'Hypnotist Thieves' Stir Fear in Boston's Chinatown
Boston's Chinatown on lookout for wily hypnotists
By Neal Colgrass, Newser Staff
Posted May 5, 2012 3:17 PM CDT
"You are getting very sleepy..."   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – A woman in Boston's Chinatown claims that a trio of thieves hypnotized her into handing over $160,000—and the police are taking this seriously, the Boston Herald reports. The 57-year-old Cantonese speaker says three women stopped her on the street, did a little hocus pocus, and sent her home with a bag to fill with money, passport, and jewelry. She later rendezvoused with them at Boston Common and handed over the goods.

“Having somebody instantaneously hypnotize you" in such a fashion "sounds a little unlikely,” says a local hypnotist. But similar reports have surfaced in New York City, where they apparently go under-reported because victims don't speak English or are too embarrassed. Such mesmerized muggings also fit in with Chinese lore. "It’s something that’s potentially very dangerous,” says a Chinese advocate in Boston. “I think the elderly are particularly vulnerable because they obviously would have a hard time just walking away.”

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Showing 3 of 9 comments
May 7, 2012 9:56 AM CDT
This can't be real..
May 6, 2012 7:57 AM CDT
hey you there yeah you the one with the money look into my eyes!
May 5, 2012 5:04 PM CDT
The common wisdom is that a hypnotist cannot get you to do anything you don't want to do. At least not that fast---it would take hours of work to override a persons deep ethics. I guess if part of the hypnosis was convincing the victim there was a good reason for a transfer of funds, it could work. And if you aren't firing on all cylinders anyway, it is going to make it easier.