hypnotised, raped, and told to murder your husband

December 14, 2016

giovanni-boldini-the-divine-in-blue

A woman travels by train to Heidelberg. The year is 1934 and the woman (later to be called Mrs E in the German press, although at this precise moment she is Miss E) is on her way to consult a doctor about her stomach pains. She falls into hesitant conversation with a fellow passenger, a man who claims to be a natural healer, no less, and in whom she confides the purpose of her journey. The man’s name is Franz Walter, and he tells her he can cure her illness.

‘You can…?’

Walter invites her to join him for coffee when the train pulls into the station. She is most reluctant but allows him to persuade her. On the platform he grabs hold of her hand, and Mrs E feels abruptly lost, without a will of her own.

‘Come with me,’ he tells her.

He takes her to a room in the city, places her in a trance by touching her forehead, then rapes her. She tries to push him away, but can’t move. She strains more and more but it doesn’t help. He gently strokes her face.

‘You sleep quite deeply, you can’t call out, and you can’t do anything else.’ He presses her arms behind her. ‘You can’t move anymore,’ he says. ‘When you wake up you’ll remember nothing of what has happened.’ He also tells her, her stomach pains are gone and will never return.

Then he rapes her again; finally he sodomises her, before helping her to readjust her clothing. He leads her back to the street after emptying her purse of the money she’s saved to pay for her doctor’s visit…

Walter had, during their conversation on the train, hypnotised the highly susceptible Mrs E. On their parting in Heidelberg that day, Walter, using a ‘control word’, instructs Mrs E to return to him the following week. Her ordeal is only just beginning.
#

Over the course of the next few years, Walter prostituted Mrs E. He gave her to other men, or to friends – often telling these friends the ‘control word’ that would leave her helpless for them. In return he earned hundreds of thousands of marks. Time and again he would meet her at either Karlsruhe, or Heidelberg railway stations, take her to rooms where he could have his way with her before the arrival of her first ‘customers’ of the day.

Walter would also, using hypnotic suggestion, give Mrs E muscle cramps and even, on one occasion, paralysed her left hand. He would only remove these terrible afflictions on receipt of sums of money from Mrs E.

During the course of Walter’s criminal depredations, Mrs E, his young victim, married. Her husband became another source of wealth for Walter. Allowances made by Mr E to his wife, soon ended up in Walter’s greedy pockets.

But, as with all the best laid plans, Mr E became suspicious of his wife’s behavior. He began to make awkward inquiries. Walter, fearing discovery, instructed Mrs E to kill her husband.

He, poor man, after her sixth failed attempt on his life, decided to involve the police. They in their turn decided Mrs E must have been mad, and called on the services of a psychiatrist, Dr Ludwig Mayer, who succeeded in releasing the suppressed memories of Walter’s hypnotic sessions by re-hypnotising her. After a somewhat sensational court case, Walter received a sentence of ten years penal servitude.

Read Mrs E’s own words in Hammerschlag, Hypnotism and Crime, pp. 120-121:

‘I’m no longer the same person as before. Something different controls me. I don’t want to do something, but I do it. Or I want to do something, and yet I don’t do it…in the end I thought of nothing more than doing what Walter wanted. If I obeyed I always felt more at ease. Within me I was never free there was always something oppressing me….I can’t struggle against these pressures…the pressure vanishes when I obey the commands of the inner voice.’

Mayer wrote a post verdict book on the subject of Mrs E and the criminal uses of hypnosis. Here he described how it works:

“…a person in somnambulic hypnosis is not able to take up a critical attitude on his own behalf … subordination to the hypnotiser, and dulling of his consciousness takes place, regardless of whether he is the subject of a legitimate experiment or is being hypnotised for other purposes … Just as suggestions can be employed therapeutically … they can equally well be used for criminal purposes.”

So there we have it, boys and girls. Strange but true – although I have a strong suspicion, Mrs E’s story would NOT be accepted in a courtroom today; she, I suspect, would find herself charged with theft and attempted murder. However, an interesting if very bizarre case.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: