What does Hypnotism mean?

   Long ago and in many different places the discovery was made that people can be hypnotized. A hypnotized person looks very much like a person who is walking in his sleep. He says and does what the person who hypnotized him tells him to. He may say ridiculous things he would not think of saying ordinarily. He may perform feats that he could not perform if he were not hypnotized. When a person comes out of his trance he may not remember at all what he has said or done.
   A hypnotized person believes almost everything he is told. He believes that he hears sounds that he is told he is hearing. He believes he can see strange objects that he is told about.
   While a person is hypnotized he may be told to do something at some time in the future. When the time comes he does what he was told to do without knowing why.
   Being hypnotized does not mean losing one's will power completely. Most students of hypnotism believe that a person will do nothing which is opposed to his deeply felt ideas of right and wrong.
   Anyone trained to hypnotize others is called a hypnotist. A hypnotist usually seats his patient in a darkened room. In a calm voice the hypnotist tells his patient over and over to relax and fall asleep. But not everyone can be hypnotized. And no one can be hypnotized unless he is willing.
   Hypnotists sometimes give shows. They take people from the audience who offer to take part and hypnotize them. The rest of the audience has fun watching. But hyp­notism is not just fun. Doctors use it in helping people who are ill. Mesmerism is an old name for hypnotism. "Mesmerism" comes from the name of a doctor, Franz Mesmer, who used hypnotism nearly 200 years ago in treating his patients.