.

"'Here, Count, I managed to kill one. The others will no longer return. Everything is over for them. 'The count saw the pigeons flying away with his own eyes, and he had a dead pigeon in his hand. He immediately buried the bird in the loose earth of the flower bed.

"The count's mind remained clear for a few years, but a well-meaning acquaintance of his, wrongly assuming that the cure was permanent, revealed the essence of my trick. Upon learning the truth, the count stood for a moment in silent horror and then, with, heart-rending cry, pressed his palms to his head. The birds had returned once again.

The source of the experience

Messing, Wolf

Concepts, symbols and science items



Science Items

Activities and commonsteps