How I Got Hurt At A Hypnosis Show

Last night I drove an hour to see a magic and hypnotism show. I love seeing magic shows, and supporting people who are out there performing. I never ask for a free ticket, I always buy one. Before I get into what I think of the show, let me tell you how it ended. I walked out of the show and asked for my money back.

Was the show that bad?

The quality of the show isn’t why I left, I love all magic shows, good, bad. I walked out because I got physically injured by a hypnotist during his show and he didn’t seem to give a crap about it. That’s why I left, the performer intentionally hurt me and didn’t seem to care.

OK, so let’s get into the what happened:

The second half of the show is a hypnosis show. He does the some of the standard full audience stuff, like pretend you have a balloon tied to your hand and feel it lift up with your eyes closed. As this is happening, he taps people in the audience on the shoulder and if he tapped you, you’re invited to come onstage. After the audience qualifying bit he askes people who got tapped to come onstage. I didn’t want to go onstage, and since the tapping on the should bit is discreet, no one would know that I’m declining. Four people come up, but one has a cane, so he sends her back to her seat. Then he looks right at me, gestures towards me and says that he tapped me and verbally invites me to the stage. Being a good sport I go up to the stage after I was specifically singled out.

He does his induction, I’m not hypnotized (as far as I know), but following his directions. So I’m doing what I think he’s asking me to do. Then he gets to the bit where people play imaginary instruments and I guess I didn’t start soon enough and he walks over and has me look at him and he starts shaking my arm. Apparently I wasn’t doing it right, so after a few times of me trying to do what he wants and not doing it correctly, he grabs my arm and violently yanks it towards him and says, “sleep”. It was the opposite of making want to sleep, it hurt and I heard my shoulder make a noise.

I told him that it hurt and that I was done onstage. I walked off the stage, grabbed my coat, asked for a refund and left the venue. I really wanted to yell at him on stage about how inappropriate what he did to me was.

The hypnotist was recording the show that night, so he has this on video. I’d love to see this video and to see that I’m over reacting, however my shoulder still being sore this morning almost 12 hours later tells me I’m not.

In my heart, I hope that the hypnotist reviews the video of this show and my interaction with him and realizes how forcefully yanking on someone’s arm with no warning is a horrible idea and a great way to injure someone, someone that paid for a ticket AND drove an hour to see his show.

This should also serve as a reminder that people in the audience are actual people and not props. What you do with them on stage can have lasting effects and can skew how their opinion of future shows like yours. For example if I was the holiday party booker for a company, I’d probably never book a hypnotist in the future based only on this one experience. I used to think it was unfair when people has a bad experience with a magician and won’t book any magician, now I totally understand that position!