Hypnotist mesmerizes


Kayla Friedrich

Paul Ramsey gets the crowd going.

“I want to make sure that everyone here knows that this show is completely real. It’s not magic, not an illusion, and not a con,” he said. “I’ll be using a set of skills that I have been trained in, that actually help people manipulate their brain waves to a different pattern of brain activity. The reason I am telling you this, is so you know it’s natural, and it’s safe. Everyone’s brain is built for this; hardwired with a level for trance. This is just the entertainment application of it.”

Professional Hypnotist Paul Ramsey began practicing hypnotism as a hobby, but later realized that he wanted to pursue it as a career. Originally from New Hampshire, Ramsey now travels the country performing stage hypnotism on college and high school campuses. On Friday, March 21, he was invited by SLAP to perform in Johnson State College’s Bentley Hall.

Ramsey assured the audience that if any members did not want to be hypnotized, it would be impossible for him to hypnotize them, and he performed a series of tests to determine who would participate in his show.

Students stuck out their arms and closed their eyes, playing along with Ramsey’s suggestions. He tied an imaginary balloon around every right wrist, and set a stack of imaginary text books on every left palm, suggesting that you imagine what those object would feel like as the balloons rise into the air, and the books begin to feel heavier.

Those students who could imagine and feel it vividly, ended up with the right hand above their heads, and their left down toward their laps when they opened their eyes, while others’ hands remained where they began. Those students who could feel it were viable candidates for stage hypnosis, but one more test had to be performed before they could participate.

“Stage hypnosis is the most difficult way to get hypnotized,” said Ramsey. “There are too many distractions that could pull you out of the trance, so you have to have strong focus. I’m going to try to hypnotize you, and make you forget your first name. Forgetting isn’t really forgetting; everything is still in your mind. The information has just been moved around.”

Students seemed perplexed by the fact that, when asked to say their first name, they could not remember. Some even came up with new names. “I want to say Rachel,” answered Shelby DavisLane, when asked what her name was. “But I don’t think that’s right.”

Other memories had filled up the space in her mind where her first name had once resided, like the name of her second grade teacher, and who sat in front of her in kindergarten. Somehow though, until Ramsey suggested that her name return to the forefront of her mind, DavisLane simply couldn’t remember it.

Seven female students were eventually chosen and hypnotized in front of the audience. To make the show more interactive, remotes were handed out to audience members so that they could vote on what would happen next. The winning votes included every participant losing her butt, among other oddities. They tried to sit down, unsuccessfully, and kept asking how it happened and where their butts had gone, but didn’t seem all that concerned about the loss.

At the end of the show, none of the participants believed that they had been hypnotized, and demanded to know why Johnson State paid to bring Ramsey to campus. They didn’t realize that they were still hypnotized, so Ramsey suggested that everyone sing “Just a small town girl” by Journey, to have some fun. When the audience sang the words “South Detroit,” every participant would remember what they had just done under hypnosis.

Determined to have fun without Ramsey, everyone started to sing and when they hit the words “South Detroit” the participants broke out into laughter, finally seeing what everyone else had watched them do.

Unfortunately, since there were no male participants, the audience could not vote for “man having a baby,” but they applauded and laughed at the comedy in front of them, regardless.