Hypnosis is a state of exaggerated suggestibility produced by suggestion and fixing of the attention.
Who says so?
Not I, clearly, I am a mere intellectual pygmy – albeit one who can employ the occasional neat turn of phrase – no, those are the words of the eminent British endocrinologist and haematologist, Dr Richard Asher, in his 1956 essay for the British Medical Journal, ‘Respectable Hypnosis’.
Dr. Richard Asher was regarded as “one of the foremost medical thinkers of our times” and was the senior physician responsible for the mental observation ward at the Central Middlesex Hospital before opening private consulting rooms at the Asher family home of 57 Wimpole Street, London. He was also a member of the Dunlop committee on the safety of drugs.
Richard Asher, of course, was also the prospective father-in-law to Paul McCartney and at whose Wimpole Street residence the young mop-top was then living.
Curiously, in 1964, Dr. Asher suddenly gave up his hospital post and, possibly, all medical activities, just as the famous Beatle moved in. Could it be that he had a full-time patient to tend too?
Dr Asher also tells us that to induce a state of hypnosis one should apply repeated suggestions such as...'You are getting sleepy - you can't keep your eyelids open - you are going to sleep'.
Which is interesting in light of this statement from McCartney about ‘Yesterday’.
Add to this exotic mix of intrigue and conspiracy the fact that Asher’s missus, Margaret, was a professor of oboe at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and her best-known student was George Martin and this shit writes itself.
Picture then this emotive visage: in a smoky, poky attic in the beating heart of London’s medical quarter resides a lovelorn Beatle in the house of a doctor on a mission; a man determined to extrapolate to his peers the life-enhancing benefits of hypnosis in the field of medicine, a man well practised in these previously dark arts who decides to enlist the undoubted musical talents of his wife – a professor of oboe, no less – to write a captivating melody. At the optimum moment the unsuspecting Beatle is hypnotised and repeatedly played this memorable tune. The following morning he awakes to discover he has written the biggest song of the twentieth century but is never fully able to explain its genesis.
That’s mind-control in action, folks!