David Hall hypnotizes students through comedy
Shippensburg University students were laughing out loud Thursday when comedy hypnotist David Hall blended hypnosis with every college students’ favorite game- — Cards Against Humanity.
Hall, who has hypnotized Barack Obama and the Dalai Lama, explained the normalcy of hypnosis to the students sitting in the Ceddia Union Building multipurpose room.
“Everything you see up here tonight is completely natural,” Hall told the buzzing audience. “Hypnosis itself is a state of mind that we experience every day.”
The hypnotist likened this state of mind to driving the same route every day so often that you no longer think about driving, and your mind goes into auto-pilot but you still reach your destination.
“Your subconscious is driving the car, you don’t have to think,” Hall explained.
Hall selected several students from the audience to participate in the show.
The hypnotist performed deep breathing exercises with the volunteers on stage; playing soothing music and suggesting the participants concentrate on and relax individual parts of the body as he asked them to.
Hypnotist David Hall congratulates a volunteer on winning the dance contest.
The hypnotist introduces Cards Against Hypnosis.
“With every breath you take, and every word I say your body will become more and more relaxed,” Hall said, guiding the students into a hypnotic state.
The volunteers on stage began slouching in their seats as they listened to Hall’s voice, some with heads hanging in their laps, mouths agape.
A student in the front-row audience was also taken by Hall’s enchantment, slumping forward in her chair with eyes closed.
Once all participants were fully hypnotized, Hall invited the audience to play Cards Against Hypnosis.
Each round of the game began with Hall throwing a Frisbee into the audience.
Whoever caught that Frisbee was then shown two cards, one was a black scenario card and the other a white card with two choices that the Frisbee holder had to choose from.
The selected situation was then acted out by the hypnotized volunteers, who dutifully performed every action Hall suggested to them.
One card combination read, “You hate dancing until you hear the words do the ‘Harlem Shake.’”
“You’re going to realize that you hate dancing,” Hall told the hypnotized, “until you hear the words do the ‘Harlem Shake.’”
The hypnotist then woke the volunteers and asked them if they would like to go to a dance party.
“I don’t dance,” one of the participants told Hall as they glared at him, offended. But much to the audience’s delight, as soon as the words “do the ‘Harlem Shake’” played through the speakers, all of the volunteers leaped to their feet for a full body dance.
When asked about their new-found love for music, the participants played their dance moves off as something else.
“Let’s call it a muscle spasm,” a volunteer responded curtly, avoiding eye contact with Hall.
When asked about the show, the hypnotized and non-hypnotized responded alike.
“It was really fun, I can’t believe half of the stuff I did on stage,” SU student Dakoda Taylor said, “but it was pretty awesome,”
“It was hilarious, really funny,” SU student India Zumbo said.
The hypnotist ended the show by thanking the student volunteers for their part.
“Tonight, you were truly a star of the show,” Hall told the participants. “We couldn’t have done it without you.”