THE DEATH OF
SHARRON TABARN and the dangers of hypnosis
Towards the end of 1993 the tabloids in Great Britain were full of the story of the death of Sharron Tabarn who died several hours after participating in a hypnotic show presented by a young hypnotist by the name of Andrew Vincent.
Sharron, a 24-year-old mother of two daughters had felt that inner compulsion to put herself forward into the hands of Vincent when the call was made asking for volunteers.
Sharron was obviously one of the main stars of the show as Vincent took her through a Madonna routine and other bizarre post-hypnotic suggestions. As the show came to a close he told her, "I'm going to count from one to three and clap my hands. And as I clap my hands you will feel 10,000 volts of electricity shoot through your chair, and it will hurt!" The next morning Sharron was found dead in her bed.
Of course there was an inquest and pathologist Edmund Tapp said the cause of death was from fluid in the lungs and inhaled vomit. It was also stated that Sharron’s blood contained extremely high levels of a hormone called Prolactin. It was thought that due to the Prolactin and a low level of alcohol in her blood that she had experienced a fit while in her sleep. However, the coroner recorded a verdict of death by natural causes.
According to Sharron’s mother, Margaret Harper, Sharron had had a great fear of electricity ever since she received a bad electric shock as a child.
It is my own personal opinion that due to Sharron’s fear or phobia about electricity, the fact that she was a deep-trance subject, and the crazy, mean and nasty suggestion of experiencing a 10,000-volt electric shock which would really hurt, this was the cause of the release of the hormone Prolactin, which in turn prevented her from awakening when she vomited in her sleep. Possibly the concoction of alcohol, endorphins and Prolactin could be classed as a way of death through natural causes, even though, in my opinion, hypnosis was the trigger which caused this tragic accident.
As a point of interest, Prolactin is a hormone released from the pituitary gland. The pituitary gland is situated behind and above the bridge of the nose. The location of the mystical "Third Eye". It is my own personal opinion that it is this area that is stunned during a hypnotic state, although there is no scientific evidence to support this, or around the potential dangers of hypnosis.
The fact of the matter is, in my mind, and I trust that now also in the reader's mind, stage hypnosis is extremely dangerous. Not only are there the dangers of hypnosis, but it is morally degrading for the participants involved, many of whom will have no memory recall, but it can, and has, led to the death of a young mother, and also has been the trigger for possibly dozens or even hundreds of people entering into emotional and mental imbalance, leading eventually to the mental hospital.
Ammendment from Pat Tack
1 - Sharron had very little alcohol in her bloodstream. The pathologist exaggerated, in fact doubled, the actual amount at the inquest. He also failed to describe her position in death correctly - I know this as I found her dead.
2 The specific command that Vincent used was that he would count to three, clap his hands and the subjects would wake up after the hand clap. The suggestion of 10,000 volts on the seat of the chair was to be felt just after the count of three and before the hand clap. He also stressed that it would really hurt. As Sharron knew what a shock felt like she must have felt a great deal of pain. I believe that the command to 'awaken' was possibly overridden by the trauma (she was terrified of electricity). Afterwards she displayed all the symptoms of not being fully brought out of hypnosis - automism/headache etc.
If you hear of any more deaths or psychological damage, please let me know.
Pat Tack (Patricia Andrew)
NOW DIAGNOSED AS SCHIZOPHRENIC
Chris Gates was one such person who began behaving like child days after having been hypnotized by former BBC Radio One disc jockey turned hypnotist, Paul McKenna.
Chris Gates unsuccessfully tried to sue Paul McKenna for damages. According to the BBC news report Mr McKenna told the court he would never subject stage volunteers to a "traumatic, frightening and humiliating ordeal".
Yet the show I saw by Paul McKenna, he suggested to people they were in a straight jacket and a ferret was inside that jacket. I feel that is a traumatic, frightening and a humiliating experience - don’t you? Also, by suggesting you are in a straight jacket, in my mind suggests that you are a mental patient?
Following the above-mentioned casualties, in 1996 the Home Office published a ten-page report after an eleven-month investigation into the dangers of stage hypnotism.
The report declared that many other popular activities or pursuits "clearly carry far greater risks", and that stage hypnosis "posed no serious risk to the public and that all indications are that there is not a significant problem directly associated with stage hypnotism". The Health and Safety Executive also carried out their own study into the claims of alleged dangers. Their report states, "it should be made clear to all authorities that [the] HSE has no evidence to suggest that stage hypnotism poses a general risk to the public if it is carried out according to the Home Office guidelines".
A closer look at the recent 1996 Home Office report, it clearly states the following. “The review of medical evidence and available research literature was carried out by a panel of experts who were nominated by the British Psychological Society and Royal College of Psychiatrists. The panel members were not experts in hypnosis…” My comment to that is if they were not experts in hypnosis, then how could they correctly evaluate the evidence. Further into the Home Office report under “Prohibited actions”, it clearly reads, “any suggestion involving age regression of a subject (ie, asking the subject to revert to an earlier age in their life; this does not prohibit the hypnotist from asking subjects to act as if they were a child etc).”
The Collins definition of regression is: "Psychol. The adoption by an adult of behaviour more appropriate to a child"(my emphasis).
In the show I saw of Paul McKenna’s his suggestion to members of the audience on stage partaking in his show, was something on the lines of, "In a moment, when you open your eyes you are all going to be 5-year-old schoolchildren, and you’re going to muck around, play around, and be so naughty, naughty, naughty, and I am your teacher and you don’t like me because I am very strict, but as soon as my back is turned you're going to play around, muck around because you are so naughty, naughty, naughty."
In the court cases both Andrew Vincent and Paul McKenna were found innocent of any form of negligence based around the dangers of hypnosis. Hypnosis was found not the cause of death for Sharron Tabarn , and also not the cause of Chris Gates schizophrenia.