Robert (gurdonark) wrote,


When I was 15, I went to a summer science camp at the University of Arkansas, up in the Ozarks, near Fayetteville. It was my first time to spend any real time at a college campus. We stayed in the dorms and everything--just as if we were grown ups. The camp "adviser" was a physics teacher from a large Little Rock high school. We'll skip over the part about how at 15 I was more immature than kids now are at 12, and even over the cool part about how many inches I grew that summer. I'll even skip over the thrill of walking down Dickson Street, the main drag, to the really cool indie bookstore where I would get great things to read I could not find in the library at home.

You see, that summer was a time of great metaphysical discovery. The high school science teacher was not just a scientist, he was also a metaphysician. One of his hobbies was hypnosis. Kids would volunteer to be hypnotized, and he would then promptly regress them to their past lives. I did not wish to be hypnotized, for some reason, but I did sit in while a number of other folks were being hypnotized.

I had never witnessed a "real" hypnotism before in person. I had read a grocery-store check out book on self-hypnosis, which it turned out was a really scientific name for what I would now call relaxation response type meditation. I have a vague memory of "hypnotizing" my younger sister, when I was perhaps 12 and she 7, but I only remember her arm levitating or something.

Now this metaphysical physics guy was something else. He took two kids back to WW II days, in which one was a prisoner and one was a prison guard. Another fellow went way back to something medieaval. One guy even went to the great undersea Library of All Knowledge in Atlantis. But darn--wouldn't you know it? The place was locked with magic seals! I've gotta tell you, those kids had done some real livin' in their past lives!

I am a firm believer in hypnosis as an interesting thing, but a firm agnostic on the "objective reality" of these returns to past life. But gee, who needs the Lord of the Rings (which I finished that summer for the first time) when you can watch people visit Atlantis?

Years later, I saw a hypnotist in California (recommended to me by someone who was something they call a neuro-linguistic programmer, but that's another story for another day), in order to try to psych myself out of my scattered way of doing things. I had always assumed that, being a dreamer, I would be really susceptible. After all, as a young teen, meditation could give me the sense of flying through clouds, and then the sense of nothing at all, and that "gee, that was it" after a session of "real" meditation is kinda the idea, after all. But in fact, hypnosis did not take me to Atlantis. The trance was always very light, rather like a role playing Dungeons and Dragons game, certainly less intense than a good novel. I never did get much more organized as a result. It was interesting, though, and I'm not sorry for the experience. But wouldn't it be cool to visit the Great Library in Atlantis during visiting hours?

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