General Semantics and the Chicken Suit Murders - The hypnotic realities of Dr Ronald Dante and Dr Michael Dean
[ strangeness | people - march 05 ]
What is it like to have someone attach themselves to the essence of who you are, and feed off that essence for the rest of your life and beyond, like a vampire sucking your nourishment? And what if you became rich and famous and this vampire on your essence also became rich and famous, so that no one could ever remember you without remembering them?
Once upon a time in the west there was a stage hypnotist named Dr Michael Dean, who performed his show at a San Diego night club called The Gaslight Supper Club. Dr Dean always wanted you to know that he is the world’s only stage hypnotist to have a legitimate doctorate, all the other ‘Drs’ and ‘Professors’ and ‘PhDs’ that litter the trade are from diploma mills or non-accredited ‘certification’ organizations, or simply self-conferred. He has stated most vociferously that you must have a doctorate to even think about making someone bark like a dog.
He received his doctor of philosophy degree in 1958 from Northwestern University (outside Chicago). His dissertation, A Comparative Treatment of Fact, Inference and Causation in the Theory of Argumentation and of General Semantics was based in part on the writings of Count Alfred Habdank Korzybski, a charismatic Polish emigré, who gained short-term popularity with his 800-page tome of terminal obfuscation titled Science and Sanity (1933). Korzybski’s thesis, oxymoronically, was that we should communicate more clearly. Example from page 15: ‘The multiordinality of terms is the fundamental mechanism of the full conditionality of human semantic reactions; it eliminates an unbelievable number of the old animalistic blockages, and is fundamental for sanity.’
Although he never practiced it himself, Korzybski proposed eliminating the word ‘is’ in order to make a happier world free from wars and madness. He is purported to have influenced the greatest minds of his generation, and is often quoted as saying ‘you think as much with your big toe as with your brain.’ William S Burroughs attended Korzybski’s lectures in Chicago in the late 1930s. Ted Morgan, Burrough’s biographer, points out that the ‘Ordinary Men and Women’ chapter in Naked Lunch (1959), where “a man taught his asshole to talk”, can be traced directly to Korzybski’s philosophy of social engineering. Korzybski’s relevance is reflected in the eight-volume Encyclopedia of Philosophy, where he has distinguished himself by meriting one entire sentence.
Now comes Ronald Dante riding into town. He was also interested in higher education and attended the University of Wisconsin. Eight years younger than Dean, he quickly caught up with him by dropping out of college and legally changing his first name to ‘Doctor,’ being known thereafter as ‘Dr Dante.’ Like Dean, he claimed to be a professor of semantics. For 15 years he followed Michael Dean around, from Chicago to Hawaii, sitting in the audience, and, according to Dean, copying his act word for word.
While the bookish Dr Dean was wavering between teaching appointments and gigs as a hypnotist, the tall, perfectly tonsured Dr Dante rode around Hollywood on a motorcycle, and performed his stolen act at the Peppermint Lounge. One night the fake doctor of semantics strode, elegantly dressed, into a disco called The Candy Store and met a broken down actress coming off her sixth messy divorce and a failed TV series. Her name was Lana Turner. Succumbing to what she called Dante’s unorthodox courting style and his soothing voice (not to mention his semantic agilities), she married him on May 9th, 1969.
During this period Dante appeared in numerous photos with all the stars of the day: Bob Hope, Johnny Carson, Sammy Davis Jr, the rock band Cream. A close examination of these photos will show some of the celebrities looking up at Dante while he smiles at the camera, giving the initial impression they are admirers. But archivist Jennifer Sharpe has pointed out that Dante probably made a funny noise or maybe goosed them with his thumb, which accounts for their expressions more accurately described as querulously repulsive. During the six months the marriage lasted, Dante not only hobnobbed with the stars, but worked diligently to defraud the Hollywood beauty, known for her tight sweaters, out of $200,000 dollars in cash, $100,000 in jewelry, and concocted forged documents allowing him, among other things, unlimited use of her name. Semantics became his slave.
