Science Becomes Entertainment!
You’ll be amazed by several types of hypnotic phenomena displayed during a Hypnosis Show done for entertainment purposes. Examples of well documented hypnotic phenomena include:
- Time Distortion
- Post Hypnotic Suggestions
Hypnotic Phenomena – Catalepsy
Catalepsy is the “locking” of the muscles in a specific area of the body suggested by the hypnotist.
Example: Making an arm “stiff and rigid like, like an iron bar.”
This requires no conscious effort from the hypnotized subject, and they are able to maintain the rigid position for an extended period without the expected fatigue.
Hypnotic phenomena are useful as “convincers,” because most people are skeptical about their ability to become hypnotized.
Catalepsy is often used as a convincer to show someone they are in a trance state. The convincer helps the subject see they’re experiencing an altered state of consciousness.
Without some sort of convincer, it’s possible to emerge from a genuine hypnotic state feeling doubtful you were actually hypnotized.
Eye Catelepsy: The hypnotist suggests to the subject that their eyes are locked shut in the closed position. When the subject is asked to try to open their eyes, they are unable to do so. This hypnotic phenomena only requires a light state of trance to be successful.
Arm Catalepsy: The subject is asked to raise their arm, and make it stiff and rigid, “like an iron bar.” The hypnotist makes a verbal suggestion that the arm is now locked in that position, and they are unable to move the arm no matter how hard they try.
This is amazing to the hypnotized subject, because they may feel wide awake, yet they’re looking at their “locked” arm in disbelief. It’s as if their arm has a mind of it’s own!
The only explanation is that they MUST be hypnotized!
In a stage hypnosis show, arm catalepsy is used for a great comedy effect. After a volunteer is put into the position of trying to move their “locked” arm, the hypnotist moves on to make casual conversation with other volunteers or audience members. It becomes a running gag to observe the “arm-locked” volunteer trying to deal with their unusual predicament.
Another routine, “feet stuck,” is perhaps a combination of catalepsy and hallucination. The hypnotized subject is told their feet are “stuck in place,” unable to move their feet until “released” by the hypnotist.
Hypnotic Phenomena – Time Distortion
Time Distortion is another hypnotic phenomena often used as a convincer.
In private sessions, the hypnotist asks a client to note the time before the session begins. There’s a large clock on the wall to make this easy to do.
As the client emerges from the trance state at the end of the session, the hypnotist slips in the verbal suggestion, “It seems like only five minutes have passed by.”
Upon opening their eyes, the client is asked, “First impression, how long does it seem like we were doing hypnosis?”
The client usually responds with something like, “Not very long, maybe five minutes?”
They are referred back to the large clock on the wall, realizing the session was actually 45 minutes or even longer!
Time distortion is often employed in a stage hypnosis show as follows. While emerging the volunteers at the conclusion of the performance, the hypnotist slips in the verbal suggestion, “For you it will seem like only five minutes have passed by since you joined me up here on stage.” With everything going on, the suggestion usually goes unnoticed by the audience.
Afterwards, when asked how long they think they were up on stage, most will answer, “Five minutes?”
Sometimes they’ll insist they’re being “pranked,” when told they’ve been participating on the stage for an hour or more!
Post Hypnotic Suggestions
Post Hypnotic Suggestions are a hypnotic phenomena often used in comedy hypnosis shows as a “grand finale.”
Hypnotized volunteers are given suggestions that are “triggered” by an action or key phrase given by the hypnotist at a later time.
Sometimes the volunteers are returned to the audience, still hypnotized, before the post hypnotic triggers are given.
Interestingly, the volunteers do NOT remember receiving the post hypnotic suggestions. They have no expectation that anything further is forthcoming.
Example: The hypnotist suggests to a show participant, “Upon awakening, after I send you back into the audience, any time you hear me and only me say the word, ‘Lottery,’ you will instantly realize it’s as if you have just won five million dollars in the lottery!”
Several minutes may go by after the volunteer has returned to the audience. They appear normal in all respects. They converse freely with their friends.
However, upon hearing the trigger word from the hypnotist, they instantly respond with joyful screams of glee. The reaction is instant, perhaps occurring even as they were in mid-conversation with a friend!
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