Law: Breaking the Spell of Hypnosis

Courts are limiting the work of police "Svengali squads"

It has happened to every veteran detective a hundred times. The officer is interviewing a rape or assault victim who he knows got a good hard look at the person who committed the crime. But it all happened too quickly or was too traumatic. The victim cannot quite remember.

Until recently such situations prompted many police departments to call in the "Svengali squads," the teams of specially trained police hypnotists that sprang up across the country in the '70s. Pioneered by the Los Angeles police department, the widespread use of hypno-investigators led...

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