Many animals posses natural hypnotic powers, and exercise them over other animals that are their physical
inferiors. Snakes and reptiles usually hypnotize and render motionless their victims before seizing them, and all through the animal kingdom we can realize hypnotic influence being manifested, apparently with studied intent, on the part of the animals exerting the influence. It is also well known that animals may be easily Hypnotized by human beings and made to pass through all the degrees of hypnosis. The training of dogs, horses and other animals is accomplished wholly through hypnotic influence. The animal is usually rendered passive through fear or by riveting its attention upon the eye of the operator, and then emphatic suggestions are made. Take,for instance, the common method of training a dog to sit upright and “beg,” which may be accomplished
by even a small boy. He places the dog in the required position and points his finger at it and compels it to look steadily. The dog’s eyes become fixed on the finger, and as long as they remain so he will obey when commanded to ”Sit still, now; steady, steady,” etc.
In a short time the mere pointing of the finger or the command to “Beg, sir,” will insure prompt obedience. formed by trained animals. Dogs climb ladders and leap through the air, ride horseback, walk on their fore feet with the back feet in the air, and do things that are at entire variance with a dog’s natural abilities. Expert animal trainers have accomplished wonders in this line of work, and the results of their labors are often astounding. Probably the most wonderful performing animals ever exhibited are those trained by the renowned horse trainer, Prof. John O’Brien.
Thoroughbred horses of high spirit and great beauty in large numbers go through evolution of the most difficult character, wholly incongruous with their nature, and do so with an exactness that rivals and supersedes the best trained human actors. Clumsy elephants stand upon their heads, climb ladders, sit upon stools, play the parts of policemen and robbers, perform upon musical instruments, and do innumerable other tricks with out the least hesitation, at the mere suggestions of their trainers, who control them with an ease that is marvelous. The readiness with which fierce animals can be brought to subjection is probably due to the fact that they all naturally stand in awe of human beings, whom they apparently regard as savages do their gods. In some there is a desperate resistance to what they seem to realize must eventually conquer them. It is not intended here to describe the art of training animals, but a few words regarding the production of the deeper stages of hypnosis will be appropriate.Frogs may be rendered lethargic by gently rubbing the back, from the head downward.
While the frog is being firmly, yet gently, held by one hand, the tips of the fingers of the other hand should rub the back. During an exhibition it will afford great amusement and establish the confidence of the audience to have a box of large frogs on hand, and then, one by one, put them in the lethargic stage and place them in a row upon a table. It is an ocular demonstration that hypnotism is a reality, when even frogs can be influenced. Snake charmers, by constant and gentle strokes, keep the most venomous reptile in a semi-stupor and render them harmless. Take upon the stage half-a-dozen rabbits. Draw a chalk-line upon the floor, and, one by one, stroke the rabbits upon the back and lay them along the line, taking care to press each one firmly upon the floor while holding his head in such a position that its eyes will be fascinated by the white line. This experiment will be greatly appreciated, especially if the rabbits are placed in a straight line and are alternately white and black. Roosters and pigeons may be similarly treated.