Who was Dave Elman?
When people talk about great hypnotists of the 20th century, two names come to mind. Milton Erickson… and Dave Elman. They have equal stature.
This is surprising because Erickson published dozens of books and papers on hypnosis and was actively promoted by his followers who wrote dozens of books about Erickson, but Elman published only one book, “Findings in Hypnosis” (later published as “Hypnotherapy”). Why is Dave Elman held in such high esteem? His induction is that good!
Erickson’s inductions could take a very long time, but Elman would place a subject into deep trance in less than a minute!
Elman published only one book, but that ONE book had such an impact that many consider Elman to be the greatest hypnotist of all time. There is very little accurate information out there about Dave Elman but this new site and our products are going to change all that!
Dave Elman (1900-1967) was born David Kopelman in Park River, ND in May 1900, and grew up in Fargo, ND. He died in 1967.
He was inspired to research hypnosis because his father, dying of cancer, received pain relief from hypnosis which enabled him to play with Dave one last time.
Dave toured with a number of vaudeville troops, serving as a musician, a comedian, a bit player, and in several other capacities.
It was in this period that he began using the name Dave Elman because the extra three letters of Kopelman prevented getting better billing on theater marquees. In this period, he also was billed as “The World’s Youngest and Fastest Hypnotist” because his research in hypnosis after his father’s death had led him to discover means of hypnotizing subjects in mere seconds. This was an important discovery in the fast-paced world of the vaudeville circuit where slow acts bored audiences and were fired for that. It was several decades later that he realized that this speed of hypnotic induction also made hypnosis useful in medicine.
In the 1920s, Dave worked as a songwriter for W. C. Handy while still also playing as a jazz musician. This led him into radio, his primary career from the mid-1920s into the early 1950s. In 1937, he created the program “Hobby Lobby” which was carried coast-to-coast for over a decade—an unusual achievement for that era. He also created “War Bond Auction,” a program which generated very large amounts of money for the war effort. He received many awards for this from the Government.
In 1949, he demonstrated his rapid induction methods and knowledge of pain control to doctor friends. As a result, he was asked to provide a course on hypnosis to physicians and dentists. He insisted that he not practice medicine but only teach the techniques of hypnosis. His students often researched further medical applications and reported these back to be described in the course. His courses on hypnosis taught more physicians this subject than any other teacher before or since. The audio recordings of the classes and his book HYPNOTHERAPY are regarded as classics in the field of Medical Hypnosis. (Courtesy of his son, H. L. Elman)