Friday, October 30, 2009

Meet OTIS!

Meet OTIS!

I am lucky enough to have some friends who are very receptive to hypnosis and as such make fantastic subjects. Premiere among them is my pal Otis, a six-year career military man who is very much accustomed to taking orders. His intelligence, imagination, creativity, and good humor make him one of the best subjects I've ever had. It is always an absolute joy to work with him.

Below you can find the videos from our 7-part series on YouTube. Watch Otis experience everything from positive to negative hallucinations [seeing things that aren't there, not seeing others that are], name amnesia, levitation, ass-to-couch-gluing and feet-to-floor-cementing as well as inability-to-remove-his-bootsness [official terms], triggered dancing, and my all-time favorite, induced laughter!

Enjoy. And no, we have not seen the last of him.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Go Get 'Em, Gunter!

I wonder from time to time if my great love of hypnosis, and the joy that comes from hypnotizing others, may indicate some kind of hypnotic addiction on my part. When I meet someone new and make a connection--or reconnect with old friends--I find that I often get struck by the desire to hypnotize them. The idea of sharing the joy of hypnosis with others is a powerful thing.

Enter The Amazing Gunter. I discovered Gunter on YouTube. He seems to be of German decent, judging by his accent [or perhaps he's just a really gifted young English showman named Tom Anderson who can do vocal impressions], and his little video which runs less than two minutes long, indicates that his love of hypnosis shadows even my own. Watch him make the rounds in Cambridge hypnotizing strangers with no other apparent goal in mind than to see them drop to the ground like a sack of potatoes.

I stress here the it is considered unethical to put someone under without their consent, and it is just good manners to back off when they decline. Neither consideration seems to bother the energetic Gunter, and unethical as it may be, the result is flippin' hilarious.

Do not try this on your own college campus. Have The Amazing Gunter do it for you.


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Hypnotic Glue Story

[Originally published in the IATH forums on May 31, 2009 under the subject heading: Hypnotic GLUE and SAFETY—Please read!]

Something happened today I would like everyone to know about. It's more than a little embarrassing and also a bit scary.

I have been practicing and studying for my Certification Exam and have had a few friends who have been very helpful in letting me put them under. Today a very good friend stopped by so I could practice basics with him as my subject (instant inductions, deepeners, phenomena, so forth).

When this friend goes under he goes VERY deep, VERY fast. He is of the type you sometimes see in video clips who falls so fast asleep that he tips over sideways on the couch to land in a pile of pillows. Well, my friend did that today, and as I set him upright, I told him that his palm was coated with hypnotic glue and that it was being stuck fast to his face. I pressed his palm gently to his cheek and told him that there it was, glued securely, and that he couldn't remove it. Then I had him open his eyes to experience it.

He screamed. Not loudly, just sort of raised his voice in surprise. But it completely threw me.

He complained that his face was burning, his skin stung, and he tugged furiously at his wrist in attempt to remove the hand but could not, since to him of course, was stuck fast. With another small shout, he yanked his hand away from his face (as I stared slack-jawed and stunned) and continued to tell me that his face and palm burned terribly. The episode lasted only a second or two, and thank Heaven Above I reacted for his safety and put him back to sleep straight away. He went back under rapidly and I spoke soothingly to him that the pain was gone, there was no glue, his palm was clean, his face was alright.

For good measure, I then turned back time for him and said that the entire incident NEVER happened, and that he would now open his eyes and see me for the first time since he flopped over on his side, asleep in trance. I woke him as quickly as I could while still proceeding safely and asked him repeatedly how he was. He said he was fine, and he had no idea why I seemed so unnerved.

Here's the frightening part: My friend's face was red and blotchy when he pulled his hand away. I swear I am NOT making this up. It looked as if he were having an allergic reaction. The palm of his hand was also beet red and was actually radiating heat, as if it had been burned. After reversing the phenomena and waking him, his face returned to its normal color, as did his hand.

The rest of our visit went fine, but as he left to go home, he commented that his face did feel quite sore, as if I had "slapped him real hard." I told him about the episode with the hypnotic glue. His eyes got very big and he told me, "I have a severe skin reaction to glue! I can't touch it—not super glue, paste, rubber cement, Elmer's, Gorilla Glue, anything—or my skin breaks out and it burns me like acid." I had no idea. I apologized like crazy but he shrugged my concern away by saying, "Hey, you didn't know that. Forget about it."

Think about it. All I did was tell a subject in trance that his hand was glued to his face and his MIND created what he knew would be his reaction to actual glue. It astounds me that it happened when I could see it—and horrifies me that it happened to a subject whom I was responsible for.

Now, I suspect this was a one-in-a-million happening. I have stuck this same friend's feet to the floor, had his shoes turn into cement, had him fall over laughing—heck, I even put him in clown shoes(!!) with no ill effects. But this reinforces what we're taught that the subject is always under our protection and their safety is paramount.

It also reinforces what I've always believed about nasty-minded nightclub hypnotists who should never make light of telling an entranced subject he's been struck hard in the privates (I've seen this done way too many times), as the subject really does FEEL that pain!

