“Take a look over here and sleep, all the way down,” Nadeen Manuel’s words echoed through the Memorial Auditorium on the evening of Jan. 28.
Manuel has been a hypnotist for several years and within the past three began performing hypnotic comedy shows at colleges.
Manuel called up 11 participants who were willing to be hypnotized. Roughly 60 students sat in the audience and watched the show unfold. She began by having the participants place their feet on the ground and their hands on their lap. They were then told to close their right fist and relax their bodies. Through a series of movements those on stage were guided into a deeper trance.
The audience fell silent with anticipation waiting to see if Manuel was a fraud. All skepticism was pushed aside as she effortlessly placed volunteers into relaxing trance. Once the participants were hypnotized, the true show began. Manuel started off by having the participants play an imaginary instrument of their choice to the crowd. One volunteer passionately played the violin while her neighbors played the flute. Some fell into the trance immediately, while it took others longer.
“It was one of the most bizarre experiences of my entire life,” said student Luke Rainey post-hypnotism. “Reflecting back on it, it was a wonderful time up there. As far as the things I remember, they are very few. It was an excellent job all-around by Nadeen.”
The crowd could not hold in their laughter as the show continued. One volunteer crafted a snow sculpture that was quickly crushed by another who believed she was conducting the audience in an orchestra. The men on stage were then convinced that they were giving birth and the women were the doctors assisting. The audience collapsed with laughter as the fictional hospital scene unfolded on stage. One participant was made to believe that laughing was disrespectful and began getting angry at the audience each time they laughed at the entertainment on stage.
Manuel put on an amazing performance that was captivating from beginning to end. Audience participation was encouraged and helped the show progress. By the end, those who did not volunteer were offered the opportunity to be hypnotized themselves. Manuel guided them through a comforting, reassuring hypnotism that allowed them to welcome the best versions of themselves. Every single person in the room was engaged and walked out with smiles on their faces.
“I’ve been a hypnotist since 2003. It helped cure my lifelong depression. When you unlock what you think is impossible, how can you not go and help other people?” Manuel told me after the show. When asked about those who may be skeptical, Manuel responded. “Education is power. Hypnosis is a proven science. We are working with neuroplasticity in order to create these changes. You must believe it to see it, it’s not seeing to believe.”