Dr Dean, meanwhile, realizing there was no money in teaching young people how to think properly through general semantics, moved to San Diego and secured an open-ended engagement at the Gaslight Supper Club. Like his rival, he found it more lucrative to manipulate people into absurd acts of delusion. He made public speaking engagements, where he told people how to be happy and succeed in business. You could purchase one of his more than 140 self-help tapes, where he spoke in a strange, electronically altered voice, supposedly to make him sound more commanding. (Example: ‘Become a phony for a week and soon it will become the real you.’)  His photo on the tape box showed him in a funny suit, sideburns, and a hair-do that looked like a wig, making him resemble a last place runner up in an Elvis impersonator contest. But for the kind of cash he was making, looks were not important.
Dante returned some of Lana Turner’s money by court order, but managed to evade the issue by fleeing to Tucson and starting up his ‘stolen’ hypnosis show at a dive appropriately called the Pirate’s Den. But his semantic skills began to falter. He developed a stuttering problem and stage fright. Perhaps he listened to the astonishing insight on one of Dr Dean’s self-improvement tapes where he said, ‘if you prepare yourself you will be able to handle anything.’ So Dante prepared himself by loading up on tranquilizers and barbiturates, but as a result he missed a show because he simply forgot about it, and did so poorly at an engagement in Lubbock, Texas that he was charged with theft under false pretext, and forced to return the client’s money. The crowds at the Pirate’s Den were dwindling. He was experiencing a semantic slave revolt.
On Dean’s tape How to Gain Self Assurance , he said, ‘Instead of waiting for someone to give you what you want why not... throw all... false excuses aside and frankly go out and get it?’ Dante may have taken this advice, or perhaps even more so, Dean’s assertion, ‘courage is the indisputable weapon.’ 
On New Year’s Eve, 1974, Dr Dante met three men in a parking lot and gave them $1,420 in cash. Dante instructed them to go to San Diego, locate Dr Michael Dean, and with a Colt Woodman .22 caliber pistol, blow his brains out. With the side-burned, money-making professor out of the way, the elegantly coiffed Dante would slide into his San Diego turf, and snatch up his lucrative, long-term engagement at the Gaslight Supper Club.
Dante quietly slipped into Los Angeles, and patiently popped downers while waiting for the good news. A day passed, then another day, and finally a whole week went by and Dr Dean was still alive. Then one sunny California morning the heavily tranquilized mesmerist was surprised to wake up and find himself slapped in handcuffs on a fugitive warrant for attempted murder and brought back to Tucson for trial. What could possibly have gone wrong? In hiring a hit man to kill the rival hypnotist, Dr Ronald Dante, ersatz professor of semantics, had unwittingly hired an undercover cop.
After a stint of detoxification, Dante rose to the occasion and called upon every nuance of his semantic skill. Even though he convinced a psychiatrist he had ‘a fundamental thought disorder,’ he was declared sane. When he tried the I-couldn’t-remember-a-thing defense, no one believed it. His $6 million law suit for false arrest was laughingly thrown out of court. His motion for a new trial was denied. And although he briefly escaped custody, grew a beard, and tried to become someone named Lawrence Jeffers, he was recaptured in a Santa Barbara motel with forged identity papers and a bag of cash.
In November of 1974 he began a seven-to-20 year term at the Arizona State Prison in Florence for attempted murder in the second degree. As the newspapers reported every twist and turn of the story, they invariably included the line, ‘Dante is the former husband of actress Lana Turner.’
That would seem to put Dante pretty much in hypnotic Boot Hill. But a few years later something occurred that scarcely anyone would notice. On page 452 of the 1996 Guinness Book of World Records it stated that the highest fee ever paid to a public speaker - over $3 million - went to someone named Dr Ronald Dante. He spoke on - what else? - hypnotism, at a conference right in the middle of Michael Dean’s old stomping grounds, Chicago.