In any case, my friend is fine and although I'm a bit rattled, I'm okay too. And I am now on my guard even more to take very good care of my subjects. While I will not look for trouble to occur—I will be certain I will be ready to help immediately if it does.

Take care, everyone. Of yourself AND your subjects!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Ol' Pregnant Man Trick

Okay, so I've been cruising around YouTube enjoying a variety of hypnosis videos, and there are plenty to see. Reputable professionals like Jim Wand giving demonstrations at colleges, adult entertainers in Vegas bringing in the laughs, younger novice hypnotists experimenting happily with their friends. Good stuff. But then, almost invariably it seems (and far too often as clips from daytime talk shows), an old chestnut appears...and reappears, and reappears again. The bit where the hypnotist makes a man, sometimes with his wife sitting nearby, believe that he's pregnant and experiencing the agonizing pain of childbirth. Oh, the hilarity that ensues. For every vindictive, malicious person in the audience.

There is not an instrument large enough to measure my distaste for this routine. Before the ladies in the audience leap on that remark as, "Oh, you're just saying that because you're a man!", permit me to reflect on what I've said.

I cannot say that I understand the pain of childbirth. To do so would be absurd. I can with certainty say that I feel for those whom I love who've experienced it. When I was old enough to hear the story, I learned that my mother not only was in terrible pain during my own delivery, but she hemorrhaged extensively. My sister, with her first child, was in labor for more than 36 hours, emotionally exhausted as she waited time and again for her daughter to appear, only to find that the time had not yet come and hours more pain lay ahead for her. Well, that's taking things out of context, you say. No one expects the man under hypnosis to undergo that. But how can you predict it? Each subject responds to suggestion in keeping with his own perceptions and understanding. I know this firsthand from seeing the very real physical pain of a subject after doing a simple "hypnotic glue" suggestion [see the article elsewhere on this blog]. It is always better to err on the side of caution. I suspect that should I be subjected to such a hypnotic experience as the 'pregnant man' gag, my mind would go right to the image most vivid in my mind, of my courageous mother in 1967, bleeding profusely, blinded by terrible pain in her efforts to bring me into this world. The idea of falling to my knees screaming as I felt my insides cut to ribbons while a mean-spirited crowd of cackling women look on is not appealing in the slightest. But I suppose if they all get a cheap laugh out of my discomfort and humiliation, it must be worth it, right?

If it's just a simple matter of finding humor in forced empathy between the sexes, why are there no routines in which the lady is made to experience prostate trouble? Or perhaps a circumcision? Or just a good swift kick in the crotch? Because that would be disgusting and offensive. It would be seen, and rightly so, as cruel and excessive. And yet, the sight of a man screaming in agony as he clutches his belly is accepted as just plain jolly good fun. And at least for some, it is.

Let's look at the spectacle itself. We're not talking about quick, unexpected, clownish step-on-the-loose-floorboard-and-have-it-smack-you-in-the-face humor here. I've had my share of chuckles over those. Even when it's happened to me. This is an instance of watching someone in steady, unrelenting, ever-increasing anguish. Fess up, now. There is only one reason to find this funny. And it has nothing to do with swapping genders. It's revenge. There is an underlying resentment among some females that can be summed up in childish statements like, "You don't know what it's like to have a baby!" and perhaps more accurately, "How do YOU like it??!!"

There isn't a man worth his salt who, being at the side of his wife and lover during childbirth, wouldn't give anything to take her pain away. There is no more profound agony than to be right next to a loved one in pain and know you can do nothing to lessen it beyond taking her hand, offering her words of devotion, and praying fervently that it will be over soon and she will find relief. What this tired hypnosis routine reinforces is the angry notion that the man's love for his wife will never be enough. He MUST be made to suffer physically. So we can laugh at him. But for him, there will be no hands to hold, no damp cloth applied lovingly to the forehead, no tender kiss upon the back of the hand. Just vicious laughter akin to the bully in the schoolyard, repeatedly kicking the skinny kid in the ribs as all his buddies watch.

A bit too harsh? Maybe, maybe not. But consider this: if I were given the chance, and perhaps a hefty fee, to perform the pregnant man routine, would I do it? Not in a million years. I would instead offer an alternative. Have both the husband and wife go under hypnosis together before the audience. Then give them both, or at the very least the husband, what they've always wished could have happened in that delivery room. I'd direct the husband to take his lovely wife's hands in his, as she reflects on all the discomfort and pain she had to endure to give birth to their wonderful children--remembering it but not physically reliving it. As they sit there connected, hand-in-hand, have the man express his feelings for his beloved through the simple phrase, "I love you."

Each time he says this, his wife feels a bit more of the discomfort, concern, stress, or worry drain from her body, to be replaced by their shared loved. At the same time, the husband can feel the darker sensations removed from the love of his life--drawn from her to him--as he too feels himself filled with their love. That same love, I hasten to add, is what inspired them to come together toward the miraculous end of creating a child in the first place. Before long, the husband is repeating the words that led them to marriage with increasing speed and compassion, and the wife's eyes are wet with tears of joy. Done correctly, the experience should end with the two of them falling into each other's arms. Not exactly a laugh-riot perhaps, but far more fulfilling for both participants and, I should think, the audience as well.

