I recently had a conversation on Twitter about the hypnosis shows that are often performed onboard cruise ships. Audience participation is my worst nightmare but nevertheless, the shows can be incredibly fun to watch. I got chatting with Bev and she agreed to share her story with us. I have always been extremely sceptical about hypnosis, I believe completely in the type of hypnosis that will stop you smoking or biting your nails, but I’ve always had trouble with the whole 3 2 1 YOU’RE UNDER type of hypnosis. Let me know in the comments what you think!
Before I start, just a bit about me and why I came to volunteer myself on stage to potentially humiliate myself! I am the author of six books and the reason why that’s important to this little tale is that I have a very creative and open mind, which is something that is beneficial when trying hypnosis. I have also been hypnotised many times previously. A friend of mine was training to perform hypnosis on mums in labour – hypnobirthing. She asked me if I’d be a guinea pig, she thought I’d be a good candidate for hypnosis. (Just to point out I wasn’t pregnant at the time, she was just practising the hypnotising bit.) I found it a very relaxing, calming experience and I would look forward to my sessions.
Independence of the Seas
Fast forward to sitting in the audience in the theatre on Independence (a theatre that is larger than our own local theatre and it’s on a ship!), initially, when the hypnotist was asking for volunteers I wasn’t going to put my hand up, but my family and friends did the old ‘go on, have a go,’ also I wanted to compare the experience between chilling out on my sofa being hypnotised to going on stage and doing it for the ‘comedy value.’
So, off I trot, up onto the stage, along with about fifty other hopeful hypnosis candidates. I know a lot of people will be sceptical about being hypnotised. Are you really under? Do people just play along? Isn’t it just messing with your head? I can only answer for myself. Every time I’ve been hypnotised I’ve been 100% under and again, I put this down to being totally open to the experience and letting creativity take over. For example, my husband has seen me be hypnotised, he knows me better than anyone, he knows that I’m totally under – however, he has never been hypnotised and I would imagine he’d resist the process and he probably wouldn’t be able to be hypnotised. Because that’s the key thing to remember here – not everyone CAN be hypnotised, even if you want to be. I imagine some people probably do just play along, but I think a professional hypnotist on a stage show can be quite quick at picking these people out. (I mentioned that there were about 50 people on the stage when I came out of hypnosis at the end of the show there were only about 20 of us left – so I’m assuming the people who couldn’t go under and those ‘acting’ were asked to go back to their seats). As for messing with your head. Hypnosis is a dream-like state – it’s just like being in an over active dream – again something I am used to as I have a very active imagination (handy when you write books)!
Stages of hypnosis
Another point before I go on – when I’ve been hypnotised by my friend, I normally remember most things she’s said – unless I’m in a really deep state of hypnosis, which depends on how relaxed I am, some days I’m more stressed than other days. However, on the stage show, the hypnotist said at the end we wouldn’t remember (I’ll come back to that later).
There I am on the stage, I was near the back – I’m not comfortable being centre stage (unless I’m hypnotised and don’t know what I’m doing). He asked us to put our hands together and stretch our arms out and imagine our palms are stuck together with glue and close our eyes. I was enjoying the gentle rock of the ship as I started to feel lulled into a relaxing state and that’s the last thing I remember…the next part is eyewitness testimonies from my family and friends!
3 2 1 under!
The hypnotist brought us out of the initial stage of hypnosis and asked us to sit on a row of chairs, which we did, then by tapping us on our shoulder he put us under again. My friend said at this stage there were still a few people who weren’t quite under, whilst my head was practically stuck to my right shoulder as I moved deeper into hypnosis (again probably down to me not being in any way worried or scared about the experience). The hypnotist had us doing some funny things to begin with such as pretending we were typing fast on a typewriter or that we were so cold we had to cuddle up to the person next to us…he then ‘woke us up’…I’m pretty sure the poor Irish lad I was cuddled up to is still scarred to this day. At the ‘wake up’ point, all I could do was apologise to this young lad as we both looked at each other in a completely confused way. Before I could ponder it anymore I was back under.
The next part of the act was to get us to play imaginary instruments. I picked the drums because I’ve always wanted to play the drums. I beat the hell out of those drums! He then played a piece of music and said we were ‘International rockstars’ at a concert. The music he played was Guns N Roses, Sweet Child O’ Mine…I was out of my seat rockin’ that air guitar. (Although, anyone who knows me, knows that if GnR or Bon Jovi come on, I’m headbanging around my living room – so my friends and family thought that was fairly standard Bev behaviour!). Again, when I was woken up standing alone on the stage, I just wondered why I was out of my seat.
The show continued and at the end, the hypnotist said we wouldn’t remember any of the stuff we’d done, but once we returned to our seats, when the cruise director, Joff Eaton came out and said the hypnotist’s name, we’d stand up and say ‘my bum is on fire.’
Back to my seat
I took my seat with my family who were laughing their heads off and said I’d been really funny. I didn’t know what they were talking about. I thought I hadn’t been selected for the show, I began to explain this when the cruise director came out and I heard the hypnotists name – I was out of my seat shouting ‘my bum is on fire.’ I didn’t have an explanation.
The weird thing was on our way out of the theatre – a woman asked me if I was a plant as I was so into it. I just replied. ‘I’m on my holidays, love.’ As I walked along the Promenade deck after the show, I was aware of people looking at me and smiling, it was a strange feeling. Other people came up to me and said I’d been hilarious – apparently, I missed a great show!
I caught up with the hypnotist the next night – told him I had a bone to pick with him! He said I’d been great to hypnotise as I went under so easily. I told him about my past experiences, he said that just made me even more susceptible to hypnosis.
Would I do it again…5,4,3,2,1…and sleep…
Wow! That’s really interesting. It’s a good job that we are all different because I couldn’t think of anything worse than being on the stage, let alone being hypnotised on stage! I would quite like to watch though so I am glad that people like Bev exists.
I’m cruising on the Independence of the seas soon and I hope that there is a show like this. Thanks again for this one Bev!
Bev Dulson has written stories since she was old enough to hold a pen, she lives in a constant dream world and genuinely thinks her characters are real. She lives in the North West of England, where sometimes the sun actually shines. She is married to her ex-rugby playing husband and has two adorable, well behaved (sometimes) daughter’s. As well as writing she loves reading, whodunnits, dancing around a disco ball in her friend’s kitchen, anything purple, chocolate and of course fizzy pink wine. You can find Bev on twitter here and her website here.