By: Morey Bernstein Viewed: 8/10/2020
Posted: 7/19/2007
Topics/Keywords: #BrideyMurphy #Health #Hypnosis #MoreyBernstein Page Views: 3494
A short list of the many uses of medical hypnosis.

The Search For Bridey Murphy by Morey Bernstein was originally published in 1956. The last time it saw print was almost 15 years ago, in 1993. The original is now out-of-copyright; and since copyright law was intended to protect the rights of a work's author, and not to suppress the work, I feel it is morally right to make at least parts of it available here.

Should one of Mr. Bernstein's heirs ask me to withdraw these pages, or if the book is again published and made available and the publisher requests that I remove this, I'll gladly do so.

The following is one of the book's many appendices. Remember the viewpoint of the author comes from 50 years past. Notice how optimistic he is! Yet, as you read these words and inevitably think of the half-century of suppression that has made hypnosis (and Bridey Murphy) all but forgotten, remember also The Secret and the fact that this information is, once again, despite the most insidious efforts of the Powers That Be, becoming available.


Although we can only guess what hypnotism may eventually accomplish after it is fully accepted and explored, we already have a lengthy list of achievements—and some spectacular hints as to what we may expect in the future. Such a hint was provided by the staid British Medical Journal in 1952. The article relates the almost fantastic episode of a British lad who had been born with ichthyosis.

This is one of the most hideous diseases imaginable, a congenital affliction, often dubbed fish-scale disease, in which the skin forms a thick black casing over practically the entire body. The skin, furthermore, is covered with close-set black bumps between which is a scale as hard as a fingernail. When this scale is bent, it cracks and oozes a bloodstained serum. For this loathsome disease neither cause nor cure is known.

But this particular victim, even though his condition was so repulsive that his teacher and fellow students at school resented his presence, was more fortunate than others. An English hypnotherapist heard about the case and offered to try hypnosis. Understandably, other doctors were skeptical of what seemed to be a ridiculous gesture. Already the boy had undergone, to no avail, treatment in the best British hospitals. And even a trial operation for grafting new skin to the hands had only aggravated the matter. The grafted skin blackened, shrank, and brought more pain.

No wonder, then, that many scoffed at the young hypnotist who dared think that he could "talk out of existence" a serious congenital disease. Nevertheless, he started his cure, after taking only ten minutes to induce a trance, with five words: "The left arm will clear." He repeated the direct suggestion several times. Sure enough, to the amazement of everyone, within five days the coarse external layer turned soft and crumbly and fell off. Soon the skin underneath became pink and soft. The hypnotist shifted his suggestion to other parts of the body with similar results. Twelve doctors witnessed the hypnosis and the outcome.

There are many other clues, too, indicating that hypnosis, instead of dealing only with functional diseases to which it is ordinarily confined by standard textbooks, may actually cure certain organic conditions as well. Indeed, the boundary between organic and functional diseases is growing ever dimmer in the light of new knowledge. Gastric ulcer, for instance, becomes an organic lesion once the ulcer has formed in the stomach; yet it is generally admitted that this disease has frequently yielded to hypnosis.

Homosexuality wasn't recognized as a non-illness by the American Psychiatric Association until 1973.

Even without referring to sensational cases and the promise of still greater discoveries in the future, the array of ills which this science is successfully tackling every day is so imposing that one wonders why it is generally overlooked. A list of these would include psychoneuroses, alcoholism, bed-wetting, excessive smoking, insomnia, stammering and stuttering, homosexuality, stage fright, blushing, overweight, nail-biting, drug addiction, high blood pressure, asthma, migraine, rheumatoid arthritis, skin diseases, and many more.

The effectual use of hypnosis in dentistry is spreading rapidly, and there are constant gains, too, in obstetrics and surgery. Some psychiatrists are employing hypnosis to facilitate analysis and to accelerate psychotherapy. Keep in mind, moreover, that a brief psychotherapy means a less expensive one. It is interesting to note that in many prisons, where a fast, inexpensive method of psychotherapy is a necessity, a combination of narcosynthesis and hypnosis is frequently employed. Still, the unfortunate fact remains that the majority of practitioners, both in medicine and psychology, snub this mighty weapon.

True, at first glance it appears curious that one method of treatment can be of assistance in such a varied host of complaints. The real answer to this enigma will turn up only after the mystery of hypnosis has been finally solved. But this much we know now:

Regardless of what may have caused many of these conditions, the nervous system has the power to alleviate the trouble or to banish it altogether. It is actually possible, under certain conditions, to "tell" the nervous system what to do; evidently it really has the power to "listen" to proper suggestions. This is one of the miracles of human nature. And we would be foolish indeed to ignore its reality.

While hypnotism is no cure-all, there are many complaints for which it is the ideal treatment and a still greater number of conditions for which it is a valuable adjunct to conventional medical methods.