CAMPUS LIFE EDITOR
Soft, melodic music played in the background barely audible over the chatter of a restless audience until hypnotist Michael Mezmer emerged and the crowd in Club 88 fell silent.
“You are going to be the star of the show,” he murmured, as his eyes shifted to each face in the crowd.
An audience member pulled out their phone to record, but was stopped politely by the hypnotist. “If someone were to watch it, they would be hypnotized,” he joked.
As Mezmer reached into his bag, the music became more playful. “Hypnosis is similar to a daydream,” Mezmer said. “But you have to want to be hypnotized.” With these words Mezmer pulled an Archimedean Spiral out of his bag. Counting backwards from five, he began to spin the prop as the audience focused solely on the mesmerizing object. At the count of one, the audience gasped in astonishment as his head appeared to grow larger and then shrink.
Sitting at the front of the stage, audience volunteers became a part of the show.
“Participating in the show was an indescribable experience,” firstyear Analis Hetter said. “In the beginning, I found it difficult to sleep, since I faced some sort of battle between my brain and my conscious. I really wanted to participate in the show, and get hypnotized of course, so I tried my best to focus at each individual word. It was a bit physically demanding, but it was a lot of fun. I felt very happy coming out of the show, and I would do it again in a heartbeat.”
Once he had volunteers, Mezmer began to put them in a deep daydream, until they were sleeping in their chairs. Once they were woken up, they followed his every command. He asked the students to put their hands out and imagine they were carrying a pail of water in one hand and that a balloon was tied to the other. After they heard Mezmer’s words the volunteers could feel one hand grow heavier and the other grow lighter.
“It was fun, his energy helped everyone relax and get into the feel of the show which was super cool,” sophomore Lajana Morris said. “I liked that he told us all that anything he asked us to do he was also going to do himself. I just kind of wish I would've observed instead of volunteered because I didn't get to actually see the show.”
Mezmer then created a scenario for the hypnotized students to act out. Similar to lucid dreaming, the volunteers acted as if they were a gang of bikers and completed various tasks such as driving down the highway and eating baked beans, all with their eyes closed. They revved up their motorcycles and posed for imaginary attractive bikers. They grabbed onto their seats where there seemed to be bumps in the road and laughed in drunken stupor after drinking fictional giggle water.
After pretending to be bikers, the volunteers then became dancers working to entertain the crowd, dancing around the front of the room and shouting loudly. One student, deep in hypnotic sleep, shouted out that she was the best and cried when Mezmer said they all were the best. Once the hypnosis was over, the volunteers sat up in their seats and rubbed their eyes looking at each other in confusion.
The hypnotist show succeeded in creating an accepting environment perfect for Welcome Week by producing a safe space in which volunteers felt comfortable performing silly acts with confidence.