The stage hypnotist uses a form of depth testing to see if the subject will follow his commands in an entertainment setting. He will check for muscle resistance when he lifts an arm, moves a head, or shakes a hand. He watches eye movements, how relaxed the body becomes, and the ability to follow his suggestions. If a subject resists, he sends her back into the audience. Sometimes he uses only a few of the tested subjects in his performance.
The stage hypnotist will stand before his subject, lower his voice, and say, “You are getting sleepier and sleepier.” The audience watches in amazement as the subject lowers his head, relaxes his body, and slips into a sleeplike state. He will command the subject to return to this position many times during the show.
Who are the best hypnosis subjects for a stage show?
The best hypnosis subjects have fantasy-prone personalities. They have great imaginations. Teenagers and young adults are at the best age for hypnosis. People in repetitive occupations and those who are used to following orders are also good subjects.
Mr. Re was a successful stage hypnotist in the 1960s and 1970s who worked on major cruise lines. His first encounter with hypnosis was accidental. One day in grade school he had to stay late for some extra help. The soft-spoken youngster was talking quietly with his teacher, when she suddenly slumped over and he could not waken her.
Panic-stricken, he ran for help, and the local doctor was summoned. The doctor recognized that the teacher was in a hypnotic trance; he told her to wake up and she did. Mr. Re had hypnotized his first subject without even knowing what he had done.