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By JOHN FRIEDLEIN
SONORA — Sometimes we hide things so well, we later can’t find them ourselves.
It’s not that Lynn lost her wedding ring after stashing it too well. She hid from herself the apparent reason it turned up missing.
She searched for it Friday with her eyes shut, relaxed in a plush rocker.
While Lynn allowed me to observe the hypnotherapy session, I changed her name at her request.
Speaking in a soft, deep voice, John Ferguson led her on a subconscious journey.
Ferguson’s current office — a farmhouse parlor with Victorian touches — offers a quieter setting than his old one in an Elizabethtown shopping center near railroad tracks. The walls there would shake with passing trains and the bass of car stereos. But by using a kind of mental judo on the auditory assault, the hypnotist had his client go deeper into a trance with each noise.
He deepened Lynn’s foray into her subconscious whenever he felt her rational mind, or left brain, tried to assert control. When she slipped out of her normal state of mind, she spoke with a slow voice in much detail about past events — like they were happening in the present.
Ferguson’s tactic was immediately obvious: Take her back two months ago, to the time she lost her ring of 34 years — and have her remember what happened aloud in a hyper-aware state.
Lynn, who had a laid back, try-anything attitude during the session, told Ferguson she had zipped her ring in her wallet, possibly before water aerobics. Days passed before she realized it was gone.
She was attached to the diamond ring, at least in part because her husband’s grandmother once wore it, and she wanted to give it to her own daughter.
“It just nags at me,” she said. “It’s just gone. I’ve never had that happen to me before.”
Much of what she said under hypnosis was pretty mundane, like how she opened her wallet at places like Dairy Queen. Sometimes, however, if felt as if she were on the verge of revelation — she remembers dumping the contents of her purse onto the floorboard of her friend’s car while swapping out bags.
The hypnotist at one point had her imagine asking her late grandmother about it.
So she did, but grandma spoke in her native Polish, so Lynn understood little — except that she called her “dear one,” which hypnotized Lynn eerily repeated in Polish.
Despite the language barrier, she could tell her grandmother was angry about something.
During the stretch between losing the ring and knowing she had lost it, Lynn recalled going to work and, for some reason, just tossing her purse onto a box under her desk. Normally, she doesn’t leave it laying around at her job, where employees are provided lockers.
Remembering details as minute as punched-out paper circles, she saw the scene with the purse, decorated with pictures of vegetables, under the desk.
“I don’t like it there,” she said under hypnosis. “Because I’m not always in my office.”
Ferguson made his move.
“As you stay connected with this ring,” he said, “I want you to go back to when it was in your wallet. Because you have this connection so strongly with this ring, you can do this. In just a moment, I’m going to ask you a question and snap my fingers, and when I do, you’ll know the answer.”
He asked if the ring was in her wallet when she arrived at work that day. After some hesitancy, she said: “It was there when I got there, but it wasn’t there when I left.”
So they ended the session, thinking they had come as far as possible.
Afterwards, her husband said Lynn always wants to believe the best in people.
It seems Lynn may have been hiding something from herself — and it wasn’t the ring.
John Friedlein can be reached at (270) 505-1746 or jfriedlein@ thenewsenterprise.com. His Stories from the Heartland column appears on Mondays.