Todd Landman Academic Magician
May 8, 2023Todd Landman

The Power of the Unconscious Mind

Rorschach Ink Blot - 'The Bat' - Debry Conference Centre

There has been much academic work and speculation on the power of the unconscious mind. Often seen as the outgrowth of 'romantic psychology' in the 19th Century, attention to the unconscious mind grew with the work of world famous psychoanalysts Sigmund Freud and Carl Gustav Jung.

The unconscious mind (or the unconscious) is seen as one that involves our automatic thoughts and inner drives not subject to introspection, but which manifest themselves through conscious awareness, and for many, conscious actions.

On 6 May 2023, I had the good fortune of conducting a double-blind scientific experiment to test the power of the unconscious mind framed in the context of a series of unexplained deaths of women that occurred in New York City in the early years of the 20th Century.

Four of these women, it was finally determined, died of natural causes, while one died of an unnatural cause. Police investigation techniques at this time were under-developed, but with the help of the psychoanalytic school and my assembled scientific committee, we were able to discern who among these women was murdered and who among the committee had the psychological profile to be our murderer.

Introducing the psychoanalytic school

The work on the unconscious mind conducted by Freud and Jung heavily influenced Hermann Rorschach, who took a simple Victorian parlour game to create a series of images that become known as the Rorschach Ink Blot Tests. For respondents exposed to these ink blot images, the psychoanalyst would record initial and unprompted reactions that often included the respondent seeing a whole image, part of the image, a moving image, a still image, or the specific characteristics of the image.

The use of ink blots and psychoanalysis thus became part of the toolkits employed by police forces worldwide to build psychological profiles of suspected criminals, and the practice of alienism emerged to dominate psychological approaches to solving crimes.

With our five women on display and then secured in official evidence envelopes, we proceeded to give one envelope to each of our scientific committee members. Each committee member was then given one of the first five black and white Rorschach ink blot images: (1) the 'Bat,' (2) the 'Mask,' (3) the 'Skin,' (4) the 'Thumbs,' and (5) the 'Warthog.'

The 'Mask' is handed to one committee member

With the sealed evidence envelopes and ink blot images randomly distributed amongst our committee members, we tested the power of their own unconscious with a simple matching test, which resulted in 100% accuracy. Having established this psychic connection across all our committee members, we then explored published psychological research on the statistically significant relationship between the severity of crime and the five ink blot images.

Murder and the Warthog

The most severe crime on our x-axis was murder, while the ink blot corresponding to this crime was the 'Warthog.' Our committee members revealed the contents of their envelopes, where our member holding the 'Warthog' image was also in possession of the only woman in the group who had indeed been murdered.

As part of the Doomsday 12 Magick Convention, it was indeed a pleasure to carry out a real time experiment that tested the power of the unconscious mind. An audience of 80 verified our results and celebrated our scientific success!

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