James Baird began
his own experiments in an attempt to find a scientific reason for the
trance. He quickly dismissed the erroneous theories of the time that Mesmeric
trances were due to some form of magnetism.
Believing that the
'sleep' resulted from fatigue of the eyes, Braid experimented with his
wife, a friend, and a servant. Each was instructed to gaze steadily at
an object, and he discovered he too could produce a trance-like state.
At first his technique
was to hold a small bright object between 8 to 16 inches (20cm-40cm) in
front of his subjects' eyes so that the eyes became strained, after which
the eyelids would often close spontaneously.
As he continued with
his experiments however he found he achieved trance states by suggestions
In 1842 he published "Neurypnology or The Rationale of Nervous Sleep Considered In Relation
With Animal Magnetism."
Having concluded that
the phenomena was a form of sleep Dr Braid named the phenomena after Hypnos,
the Greek god of sleep and master of dreams
But by 1847 he discovered
that all the major phenomena of hypnotism such as catalepsy, anaesthesia
and amnesia, could be induced without sleep. Realising his choice of the
term hypnosis had been a mistake; he tried to rename it to monoideism.
It was too late.
By then though James
Braid's terms of "Hypnosis" and "Hypnotism" had already
become widely adopted as part of all the major European languages.
He died suddenly of a heart attack on the 25th
You can read Neurypenology
on Dr Dylan Morgan website http://www.hypno1.co.uk/ where you will also find a more detailed
biography of Braid's achievements which included many papers and monographs
as well as the development of theories and techniques which have stood
the test of time.