In 1788, barely within hypnotism’s Planck Time, two London hypnotists, a Dr Gotbold and a Dr Freeman, got into what the London Times called ‘a most horrid and bloody duel.’  One was reportedly shot through the center of the right eye and the other below the navel. Two hundred years later, after all kinds of assorted hypno-death, the mesmerist ‘Wild Bill’ Cody went to prison in North Dakota for murder, Mike Lamp was stopped by police in Iowa for carrying a concealed weapon to another hypnotist’s show, and David Simone was recently kidnapped and beaten half to death in Las Vegas. As Browning wrote, ‘If hate killed men, Brother Lawrence, God’s blood would not mine kill you!’
Why do stage hypnotists want to see all the others dead? The magicians, mimes and jugglers of the world, have fellowship conventions honoring each other with awards and memorials. They have glossy magazines and coffee table books and museums and collections of antique costumes, posters and props. Stage hypnotists have nothing but rancor. When Pat Collins, probably the most famous hypnotist in America, died in 1997, The Amazing Kreskin - also a hypnotist - shamed her in her own obituary by saying she stole Ted Boyer’s act.  It is ironic Dr Michael Dean claimed that Pat Collins stole his act. In fact, Dean claimed everyone stole his act.
Michael Dean the hypnotist has spent a lifetime living in a Laocoön tangle of mimicry and evasion with Ronald Dante. The letters of their stage names can almost be exactly rearranged into the spelling of the other. They are both from the Midwest, established their reputations as stage hypnotists, and then became involved with lecturing and education in California. Even their stage names reflect their pedagogical commitments: ‘Dean’ as in ‘dean of students,’ and ‘Dante’ as in the inspired author of the great epic of fall and redemption.
Michael Dean has said in at least two of his books on how to think correctly that stupidity is the refusal to ask questions. Since I had plenty of questions to ask about his tapeworm problem, I surmised the correct thing to do was contact the two ageing hypnotists, assuming they were even still alive. They would be close to 80 years old.
If you want to locate a magician, you start calling magicians. If you want to locate a ventriloquist, you start calling ventriloquists. But if you want to locate a hypnotist you find out very quickly how elusive they can be when it comes to anything other than furthering their self-aggrandizement. I encountered a long series of evasions from one hypnotist after another. Most knew of the Dean / Dante murder for hire case - it is now a show business legend - but no one knew how to contact the participants.
I turned to Lana Turner’s autobiography, The Lady, The Legend, the Truth, where she says of Dante, ‘his real name was Ronald Peller, and he called himself a doctor, although of what I’m not exactly sure.’  Through a contact in the California Department of Motor Vehicles I found that there was recently a speeding citation issued to a Ronald Peller of Huntington Beach. I wrote to Mr Peller and said I wanted to speak to him.
A week later I received a letter on the official stationary of Columbia University. Didn’t I read in one of Dean’s books that he obtained his master’s degree from Teacher’s College, Columbia University? The letter read, ‘Thank you for your interest. I will be in touch with you shortly.’ It was signed, ‘Ron Dante.’
On side A of How to Gain Self Confidence,  Dean said in his android voice, ‘a college diploma is not an all powerful open sesame to success... education is a state of mind, not a diploma that is earned.’ And although Dean has created two $350,000 endowment chairs in general semantics at California colleges, Dante has created an entire university - Columbia State University. It is not, however, the Columbia from which Dean received his Masters Degree, but the Columbia in Metarie, Louisiana, advertised in Time, Newsweek, Forbes, and USA Today, the notorious diploma mill, where, for as little as $2,000 you could get a PhD in a week. The campus consisted of a Mailboxes PO box. Tens of thousands of people worldwide, from heads of state to TV hosts to one nuclear power plant troubleshooter in DeWitt, Illinois, have doctorates from Dante’s Columbia State University. According to one report, Columbia University made Dane over $75 million dollars (or, according to another, more reliable report, a mere $10 million). A banner under the coat of arms at the top of his letter read, ‘Achievement Through Education.’
