Since Hypnosis, A Return to the Past was published, this is the question I have head most often: is this a true story?
When I was looking for an editor for my book in Portugal, I was lucky enough to meet someone who worked in editing, to whom I gave a rough outline of the story. The first pages began with a letter from hypnotist Marcus Belling to the National Hypnosis Association (you’ll find this letter, which is in the English version, at the end of the book). When the editor read the draft, she pointed out a strange coincidence: “Did you notice that this letter is dated the 1st December? Today is the 1st December. Is this story true?” And so I looked down at the page incredulously - I had dated Marcus Belling’s letter the 1st of December, and there we were, on the 1st December!
The world works in mysterious ways – ways we could never imagine. Often, these unique coincidences make us think there must be some truth behind them for them to come about. I told you this story to help answer the question I asked at the start of this article: No, this is not a true story and it is not autobiographical, it does not relate to people who I have known, or events that have taken place. It is the result of an imaginative speculation but one that, although unlikely, many people have thought to be true.
I’ve never been hypnotised, although I did consider going for a session while I was writing the book - so that I could better understand how the process of inducing a state of consciousness works. However, in considering the possibility I realised how much the experience would influence my writing, and I wasn’t sure if that was what I really wanted.
I must say that I admire people who have the ability to induce this altered state of consciousness in others. It is indeed a power that should be used with caution, and I think that these concerns are very present in the book: professional ethics should guide hypnotists in their work.
I´ve never heard of a case where someone is able to interact with people from their past when they’re hypnotised… or of anyone being able to alter an event in the past – that then has consequences in the future. But I would also like to ask: do we truly know the full potential of the human mind? According to some studies, it seems that we only use 5% or 10% of the potential of our brains.
When we are hypnotized, we gain an ability to passively observe moments of a past life. However, moving from this plain to another – where we can have conversations in the past, and change events that will affect the future – is something I´ve never heard of. If anyone has ever done something so improbable, then I consider it to be evidence of enormous power. Power that should be kept secret. It would not be difficult to speculate that where there is professional rivalry (such as the case of Marcus Belling and Josef Salvaterra), or any other form of rivalry for that matter, someone would try to gain personal benefit from the discovery of such a unique ability.
To conclude, I would just like to add that at the beginning of the book, I wrote the following: all the characters and events referred to in this book are not based on facts. This is the answer to the question asked by so many of you: No, this is not a real story, but I am pleasantly surprised that my words have resonated with you to such an extent that they have made you think they come from something real.
If you are interested to know more about hypnosis, we suggest you the following links:
American Hypnosis Association
American Society of Clinical Hypnosis
British Society of Clinical Hypnosis
National Hypnotherapy Society
This question is related, although indirectly, to my first article: Hypnosis, a true story?
As I mentioned in my biography, I have a degree in law. As a part of my training, I published a book in Portugal in 2015 called Volunteer Work, a legal and social reflection. Published when I was 29, my dream of writing a book had come true. And I was ecstatic.
The book is based on an investigation I carried out as a part of my Master’s Degree, on the legal and social factors at play in the context of voluntary work. There had been nothing published about the subject in my country, so my work required very thorough investigation. The book was also an insight into my vision of the Law and what it is - the law is there to serve people, and so to understand it better, we need to understand people as a collective. We need to understand society. (To find out more about the publisher, click here).
In my transition from non-fiction to fiction, I found it really hard to leave the law behind – after all, it’s what I had eaten, slept and breathed up until that point. But fiction allowed me to finally let it go. Maybe the reason it was so hard is that it’s not easy to break old habits.
It all started with the title of my first fiction book: Hypnosis. Looking back, the choice of this title seems like a consequence of that path I walked as a non-fiction writer. I was told several times (including by a publisher) that the title was ambiguous – it didn't give away whether this book was a novel, or a non-fiction essay about hypnosis.
I understand the doubts. The decision makes me question it myself; after all, why did I opt for a title that raised this issue? Maybe, deep down, I am somewhere between the two categories of writers, towing the line between fiction and non-fiction. And that’s another reason why people feel that the story is true. It feels like it is grounded in something quite real. As if I had investigated an “academic” theme, treated it seriously, delved deep, and found a phenomenon that no one had ever heard of, but that took place.
The only truth here is that I wrote the story I wanted to write, and now it’s up to each reader to take their own interpretations from each element of the story, letting their own life experiences guide them.
Writing and publishing any book forces us to fit it into a literary category, even if just for the sake of releasing the book onto the market (and therefore for commercial purposes). At one point or another, all writers need to answer the fundamental question: what is the literary genre of my book?
And the time has come for me to answer that question. In my previous articles, Hypnosis, a true story? and A Writer of fiction or non-fiction? I tried to show you some of the situations I found myself in once the book was published. Questions that made me think deeply about what I had written, and how my words were being interpreted by those who read them.
Literary categories are not watertight spaces. In fact, I think my Hypnosis book crosses several literary spaces and touches different elements within these spaces. That is why, when it comes to defining the literary genre of my book, I do not have a word that can synthesize everything the book expresses, but I can attempt to classify it nonetheless.
The book Hypnosis, A Return to the Past, can be most closely associated with the category of magical realism, touching genres such as the spiritual and the paranormal, but also sharing some characteristics with literary fiction, time-travel, and psychological romance.
Coming from a Latin country like Portugal, it’s understandable that I have been influenced by this literary genre, after all, magical realism, over time, has very much come to populate the imaginary of all Latin and South American countries. Again, it seems I find old habits hard to break. To this day I am mesmerised by our ability to align our reality with elements of fantasy as a way to elevate our dreams.
Magic realism is the perfect expression of what I think is a good philosophy of life: Bring a little magic to your life, and that’s when you’ll find your happiness!
Spirituality? Hypnosis? Past Life Therapy? Time travel? Alternative and holistic medicine? Body, mind and wellness?
In writing a novel about a hypnotist and his patient, I have shown the connection I feel to these themes – themes we would usually class under the “spirituality and wellness” section. For some, my book might even be considered a form of “motivational wellness fiction”, and there are those who might use some of the techniques they find in the book to find some inner peace.
In addition to empathy, I truly believe in spirituality, in the sense that we are not only made of matter, but also of soul. The great difficulty at times, in addressing issues related to the soul, is that we can’t see it. As Antoine de Saint-Exupéry said, “what is essential is invisible to the eye”. And it’s true. Although it’s also true is that we have a hard time believing in something we can’t see.
In the same way that I see the purpose of Law as to serve society, I see the purpose of Fiction as to serve people, and their well-being.
I am fascinated by the power of hypnosis and of Past Life Therapy, as means through which we access memories of a past that is long forgotten, but which defines us as individuals in the present. I think it’s amazing that we can go on this journey through time and space, by simply delving deeper into our minds. What secrets are still hidden beyond the limits of our consciousness?
Human beings are not just flesh and blood, but also a soul, which is precisely why I think we should keep our perspectives open. We shouldn’t dismiss alternative medicine and techniques when it comes to our health. Consider it. Haven’t many people been cured of various illnesses or addictions, through hypnosis? How many of you have found the peace you’ve been waiting for through hypnosis therapy? Chances are, what and who we are today was formed by a remarkable experience in a past life. It seems to me that spirituality recognizes the holistic interference of these factors in the construction of each soul.