It’s all about hypnosis. Some of you may be skeptical, others may have actually been hypnotized. I’m interested to hear what all of you think of these stories today because they’ve made me look at hypnosis in a whole new way – my name is Danny Burke, let’s get into the Top 10 Scary Hypnosis Stories. Coming in at number 10 we have the Principal. In 2011, a school district in Florida reached a 600,000 dollar settlement with the families of 3 students who died shortly after they were hypnotized by their own principal.
During his time there, George Kenney hypnotized some 75 students and staff to help them deal with anxiety and stress. In March of that year, 16-year-old quarterback Marcus Freeman died in a car accident. According to his girlfriend, he got a strange look on his face and then drove off the road. The next month, 16-year-old Wesley McKinley was found hanged to death outside his home. In May, 17-year-old Brittany Palumbo was found hanged in her bedroom closet. All of them were among those hypnotized by Kenney. He resigned in June 2012 and was given a years probation for practicing therapeutic hypnosis without a license. The school board paid each of the families 200,000 dollars … Next up at number 9, we have The Evil Spirits.
In 2012, Boston Police investigated the claim of a 57-year-old woman who said she handed over her life savings after being hypnotized. The victim said she was approached by 3 women in Bostons Chinatown on April 15th of that year. Of them started asking in Cantonese about her family. They then gave her a plastic bag, told her to go home and then meet them later. She filled the bag with 160,000 dollars in cash, along with jewelry and her passport, and handed it over when she met with them again. The woman said she believes she was hypnotized. Some said the hypnosis scam is potentially very dangerous while clinical hypnotist said that this type of hypnosis usually occurs over months and cant happen through a brief encounter. It would be a scary thought if they were wrong … Next up at number 8, we have Sirhan Sirhan. He was the man convicted of the assassination of Bobby Kennedy – brother of President JFK. He was sentenced to life in prison but in 2011, at a parole hearing – his lawyer argued that he had been hypno programmed to commit the shooting. This was 43 years after the murder. According to Sirhan himself, he said he was hypnotized by a woman in a polka dot dress.
Allegedly the woman led him into the hotel pantry before the shooting and pinched his shoulder, the signal for the shooting. Apparently, he has witnesses that back this story up – but the prison board denied him parole. Next up at number 7, we have the Hypnotist Thief. In 2014, a hypnotist thief put a London store owner in a trance before going through his pockets and stealing all of his money for the day.
It was the first time a crime like this had been captured on CCTV in the UK. The suspect, wearing a black bomber jacket, brushed past the owner as he placed a bottle on a shelf and gently tapped him on the arm. A few seconds, the suspect made a stabbing gesture with his right hand at eye level which appeared to leave him mesmerized. Then, he removed hundreds of pounds from his pockets in a bundle of notes, before tapping him on the shoulder and walking out. He said he suddenly realized the man had stolen from him and ran out of the shop to find him but he got away. Moving on to number 6 we have Augustin Gouffe. Augustin Gouffe was a bailiff from Paris who was extremely wealthy. On a walk around town, he ran into his acquaintance Michel Eyraud. Michael and his partner Gabrielle Bompard hatches a murder plot to try and get his money. Michael told Augustin that he and Gabrielle had broken up and that she wanted him to visit her apartment. So, he did. When he got there, Gabrielle seduced him. She wrapped a scarf around Augustin’s neck and then attached it to a rope hanging behind him.
Michael was hidden behind a wall with the other end of the rope – he pulled it, strangling Augustin to death. When the police traced the murder back to them, Gabrielle insisted that Michael was a master in the art of hypnosis. She said he had forced her to act as his accomplice by hypnotizing her and enslaving her against her will. The jury didn’t buy it though and they were both sentenced to death. Next up at number 5, we have The Lawyer. In 2016, former attorney Michael Fine was sentenced to 12 years in prison for molesting 12 of his female clients. It was reported that he hypnotized them. One woman said she met him to discuss a custody issue, they talked, she paid him his 1,500 dollar fee. When she left though, she noticed that her clothes felt like they’d been moved around. Upon further reflection, she realized her memory of the whole meeting was foggy. It remained a blank spot in her mind. It happened again at another meeting. She reported it to the police and then began to record the audio of her meetings with him.
When she played it back, she heard a sexually charged discussing between them. It ended with him saying -Youll only recollect that we were talking about your case until we see each other tomorrow. Do you understand?- at the next meeting, the police were waiting outside. After he hypnotized her, they burst into the room and arrested him. At number 4 now we have Susan Atkins. She was part of the infamous Manson Family cult that did the bidding of Charles Manson, leading to the killing of a pregnant woman and her friends in their Hollywood home.
When convicted for her role in the murders, Atkins said she was under the hypnotic spell of Charles Manson at the time. However, she said he didn’t hypnotize her in the way you might expect, instead, she said she was deprived of food and water and constantly forced by Manson to take LSD which had left her with no ability to think for herself. This was hotly debated in court but in the end, it was rejected and she was sentenced to life in prison. Next up at number 3, we have The Bank Robber. In 1951, a man called Palle Wichmann Hardrup attempted to rob a bank in Copenhagen. He killed two bank employees in the process. During the murder trials, he claimed that during a 3 month period, his prison cellmate conditions him using hypnosis to commit the robbery, running through the crime step to step, even instructing him on who to kill in the process. It may surprise you to know that the Danish court accepted this viewpoint to some extent. He was committed to a mental institution while the prisoner who hypnotized him was sentenced for his part in it all.
Coming in at number 2 we have Jerome Ferreri. Jerome was murdered by his wife Betty in 1948 with the help of their hypnotized handyman. The couple had been living in LA for several years. Jerome regularly beat Betty to the point where she feared for her life. One night, he came home with another woman who was a model. Betty attacked them with a wrench. A local gangster called Charles Fauci and the couples handyman Allan Adron came over to help Betty. Charles gave Allan a gun who then shot Jerome twice. Betty then finished him off with a meat cleaver. The 3 of them appeared in court for the murder. Allan the handyman was found not guilty, despite being the one who fired the gun. Two psychiatrists argued in his defense that he had become hypnotized by the power of suggestion when he was handed the gun and was therefore not in his right mind. And finally, at number 1 we have Hypnotic Research. In 1952, Girard Rosenblum was a 21-year-old studying for his master’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania.
On October 2nd, his mother found him hanging from a joist in the basement. His death was ruled as a suicide but a month later, his death was brought to a coroners jury. A lawyer for the family presented evidence that the death wasn’t a suicide but actually a failed attempt at suspended animation through self-hypnosis. Girard’s mother said that he had always been obsessed with hypnosis and especially the idea of levitating himself.
Based on the evidence provided, the coroner’s jury ruled that Girard had died as the result of hypnotic research. Alright – we’re done.