Hypnotism and Hocus-Pocus

I must be getting old.

I just got back from what was supposed to be a comedic show — it was billed as hilarious hypnotism and hilarious hocus-pocus. I appreciated the invitation and the treat. I liked having an excuse to get out of the house, and I especially enjoyed being with my friends, but the show was not particularly to my taste. The magician was okay, though a bit childish. But the hypnotist . . .

The hypnotist himself was not funny at all, though the audience seemed to find the antics he put his subjects through humorous. I found the whole thing more appalling than amusing. I realize the subjects were eager to be hypnotizestaged — they ran up the stage steps to make sure they were chosen, and avidly did everything they were asked. (I also closed my eyes and tried to follow along with his hypnotic instructions, but I have to admit my nodding off was more boredom than relaxation.) Still, watching people being played with like puppets wasn’t thrilling for me, especially when they had to act if they’d smelled people passing gas, felt as if they were afflicted with hemorrhoids, or were made to think they saw something obscene or terrifying.

I am way past the age where body humor or sadism holds any fascination. (To be honest, it never did — I’ve never been able to understand the attraction of the Three Stooges, Laurel and Hardy, and most comic books.) Even the innocuous things the hypnotist did like leaning his subjects against or on top of each other didn’t sit well with me. All I could think of was the danger of such propinquity among strangers and the diseases they could be catching.

Yep, too old.

One of the women I went with is a hypnotherapist, so if I ever want to know what it’s like to be hypnotized, or if I want to explore my past lives, I could do so. Since I don’t believe in reincarnation, it might be interesting to see what, if anything, my mind could conjure as a past. On the other hand, I’m not sure I care. I’m having a hard enough time with this life, learning whatever lessons come my way. In fact, I will be truly disappointed if I find out that reincarnation is real and I have to keep coming back — I’d just as soon be done with it all. (Which is probably why I don’t believe it reincarnation or any sort of consciousness after life — I don’t want it to be so. Oblivion sounds fine to me because obviously I wouldn’t be around to know that I’m oblivious. But I digress . . .)

Still, I’m glad I went. It was a unique experience for me since I’d never gone to a show like that before. And I do feel relaxed.

Very relaxed.


Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

3 Responses to “Hypnotism and Hocus-Pocus”

  1. LordBeariOfBow Says:

    I’m with you on these “artists” “conmen” ; boring? too polite a proper description is unprintable; I sometimes wonder what if any damage these people do to susceptible people.

  2. rami ungar the writer Says:

    I do hypnosis myself, and rarely do I find that sort of thing entertaining. Unless of course it’s Derren Brown. He does the same sort of hypnosis, but he does it with a purpose, usually to help someone or give them some excitement in their lives. This guy apparently just did it to humiliate people. I’m not surprised you didn’t like the show.

  3. Carol Wuenschell Says:

    I agree with you completely. So-called humor that relies on embarrassing people just isn’t funny to me.

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