The phenomenon of hypnotism has excited curiosity from the most ancient times and is still somewhat of a mystery today.
Franz Mesmer of France in the late 18th Century was the first to employ the peculiar mental state in the practice of medicine. He explained the cause of a disease as a loss of "animal magnetism," which he personally restored by his method of "mesmerism." But Mr. Mesmer and his theories were finally discredited. Then around 1845, Mr. James Braid of England coined the term "hypnotism" to describe this unnatural state, which is still of questionable scientific value.
The abnormal psychological condition is induced by the repetitious and persuasive suggestion of great fatigue and drowsiness. The hypnotist sort of talks the subject to "sleep" using a tone of authority as in a father-child relationship. In fact, children around eight years of age are the easiest to hypnotize. Sleepwalkers, an oddity in themselves, are also easy to hypnotize. The subject must cooperate and trust themselves into the hands of the operator. The depth of hypnosis may be light or profound. They become very passive and less aware of their surroundings. If told they are paralyzed, they can't move. If they are told they are insensitive to pin pricks or the flame of a match, they seem to feel no pain at all.
Historically, hypnotism was a great part of vaudeville exhibitions, stage magicians, and amateur parlor tricks. A hypnotist can make a complete fool out of someone, ordering them to bark like a dog, cluck like a chicken, or perform other silly acts. Hypnotists commonly deceive their subjects into believing a lie, such as telling them that a pencil is a red-hot poker that will burn them. The subject wails in pain and can get a real blister. Hypnotists have performed all kinds of torment on people to prove that their subject was under their power and control. A hypnotized person can be made to see and hear all manner of hallucinations. If told a ghost is in the room, they watch the ghost with great horror. They may manifest great excitement, hysterical fear, and weeping; And if awakened suddenly they may experience severe nervous shock. But such harmful effects usually wear off in a few days. However, some post-hypnotic suggestions to carry out irrational behavior, such as throwing their hat out the window, may cause extreme confusion for years, and is therefore very dangerous.
The typical technique of the hypnotist is uttering in a monotone voice such words as "sleep" or "you're so tired" until the desired effect is produced. It's quite comparable to pagan religions wherein the charmer chants on and on to the accompanying of drum beating until the subject is no longer in their right mind, and fall under the spell of the witch doctor. Narcotics are sometimes administered along with hypnosis to extract the truth out of spies.
Essentially, hypnotism is psychological dominion of a person wherein the hypnotist imposes his will over the free will of the subject. Devious men have always been fascinated with the idea of ruling others. Cult leaders, like Charles Manson, enjoyed hypnotic-like power over his followers. He used music, drugs, and force to demand unquestioning obedience to himself. Mob behavior responsible for arson, looting, and executing innocent victims, is also akin to the mindless hypnotic condition. Experts say the Hitler's ranting and raving speeches induced a form of mass-hypnosis. The very heart beat of witchcraft and satanism is the ambition to control others. Demons love to possess and manipulate people. A so-called "blackout" can spontaneously occur for extended periods of time, where the poor subject has no memory of where they have been or what they have done---precisely as in a hypnotic trance. Numbers of people have committed ghastly crimes when some other "personality" has hypnotically taken them over. The voodoo practitioners at Haiti delight in making stoical "zombies" out of people, who appear to be permanently hypnotized.
We grant that there is a conscious and subconscious mind, embodied in the soul and spirit, and that all our experiences are stored in our memory. The hypnotic state seems to be neither fully conscious or unconscious, but in a psychological twilight zone; But so-called age-regression beyond birth lends credence to the error of reincarnation, which is a patent lie of the devil, for "it is appointed unto man once to die, but after this the judgement" (Hebrews 9:27). reincarnation,, which is the extension of evolution, runs contrary to the whole message of the Bible. After death, a person simply goes to heaven or hell. The classical "Case of Bridy Murphy" used as proof that an American housewife had lived before, was obviously nothing but a demon spirit that had possessed Bridy Murphy, revealing details to the latter woman. All this was perpetrated in and through repeated hypnotic sessions.
The subject of hypnotism has crept into some institutions of learning through the psychology department, and sadly, into some undiscerning seminaries!
Even though hypnotism is utterly foreign to the Holy Scriptures, some try to equate it with simple meditation. But there are two kinds of meditation---that which is of God and that which is of the devil. Remember, Satan is a counterfeiter who imitates the things of God. There are divine miracles and diabolic miracles; true prophets and false prophets. They both require relaxation, but there is a lot of difference between the meditation of false eastern religions, such as Hinduism---and Christian meditation, which is akin to prayer. In pagan meditation, such as Yoga, they try to empty their mind of everything and go blank, which opens the door for demonic entrance. Christian meditation focuses of Jesus Himself, concentrates on the Word of God, and muses on the wonderful things of God. Christians don't need to focus on their navel, stare at a spiral on the wall or a swinging medallion. What's the difference between auto-hypnosis and the trance state of a medium or so-called "channel" through which different demon voices express themselves? Self-hypnosis is widely practiced by so-called psychics and spiritualists like Edgar Casey.
Hypnotic practitioners claim that they use the strange power for good, not for evil, which is exactly what the "public-image-conscious" witches and so-called psychics claim. (As if the end justifies the means) There is little or no proof of any lasting therapeutic value of hypnotism in the treatment of mental disorders. And even if some individuals have quit smoking or over-eating through hypnotism, they have merely traded one bad thing for a worse bondage.
Really there is no such thing as "psychic power"---there's just God's power and demonic power. Our soul (psyche) is just an inner faculty of our being that cannot extend itself to effect things such as the antics of poltergeist spirits. Parapsychology, also known as psychical research, is really just playing with familiar spirits, such as in telepathy.
A hypnotist presumes a role that only God has a right to. We should never yield our mind, will, and soul over to another human being. We are to surrender ourselves to the Spirit of God only. Christ alone as our Lord and Master, not the hypnotist. Call no man master and let no one lord it over you.
Hypnotism is similar in nature to incantation and conjuring, which draws the presence of evil spirits. All such things are condemned in the Bible under the terms of "charming" (Psalm 58:5 and Jeremiah 8:17) and "enchantments" (Exodus 7:11; Leviticus 19:26; Isaiah 47:9,12; 2 Chronicles 33:6). It is well known that hypnotism was an ancient art of Egypt, and Isaiah 19:3 condemned those in Egypt, who sought to the charmers, those who had familiar spirits, and to wizards.
You can tell a lot about something by who is for it and who is against it; and hypnotism has many shady bedfellows. For instance, most cults and occults practice mind control. Many mediums are expert hypnotists, using special lighting and sounds as aids. But no evangelical Bible teacher or fundamental pastor peddles such rituals as hypnotism. Hypnotism never leads sinners to a salvation experience or to the Baptism into the Holy Spirit. Hypnotism never motivates folks to go to church, read the Bible, or win souls to Christ. Hypnotism was never a part of the Christian faith and practice; and it is still totally outside Biblical Christianity.
God doesn't need hypnotism to accomplish His works of grace and you don't either. My advice is that you turn your back on all forms of hypnotism and abandon such abominations forever. (see 2 Kings 17:17 and Deuteronomy 18:9-13).