When I first heard Dr Dante’s voice, I understood what Lana Turner meant. Instead of the husky, belabored utterances of an elderly man, he spoke in a deep hypnotic tone and sounded decades younger, telling me he was working on wife number seven (he was Lana Turner’s seventh husband) and taking up hang gliding. He sounded unusually chipper in spite of his problems with federal authorities over one of his other schools, Permanetics Institute, which taught cosmetic tattooing. There was a semantic dispute with the FTC over the distinction between ‘permanent’ and ‘virtually permanent.’
‘So now I’m up to 11 counts of contempt of court,’ Dane told me, ‘which could get me 22 years in fucking jail. I’m calling from somewhere in Europe, but I can’t tell you where, or you’ll be an accessory.’
I had no way of knowing he was really calling me from Ensenada, Mexico, where he was living on a $1.5 million yacht, burying suitcases of money in the desert, and involved with two recent deaths through hypnosis.
When I asked the fugitive hypnotist about the time he tried to kill Michael Dean, he said, echoing the title of Lana Turner’s book, ‘there’s his truth, my truth, the real truth, and the mythological truth.’
Dante was extraordinarily forthcoming, telling me about the 27-year-old undercover snitch named Ed Wagner, an ex-cop who ‘liked to beat up bums so much he got kicked off the force.’ Wagner threatened to cut off people’s fingers too. So from a purely rational point of view he seemed like the right person to kill Dean. Dante said that his conversations were tape-recorded while ‘I was wiped out of my fucking mind on prescription drugs,’ even though the tape recordings were so poor no one could understand them, a legitimate legal point in his own defense.
Although the above statements are verifiable, any series of utterances by Dante, no matter how persuasive, become a chimera. To hear it from him, the murder for hire incident was one big conspiracy against him for no reason. It became nothing short of pure entertainment to hear Dante blame Dean for the whole thing - Dean paid the bum-basher $4,000 to entrap him; Dean hypnotized a man to murder Dante’s cousin. Even Dante’s lawyer, who argued the case perhaps a little too intelligently along meticulous lines of legal citation, was portrayed as a cocaine addict ‘falling off his chair.’
In two long phone conversations, supposedly from Europe, Dante told me his entire life story without a trace of malice toward anyone, not even Dean, whom he said did ‘a good hypnosis act, even though he hasn’t changed it in 25 years.’ There were episodes like the time he married the richest woman in Bangkok after World War II, whose family had him shot and left for dead, after which time he was nursed back to health by another woman who bore him a daughter named Lee. Then there was Miss Texas. And of course Lana Turner. He said he didn’t choose it that way, but he always seemed to marry rich women. He had a ‘godson’ who was a hypnotist in Las Vegas, but had trouble remembering his stage name (Bob Kensington). I asked Dante if he was still performing hypnotism on stage and he said no, the last time was in prison, where he hypnotized the warden and his 12-year-old daughter and treated them both for cocaine addiction.
The question I could not ask at the time - because I didn’t know yet - was this: with millions of dollars and a luxury yacht, and the means to live anywhere in the world, why did Dr Dante hypnotize a German hang glider pilot into what one witness called ‘just a shell’ in the grubby Mexican town of La Salina? Several years later the answer would come, not from Dante, but from one of his intended hypnotic victims, someone instrumental in having Dante kidnapped off his yacht by Mexican federales.
After the police told Michael Dean he was supposed to be dead by January 6, 1974, he told the Los Angeles Times, ‘It’s a complete shock to me. I haven’t talked to Dante in 10 or 15 years.’ Nine months later, when Dean took the stand at Dante’s trial, he made a big show of sobbing pathetically into a handkerchief and accusing Dante of stealing his act in Chicago and causing him problems ever since, like following him from one night club to the next and offering do the same act as Dean for half the price, and telling the press he taught Dean everything he knew.
Dr Michael Dean’s real name is Sanford Irvin Berman, the middle name being essential so as not to confuse him with the voluminously published, subversive book cataloguer, also from Minnesota, who was once Idi Amin’s personal librarian. I contacted the universities where Dean was supposed to have taught under the name of Berman, but I was told they did not keep records of teaching appointments, an interesting point which perhaps Dante was aware, since he too claimed to have taught at several of the same universities, a claim that conveniently could not be disproved. Meanwhile I obtained copies of his books, The Closed Mind and Why Do We Jump to Conclusions? both published in 1965, and his compilations of the works of others on general semantics. Although they purported to teach me correct thinking, they did not lead me to him.
