In 1951, a young hospital doctor treated a patient suffering from a rare and debilitating skin disease - thought to be incurable - with a single session of hypnosis,
unaware that he was about to make medical history. The case caused a sensation. Doctors described it as ‘unprecedented and inexplicable’ and ‘a challenge to current concepts of the relation between mind and body’.
Like many, author Guy Lyon Playfair wondered how on earth the hypnotist did it, and unlike many he was determined to find out. In this lively, provocative and meticulously researched book he attempts to meet that challenge and explain the ‘miraculous’ cure that was fully documented in the British Medical Journal, with its unexpected aftermath, and to open up the whole subject of the role played by the mind in the healing process.
More than two centuries since Mesmer and his pupil the Marquis de Puységur introduced an ancient healing technique into Western medicine, the question of what happens to a person under hypnosis remains to be fully explained. Yet, seemingly unaware of it, the medical profession already has the key to a technique of incalculable potential benefit, the true nature of which it still seems reluctant to face.
Playfair maintains that the unspoken transfer of information between one living being and another, and the ability of the mind to move matter without the use of physical force are important but neglected aspects of the art of healing. Far from being occult superstitions or mere speculations, such natural abilities have been shown repeatedly – in life and laboratory – to be matters of fact. Their suppression in Western society can no longer be justified medically. Nor should the practice of hypnosis be confined, as it tends to be in medical practice, merely to the treatment of minor psychosomatic complaints.
Playfair draws on a wide range of source material, much of it hitherto buried in orthodox medical and specialist literature, to show that it is neglect, rather than lack of knowledge, that is preventing the widespread use of an inexpensive and natural healing process, the full potential of which has yet to be explored.
If This Be Magic is as topical today as it was when it was first published in 1985.
“Compelling and enjoyable reading.” Bernard Oliver (Past president, British Society of Medical and Dental Hypnotists)
“The first survey of its kind… exciting in itself and in its implications.” Brian
“A brilliant and exciting book.” Colin Wilson
“…excellent discussion of how the powers of self-healing can act through alterations in belief and faith.” Daniel J. Benor, MD
About the author
GUY LYON PLAYFAIR was born in India and educated in England, obtaining a degree in modern languages from Cambridge University. He then spent many years in Brazil as a freelance journalist for The Economist, Time, and the Associated Press, also working for four years in the press section of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). The first of his twelve books, The Flying Cow, in which he described his experiences investigating the psychic side of Brazil, was translated into six languages and became an international best seller. His most recent book is Telepathy – the Twin Connection. He now lives in London and is a council member of the Society for Psychical Research.
Publisher: White Crow Books
Published August 2011
Size: 229 x 152 mm