The Jose Silva Autobiography
By the late 1940s the study of hypnosis had attracted my attention. I had read
about hypnosis in several psychology books and wondered how difficult it would
be to learn it. I was trying to figure out how to start, when I read an ad in a
San Antonio newspaper about a hypnotist who was teaching weekend classes. I went
to San Antonio every weekend to attend the course and bought the books the
hypnotist recommended. I also researched as far back as I could to find books
covering the beginning of hypnosis from the days when the practice was called
"magnetism," then "mesmerism," and finally "hypnotism."
During my research, study and practice of hypnosis and hypnoanalysis I came
across information about many famous men who played a part in the history of
this technique. There was John Van Helmont (1577-1644) who used to cure wounds
with loadstones, stones from the magnetic variety of the mineral known as
magnetite. It was believed back then that applying movements with a loadstone
over a wound would accelerate the healing process.
Athanasius Kircher (1601-1680) experimented with cataleptic trance of animals.
John Joseph Gassner (1727-1779), a catholic priest, went on record as being the
first medical hypnotist.
I began to observe certain common characteristics in my research: there was
usually a strong belief, a faith involved in the process and often some kind of
trance state was involved with either the healer or the subject.
Franz Anton Mesmer (1734-1815) came onto the scene. He was born in Vienna,
studied theology and law, held both a Ph.D. and an M.D. but never practiced
1784 one of Mesmer's students, Marquis Chastenet De Puysegur, became known for
practicing with Mesmer's research findings. It was Abbe De Faria (1756-1819)
who went on record as being the first "hypnotist" because he used the phrase,
"Go to sleep." Du Potent, around 1820, was appointed by the French Academy of
Medicine to observe the benefits of hypnosis in medicine.
By the year 1846 Dr. John Elliotson (1808-1863) had already trained subjects to
use clairvoyance for diagnosing obscure, difficult-to-diagnose health cases. On
June 25, 1946, Dr. Elliotson delivered "The Harveian Oration" in which he
explained how he used these clairvoyants to diagnose obscure health problems. In
July 1846 Dr. Esdaile (1808-1859) established a temporary hospital in Calcutta,
India, to research the use of Mesmeric passes as an anesthetic to be used in
surgery. Dr. Esdaile performed hundreds of painless surgical operations,
including major operations such as amputations, with this kind of anesthesia.
Dr. Esdaile also found that the incidence of infection when this kind of
anesthesia was used was only five percent of the infection rate with chemical
Dr. James Braid (1795-1860) was using mesmerism in 1841. It was Dr. Braid who
changed the name of mesmerism to hypnotism. He coined the word "hypnotism"
because he thought he was putting his subjects to sleep. He adopted the Greek
word "Hypnos," which means "Sleep." Later Dr. Braid became aware that the state
of mind that his subjects were entering was not a sleep state, but a state of
greater awareness. He tried then to change the name, but it was too late. He had
already published a book for medical doctors, titled Hypnotism for Medical Use.
Although he knew the word he had created was a misnomer and tried to correct it,
the term "hypnosis" has been used ever since. At one time,
Dr. Braid offered to demonstrate the benefits of hypnotism in medicine to the
British Medical Association, but the association refused the offer.
In 1841 the Nancy School of Medicine was founded by Dr. Liebeault, while Dr.
Jean Martin Charcot (1825-1893), a neurologist, founded the Salpetriere School
of Medicine in Paris. Professor Bernheim published a book, De La Suggestion
(Suggestive Therapeutics) in 1884. He and Dr. Liebeault have gone on record as
the "fathers of modern hypnotism.
Another person who appeared on the scene who recognized and used clairvoyants to
diagnose health problems was Phineas Parkhurst Quimby (1802-1866). Quimby made
his transition three years after Dr. John Elliotson made his. I am not aware
that they obtained information about clairvoyants from each other, but they
seemed to have done a lot of things that were very similar. It was Quimby who
healed Mary Baker Eddy, who later became Quimby's pupil. It was later revealed
that Mary Baker Eddy established a system of healing and established the
Christian Science religion.
By 1949 just five years after I'd started studying psychology on my own as a
soldier during the final part of the Second World War, I was practicing hypnosis
and had formulated a method of mental training that I thought would help
children do better in school. My first projects did not deal with healing and
clairvoyance, but with toning down my children's hyperactivity and increasing
their attention span and their concentration.
I had a regular routine worked out with the children, but one day that routine
was disrupted in a way that began to bring all of my experiences in life and my
study, research and investigation to a focal point, and then started me onto a
new path that led to a new career and to the establishment of a new science that
is destined to change our entire way of life on this planet and the way we
function as humans beings.
"Child starts guessing my mind"