If you want to learn stage hypnosis, then you have quite a journey ahead of you. Stage hypnosis has been around for years, and like with mentalism is considered a form of psychological entertainment quite unlike any other. The mysterious stage hypnotist who is able to awe a crowd by making random volunteers from the audience fall into hypnotic states of trance, and do the hypnotist's bidding, is no recent concept.
You see the field of hypnosis has been around for hundreds of years, and it’s only been quite recently that it’s resurfaced again and become as popular as it is today. Science itself is starting to look at the field again and analyse various phenomena associated with this unique form of art. Stage hypnosis is a form of covert hypnosis, a way of using covert hypnosis but for a form of entertainment. Just like a magician may create magic and illusions that the audience is unable to explain, so to the stage hypnotist can create spectacular pieces of performance based upon the principles of covert hypnosis alone.
This field works you see because the audience members enter into a highly suggestible state from the moment the show starts. Anyone that attends a show off stage hypnosis is unlikely to be wanting to avoid hypnosis, or else why would they be there in the first place? This means that most members of the audience are already potentially suggestible and that most of them actually do want to experience hypnosis, or see other people experience it. This is the perfect crowd that a covert hypnotist can use in order to work his magic.
So just how do you learn stage hypnosis to impress a crowd? That is what I shall now go on to teach you, but know that of course there’s no way you can learn everything there is to know within one article alone, rather I’ll just be teaching you the principles involved.
The first thing that we want to trigger with stage hypnosis is to arouse a belief in the crowd that they can easily be hypnotised, and made to do almost anything we wish. You see whenever someone attends a show for entertainment, they obviously want to be entertained, they want to be tricked, they want to see surreal things. This is part of the strategy in order to cause someone to be hyper-suggestible to your responses, you create the belief in them that you’ll be able to manipulate their subconscious and arouse in them certain desires and actions outside of their usual control.
When this belief informed, all you need to do is trigger it with a suggestion once the person is in a trance. Now placing someone into a trance is a like easier than you may think, especially when they want to be put into a trance, and there are also lots of other people watching them. Believe it or not but people will usually fear that if your hypnosis won’t work on them and that everyone will be looking at them and think they’re somehow different or odd. The thought of embarrassing you doesn’t even cross most people's minds, they’re much more worried about standing out! This will give people the subconscious belief that they should just ‘play along’ and not even test whether they are really hypnotised by denying the hypnotist's suggestions. This serves as a deepening technique which will cause the volunteer to enter into hypnosis whether or not they think they’re willing it.
The Selection Process
As you no doubt know by now, different people have different levels of suggestibility. Some people will not be very responsive to entering into hypnosis, mainly because they don’t want to enter into it (yes, even in a stage show you get a few people like this), whilst other people, known as somnambulists, are already in hypnosis and will be immediately responsive to any of your hypnotic suggestions. This is the reason that a stage hypnotist must carefully screen his members throughout the show in order to try and choose the ones that he or she believes will fall into a trance the easiest. It’s far better to bring a somnambulist up onto the stage, who you know will be responsive to your suggestions, as opposed to someone who will be making it their goal to ‘test you out’.
So how on earth can you tell who’s suggestible and who isn’t in a large crowd? This is quite simply determined through a process of selection, which I like to call the selection process. The select process is used in stage hypnosis quite frequently. Basically, what it entails is the hypnotist starting the show off with a few introductory hypnotic acts. An example could be the finger closer or finger spreading technique. The hypnotist could ask the audience to all put their hands together and extend their index fingers, imagining there being a magnet in the tips of both of their fingers. The hypnotist then quickly scans over the audience to see who the technique is working with and who it isn’t, making quick mental notes of certain people and where they’re standing.
In stage hypnosis, it is always important to have what’s called a ‘backout plan’. A backout plan simply is a statement that you can use to give an explanation, or a reason, as to why the hypnotic process may not work with everyone in the audience at the time. Say for example you asked the entire audience to imagine one of their arms lifting and the other arm falling down as if it had a heavy weight upon it. You could say that this is only just for a ‘bit of fun to get things started and that it won’t work for everyone’. This means that if it doesn’t work for some people, they’re not going to immediately jump up and start screaming that it didn’t work for them, as you’ve already explained that the process will not work for everyone.
Once the stage hypnotist has made a mental note to everyone that did seem to become hypnotised, he or she may then go on to conduct another form of induction, this time perhaps a little more advanced. If the same people, or a few of the same people, are also receptive to this form of induction, then the hypnotist will have their eyes on these people as potential volunteers. Now initially when a call is made for volunteers, the hypnotist will want to try and get as many people as practicably possible. Usually, about eight or so people that seem suggestible is more than enough, as at least one or two of these people should already be in a state of hypnosis, and thus bringing them into a state of somnambulism shouldn’t be too difficult. Indeed, some of the people may, in fact, be somnambulists themselves, and therefore naturally suggestible anyway.
