A few months ago, we ran a blog post on a university professor named Warren Johnson who hypnotized athletes as a part of his research in the late 50s and early 60s. The blog post in its entirety can be found here: Hypnotize the Turtle.
In summary, Dr. Johnson’s theory was that hypnosis could be used to heighten athletic or muscular performance. However, as criticism in the academic community grew concerning the use of hypnosis in scientific inquiry, President Elkins decided that he no longer wanted University of Maryland students involved in the experiments. At that point Johnson was hypnotizing students for his research on muscular performance as well as students who reported having trouble concentrating on their school work.
Ultimately in 1961, Johnson wrote a report titled “Hypnosis and Muscular Performance”. In the report, he stated that based on his in-depth research, there was insufficient evidence to support the idea that hypnosis was useful in heightening athletic or muscular performance.
Just this week,we came across a surprise that we did not know existed. While browsing through our Campus Photo collection, we found two contact sheets full of photos from Dr. Warren Johnson’s experiments with hypnosis on athletes. Here are a few of the best ones (click photos to enlarge).