Sunday, April 14, 2024
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Were the masked masses under hypnosis?


JUST what caused the public overreaction to covid? Many have pointed to ‘mass hysteria’ as way of explanation. Yet it is still hard to explain the apparent relish with which so many of the public adopted all the useless measures (masks, distancing, apps etc) based on zero evidence.

Well, I would like to make a case for an additional consideration.  That is one of mass hypnosis. To support this, let me return to the late 1970s, when I worked as a photographer in a holiday camp.

Every week there was a 40-minute show by a hypnotist. The format was consistent: the hypnotist would introduce himself and provide some quick reassurances. He then started his act, and within five minutes there were at least ten volunteers on stage. They were apparently completely under his spell. They would be asked to do the most ridiculous things on stage. Sometimes, after being sent back to the audience, they would jump up and start shouting nonsense on hearing a trigger word. It worked every week and made for great entertainment.

To witness this one week, you would be tempted to say the ‘volunteers’ were planted. But not week after week with different people involved each time. So how did he do this? He seemed to make people focus in on themselves using a loud, somewhat intimidating voice, quickly switching to a much more gentle (reassuring) voice. I don’t pretend to know the full details but he applied a form of pressure to the volunteers and then offered some form of relief. These people had subconsciously entered an agreement and entered a state of trance.

How did this happen? My research shows a few conditions have to be met.

The website asserts that ‘the biological capacity to experience trance seems to be present to some degree in all people’. However, it says that the likelihood that somebody will experience trance is ‘based on an interaction between the person’s natural abilities and the social context within which trance might occur’. The three key factors are:

Dissociation: which involves the person ceasing to examine critically what is going on around them and shifting their attention inwards;

Absorption: the capacity to become fully involved and engaged in an activity such that awareness of external reality is diminished;

Suggestibility: which seems to be innate and to some degree biological within individuals. It is very likely that suggestibility is the basis for our social functioning.

Indeed, Marc Marshall, an American hypnotist and motivational speaker, adds that ‘a state of trance hypnosis is achieved with either an overload of the central nervous system, or fatigue of the nervous system’. 

Considering all this, I don’t think it is too far-fetched to suggest that a large percentage of the UK population were actually hypnotised to some degree. They had been put under a huge deal of pressure through the state-controlled media, yet ‘salvation’ came in the form of the government who ‘suggested’ what to do. Dissociation and absorption happened very quickly as the daily routine had been disrupted by lockdown. Some will then have been more prone to suggestibility than others. This would determine their personal behaviours (staying indoors, mask wearing, social distancing, snitching on neighbours etc).

Was this intended? Possibly not. In her book A State of Fear, Laura Dodsworth reported coming across Government experts who were surprised at just how effective their pressure had been, and some even regretted how far they had gone. Behaviour change was almost too easy.

Could it happen again? Well, as I saw in happier times, it happened every single week without fail at the holiday camp.

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James Phillips
James Phillips
James Phillips (pseudonym) has served in both the Fleet Air Arm and the Army Air Corps. He also spent a few years flying police helicopters.

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