Yes. No question about it. I’ll explain in a moment. But I want to start by saying that this claim, surfacing again today at startribune.com, is completely plausible as well: “More than four decades after Sen. Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated, his convicted murderer wants to go free for a crime he says he can’t remember. It is not old age or some memory-snatching disease that has erased an act Sirhan Bishara Sirhan once said he committed ‘with 20 years of malice aforethought.’ It’s been this way almost from the beginning. Hypnotists and psychologists, lawyers and investigators have tried to jog his memory with no useful result.” Interesting that The Powers That Be would let a hypnotist near Sirhan. Wikipedia . . .
At a June 30, 2003 hearing, Lawrence Teeter, in an attempt to get Sirhan a new trial, claimed that Sirhan had been hypnotized into firing at Kennedy and that he may have been using blanks; that Sirhan couldn’t possibly have fired the fatal shot from where he was standing; that prosecutors blackmailed his defense attorney to throw the case and that police and government agencies whitewashed or bungled investigations. The motion was denied.
I’m not going to speculate as to whether or not there was a conspiracy to kill Robert Kennedy. I used my aluminum foil hat this evening to keep my potato pancakes warm. But I did spend over ten years as a hypnotist in the UK. I hypnotized thousands of people. So I know a thing or two about what’s possible and what’s not in the watch-swinging sphere. As this involves a gun, and TTAG posts at least ten times a day, WTH. To quote Gary Gilmore, let’s do it.
The are various levels of trance depth, or suggestibility. The Stanford Hypnotic Susceptibility Scale is the most dependable scientific method for measuring trance depth. (Click here for a pdf, the action starts on page 30.) You hypnotize a subject, make a series of increasingly bizarre suggestions (e.g., negative hallucinations) until they fail. Or not. The last test attempts to induce amnesia. Complete, honest-to-God amnesia. About anything the hypnotist chooses.
Not everyone can achieve that level of trance. A farrago of variables determine any given individual’s hypnotizability at any given moment: the setting, the hypnotist’s ability, psychopharmacology (drugs to you and me), the subject’s mindset and more. The most important determining factor: genetics. Some people are naturally capable of entering the deepest levels of trance. They do so at the drop of a proverbial hat (which they can be convinced to mistake for their wife). These people are called sonambulists.
You’ve seen them in hypnosis stage shows, doing anything and everything the hypnotist commands. Because somnambulists are relatively rare, well below 10 percent of the general population, most stage hypnotists make sure there are a couple of somnambulists at every show. After finding one through hypnotic tests or a past encounter (i.e. show), they simply tell the subject to attend. The somnambulist can’t resist the suggestion. Done.
As you can imagine from that little factoid, a hypnotist can do some evil things with a somnambulist. If, for example, the watch swinger wanted a hate-filled Arabian American to assassinate Robert Kennedy, he could make the subject into a hate-filled Arabian-American (if necessary), tell him to kill RFK and instruct him not to remember a thing about it. Including, of course, the hypnotist’s identity.
All that nonsense about “not being able to hypnotize someone against their will” is just that: bullshit. You just manipulate their reality and convince them that what they’re doing is right. Have you seen the original Manchurian Candidate? Like that, without the Oedipal backstory. (Quick aside: I’m glad John McCain didn’t become president.) In fact, the evil hypnotist could also “program” a cover story into the patsy’s mind. Oh, and make it impossible for anyone else to hypnotize the somnambulist; a simple keyword lock will suffice.
If you want a real world example, check this from the best book ever written on the subject of hypnosis (Robert Temple’s Open to Suggestion). It’s a quote from another book about a 19th century French Doctor, Professor Jules Liegois. Liegois conducted a number of experiments to prove the existence of the hypnotic state, and it’s potential for abuse.
Leigois suggested to a lady [in trance] that Mr. O. had spoken slightingly of her, and that she was to kill him. She was told that she was not to mention who had given her this suggestion, but to believe that she acted from her own impulse, and, if needful, take an oath to that effect. This order was obeyed post-hypnotically, and the lady was convinced of her crime. Leibault [one of the most famous of all medical hypnotists] subsequently hypnotized her, but even the, when asleep, she denied that she had received any suggestion to the crime. Indirectly, however, she was induced to betray the operator, for Liebault said to her,—When the person who gave you the suggestion enters the room you are to sleep for two minutes, and after awakening it will be impossible for you to remove your eyes from him until I say, ‘Enough.’ I need not continue this quotation; suffice it to say all that happened as was predicted, the lady even trying to screen Liegois from discovery.
All of which beggars the question: if Sirhan Sirhan was hypnotized to kill RFK, and hypnotized not to reveal the hypnotist under any circumstances or, indeed not to be hypnotizable, how could you hypnotize him to reveal the hypnosis?
The answer comes to us from the world of encryption. If the hypnotist left a hypnotic “back door” to Sirhan’s mind, all you have to do is guess the command (good luck with that). Or you could find the hypnotist and get him to reveal the back door. Unless HE was hypnotized not to reveal it. Providing he’s still alive.
Alternatively, you could re-boot Sirhan’s mind (an extremely brutal process but what the hell) and see what happens. The problem with that approach: there could be a hypnotic suggestion for that too. And even if you were successful, you could be suggesting the answers you want without even knowing it. So, in a word, if there was a hypnotist and he knew his onions, you’re pretty much SOL.
Still, nice work if you can get it. Oh and keep an eye on my novel, serialized on these e-pages. There could be something related therein . . .