HypnoBriz Blog Interview with HYPNORICH!
Professional Stage Hypnotist Rich Wilson
Rich Wilson is a professional hypnotist who works both as a performer and entertainer and also offers his expertise in hypnosis to others through therapeutic means. I am very fortunate to have him here for this, the very first HypnoBriz blogspot interview.
BRIZ: First of all, Rich, two things: Thanks a gazillion for agreeing to do this interview. I truly appreciate it! Next, I must ask- How do you know Nathan Thomas, young hypnosis genius from New Zealand and my teacher?
RICH: Briz, first, let me thank you for including me in your fabulous blog that I believe will grow and grow within the hypnosis community. Like many, I began to learn about Nathan Thomas through his first few videos on YouTube …I was amazed at his incredible diligence and his creative interest in hypnosis and more importantly, his desire to share his knowledge on the subject. We began a casual correspondence over the internet that, I believe, has become a good friendship between two people who continually desire to build hypnosis into a well respected procedure that more and more people will turn to for a very natural way to improve their lives. Nathan has a long life ahead of him in hypnosis and I am looking forward to what he has to offer.
BRIZ: Hey, thanks! I appreciate that. I also found Nathan online—reading his emphasis on ethics told me he was the teacher I wanted to learn from. Back to you, on the main page of your web site, http://www.hypnorich.com/, there is a great shot of you smiling brightly behind three zonked-out tranced young people. Beneath the legend "Hypnotized!" we find a lovely gal with her hair flopped everywhere and two adorable young men—with their shirts off! Did they come up on stage like that (as in an outdoor summer show) or did you get these poor guys to strip off their shirts? What did you get these kids to do? Tell me the story. (I also noted in one of your video clips, HypnoRich - Movie Scene, one lad has no shirt and his shoes are in his lap. Related situation?)
RICH: The young people you see in that picture did not come up undressed, it was a high school event and most young men come up dressed in t-shirts so it isn’t much of a change. Sometime during that evening I suggested that the young men were male dancers and remarkably, they tend to shed their shirts without a suggestion from me! Now, the movie scene came sometime after the “skit” I previously mentioned. The shoe or sneaker on his lap was no doubt from a routine where I suggest that they hear their shoe ringing like a telephone and in return they take off their shoe and begin talking or shouting at the person they believe is on the other end. It is comical to the audiences just because of the absurdity of the situation. Quite innocent for those volunteers really.
BRIZ: It's true that happy subjects can really throw themselves into an imagined role.
How did you get started doing hypnosis? What was your age at the time, and what fueled your interest?
RICH: Well, I have been a professional entertainer for the last 33 years. As a singer, I have worked everywhere from Las Vegas to Atlantic City and many places in between. I continue to sing as a profession but I truly prefer to do hypnosis shows these days. As far as how and when I got started doing hypnosis, I recall being in Memphis, Tennessee one evening and experiencing an actual hypnosis show for the very first time and I was blown away but thought it was a trick. I thought at that time that it would be cool to do such a show but left it there and didn’t think much about it after that. Several years later I began to have some problems with my voice and was told to back off but still required surgery. While contemplating the surgery, I wondered what else this full-time entertainer would do if I couldn’t sing again …and a bell went off! I immediately thought back to that night I saw the hypnosis show and began doing some investigation into what hypnosis was all about. I don’t think I am saying anything new for anyone who has an interest in hypnosis …I was hooked and it became a passion. I just couldn’t get enough information about hypnosis and hypnosis showmanship …I still dig into everything I can find. I finally became a stage hypnotist at the age of 39.
BRIZ: Excellent back-story, Rich! One thing I find quite noteworthy and of particular interest to me as a man of faith, is that you declare yourself quite openly as a "Christian Hypnotist". I practice strictly by a Code Of Ethics, as taught by Nathan Thomas, but how does being a Christian Hypnotist differ from that?
RICH: A few years back I was on stage doing a show and after the show I was approached by a woman who began to reprimand me about being a hypnotist and how I was doing the work of the Devil and that if I studied the Bible I would realize that I was practicing “black magic”! Wow …I was really taken back by this and although I was a Christian, I had to come-back, no answer for the woman except …I’m just an entertainer and what I did was entertain people. I have had a few of these people hit me with similar protests but have since learned a few ways of handling them. I know Nathan’s “Code Of Ethics” and agree with most of it but more importantly, I believe that I am hired to step out on that stage and give the audience a good, fun, and clean show without seriously offending people. Let’s face it, no matter how good you try to be…someone out there will take offense to “something” you do on stage. I follow through my night knowing that people want to laugh at how the volunteers react to my suggestions and the volunteers themselves want to have fun, show off and experience something special. Treating others well …in ways that I would like to be treated is the Christian way of living and very much falls in line to an “ethical” procedure. I have actually had fellow Christians tell me that they felt more comfortable knowing they had a fellow Christian doing hypnosis with them.
BRIZ: Some stage hypnotists will change their program depending on the venue. A family-friendly show will be given at a high school, but move on to university, a pub, or a nightclub and it can get very raunchy. Do you alter your act, or use the same humor for everyone?
RICH: I will tell you that “raunchy” is NOT part of my show. Yes, some routines I do might be better designed for an adult audience rather than a high school aged group. I do not feel that I even have to really consider changing my routines for adults but, adults will take some suggestions differently than someone who is much younger. I think once a performer goes “raunchy” he ruins his opportunity to be hired for a younger audience in the future. Honestly, as a father of four children, I would not feel comfortable knowing that some hypnotist who just did a sexually oriented show elsewhere would soon be attempting to entertain my child in school. There is really no need to go raunchy if you are creative enough. Although, I have been called upon to do explicit shows by club owners but I have always turned them down. I am proud to say the money did not sway me.