S I Hayakawa, best-selling author and one of Korzybski’s protégés, asserted that the statement, ‘This is a cow’ is false. You must say, ‘Bossie is a neuro-physico-chemical eventfulness.’  During the height of its popularity in the 1930s and 1940s, this method of verbal correctness made impressive claims. You could be cured of homosexuality or nymphomania in as little as one hour. It could keep the fillings from falling out of your teeth. 
In the same way that the fad of hypnotism dropped from serious notice after the death of Anton Mesmer in 1815, articles on general semantics dropped from listing in the Reader’s Guide to Periodical Literature after 1951. Nonetheless, Dean has continued to be a lifelong booster. If it could keep my dental work intact (as well as my sanity), I was interested to hear from Dean himself how general semantics has protected him over the years from the homicidal urges of his hypnotic rival, Dr Ronald Dante.
On the title page of Dean’s (Berman’s) How to Lessen Misunderstandings (1962), the publisher is given as the International Society for General Semantics, with a post office box in San Francisco. The same Society has a website devoted to Korzybski’s cult of clarity and begins with a one sentence paragraph, ‘Alfred Korzybski, with his subject General Semantics, introduced a bunch of principles that are conducive to the whole systems view.’
I called the phone number on the website, and got a recording that said, ‘this call cannot be completed as dialed.’ I wrote to their San Francisco address but the letter was returned unopened. I discovered other ‘General Semantics’ organizations and websites, each purporting to be the correct one, like so many Dean’s and Dante’s, but Dean (as Berman) also seemed to be connected to another website called the Institute of General Semantics (IGS) and was evidently a past president. But contacting this organization brought little clarity to either Dr Dean’s whereabouts or why there are duplicate general semantics organizations.
Eventually I located a magician who saw Dr Dean’s hypnosis act at Iron World, a Minnesota theme park, but the encounter consisted of Dean admonishing, ‘if I knew you were an entertainer, I’d have had you thrown out!’ A similar situation occurred with another young magician from Dean’s home town of Virginia, Minnesota, who said, ‘I asked for advice on performing hypnotism onstage. He went off on me like the Fourth of July. I have never to this day experienced such a bizarre encounter.’
In 1998 Phil Gatewood, a Milwaukee journalist with a weekly arts column titled ‘The Blues Detective,’ managed to interview Michael Dean by telephone. Gatewood was kind enough to send me Dean’s taped conversation, with better audio quality than the one made of Dante planning to kill him. I could see why the interview never made it into print. Although the carefully sequestered hypnotist described himself in Words, Meaning and People as ‘average’ and ‘low-key,’ he pretty much fit the profile given by other entertainers - especially hypnotists - who have met him. For what Dante offers in confabulation, Dean offers in paranoia. He immediately wanted to know how Gatewood got his number and where he was calling from. When Gatewood said Dean was one of the top names in 20th century stage hypnotism, Dean said ‘uh-huh’ in agreement, but after that the discourse seemed to follow the chapter titles in the previously mentioned book - The Problem of Communication, Dangers Lurking in Our Assumptions, Learning to Control Response, Delaying Jumps to Conclusions, Bypassing of Communication.
When Gatewood asked about the time Dante tried to kill him he responded by saying he was rewriting Korzybski’s Science and Sanity and ‘doing research applying general semantics to the philosophy of science, Einstein’s theory of relativity and quantum mechanics.’ Gatewood asked how he learned hypnotism and whether there was any truth to Dante’s claim that he learned it from a singing waiter with a Polish accent, to which Dean snapped back, “Dante’s a psychopathic liar. He’s sick. Don’t write this, though. He’s a dangerous guy.”
