In ancient history the Egyptians and Greeks had centers that dealt with dreams only. People went there to pray and hopefully get their dreams interpreted. The people that went to these centers believed that this would give a person a way forward in their lives by giving them some sort of guidance. “People came to fast and pray with the hope that their dreams could be interpreted so as to solve their problems and give them guidance.” (Battino, South, 2005, p.1). Even today in African culture voodooists use hypnosis to ward off evil, or to expel bad spirits in possession of a person. Cults have been known to use hypnosis to keep people in their group by causing fear so that they don’t leave. This made people afraid or wary of hypnosis. “With this long history of supernaturalism and mysticism, it is no wonder that the general public’s attitude toward hypnosis, as well as that of many professionals, has been and still is one of misunderstanding, antagonism, and fear.” (Battino, South, 2005, p.1). This is in stark contrast to the Hindu culture where even today medicine men use hypnosis for the purpose of healing others. “The earliest evidence of its existence was found among the shamans, who were practicing also referred to as witch doctors, medicine men or healers.” (Hadley, Staudacher, 2001, p.14). Christianity in today’s society finds hypnotism or mesmerizing more acceptable providing it is used for the sole purpose of helping others. However there are still practicing Christians who believe that by employing hypnosis one can open a portal to the realm of evil. These Christians believe that through one’s faith in the church and God is how mental and physical healing is brought about. “Magnetism was fine as long as it was used as a therapy, but employing it to produce paranormal phenomena was a sin.” (Waterfield, 2004, p.12).
Perhaps even today when asking someone what hypnosis is, the answer might be that it is something from a show of some type where someone is called up from an audience and brought on to a stage where they are put in a trance or under a spell by a hypnotist. They will then be made to do something ridiculous, such as quack like a duck, or jump up and down and so forth. Stage hypnotist will push the boundaries and exploit an individual for sheer entertainment purposes only. “Stage hypnotists have to do all this, because they are, first and foremost, entertainers.” (Waterfield, 2004, p.8). Many of the people that are called up on stage to participate are not hypnotized at all, but are in control of their mind and play along for the fun of it. “There is one secret of stage hypnotism that should be revealed: many of the subjects are not really hypnotized.” (Waterfield, 2004, p.8). It does seem to keep the audience entertained. On the other hand a hypnotist can use a short cut by pressing the carotid artery which is close to a person’s ear, so as to quickly determine which person is more susceptible to being put in a trance state. The participant/s that the hypnotist feels are not susceptible will be asked to sit down. This does not mean that the individual/s participating is actually in a trance state, it just might mean that they believe that they are hypnotized or they are going along just for the fun of it for whatever reason, having family or friends in the audience might be a