Here's the publicity blurb about a 20/20 piece I've just been watching:

In a 20-20 special edition this week, Princess Diana's former lover James Hewitt goes under hypnosis and reveals startling details about his affair with the late Princess of Wales.
The former Army major - dubbed the cad for revealing the affair - breaks down and talks about his love and wish to protect the Princess of Wales, and his brush with Britain's secret services.


I only watched the first half so if it all turned out to be a hoax, I was taken in and I'll look stupid.

If it was genuine, then the producers and anyone who falls for this rubbish are the ones looking less-than-informed. The premise of this piece is that hypnosis is supposed to retrieve and clarify lost memories. I notice that none of the hypnotists in the piece actually explicitly claimed this to be true - it was all implicit.

That's because hypnotism is widely considered to be worse than useless when it comes to recovering memories. When I last worked in psychology (which admittedly was a long time ago) hypnosis was thought to increase the subject's propensity to "embellish" or even invent memories.

On top of this, James Hewitt did not appear at all convincing. In my unscientific opinion he looked like a fake who had researched how he was supposed to behave under hypnosis and acted accordingly.

Hypnosis can be a great tool for the right purposes but I can't see that it has any useful purpose in this case. Speaking of purpose, what exactly was the purpose of learning more about James Hewitt? Does he really deserve the attention?