Hypnotic Amnesia in Stage Hypnosis Demos

A Question About Hypnotic Amnesia…

Hello Erick.

I am a professor using group hypnosis demonstrations in my lectures. Maybe you can help me with a question?

I can put people in a trance state (see attached image). However, not everyone can deepen in order to do what I want.

hypnotic amnesia
I’ve got them hypnotized, now what? Tips to get hypnotic amnesia…

For example, the act of “sticking to the chair” the vast majority of people can do because only light trance is required. But to “forget” numbers or names sometimes does not work with some of these people. They seem to be in a deep state of trance, but it does not work when I make the suggestion that they will experience amnesia.

Hypnotic amnesia is a very impressive demonstration in which the subject is caused to forget things that would be seemingly impossible to forget.

Example: A Comedy Hypnotist causes a hypnotized subject to “forget” the existence of the number six.

The video below demonstrates my personal favorite hypnotic amnesia demonstration, causing the subject to forget their own name!

For hypnotic amnesia to work, you need a deep level of trance known as somnambulism. This is the “working level” of trance for stage hypnosis shows. Somnambulism is also the required level of trance to do regression hypnotherapy.

This is what I do to consistently get deeper levels of trance for advanced demonstrations of hypnotic phenomena.

Use a Better Hypnosis Induction

If you had only one hypnosis induction to learn and master, what would that be?  My personal recommendation would be the Dave Elman induction for the following reasons:

  • Rapid Induction: Takes about four minutes to perform with an individual, and 5-6 minutes to use a modified version for a group.
  • Feedback: The induction has built in “tests” that give you feedback that your subjects are compliant and responsive to your suggestions.
  • Somnambulism: The induction is designed to induce the deep, somnambulism level of trance.

Use Fractionation as a Deepener

One of the reasons the Dave Elman induction is so effective is the utilization of fractionation. Fractionation is the process of emerging a subject from trance by asking them to open their eyes, and then asking them to close their eyes and “go deeper.” Every time they do this, their level of trance goes successively deeper.

In group hypnosis shows, I typically drop everyone back into an “eye closed” trance state in between each demonstration. This helps to deepen the trance as the performance moves forward.

Do the Easy Stuff First

Don’t go for an advanced phenomena like hypnotic amnesia as your first demonstration. Do some “easy” demonstrations first. Allowing your subjects to experience an “easy” test, like getting their feet stuck to the floor, will cause their trance state to deepen. Every success creates mental expectation that they will “pass” the more difficult tests later on.

Resistant Subjects?

Q: In your presentations, do ALL hypnotized people do what you suggest, or do you also meet resistance from some? How can this be handled?

A: If you meet any kind of resistance with anyone, then diplomatically excuse them to go back to the audience. Some people are easily distracted in a group setting. You are under no obligation to work with someone that is not giving you their full concentration.

Q: I use the “hands/fingers glued” suggestibility tests to choose people for demonstrations. Do you use this? Is there something better?

A: Those are good demonstrations that allow your audience members to experience the power of their imagination from the comfort of their chairs. This gives them confidence, and naturally some of them will want to experience the “real stuff” on stage.

The Hand Clasp Suggestibility Test is great to find the “best of the best” potential volunteers. People who pass this test have a natural ability to enter a deep trance very quickly.

It’s one thing to have natural ability, but it’s even more important that they want to participate.

Work with audience members that appear to be the most MOTIVATED. If they are jumping up and down, waving their hands, really looking EXCITED to be a volunteer, it’s a good sign they’ll be great subjects for a group demonstration.

7 comments on “Hypnotic Amnesia in Stage Hypnosis Demos

  1. In my practice as a certified clinical hypnotherapist, I found that inducing amnesia for any sort of trauma in the past is counterproductive – no technique whatsoever is capable of permanently “erasing” a memory – it has been proven over and over again that even drug induced Jason-Borne-style amnesia is only as “permanent” as the desire and motivation of the subconscious mind to keep it suppressed. Nothing can be erased from the unconscious, every memory is stored permanently and blocking it is the only way to prevent it from surfacing consciously. And this is exactly why we should not be doing it and this is also exactly why what we do is called hypnotherapy, not just hypnosis: in order for suppressed memories not to run our lives any longer we transform beliefs and emotions that prevent any healthy reactions to what happened in the past. Change occurs only when we let go, forgive, experience real compassion and reach the true Core State. An enormous amount of trapped psychic energy is released as a result, making our clients feel truly healed.

