Hundreds of students attend comic hypnotist
Comedic hypnotist Daniel James talks with members of the audience just before hypnotizing student participants Jan. 25, 2013, at the International Center. Adam Toolin/The State News
Amy Savoie named an imaginary bluebird Wiz Khalifa — a rapper she never listens to — and laid on two strangers’ laps because she believed she was a seat belt.
She barely remembers a thing.
For more than an hour, the animal science sophomore fell under the spell of comic hypnotist Daniel James on Friday at the International Center. More than 500 students and guests filled the room to see James perform hypnosis on about 20 student volunteers.
The volunteers first watched a blinking light, then closed their eyes and listened to James as he tried to coax them into an altered state of consciousness. Some students woke up during the process, and their spots were replaced by audience members who were hypnotized by following along with the performance.
“1…2…3…sleep,” James said before the students passed out.
Chris LaMarche began his night in the audience, but came back to reality on the stage as one of the stars of the show.
“I remember having my eyes closed,” said LaMarche, a microbiology and molecular genetics junior. “They told me I had a bird at some point.”
James said hypnosis is not the same as sleeping at night, and participants can’t be forced to do anything against their will or morals.
“They’re aware of what’s going on, (but they’re) at a point that they just don’t care,” James said. “The subconscious never sleeps — that’s what’s paying attention.”
Some of the things James had the participants imagine and do included giving them an imaginary bird to name and pet, imagining they were on a hot beach with an ice cream cone and believing the whole audience was naked.
One man who believed his shirt was inside out when he heard the words “car keys,” prompting him to take it off and flip it inside out. Two women imagined whoever was sitting next to them pinched their butts whenever James said “lobster.”
James said every show is out of the ordinary because everyone reacts differently.
“MSU is just fantastic,” he said. “Thank goodness it didn’t turn into an X-rated show.”
Savoie said she was skeptical of hypnosis before participating in James’ show, but after meeting “Wiz Khalifa” she’s a believer.
“It was a joke before, (but now) I believe you can do anything with your mind,” she said. “Everyone needs to get hypnotized.”