Look into my eyes, you are feeling very sleepy... Hypnotism is fascinating, but even mind-control maestros have their off days!
Out for the count
On stage, in front of a 100-strong audience in Portland, Dorset, hypnotist David Days had three volunteers under his spell. He’d convinced them that they were Martians, when he suddenly tripped over and knocked himself out! Crew rushed on stage to try to wake David, but he was out cold.
And while the hypnotist was out for the count, so were his ‘Martian’ volunteers. No-one else but David could rouse them from their trance!
Watching the kerfuffle, the audience for the 2011 performance applauded, thinking this was all part of the act. Only when they were ushered from their seats out of the theatre did they realise that it wasn’t.
Thankfully, no more than 15 minutes later, David came to. He was fine, apart from some bruising, and heroically sprang into action, bringing his volunteers round. When asked if they knew what had happened, they reported they’d been aware of the hubbub, but had no desire to get up and do anything unless they were told to.
David needed no further treatment after his fall. It was revealed that hypnotists will have a voice recording which can be used to bring people out of a trance in emergencies just like this one.
Under his spell
When handsome young hypnotist Maxime Nadeau performed at the 2012 end of year show at College du Sacre-Couer girls school in Quebec, Canada, his schoolgirl audience were captivated… literally!
After his performance many of the girls were still in a trance, some with their head on the desk, others staring vacantly straight ahead. Maxime, 20, wasn’t able to rouse them and called his mentor, hypnotist Richard Whitbread to come to the school. ‘The eyes were open and there was nobody home,’ Whitbread told the press about the drowsy students.
He managed to bring the girls out of the trance and suggested that the girls may have been even more vulnerable to Maxime because his youthful good looks meant they were all too willing to follow his instructions!
When booking Maxime, school officials had no idea that hypnotism shouldn’t be performed on young teenagers as they are especially suggestable. But luckily no harm was done. The girls were never in any real danger and there was no lasting damage.
Man in the mirror
Sword swallower Helmut Kichmeier had been part of the Circus of Horrors for years, and had perfected his act of gulping down blades with the help of hypnotism. Helmut, who performs under the name Hannibal Helmurto, was taught to put himself into a trance while performing.
It worked a treat – until 2010 when Helmut was home alone, practicing his act. As he stood in front of the mirror, he put himself into a deep trance, but wasn’t able to rouse himself as usual.
When his wife returned five hours had passed with poor Helmut rooted to the spot! She couldn’t snap him out of it either – and had to called Dr Ray Roberts, who had trained Helmut in hypnotism in the first place. Dr Roberts spoke to Helmut over the phone and Helmut returned to the land of the living.
He said he couldn’t remember a thing since he started to practice that morning, and had no memory of the missing five hours. But all that practising paid off. Helmut is now an accomplished hypnotist, and can even hypnotise folk using just his ears!