Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Italian Cashier Hypnotized

Quirky news story of the week is the case of the Italian supermarket checkout operator who was hypnotized by a cunning criminal into handing over a wad of cash. Apparently she didn't realise what had happened until her till didn't balance at the end of the shift.

Interestingly I haven't see any news stories tackle the question of whether this is a plausible story. I suspect we'll hear more, but allow me to pre-empt the result with my guess...

First of all, you can't just approach someone and hypnotise them instantly to do your bidding. Many people are immune altogether, and only the most suggestive are likely to be controllable in the reported fashion. The thief would probably want to select and groom the victim before the main event, just to make sure she was going to react as needed.

Hypnotism can't make you do anything that you consider morally wrong. If the girl was genuinely hypnotized, the criminal must have been even more cunning than most people would think. Perhaps he could have suggested that the money was for a worthy cause, or that he had been given permission to take it. However it does smell fishy - the ease of the apparent hypnotism makes me suspicious.

I have no strong gut feeling either way, but if I had to put money on it, I'd bet that the cashier was an accomplice. I wouldn't convict her without hard evidence of course, but I'd certainly be looking at her closely if I was on the investigative team.

I must emphasize this: I do believe that the hypnotism reported in this story is unlikely but certainly possible. "Innocent until proven guilty" and all that. Let's see what happens.

1 comment:

  1. I don't believe it for a second! Like you said, the cashier had to be an accomplice to the crime. "Oh, I was hypnotized"...Get the %^&* out of here!

    Hey, these quirky stories have to come from somewhere--At least it's something that hasn't been said before...I was hypnotized, I couldn't help it (in the news!) The clerk told her boss that and it went to the papers (hell if I know how.) But yes, this is a quirky little story and I would like to know how it ends if I ever think to look back into it.