Forensic Hypnosis is a valuable tool to help gather missing clues which can lead investigators to important evidence. Even with the best interviewing skills, the conscious memory is limited.
With a trained Forensic Hypnotist, an individual can be brought back to an event and recall important information, making the difference between a conviction or an acquittal in court. The subconscious mind is capable of recalling everything that a person has seen, heard, felt or experienced. Forensic Hypnosis is an important resource when an investigator has run out of leads and the public wants answers.
Some Examples Where Forensic Hypnosis Might be Helpful:
Just about anything that requires the need to recall memory from the subconscious mind.
More About Forensic Hypnosis
Hypnosis continues to become more and more popular, and has gained nationwide acceptance as a very viable tool to help society in numerous ways. Weight control, smoking cessation, pain management, stress reduction, athletics, study skills and anxiety are just a few of the areas where it is being used.
One very significant and interesting use of hypnosis that is gaining wide acceptance is Forensic Hypnosis. We are learning through the media that forensic hypnosis has become an important tool to not only help solve crimes, but also in both criminal and civil litigation. Today many of the nation's law enforcement officers, lawyers, and professional investigators are finding that hypnosis can be an effective aid in the judicial system. Often when a police officer or attorney becomes frustrated by the victim, witness or client saying, " I'm sorry, but I just can't remember", forensic hypnosis provides a remedy, the only solution to the memory problem. It can mean the very thing that is needed to prove the case so that justice can prevail.
In many cases, even a reluctant witness can be induced to remember what he or she preferred to forget. A victim, who genuinely desires to recall what took place at the scene, will not only recall while hypnotized details previously forgotten, but will find the memory of the entire incident much more clearly. When that occurs, he or she becomes a much better witness in the courtroom.
By hypnotizing a witness, a properly trained forensic hypnotist can delve deep into a witness' subconscious and get vital clues needed to solve a crime. It may be an automobile license plate number, or an accurate description of an offender that the witness could not otherwise recall.
Investigators for law firms or insurance companies may use a forensic hypnotist to help obtain information regarding an automobile accident that a client had difficulty remembering because of the intense traumatic nature of the accident. The hypnotized client can be regressed to the time of the accident and accurately relate the details of the accident and the events that took place immediately before and after the accident.
Hypnosis is a natural mental process and is always safe so long as it is done by a properly trained person. When hypnotized a person is not asleep or unconscious, as some people believe, but is actually in a heightened state of awareness in which the conscious, rational, and reasoning mind is temporarily bypassed. In that relaxed state hidden memories can be uncovered and brought to the surface.
Today law enforcement agencies nationwide are turning to the use of forensic hypnosis to get to the true facts in civil and criminal cases. Hypnosis is a tool that is destined to become even more widely used in forensics as we become more educated to its value, use and purpose.
Forensic Hypnosis In Famous Court Cases
Forensic hypnosis has been used in some high profile cases such as the Boston Strangler, Ted Bundy, and Sam Sheppard. One such successful case is that of serial killer Ted Bundy. Theodore Robert Bundy was the handsome, charming stranger who stalked young grade school and college girls and confessed to killing more than thirty of them. No one knows for sure how many women Ted Bundy killed starting in 1974.
On January 15, 1978 Nita Neary returned to her Chi Omega sorority house and saw a man running down the stairs, a club in his hand. She saw the profile of his face. Four girls living in the house had been brutally beaten; two of them died. One week later Nita was put into a hypnotic state and questioned. She selected a photo of Ted Bundy from a photo line-up.
Approximately one month later, on February 9, 1978, a man in a white van abducted, brutalized, and killed twelve-year-old Kimberly Leach. Clarence Anderson was the one eyewitness to the abduction which took place near Kimberly’s school. Anderson underwent hypnosis twice to refresh his memory. Thereafter, he identified the man in the white van as none other than Ted Bundy, and the young girl as Kimberly Leach.
After two escapes from prison and eleven years of trials and appeals, Ted Bundy was convicted for two counts of first degree murder in the Chi Omega killings and a death sentence for the murder of Kimberly Leach. Theodore Bundy finally confessed to nearly thirty murders and was electrocuted in February 1989 surrounded by cheering and celebrations.
In the case of Sam Sheppard, forensic hypnosis saved an innocent man. Sam Sheppard’s case is the one on which the movie The Fugitive was based. Convicted of murdering his wife, even though he consistently claimed that a "bushy-haired" intruder did it, Dr. Sam Sheppard was later legally exonerated of all charges.
It began in July 1954 when Marilyn Sheppard went to bed, leaving her husband Sam downstairs where he fell asleep watching television. Sam awoke to his wife’s calls and found her being beaten by an intruder. He struggled with the man and was knocked unconscious by a blow to the head. The media’s spin of the events included an "affair" and rumors of Sam’s "dark side" which resulted in a conviction.
After ten years in jail and various appeals, Sam Sheppard’s case returned to court. His defense was conducted by the now famous and brilliant trial lawyer, F. Lee Bailey. Throughout the trial F. Lee Bailey was able to convince the jurors that the original police investigation had been sloppy, ignoring evidence such as a cigarette butt in the toilet although no one in the house smoked, and that no motive had been established for why Dr. Sheppard would kill his wife. Dr. Sheppard had also been examined under hypnosis. He described the attacker and remembered feeling his neck crushed under someone’s foot and hearing someone talk about whether to kill him. He said the person walked with a limp. The juror’s votes in the case were for acquittal.
The decision to use hypnosis in the case of Albert DeSalvo, a.k.a. The Boston Strangler is unique and controversial. Thirteen women were killed in the Boston area from the summer of 1962 to January 1964, all victims of a serial killer who liked to sexually molest and kill the women in their apartments by strangling them with articles of their clothing. None of the killings gave any indication of forced entry, which means the women had let the killer into their homes. Five police jurisdictions eventually became involved, interviewing over 30,000 people, collecting thousands of pieces of evidence including hundreds of thousands of documents.
In 1961, Albert DeSalvo had been arrested for posing as a modeling agent, knocking on women’s doors. Those women who were interested had allowed him inside where he measured them; some had sex with him. He changed his methods, and in 1964 was arrested for entering women’s apartments and raping them. He would either talk or force his way in and caress the woman. Sometimes he would have sex with her. He claimed he never had sex if the woman was unwilling.
The police psychiatrist believed that Albert DeSalvo was moving through psychosexual stages, in which murder of the women was the next logical progression. Albert DeSalvo confessed the crimes to defense lawyer, F. Lee Bailey, claiming he was the Boston Strangler. After more than fifty hours of questioning, Bailey was convinced Albert DeSalvo was telling the truth. Part of the interrogation included putting DeSalvo under hypnosis. While hypnotized, DeSalvo described the murder of one of the women, Evelyn Corbin. During his session he was able to give details that he couldn’t have known unless Evelyn Corbin had told him herself, including information about her medical condition and a warning from her doctor to not have sex. Descriptions of other murders and the women involved had similar results, enough to convince the police detectives.
Forensic hypnosis was used in the Robert Kennedy assassination and the kidnapping of Jimmy Hoffa, as well as other high-profile cases. But forensic hypnosis isn’t just used for high-profile or famous court cases. It has been used thousands of times for more everyday kinds of crimes from convenience store robberies to bank stick-ups to rapes and child molestation cases.
Some police departments have found forensic hypnosis useful, including the Los Angeles Police Department. It has been reported that in 70 cases where forensic hypnosis was used, the police found important information in 54 of the 70 cases.
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