Thursday, August 16, 2012

Are Those Magical Witch Doctors We Call Hypnotists Real?

There aren’t very many things that I would say frighten me. Spiders? Not really. They seem rather silly with all those legs.

Sharks? I’m pretty sure I can outrun a shark. Assuming we are both on land.

Fire? Who am I Frankenstein?

Justin Bieber*? I’m not afraid to punch that guy in the smile.

However, one thing I am definitely afraid of is having my brain taken over and controlled by some ruler of evil. But who isn’t?

Of course I’m talking about hypnotists. These wizard types apparently have the ability to put someone under their spell and force them to do their bidding no matter how embarrassing and/or dangerous. Or do they?

I have always thought of hypnotists as sort of like magicians. Obviously not as cool and sophisticated as magicians, what with their dancing tigers and exotic woman friends. Not to mention their fancy and mystical hand movements that we would all die for.

The essence of class.

No, not as cool as magicians, but similar to how magicians do “tricks” I have always assumed hypnotists were also doing “tricks”. I mean if they were real, wouldn’t the military have armies of them by now, going around hypnotizing countries?

My question is, are hypnotists real? And if so shouldn’t we be scared?

Pat: Y’know, dear friend, if you scroll back through many of our posts you’ll notice a slight trend--there are quite a few instances where you analyze my words and make subtle questions or suggestions regarding the sanity of my ideas.  

Care to reconsider any of those comments?

I guess I have to be honest--I have not given any thought (seriously...not even an iota, and I don’t use that word very often!) to hypnotists. Magicians, yes--who can resist David Copperfield making things disappear on TV!--but not hypnotists. Sorry.

Wait! Does Simon Baker’s character on The Mentalist count? Is he a hypnotist? Is he the kind of person you’re talking about being afraid of?

Stare DEEP into my dreamy eyes, Christian!

Christian: I’m not sure. I’ve never watched that show so as of right now I’m not afraid of him. But that could easily change if he were to lay those dreamy eyes on me.

Basically all I want to know is, is there solid science behind this whole hypnotizing people thing or is it just smoke and mirrors and a bunch of hooey?

I’ve had many people tell me that they know someone or know someone that knows someone that has been hypnotized and that they claim it is real. But I definitely have had no first hand experience myself and have never even talked to anyone that has claimed to have had first hand experience.

And I can say the same thing for “spotting a Leprechaun**”.

So this makes me skeptical. You’re a teacher shouldn’t you know the answer to this?

Pat:  Listen, buddy--if I were the sole teacher in a rural single-room schoolhouse with 15 kids ranging in age from 6 to 18 back in Walnut Grove circa 1874, then yes, you could presume that I SHOULD know just about everything. But I’m not, so instead I specialize in pretending to know a lot about a very thin slice of all the known things in the universe. Got it?

That said, at heart I am a skeptic, so I tend to doubt all of those kinds of things--magicians, hypnotists, organized religions, the theory of cholesterol, Cuba...

Like you’ve said, show me the science and then I’ll believe it!

Then again, my mom said, with complete steadfastness, that I had an angel watching over me. Like, right over me, as my mom was talking to me. She looked just over my shoulder and said, “Right there...there she is! She’s beautiful! And she’ll always help you make the right decisions.” Kinda’ freaked me out for the next two decades, ‘cause moms don’t make that stuff up, right?

Christian:  Was your mom a hypnotist?

Pat:  Nope, she was a teacher, like me. And then a collector of crystals and then a lover of crucifixes (crucifi?), both of which are unlike me. Oh, and she did get into tarot for awhile. Why do you ask?

Christian: Well, it’s just that a lot of those things you just listed as your mom’s hobbies I would equate to hypnotising people.

Since you obviously don’t have an answer for me I’m afraid I’m just going to have to take a minute and google to see if hypnotists are the real deal.

*three weeks go by*

OK, apparently it’s somewhat real. According to How Stuff Works “It is a trance state characterized by extreme suggestibility, relaxation and heightened imagination.”

They then go on to compare it to reading, driving, watching a movie and, for some reason, to mowing the lawn (Don’t say it Pat!***).

But they do say that even though people in this trance are more suggestible or perhaps just more agreeable, hypnotists can’t get you to do anything you don’t really want to do. Phew!

However, I’m still afraid of them and think they should all be arrested.