BRIZ: Good for you. That is good to hear. We can see far too many hypnotists online who seem to focus their talent on the lowest common denominator. I have never hypnotized any more than two people at once. In the Media section of your site, we can see what looks like literally two dozen subjects on stage—even more in your videos. How many people have you hypnotized at once—largest number? What do you feel are the limits to putting under larger groups, if any? Do you prefer to work with a lot of subjects or just a few, and why? (Sorry, this is becoming much like an essay exam, isn't it?)
RICH: I love exams! Indeed I have had some pretty large groups on stage and to be honest, it’s not always the greatest of situations to put yourself into. Let me explain. The average school stage is more wide than deep so, you always have to be concerned about the safety of everyone on that stage ..at all times. Whenever I do a show I know that there are many people who want the opportunity to experience hypnosis and I am not one for letting people down. After my pre-talk, which is only a few minutes in length, I then tell my audience that anyone …anyone who is interested in experiencing hypnosis is welcome to come up on stage ….needless to say …people, many people charge the stage. One evening we had 74 students on stage and we kept 62 or 63. Yes! They all went into hypnosis! I was floored myself. This eventually turned into more of a headache because you only have so many chairs to start off with and only so much room on the stage floor for people to sit or lie down and it soon became a serious issue as to which routines I could use because of safety issues. I certainly didn’t want someone falling off of the stage and getting hurt. I know of some hypnotists who have worked arenas and have “claimed” to have hypnotized thousands at one show but these claims are hard to prove. I mean, did this guy go through every seat and aisle and count who actually went into hypnosis? The best is to work with 28-22 people for me …you can keep an eye on your volunteers and still keep some kind of order and flow to the show for those in the audience.
BRIZ: You really do love exams, don't you? Is there a key to hypnotizing large groups of people? What is your approach or method to that? You mentioned that you use a pretalk--what do you say? In short, how do you do it??
RICH: This will sound like something you’ve heard or read over and over again but a pre-talk is so important to a show. I believe it is my most important key to hypnotizing anyone. Get rid of the fears and most will fall into place. One other really important factor is expectancy. If your audience is “expecting” to see a hypnosis show, they are more likely to ready themselves and build themselves up for it. Once we were hired for three shows at a resort and no one told the guest what type of show they were going to see on that first night …they had no idea and it really didn’t go over as well as the resort expected it to. The next day they really pushed it and we hung posters around and the next two shows went really well! Expectancy ….let them know what they are coming for and let them get excited about it. My pre-talk is very general …I explain what hypnosis is and is not. I eliminate a few misconceptions about hypnosis and do one or two “suggestibility exercises”. Notice I said “exercises” and not “test” …no one wants to possibly fail a test so I tell them they are exercises. Then I welcome volunteers to the stage.
BRIZ: That is a clever use of word choice. I like it! I may use that myself. Some subjects stand out in our minds, be it through wonderful reaction, powerful imagination, or ideal responses. Have you ever had a subject really perform well and make your show even more fun than planned?
RICH: You know, as corny as it sounds, they all seem to stand out. I say that because no matter how many times I get out there and go through my induction, I am completely amazed at those who go into hypnosis and perform. It is truly amazing to see how wonderful the human mind is. Once I had a student at a college who was told he had
x-ray vision like Superman ….well, he was enjoying the view until he realized his own grandmother was right in front of him! His reaction was about as funny as any thing I had ever seen.
BRIZ: Man, I would have loved to have seen that! Have you ever had a subject not respond as you had hoped or intended—be it through very limited responses or perhaps a bad reaction? What do you do in that situation, particularly during a show with an audience watching?
RICH: I don’t know of any hypnotists out there who hasn’t been in this situation before. One of the best things about my pre-talk is that I cover this by saying that some individuals just prefer to be totally relaxed and others will grab hold of just about any suggestion and run with it. Usually, if I do have this situation arise, I just turn to the audience and say, “I guess he/she just doesn’t like that suggestion”….and I move on.
BRIZ: Good call. Could you share your personal philosophy on hypnosis and how you use it to help and entertain others? What does hypnosis mean to you?
RICH: When I first started, it (hypnosis) meant another way for me to entertain people but after I began to see what good hypnosis can do for people …what remarkable things can be accomplished with hypnosis …well, my entire outlook changed. I have actually experienced things through hypnosis that few doctors or psychiatrists could have ever imagined. To me, hypnosis is a very rare opportunity to connect with and help others in a very natural and extraordinary way.
BRIZ: That's beautiful. I appreciate you sharing that. I am beginning to add advertisements and promotions from reputable people on my blog. If you have any products or services to promote, or a banner for your programs, may I include them on my page here?
RICH: Absolutely! Although I am in the process of reworking my site…I would certainly appreciate the plugs. My very best to your continued success and if I can help in any way …just drop me a line.
Will do! And thanks again so much for a wonderful interview!
Once I master all this ad-posting stuff, blog visitors can look forward to finding all they could want from the good Rich Wilson with only a mouse click. In the meantime, please do visit the following sites for all your Rich Wilson, HypnoRich needs!
HYPNORICH WEB SITE:
In the meantime, enjoy the video clips included below of Rich's fine work!