This set of posters produced by The Donaldson Lithographing Co. of Newport, Kentucky ca. 1900 show hypnotised people engaged in strange activities. The phenomena of hypnotism began to gain momentum with the work of Scottish surgeon James Braid (1795–1860), an early pioneer of the practise, paving the way for it to hit the mainstream toward the end of the 19th century.
These posters remind me of my fun loving Aunt Sheila who took my sisters and I to see Reveen The Impossibilist, a stage hypnotist who frequently appeared in Montreal when I was a kid. Much to my embarrassment Sheila always volunteered to be one of his "subjects" and performed comical shenanigans on stage while "mesmerized."
More: The Public Domain Review