“La Revue de la prestidigitation” (“The Conjuring Review”), January 2016.
Since I have noticed that my blog has english-speaking followers, I’m going to publish a short series of article in that language. It will be the translation of an extensive article that I wrote in January 2016 for “La Revue de la prestidigitation” (“The Conjuring Review”). The translation has been done by the mentalist Eric Bertrand co-author of “Douceurs mentales” (“Mental Sweets”)
Hypnosis: History and Techniques
The hypnosis process, be it in the street or during a private party, comprises four crucial steps, known as the “Four As”: Agreement, Announcement, Accomplishment and Awakening. You can see Agreement and Announcement in the previous article of the blog.
Here is the key principle : « What I have announced, what I have promised, I deliver. »
Accomplishment is a four-step process. You start with having the subject go through a specific pre-hypnotic test (step one) and you have him fall backwards (step two). You follow with the suggestion that his eyelids are glued together so that he cannot open them however hard he tries (step three) and eventually you start the hypnotic trance (step four).
a) Choose among five pre-hypnotic experiments.
Let me give you a personal piece of advice here. Do not hesitate to count (up or down) a lot. Count to three before performing the elevator test for example, count again before the backwards fall, again before the stuck eyelids test and again before the hypnotic trance.
Here’s a short list of five pre-hypnotic tests of which you will choose only one to perform (the one you prefer or the one that has yielded the best results in the past):
· Stuck fingers
The subject holds his hands together, with the first fingers pointing forward. Ask him to spread the tips of the first fingers, leaving a distance of around one or two centimeters between them. Start counting from one to three. Soon the fingertips will move towards each other and will eventually meet.
Ask the subject to extend his arms out, palms facing the sky. Suggest that his right arm is getting lighter and lighter while his left arm is getting heavier and heavier. Do the count.
The subject extends his arms in front of him. Instruct him to move back his right arm, still extended, until it cannot go further. Subject comes back into his original position. Ask the subject to do the same move but this time in thought only (no physical execution) and to reach a point further back. Then instruct the subject to actually move his arm again and you will notice that he is able to go much further back than in the first instance!
· Stuck hands
Ask the subject to join his hands while keeping his elbows spread. Suggest that the hands are stuck together, that he cannot separate them. Do the countdown.
· Ring with fingers
Tell the subject to join his right and left thumbs while also joining his right and left first fingers so that the four fingers make like a ring or circle. Suggest that a tremendous amount of energy is flowing inside that ring, that it flows through the subject’s fingers. Do the countdown and tell the subject that he cannot separate his fingers.
b) Backwards fall
Perform the backwards fall experiment right after the pre-hypnotic test. You go and stand behind the subject and you rest your hands lightly over his shoulder blades. Ask the subject to keep his feet tightly together, to close his eyes and suggest that he will soon feel the inclination to fall backwards. Physiologically, when we keep our feet together and we close our eyes, we all tend to fall backwards (see John Fisher’s book Body Magic). Count to three along the following lines: “One - You feel my hands over your shoulder blades and, in a few moments, you will be drawn backwards. Don’t be afraid, I’m here to hold you.” “Two - You are feeling more and more inclined to fall backwards.” “Three - You fall backwards and I am holding you.” Please note the presence of the Ericksonian “and” in the sentence “One - You feel my hands over your shoulder blades and, in a few moments, you will be drawn backwards.” The “and”, which is normally a coordinating conjunction and which implies addition, takes a different meaning here: it becomes the equivalent of the conjunction “thus” which implies consequence. The subliminal message conveyed is therefore: “You feel my hands on your shoulder blades thus, in a few seconds, you will feel inclined to fall backwards.”
