Some of you may remember the story I posted about a hypnotist who put an entire family under his influence...and then couldn't figure out how to undo his handiwork. This report from the (Eufaula, Alabama) "Times and News," February 16, 1888, takes that cautionary tale to a whole 'nother level:
Cincinnati Enquirer--Detective Maheffey and J, Rood, both of Alamo, Van Buren county, Michigan, have been in the city a couple of days, looking for a young man named Dwight T. Holmes, whom they believe to be here. It is a case of life and death, and it is of the most importance that Holmes be found.
The story told by Mr. Rood is a most remarkable one, and his own daughter is party to it. On the evening of Jan. 9 his daughter Kitty attended a "candy pull" in Alamo with Holmes. The couple accompanied Miss Annette Garlanger home, and while waiting for her folks to come, they being out somewhere, Holmes thought he would try some of his mesmeric powers.
He first put Miss Garlanger under the hypnotic influence, to his orders she smoked a cigar and did other things. The he experimented on Miss Kittie Rood. She is of a very nervous organization and subject to hysterical attacks. Holmes found her an easy subject, and compelled her to do a number of absurd acts, concluding by ordering her to feign death. At once she became like a corpse and respiration ceased. Holmes was frightened and Miss Garlanger was paralyzed at the unexpected turn things had taken, for they could not waken Miss Rood at all. Holmes got the village doctor, who gave it as his opinion that the young lady had died of heart disease. The grief-stricken parents accepted this, and the funeral occurred Friday, Jan. 13. Thursday night Holmes disappeared. As the coffin was being lowered into the grave Miss Garlanger became hysterical.
She was at once taken home and gradually told the story of the case. Then there was a great rush for the cemetery, and the sexton was surprised to see a lot of men digging away at the newly made grave. The body was taken home, and when the leading physician at Paw Paw, the county seat, Dr. Vanderburg, made a critical examination, he said she was not dead. He applied tests, and then said she was in a trance. Hypnotists from near and far have been called, but they can do nothing. The parents think the only one who can help their daughter is Holmes, and if he will only return to Alamo he will not be prosecuted, as it is thought that he, having put her in this hypnotic condition, he alone can break the bonds which bind her. Miss Rood still lies at her home as if dead, while it is thought that Holmes is hiding for fear he will be arrested for manslaughter. He is said to be a very good looking young fellow, and of excellent reputation.
As is usual with this kind of story, there were no follow-ups in the newspapers, so for all I know Dwight remained on the lam and Kitty remained in a trance. Needless to say, if any amateur hypnotist wants to practice their new-found skills on you, the safest response is to punch them in the nose.