Source: Star of the Magi
Source type: magazine
Document type: editorial
Document title: “Was Czolgosz Hypnotized?”
Author(s): Betiero, T. J.
Date of publication: 1 November 1901
Volume number: 3
Issue number: 1
|Betiero, T. J. “Was Czolgosz Hypnotized?” Star of the Magi 1 Nov. 1901 v3n1: pp. 16-17.|
|McKinley assassination (hypnotism theory); the press (criticism); Leon Czolgosz; society (impact on Czolgosz); anarchism (personal response); lawlessness.|
|Edward Bulwer-Lytton [misspelled below]; Leon Czolgosz; William McKinley.|
|“T. J. Betiero, M. D.” (p. 17).|
Was Czolgosz Hypnotized?
This query has been propounded mentally by hundreds
and perhaps thousands of students of occultism and psychology throughout the
land since the horrible tragedy at Buffalo that so startled the whole civilized
In attempting to answer this momentous question we must first disclaim any belief in the idea that some anarchistic Svengali may have fastened his piercing eyes upon the young Pole and instilled into his mind the awful suggestion of murder. We do not for a moment entertain such an idea. We must consider the subject from the broader and more tenable standpoint, always bearing in mind the receptivity of humanity at large.
First, the accepted definition of hypnotism is as follows: “A peculiar psychical state, in which the subject is highly amenable to suggestion.”
Second. A fruitful cause of strange crimes and actions originate with what we term egoism.
Third. At least one half of all humanity are constantly in the proper psychical state to receive suggestions from the other half.
When an individual has pondered over any given subject for a long time, has argued the matter pro and con in his own mind, and yet is unable to arrive at a decision, he is ready to be influenced by the first positive advisor who comes along.
There is yet another class of individuals who do but little thinking for themselves. In politics, for example, he will be either a democrat or republican according to the last political speech he has heard. When such men are placed upon a jury they are very apt to favor the case of the last attorney who speaks, etc.
We must next consider another class who are irresistibly fascinated by horrors of any kind. Such persons dare not look over a high precipice, as a strange and strong impulse to hurl themselves to the bottom takes possession of many otherwise sane persons. The same impulse may appear in the presence of any of nature’s great and awful manifestations.
An old sea captain once stated that many passengers could hardly be restrained from jumping overboard during a heavy storm at sea.
The awful grandeur of nature’s forces in action seem to offend the subject’s egoism; to demonstrate to him, as it were, his own insignificance. Whereupon he seeks oblivion in her bosom!
Thus we find wandering through the kaleidoscopic maze of humanity, individuals like a ship without the man at the helm.
This being an unmistakable fact, should not the horrible details of brutal murders and sensational suicides be suppressed? Would not the aim of the news gatherer be as well attained if plain and unvarnished statements, without the glamour of romance, replaced the revolting details so minutely dwelt upon?
The answer to all this should be “yes.” But the business management of the great dailies answer most emphatically “No!”
Such a course would, according to their ideas, be lacking in the interest which now makes the sale of “Extras” so profitable. There is no doubt but newspapers mold public opinion. If so, why cannot they unite to cure the public of its unhealthy desire for sensationalism?
Neither must we overlook the cartoon as a strong and concise argument for the primitive mind. If they are a necessity during the political struggle for election, well and good. When, however, a man has been chosen by the will of the people, as our chief executive, decency should forbid the continuance of such pictures as will cause even the most vicious citizen to look with contempt upon the chief magistrate of our nation.
If small, scattering bands of anarchists, composed of obscure individuals with mediocre intellects, can by propagating unstable and delusive dogmas, psychologize an occasional individual to a state of murderous frenzy, the daily papers, upon which so many depend for ideas, must, unconsciously perhaps, impress thousands.
Take, for instance, the daily record of suicides. We find therein that a large number have destroyed themselves with carbolic acid, one of the crudest methods of self destruction. The intended suicide uses it because he has read of some one using it before him with success.
Aside from this, many persons, through vain egotism, have an almost insane desire to see their names in print, or to hold the attention of the public, if only for a moment.
Now, with this brief consideration of humanity in general, we will attempt to discuss the probable causes which led Czolgosz to sacrifice the idol of the American people.
The assassin is not a degenerate in the ordinary conception of the term. Neither can he be said to be insane, unless we accept the hypothesis that all criminal acts are the result of temporary insanity.
The misguided murderer in this case has an ill-formed or, at least, an improperly developed body, resulting from a lack of nourishing food and other hygienic precautions. Added to this, his mind is unduly active, and his brain is disproportionate to his body. 
The large blue eyes and light-colored hair would stamp him at once as a good subject for hypnotic experiment.
