Overview of Forensic Hypnosis

Overview of Forensic Hypnosis - A close up of a red light - Footage

When law enforcement officials need witnesses or victims to relay information from a crime scene, their memories are not always as helpful as they would like them to be.

According to Senior Special Agent John Kilnapp of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, hypnosis may be the only way to recover the details of a traumatic event crime victims blocked out of their mind. Kilnapp uses forensic hypnosis to help victims’ recall. It is estimated that most people only use in average 3 to 5% of the potential of their mental abilities on a day-to-day basis. Hypnosis is the most powerful tool available to help us access more of the potential of our minds. By helping witnesses and victims tap into more of the potential of their minds, we have the possibility to enhance their recall, thereby providing law enforcement officials with vital information and leads. When conducted properly, forensic hypnosis can be an important element in the preparation and outcome of a trial.

The use of forensic hypnosis in criminal justice and law enforcement discovery dates back to 1845 when it was used to solve a burglary case. The same year, Dr. James Esdaile successfully began performing surgical procedures using hypnosis as anesthesia, rendering his patients analgesic and rapidly gaining worldwide reputation for his painless surgeries. Even though forensic hypnosis is a crime-fighting tool that is often kept secret, it has been used in a number of high-profile cases including the criminal prosecutions of Ted Bundy, Dr. Sam Sheppard, the Boston Strangler and New York City’s Mad Bomber. In 1976, the use of forensic hypnosis gained national recognition when a school bus driver and 26 students, aged 5 to 14, were kidnapped and buried alive. The driver escaped and was able, under hypnosis, to remember the license plate number of the abductors’ white van.

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About Genvièv St. Clair

GENVIÈV ST. CLAIR, Fellow and Former President of the Oregon Hypnotherapy Association, is an award-winning Board Certified Instructor with the NGH.

A Valedictorian from the Ivy League University of the Sorbonne in Paris, she graduated summa cum laude from the department of doctorates of one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in the world. With specialized training in forensic discovery, and years of expertise in the medical and legal fields, she acted as a communication liaison in complex and critical situations, including duties for the Department of Homeland Security, the US court system, and leading medical centers.

Featured on Discovery Channel, radio and television programs worldwide, Genvièv is the author of Zen in the Art of Survival, published in the best-selling series Chicken Soup for the Soul, as well as Diving into the Unsolved Mysteries of the Mind, Make a Friend of Fear, Meditation in Motion, Life Line, The Gift, Emotions, and countless magazine columns and articles on performance, achievement and success. Her story is featured in Chicken Soup to Inspire the Body and Soul – Motivation to get over the hump and on the road to a better life. She produces an educational health and wellness series on YouTube.

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