Series H, Episode 15 - Hypnotism, Hallucinations And Hysteria
- If you hypnotised someone and then cut off their leg the chances are they would not make a fuss, unless they did not want their leg to be cut off in the first place. Some people have a strong resistance to anaesthetics so for some patients it is better to be hypnotised than to be put under in case you wake up during an operation. Hypnosis has been used for this since in the 1830s, before ether. The reason for using hypnosis is that most pain we feel is actually caused by the anxiety of it which is in the brain, so hypnosis helps you relax. Pain itself is created by the brain. Other than hypnosis, you can also take Valium to calm yourself down.
- The best way to hypnotise an alligator or a tiger shark is to turn it upside down. Whales tip sharks over to hypnotise them, which causes them to suffocate and die. Frogs, lizards and crocodiles can also be hypnotised this way. To hypnotise chickens, you hold them down and then draw a line from their beak along the ground. Another way to do it to chickens is to take a stick or paddle and fix fake eyes to it. However, the producer of the show tried it on his chickens and it did not work. Rabbits and guinea pigs can be hypnotised if you stroke them or roll them over a few times first. They are woken up by blowing on their noses. Stephen once hypnotised a lobster when doing his documentary Stephen Fry in America and does so again in the studio, which is done by stroking the top of the head, bottom to top. They wake up by lifting them up. In animals, hypnosis is called "tonic immobility".
- XL: The most likely reason that your life flashes before your eyes is because you brain is trying to find a similar situation which has happened previously in order to find a way to save your life. Life flashing before your eyes can be dated back to Rear-Admiral Sir Francis Beaufort (who invented the Beaufort wind scale) who wrote in a letter claiming that it happened to him once when he nearly drowned in Portsmouth Harbour in 1795. In one much more recent case, a man was being attacked by a great white shark and remembered a DVD his son was watching years ago which said to fend of an attack shark you should put your hands down the gills, which he did and survived. Phrases for life passing before your eyes exist in Persian, Portuguese, Italian, Russian, German, Norwegian, Romanian, Spanish, Swedish, Arabian, Dutch and French.
- You should not consult Dr. Zoe D. Katze Ph.D., C.Ht., DAPA because she is a cat with bogus qualifications including hypnotherapy. Academic Steve Eichel wanted to prove just how easy it was to get qualifications over the internet. Once you get one then you can use the others to parlay until you get a whole list of them. Zoe has a doctorate in counselling psychology from a mail-order university, she has a C.Ht. meaning she is a certified hypnotherapist, she is in the National Guild of Hypnotists, and is a Diplomat of the American Psychotherapy Association. Zoe also has qualifications that allow her to be an energy therapist, a past-life regression therapist and an alien abduction therapist. There are "diploma mills" and "degree mills" which give either fake diplomas from a real university or a real diploma from a fake university. Stephen then gives the panel a fake diploma each in "Advanced Banter". The whole business of fake degrees is called "pseudo-credentialing".
- You could not persuade the audience to elect Stephen pope without them noticing that they have done it. This is because subliminal advertising does not work (although messages saying "Stephen Fry for Pope" do appear quickly during this discussion). Although it is banned by most broadcasters, including the FCC in the United States, it has never been shown to work. The person who invented was a man called Vicary in 1957, but in 1962 he admitted that he faked the evidence. (Forfeit: Subliminal advertising)
- The kind of behaviour you would get from a superstitious pigeon would be repetitive. American psychiatrist B. F. Skinner found out that if you feed pigeons at predetermined intervals, the pigeons registered what they did before they got fed, so they do what they did previously to try and get food. It is rather similar to people doing things such as wearing a certain piece of clothing when there favourite football team scored a goal. This is known as "magical thinking", when you think you can effect the world by doing such things. It is also hard to find any definition of superstition that does not cover religion. Also, other religions tend to treat each other as superstitions, but claim that they are real. In the Catholic Church it is a sin to be superstitious.
- The thing which is hysterical about wondering womb trouble is that in Ancient Greece many medical complaints given by women including madness were blamed on the "fact" that their wombs moved around the body. The word "hysterical" comes from the same root as "hysterectomy". The Greek for "uterus" is "hystera". Freud said that for every real condition there is a hysterical one which is created in the mind. You can have hysterical blindness or dumbness which means you cannot see or speak even if there is nothing wrong with your eyes or mouth.
- The panel are shown a clip of the sun setting and are asked to buzz in when they think it has dropped blow the horizon. However they are too late when they buzz because what we see in the sky is a mirage. The sun has actually dropped below the horizon when the bottom of it just touches the horizon. This is because of the way the light bends when it shines through to the bottom of the atmosphere which has a different air pressure. Other examples of mirages include what we think of as water evaporating off roads. (Forfeit: Too late!)
- Spiral staircases are not spiral in shape. They are helical. Spirals get wider and wider as they go up. Helixes stay the shame width all the way. (Forfeit: Spiral)
- There are so many lavatories in the Pentagon because originally there were going be toilets just for white people and toilets just for black people. The Pentagon is in Virginia, a southern state were segregation was common. However, when it was built President Franklin D. Roosevelt banned all segregation in federal buildings. He was furious when he learned about this situation and so prevented the segregation, but the lavatories (at least 284 in total) were still built. The Pentagon has 23,000 people working in it; the centre open area is five acres in size, there are 17.5 miles of corridor, and it has six ZIP codes. However, it only takes seven minutes to walk from one place to the other.
- Vyacheslav Molotov did not invent anything apart from some death lists and the Molotov Line system of defences. Molotov was the foreign minister under Stalin and lived until 1986. In 1939 the Soviet Union was at war with Finland and Molotov claimed that the Soviets were dropping food parcels into the country, but they were actually cluster bombs. The Finns nicknamed them "Molotov's breadbaskets", and Finns fought back with petrol bombs against Soviet tanks, and the bombs were Molotov cocktails to go with the breadbaskets. The Finns eventually defeated the Soviets. (Forfeit: The Molotov cocktail)
- Friday 7th January 2011
- BBC One
- 30 minutes
Cast & crew
|Stephen Fry||Host / Presenter|
|Alan Davies||Regular Panellist|
|John Mitchinson||Question Writer|
|Justin Pollard||Question Writer|
|James Harkin||Question Writer|
|Molly Oldfield||Question Writer|
|Arron Ferster||Question Writer|
|David Morley (as Dave Morley)||Executive Producer|
|Ruby Kuraishe||Executive Producer|
|Jonathan Paul Green||Production Designer|