Pat:  Ha! I TOLD you there was merit to lawn mowing, buddy! Me and a handful of quack hypnotists cannot be wrong!

* No, I did not mention Justin Bieber’s name just so that we would show up in more google searches and increase our SEO or whatever that mythical thing is that brings more people that have no interest in reading our blog, to our site. Porn, Lady GaGa, Free Bieber tickets, sex leopards.
** I’m assuming Leprechauns aren’t real either, but again, I haven’t seen the science.
*** Pat and I have a long ongoing argument about lawn mowing which you can read about here.


  1. Here I thought hypnotists fell into the category of comedians since my only experience with hypnotism was watching a small group of hypnotized people make a fool of themselves one night at the Improv. Although hilarious, I also fall into the "please don't do that to me" category. I think Christian gets one point for that and because he hates mowing the lawn.

    1. Sweet! I love getting points. I don't care if they count for anything or not. A point is a point.

  2. I'm with Christian on this one; hypnosis is scary and should be illegal and I'm not just saying that because I am easily persuaded. Although, I don't believe in Cuba either so now I'm confused. I think Pat may be a hippy.

    1. Define "hippy". Really, 'cause I'm not sure if I am one or not. I might be...I think I might want to be a hippy, actually, but it seems like such a commitment. I don't know...

    2. ...but I'm totally with you on Cuba, even though you gave Christian points towards a game I didn't know we were playing.

    3. Did Tumbleweed, I mean Stacey, give me points too? Or is Pat getting confused as to whose comment he is responding too? Hippies do tend to get confused easily.

    4. I got confused. I'm always confused.

    5. See? You must be a hippy. But then I have been accused of dressing like a communist so I think something is wrong with the world.

      Since the blog is all points and counter-points I feel I have to choose a side every time, hence the game you didn't know you were playing. (Hippies don't believe in games *either*, Pat)

      Basically what I'm saying is that I win.

  3. My mom told me about a hypnotist who put a girl from her college under on stage, and the girl started screaming because she was burned to death in another life. I reminded mom about that yesterday and she TOTALLY DIDN'T REMEMBER EVER TELLING ME THAT. Who was hypnotized - Me? Or her? Evil! Evil!

    1. I think I was hypnotized there for second while reading your comment. Woke up thinking I was a zebra. These hypnotists must be stopped.

  4. I'm still laughing at, "Fire? Who am I Frankenstein?"

    Also, based on your definition, I think I've personally been hypnotized by vodka on numerous occasions. However, I have to disagree on one point, as vodka *can* get me to do things I don't want to do. BE AFRAID! But they also say to keep your friends close and your enemies closer, which I guess means I should start drinking it even more often.

    1. Do you have some kind of PHD in Scientist? Because finally here's the science I was looking for with regards to hypnotists. And alcohol.

  5. The Tom Harris who wrote that article you cited on How Stuff Works? That's my Tom (he doesn't work there anymore). I have it on good authority that he can't put dishes back in the right places when unloading the dishwasher, so if you want to still be afraid of hypnotists and not trust that article, feel free.

    1. Wow, really? What a small world wide web we live in. That's so cool. Tell him I found his article very interesting and helpful. And since reading it I've told multiple people about the origins of the work mesmerized which I also found very interesting. Wait, we don't owe him any money do we?

    2. Yes. I will send you a bill after I hypnotize you into giving me your mailing address.

  6. I'm pretty sure I went to high school with that guy in the first pic. Or maybe he just has that super-familiar "I'm socially awkward, but trying to control your mind" look about him...

  7. I once underwent hypnosis to locate a thousand dollars I had hidden in my house. You know: for safe keeping. Seriously. For me, I never felt that I went under.

    I found the money almost three months later in a purse I swear I had used several times since "losing" the money. Still bums me out...


  8. This is a good point. I would let myself get hypnotized for a $1000. But then is it the hypnotists that is hypnotizing me or the large amount of cash?

  9. I agree. Arrest all the hypnotists. Not because I think they're evil, but as retribution for being forced to watch my friends pretend to be chickens on my prom night. Worst prom entertainment ever.

    1. That's so weird how common hypnotists are at events for teenagers. My niece just graduated and there was a hypnotists at her senior party, which is what sparked this post. And there were people acting like chickens there too. Deep down do all humans really desire to be chickens?