HypnosisReality.com, Op-Ed, 011520   |   The spotlight is on the Michael Fine case in regards to the question of antisocial behavior under hypnosis.

Michael William Fine may have been a simple family divorce lawyer, but he will forever be remembered as an amateur hypnotist who went off the rails and abused scores of his female clients, willfully sexually assaulting them while they were in a hypnotic trance. He was finally caught and sentenced in 2015 to 12 years in prison, but according to his many victims, he wasn't sentenced long enough for what he did to them.

Fine certainly wasn't the first person ever caught for using hypnosis to sexually assault another human being, however, he very well may be the most infamous, at least in the United States anyway. The reason for that is because fortunately enough, in Fine's case, there was video evidence collected from a police sting operation. As a result, the story garnered much media attention in the US and around the world. Major broadcast venues such as ABC, CBS, and Inside Edition ran the video, showing many disbelieving viewers the reality of hypnosis abuse for the first time ever. If there's one thing that many in society appear to love it's reality television. The Michael Fine police video was certainly all that and then some for many TV viewers, as well as the internet YouTube world.

Michael Fine is caught in a Sheffield, OH police department sting operation for hypnosis sexual assault.    (Photo FOX 8 Cleveland)

The video gave viewers a firsthand look at a devious hypnosis-predator in action, the self-professed "world's greatest lover," caught in the act as he subdued his victim and put her into a trance and started sexually programming her. The video was absolutely disturbing in every way possible. Its broadcast made instant believers out of many and certainly raised many new questions for others about the safety of hypnosis. The topic caused quite the debate in many internet forums for some time, with most unable to muster an articulate, serious or reasonable rebuttal, all due to the stark reality of the video.  Few ever thought such a thing was truly possible, but there have been many over the last two centuries who did try to warn us. Numerous prominent, legendary hypnotherapists and hypnosis researchers tried to warn the world about the dangers of hypnosis abuse many years ago, but sadly enough their research and their warnings fell upon deaf ears and was never accepted by the entire hypnosis community.

  • Alfred Binet

  • Paul Schilder

  • August Forel

  • Jules Liegeois

  • Ambroise Liébeault

  • Albert Moll

  • Milton Kline

  • Erica Fromm

  • Wesley Wells

  • Loyd Rowland

  • John G. Watkins

  • Margaret Brenman

  • Hippolyte Bernheim

  • Andre Weitzenhoffer

  • George H. Estabrooks

The Michael Fine case has now changed all of that and re-opened some eyes about what's truly possible under hypnosis. People are finally starting to re-think their positions about hypnosis abuse after seeing what took place in Ohio.

All in all, the Fine police sting video may not be the proudest moment in hypnosis history, but it should be viewed for what it is, as a critical Eureka moment that finally answers the long sought question of antisocial behavior under hypnosis. For many, the Fine case has literally become "the smoking gun" for hypnosis abuse.

In the world of hypnosis, if ever there were a Mt. Rushmore of the great hypnotists, Michael Fine certainly wouldn't be considered for a bust alongside the likenesses of Mesmer, Braid, Estabrooks and Erickson, however, Fine was able to achieve one thing that noted hypnotists and researchers before him could never do.... finally prove to the world once and for all that hypnosis abuse is indeed possible. It's understandable that he more than likely did not set out with this intent in mind, however, his case caused enough stir around the world because of the fact that he was caught red-handed on police video. This was the key, that police were actually able to secretly video record him as he went about preparing his client/victim for an assault. Now, through the magic of YouTube, people can see the video and watch it happen with their own eyes. As the old saying goes, "Seeing is believing."

For the record, this now marks the second time that a hypnotist has been caught on video assaulting a client that they put into a hypnotic trance. Perhaps it is also no coincidence that both predators were considered to be somewhat amateur hypnotists, however, readers shouldn't take too much stock in the notion that both were caught simply because they might have been unprofessional amateurs - rather, people should be more afraid of the fact that these two guys were still somehow actually able to subdue their victims and get them into a deep hypnotic trance and sexually assault them.

