A lot of the stage hypnotists you see, that seemingly possess almost “magic powers” to put people under their spell are really not that skilled hypnotists. They are just really good at picking the right people from the audience. Some people just are very willing to participate as a hypnotic subject and entertain others on stage as such.
The first thing to consider when attempting to hypnotize other people, is finding the right “target”. From the very earliest masters to modern day psychologists, we have discovered that people differ radically in their susceptability to hypnotism.
The applicable research can be boiled down to this: you should be looking for somebody who will tend to focus on an action it’s self, rather than the source of the action. To use a classic example, if you were to take a pocket watch and swing it in front of somebody’s eyes, more hypnotizable people will tend to naturally focus on the watch, rather than attending to the person behind it.
The Glazed Look
In this way they seem to separate thought from action which helps them slip into a less attentive state. You will see these people staring at animatronic displays in shop windows, watching jugglers in the park, or staring out of the bus window, and always with the same blankish stare which makes it clear that they are passively receiving information, rather than actively processing it.
The concept of passive reception versus active processing is central to the hypnotist’s art. When you approach a subject, your goal should be to get them into a state of soft focus. The old standards of repeated mantras, soft tone of voice, and a slow pace of speech are all effective tools for creating this state.
More modern hypnotists, however, have come across more active and continually applicable methods. If you keep on talking in an engaging manner, it is possible to lull the right kind of person into a pattern of nodding and listening intently. (Richard Bandler is the undisputed master of engaging hypnotic inductions). This is another, much more common type of hypnotism which can occur in our day to day lives. A very popular hypnosis home-study course by Igor Ledochowski called “Conversational Hypnosis” teaches you how to hypnotize people secretly.
By making repeated, subtle hand gestures, keeping up a constant flow of speech, and making constant eye contact you can begin to see many of the common signs of hypnotism manifest. Their heads will nod in time with yours, their breathing will become regular and shallow, and they will become much more compliant to demands. If you have done your job well, they become perfect “targets” for deeper forms of hypnotism.
Deep Hypnotic Trances
Using the classic bag of tricks, it is possible to take somebody from a minor hypnotic (or social hypnosis) to a full hypnotic state. By sitting them down (which should be no problem by this point) and engaging their mind with some repetitive action such as a swinging watch or a repeated soft tap on the hand, you can begin the process.
Just as important as the action are the words of the hypnotist, they should be of even tone and relatively slow pace. You should instruct the subject to concentrate on the sound of your voice, on their breathing, and on the repetitive action one after the other until they are thinking about all three at once. When their eyes lose some focus, or close entirely, their breathing becomes like a sleeping person’s, and their answers to simple questions become automatic (almost robotic) you will know you have arrived.
Don’t Screw Or Be Screwed
People in this state are very malleable, both physically and mentally, so be careful with them. Though the temptation may arise to take advantage of the subject for amusement or personal gain, remember this: hypnotism does not prevent somebody from remembering what happened, only reacting normally during the hypnotic episode. Also, if people are taken advantage of when hypnotized, they will tend to be on guard the next time they start slipping into that state, making them very hard to effectively hypnotize.
Treat the subject like you would treat any other human being, with respect and care, because otherwise karma will find it’s way back to you. What goes around comes around, it’s as simple as that. There are numerous accounts of con artists who mastered the art of hypnosis and abused the power that comes with it – in they end, they all lost it one way or another. Some became paranoid. Some started praying to some vulcano or another kind of fetish, desperately searching for forgiveness. Others had much more tragic endings. It doesn’t matter if someone has a really hardnosed “I don’t give a damn” attitude. Over time, other layers of their personality will build up and turn life into a living hell for them.