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Dr. Franz Polgar (April 18, 1900 - June 1979) was a renowned psychologist, hypnotist, lecturer and entertainer. Born in city of Enying, Hungary, he earned a PhD in Psychology from the University of Budapest.
In his 1951 autobiography Polgar claimed that he had served as Sigmund Freud's "medical hypnotist" (Polgar's term) in 1924 and had worked in close association with Freud for six months and had assisted in the treatment of Freud's patients. In 1982, Gravitz and Gerton investigated this claim and determined that it had no foundation.
He immigrated to the United States in 1935 and honed his hypnotism skills by working in speakeasy bars in New York City. He married his wife, Lillian, in 1938 and she became his booking and publications manager. They had two children, Julian and Risa.
During the early days of television, and soon after an early 1949 appearance at the Newburgh Free Academy in Newburgh, New York, in which he claimed to have induced a student, Donald A. Romano, into a trance, Dr. Polgar had a 15-minute show on the CBS station in New York City. Most of his entertaining was done in colleges, universities, and resorts. His show consisted of three parts: hypnosis demonstration, a mentalism or "mind reading" stunt where he would use Hellstromism to find an object hidden by his audience, and various memory stunts.
- Polgar, F.J. (with Singer K.), The Story of a Hypnotist, Hermitage House, (New York), 1951.
- Gravitz, M.A. & Gerton, M.I., "Polgar as Freud’s Hypnotist? Contrary Evidence", American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, Vol.24, No.4, (April 1982), pp.272-276.
- Schneck, J.M., "Freud's “Medical Hypnotist", American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, Vol.19, No.2, (October 1976), pp.80-81.