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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Texas police awaken from their stupor, will stop using hypnosis as criminal investigation technique

Attendees of the International Hypnosis Federation’s 2001 Mind, Body, Spirit, Fun Conference, or a Texas Ranger’s dream lineup?
Attendees of the International Hypnosis Federation’s 2001 Mind, Body, Spirit, Fun Conference, or a Texas Ranger’s dream lineup?
Photo: David McNew (Getty Images)

In a move that’s sure to renew trust in American policing practices, the Texas Department Of Public Safety has finally heard the snap of common sense’s fingers next to its ear and decided to end its decades-old practice of using actual goddamn hypnosis as a crime-solving technique.

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According to The Dallas Morning News, Texas has “built one of the most prolific programs for police hypnosis in the country, repeatedly doubling down on the practice despite scientific evidence that hypnosis can distort witness memories and lead to false convictions.” Last January, after “more than 40 years” of seriously considering hypnosis a legitimate criminal investigation method, Texas ended the practice, telling The News that it’s now “developed more advanced interview and interrogation techniques that yield better results.” We can only hope that these new techniques don’t involve peering into crystal balls or following leads based on staring at burned chicken bones.

In a damning condemnation of Walker: Texas Ranger’s portrayal of reality, we’re told that the Rangers “are among the most prolific hypnotists in the state” and have “[performed] at least 1,700 hypnosis sessions since the 1980s” on cases like an attempted kidnapping from last October. Hypnosis has also been used by the copnotists—which include “more than 800" statewide officers approved to use hypnotism “since the 1980s”—in murder investigations.

While it’s good news that the hypnosis program is coming to an end, Texas law enforcement is apparently so in love with waving pocket watches in front of peoples’ eyes that “local police departments may still be using hypnosis to investigate crimes.” Texas courts will still also “[allow] evidence allegedly gleaned from hypnosis,” which is fairly terrifying.

Lie down on a couch, try not to get very, very sleep, and read more about the hypnotist cops of Texas over at The Dallas Morning News.

[via Boing Boing]

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Contributor, The A.V. Club. Reid's a writer and editor who has appeared at GQ, Playboy, and Paste. He also co-created and writes for videogame sites Bullet Points Monthly and Digital Love Child.