Now when your volunteers come up on stage, what you want to do is basically assess them all yet again through a number of tests. The audience at this stage won’t know that these people are any more suggestible than they are, they don’t know that you’ve been scanning just about every member of the audience to select those which are the most suitable candidates to be hypnotized, they’ll think the people that you selected were just random people. The funny thing is, is that those people that really want to experience hypnosis, will be the ones that volunteer. If you already know which people will be suggestible, and they also volunteer, then, of course, they’ll naturally be the one’s that you’re picking.
Once everyone is up on stage, the next step is for the hypnotist do conduct some further hypnotic induction techniques. This services two purposes. Firstly, the more someone enters into hypnosis within a short time period, the more suggestible they become. If someone places you into hypnosis and awakens you, then places you back into hypnosis, over and over again, this serves is a deepening technique which will allow you to enter into an even deeper subconscious state that you did before. So the aim here is to not just send people into the cataleptic or hypnoidal state as they were probably in when they were in the audience, but rather the aim is to send them into a somnambulist state, so that the one person that you do pick to stay is already in that deep state of hypnosis, and can instantly be sent there again by the click of a finger.
The second thing that an induction does is it allows us to screen even more carefully which of our volunteers will be more susceptible to our suggestion as opposed to the others. We already know that all of our volunteers should be suggestible by this state, but finding the one that is the most suggestible is where you can really start to do some fantastic and tricky work.
So then, we could seat all of our volunteers within a chair and give them a number of commands. We could tell each of the volunteers to close their eyes and imagine that they’re glued to the chair and not be able to stand up. We can then tell volunteers that when we click our fingers, they’ll fall into a deep sleep that they won’t be able to wake up from until you click your fingers again. As was explained earlier, the need and want for an audience member to see ‘normal’ in front of such a great crowd is greater than him or her ‘trying to catch you out’. Also, don’t forget that these people have been hypnotised by you already when they were in the audience, so hypnotising them again when the crowd is watching shouldn’t be any more difficult.
After you’ve prepared all the volunteers to receive your suggestion of falling asleep, and you click your fingers, you want to be careful to pay attention to which ones seem to fall into a deep sleep the most, and which ones are faking it. The more sway you seem to hold over someone, the better. Now the next step, which you should already have learned, is giving basic suggestion to someone. Now in a stage hypnosis show, our goal isn’t to be therapeutic so much as it is to entertain, therefore we want the suggestions we give to be entertaining.
We may then give a suggestion such as ‘and now when I click my fingers, you will all believe that you are chickens’. You’ll then click your fingers and watch how most, if not all the volunteers should genuinely believe that they are chickens! Now, this is the stage where the volunteers who are most responsive to your suggestions will make themselves abundantly clear, and one or two volunteers on stage should stand out more than any others. You’ll then click your fingers again and tell everyone to return to their normal state. You’ll say that the next trick requires just two volunteers, and you’ll ask if anyone wants to volunteer for it. Naturally, everyone will be a little shy, so you’d go around to the two people that you had in mind, and ask them if they want to volunteer. No doubt they’ll respond with a positive yes, as they’re already easily within your control at this stage anyway.
You’ll thank the other audience members for coming on stage, and with these two remaining audience members, can go on to do some pretty incredible techniques. Just about anything you want to suggest to these remaining two people, they should be able to do. And that is essentially the process of stage hypnosis.
So if you wanted to learn stage hypnosis in the form of the exact techniques and what not that you must conduct, then you’ll first need to learn the principles of covert hypnosis and have a good understanding of the hypnotic process and theory of mind and how it all relates to suggestion. Once you’ve grasped all these fundamental concepts, you’ll want to try experimenting with a few family and friends. Find which ones of them are more responsive than others. You may find that some people are so critical of hypnosis that they just quite simply can’t be hypnotized by you, and that’s fine, it doesn’t mean they can’t be hypnotized by anyone, it just means that you’re still training and lack the current expertise to hypnotize people who are critical of hypnosis, to begin with.
After a bit of practice, you’ll start to be able to tell which people are naturally suggestible and easier to hypnotise than others. This is a great skill to develop, as soon you’ll be able to go down the road to a random pub or night club and start speaking with people there, and eventually develop an intuition as to which one of those people are easier to hypnotize than others, before you’ve even tried to hypnotize them!
Of course, stage hypnosis isn’t easily developed in just a few weeks. The most successful stage hypnotists have many years of training, and if you want to learn stage hypnosis, then you’ll no doubt need to go through the same hardships and ordeals that the professionals also went through. The road ahead isn’t easy, but then again, who said it was?