By Kelly Davila
The cries of 19 students filled the Brower Student Center Atrium, as they dropped down a hill on a theme park rollercoaster. A rollercoaster has not been built inside the BSC, but from the looks of panic and joy on the hypnotized students’ faces, that is what they believed, as they reacted to the words and commands given by Sailesh: Hypnotist Extraordinaire.
Last Friday Oct. 8, Sailesh, a 16-year practicing hypnotist, showed the College how far hypnotism could affect a willing person while providing amusement for the audience. The show began when Sailesh told the more-than-willing audience members to fill the seats on the stage. While those who were not fast enough sat back down, the people on the stage got comfortable.
“Close your eyes and take a deep breath in. Breathing in … as you exhale feel the energy escape your body,” he said. Members of the audience also followed Sailesh’s soothing voice commands and began to take deep breaths.
Soon, the subjects became so relaxed that heads fell on laps, necks rolled back and one student even proceeded to fall off the chair and onto the floor in a hard face-plant. All the while, the volunteers never spoke or opened their eyes.
“I could feel my body moving but I had no control over my hands or what came out of my mouth,” freshman elementary education and math major Iranis Marol said.
At one point, the students were “stuck in an ice-cold room” and began to shiver and shake while their lips quivered. Sailesh took it up a notch when he told the recipients they were watching a pornographic film in which they were the stars. Laughter spread across the audience when a few of the students on stage began to smile intensely while others’ faces were twisted into expressions of horror.
The hypnosis brought out the inner musicians of the subjects as they sang songs like “You Got It Bad,” by Usher or “The Bad Touch,” by the Bloodhound Gang. When a contestant was told her mouth was full, she stopped singing.
“What happened?” Sailesh asked, to which the student sadly answered, “I can’t sing.”
Aside from its entertainment value, hypnotism has also been noted for provoking strong emotions in people. During the performance, a participant was literally brought to tears for an unknown reason.
“Every now and then, you don’t even realize when you touch somebody’s life … I’ve received a couple e-mails from kids saying that my positive suggestions kept them from committing suicide,” Sailesh said.
Watching people be hypnotized can leave a person with a sense of awe, while others remain dubious of its effect. Sailesh’s advice for those who do not believe in hypnotism is, “open your mind, give yourself to me.”
For freshman open options culture and society major Corin Minicozzi, her first encounter with hypnotism was not disappointing.
“It was definitely very interesting,” she said. “I would do it again.”