Stage Hypnotist - FAQ

Answers to common questions about Stage Hypnotism

A stage hypnotist is not just a performer. With audience members doubling as show participants, unlike any other entertainer, the stage hypnotist has a responsibility to the well being of his audience. As hypnotism, to most people, remains as 'mystery of the mind' and as stage hypnotist shows have received hightened media focus within recent years, it is natural that the public will be curious about what goes on in a stage hypnotism show. The following questions and answers serve to answer these questions, to explain the mystery of hypnotism, dispel myths and allay concerns that you might have:

Q: Can anyone be hypnotized?

The majority of the population can be hypnotized. The stage hypnotist must move at a very quick pace as he has an audience waiting for hypnosis entertainment. The hypnotist is looking for the best volunteers for the entertainment value. Time is very crucial in a hypnosis show, as a result many may be sent back to their seats, that with a little more time might have participated in the show.However, there are several variables which may thwart the success of the individual volunteer. The age- may be to young to comprehend suggestions, physical status- may be intoxicated or on medication or in sever physical pain or even feeling the need to go to the bathroom. The volunteer may not have the mental capacity to understand and to understand quickly the stage hypnotist. The office hypnotist would presumably have a higher success rate in comparison to the stage hypnotist due to time and environment.

Q: What is hypnosis like?

Stage hypnosis is a quickly enhanced suggestive state of mind which seems real at the time. When we dream it seems real at the moment, much the same with stage hypnosis. A subject in response to this question would say, " I could hear the hypnotist, but I really felt like I was on a surfboard and it was moving! "

Q: What if the stage hypnotist touches on a phobia I have?

An experienced stage hypnotist watches each and every subject right from the beginning of the show. He is looking for a number of things. One- to see who is reacting to suggestions and who to send back to their seats in the audience. Two- who is animate in their reactions and who is docile which influences his decisions as the show progresses as to selection for different routines. Three- probably the most important and often carelessly overlooked by an inexperienced stage hypnotist is the negative reaction by a volunteer to a suggestion. An experienced stage hypnotist when performing any routine that carrys an element of danger in real life will be watching each subject for any signs of fear or uneasiness. These routines could be incompassing for example: swimming, flying, snakes, spiders etc., although I do not resort to the spider or snake thing in my act. I was doing a routine where the subjects were going from lawn chairs on the beach to paddling their surf boards out from shore. I noticed one young lady who started to become a little nervous and frustrated - I put my hand on her head and told her she was remaining on the beach in her lawn chair to photograph the surfers. She immediately relaxed, smiled and continued to enjoy herself. In a discussion after the show I learned that she was afraid of the water as a result of a swimming accident years before.

Q: What will a typical stage hypnotist do during a show?

The stage hypnotist is basically a choreographer of the entire show. As a hypnotist he is dealing with several different personalities, each one reacting to a suggestion differently. One subject may be very lethargic while another very animated. The experienced hypnotist is watching each subject throughout the show making deceisions on which one he will use for which demonstration. During the show the hypnotist is taking into account the safety of his volunteers. Is the stage well lit? Is it easy access for getting on and off the stage. Are there any objects on the stage a volunteer could trip over such as a power cord or someones pair of shoes? The hypnotist in presenting the show must be conscious of all the little things regarding safety

Q: Can a subject be made to do something against their will?

This is probably the most often question asked of a hypnotist. Generally good hypnotic subjects are strong willed with a good imagination. There is still some debate whether a hypnotist creating a situation where the subject thinks they are in a atmosphere that is not against their will.

Q: Can a subject be made to do something against their morals / ethics?

We all have our own moral standards. When a hypnotist crosses the line, the rapport between hypnotist and subject could be lost. I say could be because there is reasonable question to the fact that the subject may be led to believe that he or she is not doing anything that is inappropriate. What is immoral for one person may be moral to another.

Q: What moral and ethical guidelines are there to stage hypnotism?

A stage hypnotist has a great responsibility to his volunteers on stage. They basically are his guests and are the most important people in the room for without them there is no show. Each one is an individual with a unique personality and should be treated as so. They are all strangers to the hypnotist and as a result he has both a moral and ethical responsibility to see that he/she protects them from any physical harm or undue mental stress.

Q: Will I remember what happened after the show?

What you remember after being hypnotized is usually related to the depth of suggestibility. When you dream and then wake up the dream fades very quickly unless you write it down or discuss it with someone. The stage hypnotist ends his/her show in one of three ways. You will not remember a thing and they won't. You will remember everything and they will. The hypnotist says nothing either way and lets the subject recall on their own. Their friends in the audience are always happy to help in this regard. There is however a major time lapse with people who have just been hypnotized in a stage show. The hypnotist, after a 90 minute show, asks each volunteer how long do you think you have been hypnotized. 5 minutes - 10 minutes are the usual answers.

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