July 3, 1908
"I want to see the mayor and see him at once."
"He's busy now. Won't you have a seat?"
"No I won't. I said I wanted to see the mayor right now, and I meant it. I am under the spell of a hypnotist and may jump in front of a street car at any moment. I want the mayor to break this spell. I have come all the way here to have him do it."
The foregoing dialogue took place yesterday afternoon in the office of Mayor Thomas T. Crittenden, Jr. between a tall, slender man with constantly shifting eyes and the mayor's secretary.
The mayor himself over heard the conversation and took a look at the man who was laboring under hypnotic influence. Something about him made his honor nervous. With visions of bombs, infernal machines and other anarchistic toys, the mayor closed his door and hurried to the telephone.
"Hello, police headquarters?" he asked. "Let me talk to the captain. Is that you, Captain Whitsett? Well, I wish you would send up here to my office and take a man out that is acting queer. This is the mayor."
Captain Whitsett went up himself. When he got there the mayor was leaning over the railing of his office and talking "real nice" to the man. He was taken in charge and locked up in the matron's room.
To Dr. Paul Lux, who examined him later, the man gave the name of J. E. Stroud of Howard, Kas. He looks to be 30 years old but said that he graduated with a class of about 270 at the Kansas State university on June 10. He said he had taught school at Galva and Jamestown, Kas.
"I came all the way here June 15 to see the mayor about removing a hypnotic influence which has been over me since March 28, last."
Stroud said he did not know the name of the man who had cast the spell on him, but believed it was a New York traveling man with whom he talked at dinner in a Howard, Kas., hotel, March 28.
"Did you know that the man was a hypnotist?" asked Dr. Lux. "When did you first realize that he had hypnotized you?"
"I didn't know it at first, of course," replied Stroud, "or I would have left him. He held my conversation about fifteen minutes longer than I intended and I felt that I could not get away from him. His eyes were funny, but I suspected nothing until a few days later when I found myself acting solely by suggestions that came to me and doing things I had not done before."
Just at this point, Stroud, who was sitting on the edge of a bed, reached out with his right hand and smoothed out the top spread. Jerking his hand away quickly he said: "There, do you see that? Did you notice what I did then?"
The doctor had not noticed. Stroud seemed surprised that he had overlooked such an unusual thing as a man smoothing out a bedspread.
"Didn't you see me straighten out that cover? Well, that man caused me to do that. I am not in the habit of smoothing out bedspreads. I wish the mayor had taken this spell off. I believe he is the only one here to do it. In fact I came here just to have him do it."
At another time Stroud scraped a splinter from the floor with the toe of his right shoe. That, too, was caused by the same hypnotic influence. He said that when he arrived here he thought of hunting up another hypnotist and having him try his art at removing a spell cast by another of his profession. The idea always came back to him that Mayor Thomas T. Crittenden, Jr., was the only man in the wide world to remove such influences. "And he actually wouldn't do it," Stroud said sadly; "what do you think of that?"
Stroud said that at times he was able to do exactly the opposite of the hypnotist's suggestions, but that it was a mental strain. Stroud is now being held and relatives at Howard, Kas., will be notified.
Stroud said that if he knew where he could find the hypnotist he would wire him to get busy and look the other way for a while.