Seeking a virtual reality, the feeling of several hours of sleep and a funny video to post online, 30 eager SU students were placed into a hypnotic state by international comedy hypnotist, Michael C. Anthony Thursday night in Shippensburg University’s Ceddia Union Building (CUB) Multipurpose Room.
Anthony commenced his show by addressing hypnosis skeptics and providing facts to those on edge about what hypnosis can and cannot do to the subconscious mind.
A common worry among individuals when it comes to hypnosis is not being able to snap out of the deep state of meditation once it is tapped into. However, according to Anthony, it is impossible to be stuck in hypnosis.
“You cannot stay hypnotized for more than 10 minutes,” Anthony said.
In order to remain in a hypnotic state for more than ten minutes the person hypnotized must continue to be actively engaged with the hypnotist’s commands, and much like when you zone out into a daydream during a long class and come back to reality, the trance can always be snapped out of.
“I can’t force hypnosis on you. You have to want it to happen and open your mind to it,” Anthony assured the audience. “I’m going to keep it funny up here, but I’m not going to make you do anything that makes you regret your decision of coming on stage.”
Once cued by Anthony, hypnotist converters and those who attended the event with the intention of being hypnotized, wildly flooded the stage and filled the 30 spots without the need to coax more to participate.
Instructing participants to close their eyes and limb by limb relax their bodies, Anthony put nearly all of the volunteers on stage into a deep, comfortable sleep within minutes. Some carefully fell to the ground in search of a more comfortable position and others snuggled up to those beside them with no hesitation or shame.
Drooling on stage was likely one of the least embarrassing thing that many participants did on stage throughout the night, as things quickly became a much more weird and comical for those watching.
For those hypnotized, what once appeared to be SU transformed a magical alternate reality where just about anything was possible. Shoes turned into air masks that helped them escape the suffocating heat in the Bahamas. Belts were feared as they turned into vicious snakes, and every participant was confident enough to dance on stage like no one was watching in the hopes of winning the nonexistent dance competition’s one thousand dollar grand prize.
While the hypnotized were unaware of what they were doing on stage while it was happening, once Anthony instructed them off the stage and their feet hit the floor, they instantly remembered everything. The universal expression of disbelief, embarrassment and amusement among those who participated in the show once they realized all the witty and uncharacteristic things they did on stage was priceless.
SU Freshman, Jenna Robbins, was among the hypnotized. Robbins said that she had been hypnotized in the past, but each hypnotic experience is different from another.
Her last time under hypnosis, Robbins did not remember much of what happened while she was hypnotized, so she was skeptical about if the hypnosis actually worked on her. However, since Anthony prompted participants to remember everything once they left the stage, Robbins was left face to face with reality.
“I can’t really put it into words,” Robbins said. “When I was on stage I kept thinking to myself, I wouldn’t normally do this. Why am I doing this? And once I walked off stage it all hit me like, yep, that happened.’