Good cop, bad cop.
SWP and Sean Keenan put Mesmerism behind a formica-topped table and swing the metaphorical bare lightbulb at practitioner Lee Gerrard-Barlow.
Part one below, part two next week.
“A time will come when philosophy, animal magnetism, and natural science..will shed so bright a light on one another that truths will be discovered at which we could not otherwise hope to arrive”
– Arthur Schopenhauer
Photo of Lee Gerrard-Barlow by Neil Fraser.
Sean Keenan: How long have you been a practicing Mesmerist, and what does a typical session of Mesmerism entail?
Lee Gerrard-Barlow: For many years and in various forms I was practicing the art of Magnetism, but in those earlier times I didn’t know it was referred to as Mesmerism. My interests and studies in related fields over the last 18 years or so came full circle when I began working with the school of Dr. Marco Paret in Nice. My first experiences with altered states of consciousness occurred during various creative acts, recording sessions, and onstage.
Other times this happened were during lengthy walks (such as the ‘coast to coast walk’), during mountain treks, and at certain Neolithic sites. This all led me to become more and more interested in ‘trance’ states, how to achieve them, and ultimately how consciousness experiences itself. What indeed consciousness actually ‘is’ became an important question for me.
is normally restricted
and dammed up
through our habitual
This fascination of course also included ‘dreams’ and the workings of the so-called subconscious mind.
With Hypnosis, the method which allows the point of entry into the trance state is referred to as an ‘induction’. However with Mesmerism and its associated methods, we obtain a much quicker and much deeper state than with what we currently see with ‘Hypnosis’ as it is normally understood these days.
With aspects of Mesmerism such as ‘fascination’ a subject becomes ‘fixated’ very very quickly (in fact in a matter of seconds) and often experiences a suspension of time and spacial awareness. This is something that we can see happening, as used by animals in certain conditions in the natural world. With these methods you can also get immediate ‘Catalepsy’ and this is something that we deeply explore and teach in our school.
SK: What conditions are necessary – in the practitioner, the client, the ambience, for the process to be successful?
L G-B: In traditional Hypnosis, which I was previously trained in, this question is very important. However, when using ‘Magnetism’ (or ‘Mesmerism’ as it is more commonly known) the environmental factors are much less important. This means that a person could be in quite a noisy environment with a lot going on around them, but this would very quickly become part of the experience of the ‘magnetised’ state: all the sensory experiences would form a very vivid state for the individual.
With common Hypnosis it seems that practitioners are anxious not to ‘disturb’ the client with any undue noise in case the state is broken, and even if this possibility of disturbance is prefigured with, for example, the hypnotic suggestion that ‘Each noise will take you deeper’, it would still take a great deal of ‘deepening’ through verbalising for quite a long time to get these states to set in.
In Mesmerism the subject is immediately ‘fixated’, yet this takes very little effort. Even more incredibly, we do not use words to do this, it is a completely non-verbal art! In Magnetism we use a form of ‘entanglement’ of energies. Ordinary Hypnosis does not even conceive this to be possible. These energies are reinforced through the medium of what are known as ‘Magnetic Passes’. You can see this in action in my videos on YouTube .
What is very interesting , is that even if a Hypnotist were to use these methods as a kind of ‘modelling’ process they would still get heightened results in forming a trance. What I’m really saying is that there is far far more to this than meets the eye .
SK: Clinical hypnosis (seen by Mesmerists as something of a shallow and mechanised version of a deeper set of skills and lifestyle choices) boasts of successful outcomes in patients seeking to quit smoking, overcome sporting challenges, change habits. What practical applications can be attributed to Mesmerism?
L G-B: As I mentioned earlier, I was trained in a school of Clinical Hypnosis and also in Neuro-Linguistic Programming. These are actually wonderful tools, and they really do work! The thing is though, what is actually happening in the standard models of NLP and Clinical Hypnosis is that the practitioner primarily works ‘only’ on the ‘mental’ level of the client. This may sound obvious, and some may say “But how else can one do it? But this highlights the fundamental difference between the old method of ‘Magnetism’ and these currently more accepted disciplines.
When working magnetism we actually work ‘energetically’. This, in a way, is parallel to the work of Dr Wilhelm Reich – a most interesting renegade student of Freud, as also was Jung .
The reason the forms of therapy such as NLP and Hypnotherapy may be seen to be ‘Mechanised’ is that often these therapies work to fairly standard textbook procedures, and then also they are ultimately only dealing with modifying the ‘Mechanical tendencies’ on the psychological plane. What Mesmerism is doing is causing a shift to occur in the vital fields as well as on the mental and emotive planes.
It is true that through common Hypnosis we may also eventually cause effects on these other levels, through the mental level and its subsequent effects on the nervous system, glands and fluids, but, because Magnetism is primarily dealing with Vitality one may quickly become aware of whatever imbalance is in need of correction and this is then brought to correction. Wellbeing is re-established.
