Sunday, 9 September 2007


At one time there was a vogue for hypnotism in the school. I'm not sure whether it was Azad Shivdasani who started it, but he certainly brought a book on the subject to the school. This must have been in the summer term; I remember he and I and Emile Farhi lying in the long grass around the edge of the main cricket pitch, trying to hypnotize each other according to the instructions in the book. We never succeeded, but we spent quite a long time trying.

Rumour suggested that others were more successful. According to an unverified story I heard, someone hypnotized a boy and told him that he could feel nothing in his hand. Another boy, who thought hypnotism was rubbish and wanted to prove it, hit the hypnotized boy's hand very hard with a cricket stump; and, sure enough, he didn't feel it. But later, when the hypnotism was removed or wore off, he felt it all right, and had to request medical attention.


Julian Williams 1962 - 67 said...

I do remember boys experimenting with hypnotism; boys would hypnotise other boys and give them a stick to hold; then they would tell them it was a dog they had to take for a walk. I think this was Stouts Hill, but it might have been at a later school.

I also remember experimants at South Bend where Wynn (I think it was Wynn) would breath in and out very fast and then hold his nose and blow, this made him pass out for a few seconds.

Richard Guha said...

I remember finding a book on Hypnotism in the school library and we decided to see if it worked by hypnotising Attah Rahman in the library with a modest audience. We could not wake him up and had to go and call one of the masters for help. I seem to recall this caused some fuss and a ban on hypnotism, which, it seems, did not last long!

Jonathan said...

I don't think we were aware of a ban on hypnotism. However, the masters may not have been aware of our experiments, which were conducted privately.

Anonymous said...

I was at the school somewhat later, but this rings a vague bell.What I do remember was a craze for making people faint by requiring them to hold deep breaths in the chest and then squeezing hard.There was an epileptic boy in whom a fit could be induced by such means, which caused no end of amusement.I don't suppose this would go down too well today.