Sanity is a theme that comes up in general semantics often, and Dean mentions it frequently in his books and tapes. Dante almost seems to hover over Dean’s work like a thematic ghost, as in the long section in the audio recording How to Gain Self Assurance, where he describes a personality type called ‘the bluffer.’ The man who was ‘sent to prison for counterfeiting and other illegal acts,’ seems to match Dante exactly.  Chapter 26 in Words, Meaning and People titled ‘Beware of Charlatans’ could just as easily be titled ‘Dante.’
I listened to Gatewood attempt repeatedly to pry something out of Dean on the murder for hire case, and Dean chastise him for his incorrectness of thought. Where Dante digresses, Dean evades. Unbeknownst to Dean, however, Gatewood - besides being a journalist - was also a real detective who taught interrogation techniques to professionals, and so to listen to him spar semantically with the professor of communication was like watching a mongoose play with a cobra.
In a roundabout and indirect way, Dean revealed that he became a stage hypnotist not to entertain, but ‘to show people that hypnosis is true,’ and that this initial exposure to truth-seekers was at the Cairo Supper Club in Chicago (at least until it was blown up by the Mafia). He recalled the time Dante asserted himself on a waitress, whereupon her boyfriend pulled a gun and was about to shoot him just as someone knocked it out of his hand. And then there was the time Dante sent a drink over to Dean as a courtesy, but Dean refused it because he knew Dante was ‘a psychopathic liar.’ In fact, Dean claimed to have made a two hour audio tape on the psychopathic personality, which could be the perfect case of ‘the play’s the thing wherein I’ll catch the conscience of the king,’ but when I eventually wrote to him in Las Vegas offering to purchase it, I received no reply.
In the middle of his trial on 10 counts of criminal contempt stemming from his fake cosmetic tattoo school, Dante fled to Ensenada Mexico on his expensive yacht and started up a hang gliding business called Royal Class, Master of Dreams. Dante always had a taste for big boy toys like airplanes and boats and had been arrested for frauds involving both. So it seemed consistent with his pattern to live on a yacht and have others fly aircraft through an atmosphere of risk - at a profit to himself. He acquired a band of local ‘flunkies’ as they were described by witnesses, and bought a motorized paraglider called a ‘trike.’ He advertised ‘fantasy flights’ to tourists and recruited a German man as a pilot. His name was Peter and was described as ‘weak in character and not very bright.’ The same witness told me ‘the last time I saw Peter, I remember walking away with a strange feeling, like I wasn’t really talking to him. He had death in his eyes. I always wondered how Hitler did it until I saw that going on.’
After only six weeks of flying with passengers under Dr Dante’s hypnotic control, the inexperienced Peter went up one day in the trike with a 350-pound tourist and came buzzing over a crowded swimming pool at a resort where they recruited customers. He did an aerobatic maneuver, stalling the wing, letting it fall off to the side, then dropping into a sideslip, something he’d been warned about from more experienced paragliders, but Dante apparently told him to do it anyway, it was good for business. According to an eyewitness, ‘the 350 pounds in the back seat changed the center of gravity. It didn’t recover from the sideslip, just splattered on the beach in front of the crowd at the pool, including this guy’s brother, wife and two kids. They hit so hard their bones powdered, and left a crater in the beach the size of a Volkswagon.’ In the confusion, Dante’s flunkies stole everything off the corpses - wallet, watch, side pack - as well as everything out of Peter’s house and van. The body remained in the morgue for a week before it could be officially identified and his family notified.
Disgusted by these events and Dante’s crude attempts at cover up, there began an effort by concerned parties to have Dante brought to justice, but neither the Mexican nor American authorities were willing to take action. So they notified the news media, which did take action, and began to cover Dante’s activities in Mexico. Even though he had befriended the governor of Baja, the Mexican federales in conjunction with the FBI, now pressured by public attention, shanghaied the hypnotist on his yacht and brought him back to the US. In his 60s, Dante was sentenced to 67 months in the federal correctional facility in Taft, California for mail fraud and contempt charges relating to his fake schools. He was forced to give up his yacht and pay more than $200,000 in restitution. That left millions of dollars remaining, reportedly still buried in the Mexican desert, and he got off free on the two hypno-deaths in La Salina.
