When I was 20, I went to a hypnotist in Auckland, New Zealand, to try to give up smoking.
The hypnotist was an old guy, he was nice enough, a professional, with his fair share of wisdom.
I always remember before the session, he asked me some questions.
One of them was, “Do you consider yourself better than everybody else?”
Without thinking I immediately answered, YES.
Then, sensing my embarrassment, he said, “Oh, don’t worry, that is quite normal.”
And then we went into the session.
But no matter how many different techniques this reputable, and very experienced professional used, sadly, he could not put me under.
About ten years later, purely for entertainment value, a group of us, including my flatmate, went to a UK hypnotist show in Taupo, New Zealand.
Any skepticism, I had about hypnotism before that memorable night, was destroyed.
All the guy did, at the beginning of the show, was to ask us to clasp our hands above our heads. That was it. I did it, with enthusiasm, truly wanting, longing to be hypnotized.
Then he said, “Well, the ones who cannot unclasp their hands, come to the stage.”
My hands came apart, and again, I was left feeling very disappointed.
My flatmate, though, could not separate her hands.
It did not surprise me in the least. She was the kind of person who could sleep, at any time, at any location.
I would often have conversations with her, which I considered very interesting, and then she would simply not respond, and I would look at her, and remarkably she had fallen asleep on the couch.
I also felt a little offended.
But that was her way.
So, she went to the stage with her hands clasped.
She was a twenty-one-year-old blonde dental nurse, and I knew there was no way she was putting it on, or part of some elaborate ruse, and perhaps paid.
The hypnotist selected six or so people by simply clicking his fingers, and saying, SLEEP. It amused me to see my flatmate drop like a stone, even before he really got to her.
She was out.
People who defend hypnotists, always say, it is very safe because the people will NEVER do anything they do not want to do.
But he told them a raw onion was a delicious apple, which they will want to eat. And they all ate the raw onion ravenously.
Would you consider eating a raw onion as nice? I mean, how about sucking on a nice sausage? You get the picture.
The hypnotist had the group do all sorts of amusing activities.
He said there would an interval, and the group could go back to their friends and talk to them about their experiences, and at the end of the interval, James Bond music would be played and they would instantly become secret agents, with a weapon, and they would have to sneakily return to the stage unnoticed.
My flatmate returned. She said she had enjoyed the experience, it had been fun, but that she only had a hazy recollection of what had happened.
Then the music came on, and she was immediately down on the floor, holding an imaginary bazooka. It was a remarkable thing to witness.
At the end, there was a deprogramming period by the hypnotist.
Years later, I was telling an Australian friend of mine about it, and he said, it was all fake, and how gullible I had been about the whole thing.
But, believe me, it was all real.
In 1946 the BBC ran a hypnotism experiment on a group of their staff. By simply watching a television screen 5 out of the group feel asleep. The results were so effective that the BBC decided not to broadcast the episode as it was “too dangerous to put on the air”.
Two movies which come to mind regarding this topic are Fahrenheit 451 (1966) and The Manchurian Candidate (1962).
Apart from the book burning in Fahrenheit 451, there was a very clear parallel warning of the hypnotic effects of television.
It does seem these days that most of the “awake” people stopped watching mainstream media a long time ago.
In The Manchurian Candidate soldiers are hypnotized to carry out assassinations.
And if you were wondering whether the ability, not be hypnotized is genetic, in my own experience, I would have to say no. One of my sisters watches mainstream media daily. She told me at the beginning of the pandemic that the Covid jabs would change your DNA, and there was no way she would be getting one.
Now she has had three of the shots.