Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Accused Did Not Murder Under Hypnotic Influence, Say Experts

You are under my power.
When you awake, you
will know nothing of what
you have done!
The New York police had a rather nasty crime to solve in 1889, and they decided to bring in hypnosis experts in order to help unravel it, according to an article on the Evening World of March 27, 1889. One William Krulisch, described as a "Bohemian boy" (likely, then, an Hungarian immigrant) was was 17-year-old employed by a apothecary. He was accused of murdering clerk in the same establishment with a hatchet. The victim, Gunther Wechsung, managed to describe the attack before expiring:
In a broken, incoherent way he murmured: "I was sitting on the sofa—tying—shoestring. Somebody hit me—chopped me—lots of times."
The man who sold the hatchet used in the attack described the purchaser of the hatchet and "the description tallied sufficiently with the appearance of the boy Krulisch." But Krulisch denied buying the hatchet, although he "also liked in two or three other points, where his lies were detected beyond a doubt."

But if he bought the hatchet and (presumably) murdered Mr. Wechsuing, how could he say that he hadn't?
It is a belief of several who have carefully followed the case, that if this boy is the murderer of Wechsung, he acted under the hypnotic influence which some other unknown person exercised on him. Under this influence he would have bought the hatchet, and again under this terrible possession of another's will would have used it on Gustave Wechsung.
Okay, so the task for the NYPD was easy: they just needed to find someone who wished to see Gustave Wechsung dead and was able to effect a hypnotic influence on someone in order to have this third party carry out the murder. Certainly, Mr. Krulisch's lawyer, Ambrose Purdy, would have been happy to see the police search for this madman who was mesmerizing innocents into carrying out his evil bidding.

The World describes our potential hypnotized murderer:
Krulisch is a delicate-featured, slender boy. He is a delicate-featured slender boy, whose physique is slight for his seventeen years. He is not ill-looking. His dark eyes have a sort of veiled look, such as linters in the gaze of the mystic, the metaphysician, or, it may be added without prejudice, that one whose cerebration is not wholly clouded.
Could this innocent-seeming lad been turned into a killer though hypnosis? Well, the article did say that
A common error in regard to hypnotism is the belief that the hypnotizer can throw a subject into a trance state when a subject positively sets his will in opposition to they hypnotization.
Damn. There go my hopes of turning people around me into my unwilling and unwitting slaves to my will. (You are getting sleepy. You will share this blog post with your friends. You will visit my blog several times a day to check for updates. You will comment on the posts. When you awake, you will remember none of this, but you will comply.)

In any case, the World had "this slight, modest-spoken boy" examined by an expert in hypnosis. Dr. Graeme Hammond concluded
that the boy has not been subjected to the hypnotic influences before.
So, no mad hypnotist turned the boy into a killing machine, carrying out his cruel designs against Wechsung. I suppose that still leaves unclear the question of why Krulisch killed his coworker.
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