Bernard Sumner hypnotised Ian Curtis ‘to try and shake him out of a death wish’

Curtis reportedly spoke about being a mercenary in the Hundred Years' War during the session

Joy Division guitarist Bernard Sumner has revealed that he hypnotised singer Ian Curtis “to try and shake him out of a death wish” two weeks prior to Curtis’ suicide.

The incident is detailed in Sumner’s recently released autobiography Chapter And Verse, in which Sumner reveals that Curtis repeatedly talked about being a mercenary in the Hundred Years War during the sessions.

Speaking about the event to The Guardian, Sumner stated: “I first read about hypnotism at school and I used to do tricks like getting a really skinny guy to arm wrestle the local bully. Much later, when we were in Joy Division, I read a book on hypnotic regression and how it could be used for therapy.”

He continued: “I first hypnotised Ian at our rehearsal room. He remembered nothing, but when we did it again exactly the same memories came up, about him being a mercenary in the Hundred Years War. I recorded it and when I played it back to him he was astounded. It was my feeble attempt to try and shake him out of a death wish he seemed to have. He’d already tried to commit suicide. I’ve never listened to the tape since because it was too tender, but I decided to have it transcribed and put it in the book. Otherwise it would be lost forever.”

The incident is one of many insights into the inner workings of both Joy Division and New Order that Sumner speaks about in the book.

Elsewhere, the guitarist also goes into detail about his fractious relationship with bassist Peter Hook, who recently responded by labelling the book “cruel and spiteful”. “Book stores won’t know whether to file it under fantasy or tragedy,” said Hook of the text.