The subject actually falls backwards and you grab him, assisting him in his fall.
c) Hand to face, stuck eyelids and hypnotic sleep
You ask the subject to extend his arm in front of him and to stare at his palm. You suggest that, progressively, his hand will move towards his face and that when the hand reaches the face, his eyes will close, his eyelids will remain stuck together inducing a deep hypnotic sleep. And actually, the hand starts moving towards the face of the subject. You count: “One - Your eyelids feel very heavy.” “Two - They are heavier and heavier and they are like glued together.” “Three - Now your eyelids are solidly stuck together, they are very, very heavy. You cannot move them and you enter a deep and relaxing sleep.” This suggestion is reinforced by the use of what French hypnotist Marcel Rouet named the “law of inverted effort”: the more the hypnotised subject tries to do something, the less he is successful. This is a natural psychological law: for instance, the more one tries to calm down, the more one feels agitated; the more one tries to overcome stage fright, the more panic one feels, etc. And more generally, the faster we try to do something, the more nervous we tend to get and the less successful we are. This is why your subject, though seriously trying to open his eyelids will be unable to do so.
d) Hypnotic trance
Three experiments are proposed herewith, among many possibilities.
· Hot and cold
Explain to your hypnotised subject that he has the capability to travel in his mind. In a few seconds, he will find himself in Norway. Count to three and the subject will start feeling a severe cold. “One - You are in Norway, and the snow is falling hard.” “Two - The snow is all over the place and the air is extremely cold. “ Three - The temperature is way below freezing and you feel colder and colder. Your whole body is shaking with cold.” At this stage, the subject will start shivering more and more severely.
Suggest a change of scenery to your subject. Remind him that, in his current hypnotic trance, he can instantly travel anywhere he wants. Explain that he is now located in the Sahara desert, a very warm place. “One - The sun is burning hard and the air is extremely hot around you.” “Two - You are very hot and sweat is bathing you.” “The air is scalding now, even in the shade, and you are sweating profusely and constantly.” Your hypnotised subject will actually start sweating. Help the subject forget this sensation and move to the next experiment.
For this experiment, you need a small needle, such as a sewing needle or better a hypodermic needle. Instruct the subject to focus intently on his right arm and go ahead with the following count: “One - Your arm is progressively becoming numb, as if it were covered with leather instead of skin.” “Two - Your right arm is totally numb, so very numb that it feels nothing, it feels no pain at all.” “Three - Your arm is now so numb that you don’t even feel the air caressing it; your arm is now completely inert and insensitive.”
You can now prod the arm with the tip of the needle. If the subject has been properly hypnotised, there will be absolutely no reaction, no skin reflex. You can follow with carefully sticking the needle under the skin of the subject and therefore show that a hypnotised subject feels no pain at all.
To end the experiment, verbally guide your subject back to reality.
· Memory loss
You are going to make your subject forget the number 9 after waking up (note: avoid making the subject forget his name. Although possible, this is quite a traumatic experiment that I don’t recommend.)
“One - In a moment you will wake up and you will completely forget about the number nine.” “Two - The more you will try to remember that number nine, the more it will evade you.” “Three - Now, you have completely forgotten about the number nine.”
At this stage, you progressively bring your subject back to reality. This is important. I recomment that you add another count. “ One - Now you are going to wake up from this pleasant sleep. You will feel very relaxed, very comfortable, like after a good nap.” “Two - You can now start to open your eyes.” “Three - You open your eyes and you feel good, comfortable, relaxed and happy.”
You now perform the post-hypnotic test of the number 9 amnesia. This test is quite funny and is perfect in order to lighten the mood. When the subject counts out loud the numbers from 1 to 10, he will skip the number 9, moving from 8 directly to 10. The same thing will happen if you ask the subject to count his fingers: he will shift from one finger to the next skipping nine. Unbelievably, the subject will be unable to tell you the result of a simple addition such as 5+4!
Later on, the memory of the number 9 will come back naturally and without effort.
To finish, and this is a crucial step, ask the subject how he feels and what he felt during the experiment. This will allow you to assess your session and the subject to gather his wits and completely come out of his hypnotic state. Never let a subject go without performing this evaluation with him. This will be my last advice for you.
That's all. I hope you enjoy it.