Forensic hypnosis labelled as ‘junk science’ by death row inmates fighting for their lives

Published on May 15, 2018 on Australian website News.com.au

WHILE hitchhiking, 15-year-old Mary Vincent was raped and had both arms cut off. Miraculously she survived but couldn’t remember her attacker — until she was hypnotised.

IN 1978, 15-year-old Mary Vincent was hitchhiking in California when she was offered a lift by a man who the public would come to know as “The Mad Chopper”.

After picking her up, he went on to rape her and cut off both her arms, leaving her to die in a ravine.

Miraculously she survived, but she couldn’t remember what her attacker looked like — until she was hypnotised. A police sketch was created based on the memories accessed with the help of hypnotism, which in turn led to the arrest and conviction of Lawrence Singleton.

Hypnotism may evoke cliche ideas of swinging pocket watches and swirling spirals, but it has been used by police and investigators for decades. In fact in Texas it can still be the difference between life and death.

However two Texas death row inmates are pushing for the state to ban the practice known as forensic hypnosis in criminal cases. Hypnosis played a critical part in the arrest and conviction of 48-year-old Charles Don Flores and 37-year-old Kosoul Chanthakoummane, reports The Dallas Morning News. [Read more on News.com.au]

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