In conducting experiments, especially with beginners,it is best to have a room isolated as much as possible from the rest of the house, so as to avoid ‘interruptions and the distraction of the subject’s mind by the noises of the household. For this reason also the room should be remote from the street, the walking of pedestrians and the movements of vehiclesbeing liable to interrupt the perfectly passive state of mind which is requisite to successful hypnosis. The furniture of the room should be plain and no unusual pictures or bric-a-brac should be displayed to attract attention. Carpet on the floor will prevent-any noise from walking or from the movement of chairs. When there is no carpet, rubber buttons should be placed on the legs of chairs. It is very annoying to get a subject almost under control and then accidentally arouse him by the noise of a moving or creaking chair. White, glaring walls- are not good, neither are brilliant or grotesque hangings. Plain unfigured wall paper of a subdued tint will be found most favorable.
FAVORABLE AND UNFAVORABLE INFUENCE. INFLUENCE OF LIGHT.
A mild, subdued light aids the hypnotic influence, while a strong and bright light is a pronounced hindrance. Red and yellow are especially unfavorable colors and such globes or lamp shades should not be used, for they give a glare to everything in the room and tire the eyes. Such lights in a room make ordinary sleeping difficult and their effect in delaying the securement of hypnotic sleep will be found very noticeable.A soft, blue light will aid the operator. It rests the eyes and consequently rests the brain, and more than any other light, it favors sleep. Do not use a dark blue shade, for that would attract attention by its peculiarity. If blue is not obtainable, a pale green may be used. Of course, the subject is not to look directly at the light ; he is simply to realize the benefit of the diffused, soft tone cast about the room.Bright sunlight should not be admitted. In the daytime a room with north windows is best, and cloudy days are more favorable than bright ones. When shades are used, blue or green are to be preferred. Always allow plenty of light in the room, so that the subject need not make an effort to look at objects to which you call his attention. But never admit a strong light.
INFLUENCE OF TEMPERATURE
A comfortable temperature, between 68 degrees and 78 degrees, will be found most favorable for inducing hypnosis; and, as a rule, the farther the departure from these limits the more difficult it becomes to gain control over a subject. An expert hypnotist was invited by a body of scientific men to give a special exhibition of his powers, to illustrate his method of inducing hypnosis. He selected his best subject, and met the scientists by appointment in a suburban home, one intensely hot afternoon in July. But imagine his chagrin and the disappointment of the others, when he utterly failed to do more than render the subject drowsy. The intense heat, the short trip on the train and the unusual circumstances pertaining to the occasion, had all tended to disturb the subject’s nervous equilibrium in such a manner that hypnosis could not be induced. Such instances are rare in good subjects, but that they do occasionally occur illustrates the importance of observing all possible precautions and of taking .advantage of such favorable influences as can be secured while trying to “break in” a new subject or while endeavoring to develop hypnotic power.
During a public exhibition, given by a celebrated hypnotist one cold winter night, the dozen or more subjects upon the stage all manifested pronounced signs of awakening in the midst of a most interesting performance, and the operator was obliged to make many passes over them in order to retain control. The cause of the partial awakening was a very cold draught of air blowing across the stage from a window opened by the janitor for the sake of ventilation. The operator, as soon as he realized the cause, ordered the window closed and impressively stated to his subjects, “Now, you are all warm and comfortable.” The above instance well serves to illustrate a peculiar feature of the hypnotic condition. Actual physical suffering or discomfort, such as may be caused by heat or cold, is readily, and often most acutely experienced by the hypnotized subject, unless the operator has specifically impressed upon him that he does not experience it. And, again, when the temperature is normal, the subject may be made to think that it is intensely cold or intensely hot, without control over him being lost. Suggestion can overcome the effect of the most intense suffering, and unless suggestion of ease is made, physical suffering may cause awakening from the hypnotic state. It is especially necessary for an operator to remember these facts when subjects are under his control. Various circumstances may occur to cause unpleasant physical sensations, and these must be quickly realized and hypnotic suggestions made accordingly.