A helluva lot of people sent me the news that a man in Rome hypnotized a grocery store cashier and brazenly robbed her without a problem. Everyone has reported on it, like these guys. The evidence? A closed circuit TV showing one incident, and a report that supposedly says there have been a string of these robberies. So, what’s the real story?
Let’s start with what hypnotism can and cannot do. It cannot make you do something against your will. It cannot make you regress to a past life. It cannot cure your heroin addiction.
It can give you an excuse for behaving in a way that otherwise would be considered strange. It can give you an outlet for letting go of your inhibitions. And it can give you a handy alibi for aiding and abetting a criminal if the local police are too gullible to tell that you’re running a scam with your Saddam Hussein-look-alike pal.
I’d love to go on, but a toad has just hopped into my office and hypnotized me, implanting the idea in my head that I absolutely must leave work early, stop by the convenience store on the way home, buy a bunch of post-Easter candy at 75% off, and eat that candy for dinner. I’d like to stress that all of this is completely out of my control and I simply cannot be blamed for my actions. I’m sure the Universe understands this and will not count those calories.
(PS: after I’m finished with the candy, I’ll work on uploading audio and pictures from last night’s wildly successful Skeptics in the Pub!)