Skip to content

Archive for September 2012

Hypnotism and Its Past

Actor Lumsden Hare as the scheming hypnotist in Svengali, a 1931 film adaptation of Trilby

[In earlier posts that you’ll find here and here, I’ve written about my fascination with hypnotism and my interviews and encounters with hypnotists of various types. In this post, I continue the series by scratching the surface of hypnotism’s history and looking at its popular portrayal.] For centuries, hypnotism has suffered from an image problem. The pleasant experience…

Read More

H.G. Wells Meets Josef Stalin

Josef Stalin

I recently read H.G. Wells’ novel The Invisible Man and came away impressed by the author’s artistry in entertainingly moving a story along while including a serious subplot about H.G. Wells the role of science in our society. Wells was active in a variety of left-leaning causes throughout his long literary career, and he made sure he crossed…

Read More

Wilde in the Streets

Oscar Wilde, photographed in New York City in 1882. (U.S. Library of Congress)

Here I present an oldie — an article I wrote 25 years ago for Minneapolis-St. Paul Magazine. It was one of my first attempts to write about history and has always remained among my favorite stories because of the unflappable character of Oscar Wilde. Note how the narrative approaches but skirts around Wilde’s homosexuality. Otherwise, I…

Read More

A Murderer Trapped by Truth Serum

William Heirens in 2004

I recently wrote a post in the Wonders & Marvels blog about the history of truth serum. I didn’t have space in that post to mention an interesting article from the February 1960 issue of Popular Science that gave some accounts of various truth serum drugs in use. I especially liked the magazine’s anecdote of Chicago criminal William Heirens, who police…

Read More

There’s Gold in That Medicine

gold

Gold has real medicinal value. It is used in implanted devices like pacemakers, and of course in dental work. Some people believe a controversial liquid suspension called colloidal gold may have uses in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and in the delivery of tiny amounts of medications. But of all the medical uses involving gold and…

Read More
Scroll To Top