In Dante’s case there’s too much mythology, and in Dean’s too little. After his 300 page dissertation on general semantics, which he completed at the time Dante started copying his act, Dean’s written production dwindled to that of a Samuel Beckett character. The works that Dean refers to as ‘books’ are really pamphlets sold for a dollar, written in a simplistic style complete with clip art for a reader he refers to in another context as ‘any idiot off the street.’ The rest are compilations of the works of others. In the Gatewood interview, Dean refused to give the year or even where he graduated from college, and in fact didn’t want the interview printed at all - which it wasn’t - making him resemble the skeleton that says to the laxative, ‘You’ll get nothing out of me.’
Dean’s doctoral dissertation as well as his subsequent writings are what Umberto Eco said of his own thesis on Thomas Aquinas, ‘...what I had actually done was to rehearse... my research as if it were an inquiry... whereas the mature scholar digests these experiences and then offers... the conclusions.’  In his own words, which he didn’t want published, Dean said his intended magnum opus was to rewrite Science and Sanity, the ultimate book to teach you how to think and communicate. At 80 years of age, Dean is still absorbed in this project, reading over a hundred books simultaneously.
To the extent that court documents are reliable, the death of Dante’s mother - with whom he was very close - led him to tranquilizer addiction and prison, which appears to be the crucible for his later frauds involving tens of millions. In my interview with him he also mentioned his mother and her death from cancer. No doubt, the dashing Dante must have been an adorable infant. Freud said, ‘A man who’s been the indisputable favorite of his mother goes through life with the feeling of a conqueror.’  Now freshly out of prison at 72 years of age, Dr Dante has created the alliterative website, drdante.com, and is energetically promoting himself again as a hypnotist in Las Vegas, where Dean is living.
After at least one death and several psychotic episodes following participation in stage hypnotism in Britain, a study of these sequelae was published by Dr Michael Heap, University of Sheffield, who wrote, ‘I have long suspected that hypnotists make even more fascinating study than hypnosis itself and that we need more theories about the former and fewer about the latter.’ 
But theories, like Korzybski’s general semantics, tend to boil away like vapor and leave some smaller, less palpable residue behind. In dressing room chit chat Dr Michael Dean will continue to be regarded as the only stage hypnotist to have a legitimate PhD, and Dr Ronald Dante as the hypnotist once married to actress Lana Turner.
And the one tried to kill the other. This inseparable mesmeric pair, this infernal binary, this devilish duo are both brushing age aside and still working their way furiously into the future.
1 Berman, Sanford I [Michael Dean]. How To Gain Self Assurance. San Diego: Educational Cassettes, Inc. 1974, Side B. [Back]
2 Ibid. Side B. [Back]
3 Ibid. Side A. [Back]
4 ‘A Most Horrid and Bloody Duel.’ London Times. September 2, 1788. [Back]
5 Kreskin, The Amazing. ‘Tribute to Pat Collins.’ Magicol. Vol. 124, August, 1997, p9. [Back]
6 Turner, Lana. The Lady, The Legend, the Truth, Lana. New York: EP Dutton. 1982, p286. In recent documents, including a US Dept. of Justice press release, the name is spelled ‘Pellar.’ [Back]
7 Berman, Sanford I [Michael Dean]. How to Gain Self Confidence. San Diego: Educational Cassettes, Inc. 1974. [Back]
8 New Republic. August 2, 1939, p 354. [Back]
9 Time. August 11, 1941, p 32. [Back]
10 Op. cit. Side B. [Back]
11 Eco, Umberto. On Literature. 2002. From chapter ‘How I Write,’ p307. [Back]
12 Cowley, Jason. ‘Search For Dr Bloch.’ Granta #79. Fall, 2002, p 223. Dr Bloch was Hitler’s doctor, who reported the close ties between Hitler and his mother. [Back]
13 Heap, Michael. ‘A Case of Death Following Stage Hypnosis: Analysis and Implications.’ Contemporary Hypnosis. Vol. 12, no. 2, 1995, p106. [Back]