Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Scientific Wrestling's Jake Shannon: polymath and autodidact? Or just another crisis of confidence?

Among his other claims (he's self-described as a "renowned polymath," an "autodidact," "acclaimed author," "inventor," "historian," "professional wrestler," "financial engineer," "expertise acquisitioner," "mental self-defense trainer," "Human Rights Investigator,"*** general "investigator," "philanthropist," political activist, "coach" -- be it of Krav Maga, catch wrestling, Shamrock Submission wrestling, crossfit, kettlebell lifting, SHOCKknife safety, etc. -- "physical culturalist," and "entrepreneur"), Jake Shannon is, by his own boastings, a "Master hypnotist," a man who can help you lose weight, quit smoking, increase your sexual pleasures, and hone such mental processes as meta-cognition, critical thinking, mnemonics, and likely a number of other academic buzz phrases that he might one day think of that sound super smart, "scientific," and impressive. As his ad copy (now appearing under "mental self defense," because presumably its earlier phrasing, "scientific mind control," sounded just a bit too creepy) warns: "Politicians, Scam Artists, Manipulators, Etc. - BEWARE".

Oh. And should you wish to do away with the middle man, he can also teach you hypnosis.

So I decided to check into some of his claims, just as he has always counseled us to do should we wish to follow his lead as a natural skeptic and "critical thinker." Here's what my team of experts has come up with so far on his Master hypnotist training and credentials:

7. Where did you get your training in hypnotism and are you certified by any organization?

I am an auto-didact mostly. I had dabbled in hypnosis since being introduced to visualization as a teenage oncology patient but I didn’t begin serious, deliberate study until a few years later in 1993. By 1997 I was creating mischief and adventure for myself with hypnotism every single day in San Francisco and Los Angeles.

However, I did finally get certified by the International Association of Professional Conversational Hypnotists once I decided to begin a practice. As a prank, I didn’t tell the others at the certification about my past experience with hypnosis so they were all quite amazed when I was fully hypnotizing strangers later that night at the bar after just day one. A creative hypnotist with a sense of humor can be quite fun.

The International Association’s web-site is right here.

Jake’s not listed – in fact, there are only two IACwhatever’s listed.

Here’s a copy of a sample certificate – suitable for framing. Which, hey, that looks kinda familiar!

The name at the bottom of the certificate, “Andrew Murphy/President IAPCH,” doesn’t turn up in a Google search. And, the “contact us” information leads one to look at a site called “” … a quick tour to there shows a label — ‘Street Hypnosis’ and an inactive site.

So, our friend Jake’s sole claimed credential for his medical-ish hypnotherapy practice appears to be ... well, let's just say dubious.

-- Though it does seem to have served as a potential model for Jake’s own Scientific Wrestling certification system: IAPCH, like Scientific Wrestling, also has an open book test for its lower levels of membership.

Jake Shannon claims as one of his personal strengths what he calls “Expertise Acquisition”:
* Name Jake Shannon
* Web http://www.scient...
* Bio Hypnosis, Meta-Cognition, Mnemonics, and Expertise Acquisition.

In the case of his hypnotherapy training, he seems to have acquired his "expertise" in the same way he often does: he essentially buys a certificate and then play acts.

As one of my team of INVESTIGATORS remarked in his field notes, we really should "find out if [..] Master Jake [...] is in compliance with Utah’s medical community oversight agency with regard to his claims of being able to use hypnosis for smoking cessation and weight control. Those seem, to me, to be medical claims. I’m okay with 'hypnotize yourself to be a better you' crap-o-la, but medical stuff is medical stuff. And Jake’s public statements about his concern should a patient have an 'abreaction' to his tender hypnosis administrations leaves me worried … for the children."

Good points. Though I don't know if one really needs to worry. After all, if someone has a bad reaction, I'm sure Jake can refer them to a skilled mind control expert who will nurture them back to strong mental health...

Or hell, just have them fix themselves. All it takes is a little bit of work...

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