Friday, February 19, 2016

What Psychology Promises

As they say, from the sublime to the . . .

This article appeared as part of predictions for the coming twentieth century. Dr. Quackenbos believed hypnotherapy would be recognized as a tool to perform miracles, including the prevention and cure of cancer, fetal hypnotism and the ability to talk to the dead. Reprinted in various forms, this one is from the December 31, 1900 edition of the Evansville Courier and Press, page 4.

What Psychology Promises 
by John B. Quackenbos. Professor Emeritus, Psychology, Columbus University.

  I regard the most important advance made by psychology during the last century to be its assumption of a practical character, which has brought certainty out of chaos. The Scotchman's definition of this science no longer avails, viz., "Twa folk disputin' thegither. He that's listenin' does na ken what he that's talkin' means, and he that's talkin' does na ken himself."

  Reputable physicians in this country and abroad have successfully relieved by the application of post-hypnotic suggestion functional disorders of digestion and circulation, seasickness, eczema, hyperhidrosis (excessive perspiration), nervous diseases, like hysteria and St. Vitus dance; nervous exhaustion, or Americanitis, with its attendant insomnia; auto-intoxications, morbid fears, dread of responsibility, indecision, imperative conceptions and delusions, even organic diseases characterized by distressing pain, like sciatica, angina pectoris, locomotor ataxia, consumption and cancer.

  Moreover, in my hands hypnotism has been used with most gratifying results in restoring degenerates and reforming the criminal classes.

  Addiction to drugs and stimulants, immoral impulses, habits of lying and stealing, dangerous delusions and dominant ideas, suicidal and homicidal mania, erratic and unmanageable dispositions in children, lack of reverence for superiors and general incorrigibility have been found curable by hypnotic suggestion.

  Hypnotic suggestion is adapted to treatment of acute amnesia, or loss of memory, of melancholia, monomania and mild forms of insanity in their incipiency, where the attention of the patient can be fixed and his mind controlled so that it cease to wander from image to image and from thought to thought--an indispensable condition of success in all cases.

  Stammering, stuttering and similar speech defects are amenable to hypnotic treatment. High purpose and noble endeavor may be substituted in character for carnal propensities and sordid aims, worthy ideals for bestial standards, intellectual brilliance and living interest for obtuseness and indifference. Habits of thought concentration may be made to take place of habits of rambling, ability to use grammatical English for uncertainty in syntax, a taste that approves elegance for an inclination to slang.

  And the end is not yet. You ask me to forecast the uses of hypnotism in the century which has just dawned. I believe that as an agent of physical cure it will shortly come to be universally employed by trained nurses to carry their patients through the crisis of disease. It will be used by physicians for intra-uterine inspiration, the character of the forming child will be determined by ante-natal suggestion, and this method of improving ethically and intellectually a coming generation will be practiced on so large and broad a scale that society will feel the uplift.

  Intelligent physicians will anticipate by hypnotism and inherited tendency to malignant growths, fortifying through the channels of suggestion the system of the subject against any chemical, mechanical or emotional cause for the development of cancer, etc. Carcinoma, for instance, being rare under 30, the physician of the future will keep up the vitality of the threatened tissues in cases where heritage is suspected by powerful suggestions to the subpersonal mind begun at the age of 25.

  Such will be the treatment of the twentieth century. Suggestion will be further used to regulate fecundity, and so control the population of the earth. Hypno-science is destined to demonstrate immortality on scientific principles, to determine the laws that govern telepathic intercourse and possibly to extend its investigations into the realm of the dead, establishing communication with spiritual intelligence.

  We are as yet only on the threshold of psychological discovery.

A Predator's Game is available for pre-order through Amazon.

A Predator's Game, available March 30, 2016, Rook's Page Publishing.

Nikola Tesla, Arthur Conan Doyle and Dr. Henry H. Holmes are all characters in my forthcoming thriller, A Predator's Game, Rook's Page Publishing, March 30, 2016.

Back page blurb of A Predator's Game (advance copy, subject to change).

Manhattan, 1896.

When the author Arthur Conan Doyle meets Nikola Tesla he finds a tall, thin genius with a photographic memory and a keen eye, and recognizes in the eccentric inventor the embodiment of his creation, Sherlock. Together, they team up to take on an "evil Holmes." Multi-murderer Dr. Henry H. Holmes has escaped execution and is unleashing a reign of terror upon the metropolis. Set in the late nineteenth century in a world of modern marvels, danger and invention, Conan Doyle and Tesla engage the madman in a deadly game of wits.

Martin Hill Ortiz, also writing under the name, Martin Hill, is the author of A Predatory Mind. Its sequel, set in 1890s Manhattan and titled A Predator's Game, will be available from Rook's Page Publishing, March 30, 2016. It features Nikola Tesla as detective.

His recent mystery, Never Kill A Friend, is available from Ransom Note Press. His epic poem, Two Mistakes, recently won second place in the Margaret Reid/Tom Howard Poetry Competition. He can be contacted at


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