As further proof that this type of person is exceedingly impressionable, a young man who greatly resembled Czolgosz was arrested in St. Louis a few weeks ago for some trivial offense, and, according to the chief of police, immediately confessed to having been an accessory of Czolgosz. This bogus confession was, no doubt, the outcome of an unhealthy egoism that sought notoriety at any cost.
To recapitulate, we find that a large percentage of our citizens live constantly in that “peculiar psychical state” which renders them highly amenable to suggestion. It is our duty, then, to guard those avenues through which dangerous suggestions may come.
The anarchists should be crushed or controlled. They are rabidly opposed to all government, and by their public declarations are in sympathy with all perverted enthusiasts who strike a murderous blow at the head of any government, whether represented by king, czar or president.
These vicious parasites are, through their literature and blatant utterances, constantly throwing out suggestions that may become effective at any time.
Had Czolgosz been industrious and sincere in his desire to lead an honorable career, and to become a good citizen, our late President would, no doubt, have been alive to-day.
But the assassin was inclined to idleness, to ruminate upon his consequent deplorable condition which his egotism would not allow him to see was the logical effect of his own waywardness. He was blind to his own short-comings through his excessive love of self, and, thus self-blinded, he laid all his misery and wretchedness, and the misery and wretchedness of others, at the doors of the thrifty and diligent. In this egotistic condition he was ready to absorb and feed upon the many evil suggestions born of anarchist speeches and injudicious literature of all kinds, not excepting the vile and diabolical political cartoons and slanderous utterances of certain representatives of the daily press. With the full effect of these things implanted within him, seeing only a hideous cartoon of fair-visaged Truth and stung to an overwhelming thirst for self-glorification, is it any wonder he wrought his fiendish deed?
So, when we really comprehend the full meaning of the term hypnotism, we must admit that Czolgosz was hypnotized.
The occultist may find other and deeper reasons, also, that resulted in this crime.
Other plots had been formed against the life of the President; strange and occult deeds had been done to effect his demise, before Czolgosz fired the fatal shot.
These plots and acts gave birth to the vibrations of assassination. To us there is no doubt but what the weak and cowardly Czolgosz was nerved to his desperate deed through their occult influence. He was a proper subject for their reception; he indulged in the mental state that would most surely attract them. They centered upon him and inspired their end. Bulwer Lytton’s “Strange Story” gives a striking illustration, romantic though it may be, of the operation of this occult law of the sub-astral world.
One occult act that found its way into print was that of an Italian who was detected, some time ago, in burning a waxen image of McKinley upon the steps of the Capitol building at Washington. He gave as an excuse for his act the fact that his brother had been lynched in some parish of Louisiana, and he desired to “put a spell” on the President because the murder of his brother was unavenged. As a nation we are too practical to give credence to such acts of sorcery or black magic, yet, in Europe, it is a crime, punishable with death, to make a waxen image of any king, queen, prince or scion of of [sic] a royal house. We will not go into the reasons why such an image may be truly regarded as dangerous to the person it is modeled after; the severe European laws are ample proof that the Italian’s image may have exercised some baleful influence on the President. It was a significant omen, at least, and we now come to its logical and undeniable lesson.
The cause of the omen was lawless violence, the same kind of violence that deprived us of our beloved chief magistrate. This kind of violence has been rampant in many sections of our land. Almost daily whole communities have ignored the law and put some unfortunate to a horrible death by the rope, the shotgun, or by fire. The violent vibrations thus set in motion, must, according to their inexorable and occult law, return from whence they spring—vibration being “a motion to and fro in a medium, proceeding from a cause.” All vibrations, whether good or bad, ultimately seek their source. When these deplorable exhibitions of passion occur all over the country, and our government fails to cope with the evil, the earnest student of the occult side of nature cannot fail to see that the home-coming of these vibrations may strike in places that make the nation sad. These things are too true to dwell upon. It only remains now for us to draw the clear and distinct conclusions that occult science here affords:
A wrong cannot be cured by committing another wrong.
Lawlessness must be put down by law.
There is no anarchy in nature, there must be no anarchy in society.
That which suggests violence is itself unlawful.
Lawlessness is incompatible with liberty, the law cannot safely countenance its mental infraction any more than its physical violation.
The law is the will of the people for the people make and can change the law.
He who opposes the law is unlawful and a criminal before the law.
He who holds in contempt the servants of the law is in contempt of the law and opposed to the law.
Lastly, and I say it without fear, he who cartoons the instruments of the law cartoons the law, and is thus in contempt of the law and a criminal before it; as such he should be suppressed in his criminal course and corrected by the law.
When these vital truths are recognized, when the life of the criminal is held sacred to the mandate of the law, when brotherly love is taught and practiced, then, and not until then, will another Czolgosz be impossible.