A reader sent me a link about some students who allegedly had trouble coming out their trances after a hypnotist’s stage act.
I don’t know what really happened, but as a trained hypnotist, I can assure you that no one had trouble coming out of a trance. My best guess is that a student or two were playing a practical joke that got out of hand.
That is exactly the sort of practical joke I would have played if I were a student and wanted to get out of classes. But I would have put my own twist on it. When I got on stage with the hypnotist, I’d strike a zombie pose and yell “MUST…KILL…GRANDMA…” and then stiff-leg-walk out of the auditorium.
If teachers grabbed me, and they called paramedics, I would stay stiff and zombie-like the whole time, and really try to sell it. When paramedics got me on the gurney, on the way to the ambulance, I’d say stuff like “MUST OBEY HYPNOTIST AND KILL GRANDMA.” The paramedics, having not seen the hypnotist’s act, might assume he really suggested it. They would wonder if they should call the police and close down the entire school until everyone who got that suggestion was deprogrammed.
When I got to the emergency room, and a doctor examined me, I’d stay in zombie mode, arms straight out, crazy eyes. And I’d wait for the doctor to do anything vaguely doctorish, such as tap my knee to check my reflexes. As soon as he did, I’d snap out of it and say, “What happened? Why am I here? Who are you people?”
The next day, when the principal, by now highly suspicious of my trance, started interrogating me, I’d say things like, “Apparently I’m highly suggestible. Can I ride on the short bus?” Or “If you don’t think hypnosis works, why did you waste school money hiring a hypnotist?”
Eventually the principal would inadvertently say the wrong thing, probably in the form of a question such as, “Why did you say, ‘Must kill grandma’?” As soon as he asked the question, I’d snap back into zombie mode and start yelling “MUST…KILL…GRANDMA” again, and stiff-leg-walk out of the office. I can’t imagine ever getting tired of it.