By Jessica Hergert
Hypnotist Tim Miller used trigger words, sounds and songs to transform volunteers into the toughest body builders, a paranoid James Bond and even Beyoncé performing the “Single Ladies” dance in the Yvonne Theater on Sept. 9.
Sponsored by the Student Entertainment Council, the event sparked the audience’s imagination and filled the theater with roaring laughter and outrageous antics.
As students filed in, manager Steve Manning made his way through the aisles looking for brave volunteers to be the “stars of the show.”
“I am so excited for this, but I do not want to be hypnotized,” one audience member said, emphasizing the word “not.”
As 7 p.m. neared and the volunteers were chosen, Miller burst onto the stage demanding more enthusiasm from the audience. Once everybody was psyched, rather than scared, the show began.
The charismatic performer explained the basics of hypnosis, highlighting the fact that it is completely different than magic.
After just a few minutes, the volunteers on stage, and even some audience members who chose to participate, were falling under Miller’s hypnosis.
The students’ faces read a combination of nervousness and excitement as they allowed themselves to succumb to Miller’s soothing voice, lulling them into an early hypnotic state.
As those on stage fell into a deeper trance, Miller explained to the audience that hypnosis is a natural state of being that everyone experiences when, for example, he or she watches movies or drives a car for an extended time.
During hypnosis, one’s conscious and “filtering” mind takes a break, he said. Although the volunteers were in complete control, their unconscious mind was tapped into, allowing them to be more open to suggestions. Their one hour of hypnosis would be equivalent to eight or nine hours of sleep, he said.
Once the volunteers were both physically and mentally relaxed, Miller said the classic “sleep now” phrase, and the volunteers’ heads fell one by one onto the shoulder of the neighboring person. In the audience, a few students also slumped down in their chairs.
At this point, everyone was hooked. The theater was palpably loud, yet those being hypnotized did not flinch.
Then the fun began. Miller started by giving the suggestion that all the volunteers were established orchestra performers. In an instant, the stage came to life with students playing imaginary violins and drums.
As quickly as each suggestion began, it ended and the show moved on.
Next, the participants were told it was insanely hot in the room. Completely unaware yet totally in control, the students began fanning themselves and ripping off layers of clothing as though it were 100 degrees.
Miller quickly reversed this spell by making the volunteers believe it was freezing in the theater. Students were suddenly huddled together for warmth, noticeably shivering while they attempted to grab the sweatshirts they had just removed.
The show continued in that format with the suggestions becoming more outrageous.
Despite some of the hypnotized students running into the audience to fulfill whatever role was assigned to them, safety was always the number one concern followed closely by immeasurable humor.
Miller ended the show with a surprisingly motivational “trance termination,” bringing the volunteers out of the spell, even implicating some post-hypnotic suggestions for fun.
“You’re in the Rider family,” he began in his closing remarks. “And the Rider family means we stick together.”
Miller invites anyone interested in his act to check out his social media platforms and tune into his new television show, “Hypnotizing America,” coming soon.
Printed in the 9/13 edition.