Mesmerism deals with the ‘core vitality’ of the person, where the habitual mechanics of consciousness that the other ‘reductionist’ style disciplines deal with are there no longer relevant. Thus, through essential ‘awareness’, the other issues resolve themselves. What should be free-flowing energy is normally restricted and dammed up through our habitual conceptualisations. Mesmerism re-establishes that flow.
SWP: Back in the seventies I spent an evening with Peter Casson, who was then head of the Association of British Hypnotism. He assured me that anyone can be hypnotised if they are tilted back on their heels with a hand behind their neck, which implies that it is a natural condition in homo sapiens – a perfect control mechanism.
This leads to thoughts of the use of repeated images and sounds in advertising/crowd control/propaganda. How easy do you think this would be?
L G-B: As I mentioned, human beings do of course have a great tendency toward being ‘mechanical’ in their reactions, how else do ‘habits’ become so ingrained? Most habits are so deeply ingrained that we don’t even ‘consciously’ realise we have them, it is only when they are pointed out to us that we may become aware .
It is this tendency of humans to be fairly predictable in their responses that ordinary Hypnosis has mainly worked upon in the past. It’s quite hard for many to swallow, but ‘Pavlovs’ dog’ actually formed a rather large part of what became the foundation of modern suggestive psychological therapy.
essentially creatures of
habit, we tend to
follow the path of
least resistance in
that we do
A brilliant documentary Happiness Machines by Adam Curtis shows a very important part of how Freud’s cousin, Edward Bernays deliberately manipulated the new wave of industrialisation that was then happening in America. It was pure propaganda, in fact he wrote a book in 1926 called ‘Propaganda’, but due to this term having negative connotations it later became known as ‘public relations’.
Bernays believed that human beings were dangerous and that it was required for them to be controlled through means of propaganda. He referred to the natural condition of humans as the ‘Herd Instinct’.
It appears to be a natural human tendency for those who have certain beliefs, of whatever kind, to be entrenched in their ideologies. It applies to areas like ‘science’, ‘religion’ or simply the beliefs that have been formed as a result of social and environmental conditions. For example, we have individuals in certain places in every country that hold onto the beliefs that their parents held, and in turn their grandparents, even if these beliefs are completely erroneous, out of date, or simply reinforced through peer pressure.
Whenever these belief structures are in any way challenged it often results in strong reactions, this is what Willhelm Reich called ‘the emotional plague’
On the individual level, psychological illness is very often the result of cramped and inflexible thinking, which is often the result of not questioning the habitual patterns that hold us in a limited awareness and which limit our true potential. I would say that this is also true when viewed on a larger scale such as social structures.
Human beings are essentially creatures of habit, we tend to follow the path of least resistance in almost everything that we do. It is precisely because of this that we can be so very easily influenced. This thankfully means that an understanding of our mechanicalness can also be directed toward beneficial and healing ends. This knowledge of human tendencies, our general lack of awareness, is something that (for example) monks in Tibet know only too well as a part of their daily reality.
To speak of the physiological aspect of your question, we also have certain points on the body that create physiological responses like those that Peter Casson used in his example. As well as the verbal side of suggestion these physiological responses have also been used by Hypnotists to great effect. There are in fact many of these tendencies that have fairly immediate responses, such as light, muscular tensions and so on. But this is not what Magnetism is really concerned with, although we may use these aspects sometimes in order to gain entry into even deeper states.
However, again I refer you to my videos on YouTube, because there you clearly see hypnotic responses taking place without any physical contact whatsoever. You will see in these films actual responses to the exchange of energy during the process of ‘entanglement’.
SWP: I have often wondered why conspiracy theorists overlook something as simple as government agents simply hypnotising operatives with mental conditions for cheap and clean labour – someone like Mark Chapman. Have you considered this?
L G-B [Laughs] It’s probably because the theorists were hypnotised to overlook these agents doing those evil deeds! In any case, I know Derren Brown has played upon these kind of ideas a lot. But, the core of one’s being is a deeply self-protective mechanism, only in cases where there is an underlying pathology may this fact appear to be overcome, and so, assuming that what you postulate here was the case, I would say that individuals like Chapman are likely to have already had a tendency toward imbalance before such events.
Part two if this interview appears next week.
About Lee Gerrard-Barlow
Lee has been working therapeutically with trance states, ‘Meditational’ and ‘Yoga’ based practices for the last 20 Years. He trained as an “N.L.P Master Practitioner” under Dr Richard Bandler’s Society of Neuro Linguistic Programming and studied deeply Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy with The Institute of Clinical Hypnosis in London.
He has a Central London practice beside Harley Street where he helps clients, using all of the disciplines he has learned and carefully forming a system ‘tailor made’ for each individual client’s needs. He has authored many articles and radio interviews on these subjects in various magazines and internet journals. As an Official Premier Trainer for ISI/CNV International (the continental school of Dr Marco Paret) he teaches courses in the arts of Magnetism (Mesmerism) Fascination and ‘Presence based therapy’.
Lee also occasionally hosts courses in the U.K, and for his own Therapy Centre in the breathtaking mountain scenery of the Massif Central in France, where he holds retreats and teaches Meditational techniques and deeper work in ‘Presence based self development’. Arcana Therapies