As a Certified Hypnotist, I uphold a Code Of Ethics. I am proud to do so. One of the rules in it stresses that the hypnotist is not to conjure dark emotions or painful sensations in his subject. Ever. Any hypnotist who later pooh-poohs away my position with the offhand remark of "Oh, he wasn't really in pain, he was just acting it out." or "The suggestion had no lasting effects", is full of horseshit. It does have lasting effects, even after the pain--which I assure you is genuine--disperses. Starting with the idea that the wife whom he so loved was on board with seeing him in agony and laughing at him because of it. What do you talk about in the car on the way home after that one?

It's not that I loathe the pregnant man routine because I am a man. I loathe it because I'm an ethical hypnotist. And I find it deeply disturbing to see a crowd of people laughing uproariously at the sight of someone--anyone--in pain.


Bubbles the Happy Hypnotized Clown

I saw a bit where a hypnotist put a guy deeply under while at a tattoo parlor and then woke him some time later to reveal he'd had the poor guy's face tattooed. The image is one I'll not soon forget, as the hapless subject gaped into a mirror to see his entire face covered in the unwanted tat, cursing as the hypnotic showman laughed at his predicament. A video clip of this was up on YouTube, and one of the viewers leaving comments remarked that she had seen the entire program when it was broadcast, and that the tattoo was not permanent but actually done with temporary henna. (I still would have been pissed, as the average henna tattoo lasts for close to a month before fading. I looked it up.) While the whole gag pretty much infuriated me, and I felt that I would never do such a malicious thing to any subject of mine, it did give me an idea.

If a subject could be put under only to wake to find himself altered solely for shock value to induce rage, why not do something similar for fun and create the response of joy?

Enter Alec, my friend's son, and one of the best subject's it's been my joy to work with. Alec goes under very deeply and responds to suggestion brilliantly. In this instance, I had him go under quite deeply, and then pulled out a costume for him. As I brought him to his feet, sound asleep and deep in trance, he was completely unaware as he stepped into a pair of baggy plaid suspender pants, gigantic clown shoes, then pulled on a black T-shirt and white cotton gloves. I told him he was reliving a moment from his childhood when his mom helped dress him, and he just went through the motions, eyes closed and fully accepting as he unknowingly duded up like a circus clown.

Now, I had previously altered Alec's name hypnotically. He already accepted that his name was Bubbles the Happy Clown. Before even pulling out the costume, I had engaged the sharp and cheerful Alec in conversation and he spoke very easily about how his friends called him "B.C." for short and so on. Once in costume, seated comfortably on a chair in my studio, Bubbles sat entranced with eyes closed as I applied circus paint to his face, giving him a big red smile, blue accents under his eyes, black definition for his lips and even added a big red sponge rubber nose to top it all off.

I picked up a few tricks from some professional hypnotists I'd seen online and as I applied the face paint, I repeated softly to Bubbles, "You're sleeping peacefully, very relaxed, very comfortable." And the one I really liked- "You don't remember this, it never happened."

When Bubbles awoke some 15 minutes later, as far as he was concerned, no time had passed and no changes had taken place. In fact, when he stood before the full-length mirror in my studio, he saw his reflection as if he were still in his normal clothes and his face was as it had always been. But with a trigger word and a snap of my fingers, Ta-DAA! Bubbles could see himself completely as he was, a clown.

Here's the fun part: I had programmed Bubbles while he was under to feel a sense of joy and supreme happiness every time he saw his clown reflection in the mirror. Moving about in his brightly-colored costume and giant shoes, even just looking down at himself, would inspire a feeling of incredible, almost intoxicating joy. Bubbles LOVED it. In fact, one would think he was a bit full of himself given how he kept jumping in front of the mirror and smiling and laughing. Even after I gave him back his name of Alec, he wanted to remain a clown. The soft-spoken, outwardly reserved fellow that he was, he was now sold on looking like a sideshow act. It took some time, but reluctantly, Bubbles agreed to go back to the way he was. So I performed another trick.

I stood Alec in front of the mirror again (still smiling brightly), and put him back under. This time I had him step out of the clown costume to reveal his own clothes underneath, step back into his tennis shoes, and then carefully, with damp cloth and such, removed all his face paint. Then when I woke him up, THIS time Alec still saw himself as a clown. I had him hold up his hands, fingers ready to snap. I had him say, "Back to Alec!" then snap his fingers. ZING! As far as he was concerned, he had just instantaneously transformed back into the remarkable boy he always was. It was something to see the tall, gangly young man looking himself over, lifting his size twelve shoes from the floor, and checking his shirt to find them all restored, marveling at his "sudden" alteration.

We both had a wonderful time. It seemed to take ages for me to pull off, whereas for Alec/Bubbles, it wasn't nearly as long, but the smiles remained on both our faces long after we parted company. There's a lesson in all this, I suppose. If you see a powerful hypnotic suggestion or trick applied in a way that irritates or offends you, find a way to make it your own and change it to your liking rather than just fuss and fume about it. It's a lot more fun, and far more beneficial for both you and your subject. Just ask Bubbles. He freakin' loved it.