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No. 18: Nov-Dec 1981

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Warts on demand?

Warts can often, but not always, be cured by hypnosis or suggestion. The medical literature is emphatic on this point. Warts can, in fact, be banished from one side of the body, leaving those on the other side intact, if the hypnotist suggests such asymmetry! What has been lacking in the psychosomatic story, according to Gravitz, is evidence that warts can also be produced by suggestion. Evidently modern psychologists have been content with curing warts, for Gravitz had to go all the way back to 1924 to find accounts of warts being induced by suggestion. This scientific neglect of the supply side of wart economics is unfortunate in the view of Gravitz, because here is a mild affliction involving both a virus and psychology that can be studied easily. The knowledge gained might be applicable to some cancers, which also seem to involve viruses and psychology.

(Gravitz, Melvin A.; "The Production of Warts by Suggestion as a Cultural Phenomenon," American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, 23:281, 1981.)

Comment. The mysterious spontaneous remission of some cancers may have psychosomatic overtones.

From Science Frontiers #18, NOV-DEC 1981. 1981-2000 William R. Corliss