    • Yep, the idea of “erasing bad memories,” as some clients request, is pointless. The more desirable alternative is to neutralize the painful emotions associated with those memories. That way you have all the learnings from the life experience without the continued anguish and suffering. There are a variety of great therapeutic techniques to achieve this from hypnosis, EFT, and NLP.

  2. Hi Erick, I just stumbled upon your blog and I’m loving it. it would perfect if you would make a detailed post about amnesia because i would like to refer my visitors to such post. it would complete the post about hypnosis i wrote on my blog.

    Thanks, keep mesmerizing the universe.

  3. Hi Erick,

    Reading through your site and I see you use the elman induction for group work.

    Do you find that people have a hard time losing the numbers? Or have you found a good alternate around this?

    Many thanks!

    • Great question Grant! This seems to be a sticking point with a lot of Hypnotists trying to figure out how to adapt the Dave Elman Induction to group presentations.

      The “losing the numbers” phase of the induction is the only part of the induction that needs to be modified for group presentations. Every other aspect of the induction is pretty much ready to go, word for word.

      For the sake of expediency in group settings, you’re not going to worry about whether your subjects “lose the numbers”. Working with a group of 20 people, for example, there’s no efficient way to get that feedback and somehow act on it with specific individuals without disrupting the process as a whole.

      So, you just make the suggestion to “lose the numbers”, and then move on without using this phase of the induction as a “test” like you would when working with an individual.

      Here’s my handling of this for a Group Dave Elman induction:

      Imagine standing at the top of a stairway of relaxation going down. In a moment, I’m going to count from 1 to 5. With each number I say, imagine taking another step down the stairway of relaxation. With each number I say, imagine doubling your mental relaxation by allowing your mind to go twice as calm, and still, and peaceful. By the time I reach the number five, imagine you’ve relaxed your mind so beautifully and so completely that you’ve relaxed all the rest of the numbers right out of your mind, like letting go of a burden that sets you free, and notice how good that makes you feel…

  4. Hello Erick,
    I’ve watched some of your videos several times on you tube : 500 % awesome and hilarious!

    I have some questions

    – I didn’t notice any people resistant to hypnosis, whereas a hypnotist told me (many years ago) there were about 20% people unable to be hypnotized. What is your opinion?

    – Can everybody be able to become an hypnotist? Does every hypnotist learn theory of hypnosis?

    – Does hypnotism exist in all civilizations?
    For instance , my wife comes from Madagascar. Everybody in Madagascar knows the trance music called tromba (spirit) music and there are many recordings.

    Some people told me it has happened where hypnotized people were suddenly able to speak english without having heard a single word before. My own opinion is that they’ve heard once upon a time and forgotten. That reminds me of your routine where hypnotized people speak japanese or martian .

    It seems your show is the contrary of the old time hypnosis show? In the past, hypnotists did tend to frighten people. It was astonishing but not funny. Your own style is a mix of unbelievable and hilarious things. Thus you proceed step by step during the comedy show- time after time, people are getting more hypnotized.

    Thanks for your videos and explanations.

    • – I didn’t notice any people resistant to hypnosis, whereas a hypnotist told me (many years ago) there were about 20% people unable to be hypnotized. What is your opinion?

      Any willing person that can follow simple instructions can hypnotized.

      The idea that a certain percentage of the population cannot be hypnotized is an idea that comes from 1940’s textbooks or scientific studies conducted by people who don’t understand the art of hypnosis.

      – Can anybody become an hypnotist? Does every hypnotist learn theory of hypnosis?

      Can anybody learn to play the violin?

      Yes! if they are willing to spend the time practicing what they learn. The quality of the teacher certainly makes a difference, and some people will obviously have more natural ability than others.

      – Does hypnotism exist in all civilizations?

      Hypnosis exists everywhere whether you believe it’s there or not.

      It’s like sex- in some circles it’s welcomed, and in some circles everybody likes to pretend it never happens.

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