If you’ve ever seen “The Manchurian Candidate” (either the original or the remake), the premise seems like pure cinema. Under hypnosis, an otherwise upstanding citizen becomes an assassin, killing while in a trance before forgetting the murder ever happened. But is it possible in real life? In “Brainwashed” (Oct. 28, 9:00 p.m. ET on Discovery), researchers decide to find out.
Using Tom Silver, a hypnotist with over 28 years of experience who has put people under on “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills,” “The Doctors,” “The Ricki Lake Show,” the show put a group of volunteers through a series of increasingly difficult tests to see if any one of them might emerge as a potential killer. And the goal isn’t just theory and conjecture — the show created a scenario in which a hypnotized person would be given a real gun (filled with blanks) and a mark to shoot at close range, fake blood splatter and all.
I spoke to Silver about the show, and while he was unwilling to discuss whether or not the test worked (you’ll get no spoilers from me, but you really do need to watch the show), he did talk about implanting memories, using hypnosis for either good or evil and why Taiwan hired him to pull secrets out of imprisoned colonels and generals.