Sunday, June 07, 2009
Stuff: "This lion is getting sleepy," or "The Victorian ancestor of the modern 'reverse cowgirl'."
Though it is now mostly confined the college circuit and rubs shoulders with prop comics and traveling improv groups, there was a time when hypnotism was a big ticket and masters of the mesmeric arts where A-listers.
The ephemera assemblyman blog gathers together an awesome collection of Victorian hypnosis show posters. This including several that were clearly template posters that any hypnotainer could slap his name on.
Some of these template posters (example below) are surreally wonderful. Representing an artist's notion of what a hypnotist might make people do, the suggested kinkiness – from the playful hints of transvestitism and homoerotic behavior to pony-boy D&S play – implies what the really allure of these shows was: the hope that, under the pseudo-scientific guise of a display of "animal magnetism," sexual norms would be flaunted.