Michael Fine, US (L) and Philip Sherwin, UK (R)

Whether someone is a paid commercial hypnotherapist or an unpaid amateur really means nothing when it comes to hypnosis, because anyone can learn to do it, especially when given a somnambulistic subject. It all comes down to how much the deviant hypnotist practices their craft, working to take their victims deeper and deeper into a hypnotic trance. [In the case of Michael Fine, he is said to have bragged to some that he received his training at Quantico, a Federal training facility located in Virginia. Requests for information regarding Fine's possible affiliation and training were quashed by the federal government.] Long story short, amateur or not, Michael Fine has some mad skills at hypnosis.

Note the dramatic change in appearance and disposition from arrest to imprisonment. (L-R)

UK amateur hypnotist Philip Sherwin has also achieved infamous video acclaim by filming himself raping one of his female clients in 2013, however, due to the graphic nature of the video itself, the public of course was not able to view that tape. In the Michael Fine case however, the police were able to intervene before things got x-rated and so the world was finally able to see a real hypnosis-predator at work and on video for the very first time. The video has shut a lot of hypnosis-abuse deniers up and made tremendous inroads into hypnosis awareness for women, many who still had no idea that abuse was even possible, primarily because they were irresponsibly told the wrong thing over and over for many years by our major health institutions and medical organizations.

The general public doesn't realize that most PhD and medical hypnotherapists are not taught to take a subject into a super deep trance. As I was told by one hypnotherapist, "We are only taught medical-use-levels of hypnosis, not how to put someone into a deep trance." Only those who use hypnosis as a pain suppressor and anesthetic for surgery, or for dental extractions, are trained to put someone into an Esdaile state, one of the deepest of trance states. In fact, hard as it may be to believe, one PhD I spoke with had no idea that the Esdaile state even existed, essentially because there was no value or use for it in her practice. Those that don't have the need to ever put a client that deep into trance, simply have no need to learn about it. This is the reality of hypnosis today, we have an extreme dichotomy in skill level among many hypnotists. Some have no experience with deep trance at all, while the deviant hypnotist works at it all the time.

With two deviant hypnotists now caught red-handed on video, the argument on whether hypnosis abuse is real or not must finally be considered as over, once and for all. The evidence needs to be accepted for what it is. The worldwide recognition earned by the Fine and Sherwin cases is infamous indeed, but it's also no small feat, because together they have single-handedly achieved what no other hypnotist or hypnosis researcher before them could do in over 200 years - offer proof to the public once and for all that the longstanding question of hypnosis abuse is actually a reality. It does happen.

Granted there are countless other known cases of hypnosis abuse and sexual assault throughout history that can also establish antisocial behavior under hypnosis (125 cases listed so far on this website) but the Fine and Sherwin cases give us examples where we now know that video evidence does exist of such assaults. So, if you're one of those who says it's just not possible, you had better think again because now people can actually see it happen, once and for all. (see video below)

In particular, the Fine case has made public for the first time ever shocking video evidence which shows unequivocally that hypnosis abuse does take place and is indeed a very real thing. The Fine case was said to have as many as half a dozen victims that met the litmus test for prosecution, but it is also said that he actually had many, many more victims. Like most deviant hypnotherapists Fine repeatedly assaulted a great many of his female clients, so he was clearly fooling many women with what he was doing.

In summary, both the Fine and Sherwin cases have, for the first time ever, finally given researchers invaluable recorded video evidence that adds to the deep historical record regarding antisocial behavior under hypnosis. With over 120 cases on the books and now video evidence as well, the longstanding question of whether hypnosis abuse is real or not appears to have been answered (once again) with an undeniable and very distraught "yes."

See also: The Michael Fine Case
  Quit Blaming the Victims

Watch News Video of Michael Fine Hypnosis Sexual Assault Case



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