Chapter Four

The Art of Stage Hypnosis

Online Hypnosis Training Course

Get Instant Access



In this chapter, we will explore the range of unusual and interesting phenomena you can produce while a subject is under hypnosis. These tests form the basis for ALL of the demonstrations you will perform as a stage hypnotist. They are arranged by their corresponding level difficulty to achieve into six general categories:

• Muscular Catalepsy

• Hypnotic Control

• Hypnotic Illusions

• Hypnotic Hallucinations

• Posthypnotic Effects

Once you understand the underlying principles at work, you will be able to create new hypnotic stage routines, as well as adapt existing ones to suit your own needs. The outlines for dozens of standard hypnotic routines-classic material used successfully by top performers around the world-are provided for your reference in Chapter Six.

Start by practicing these tests, in order, with a subject who is able to enter a deep state of hypnosis. You will require two sessions with each subject to work through all of the material provided.

One word of advice-don't expect to produce all phenomena in all subjects. You'll discover some subjects who respond very well to certain types of tests and not at all to others. Learning how to work with and successfully influence subjects, as well as accurately appraise their individual limitations and capabilities, is all part of your development as a stage hypnotist. It is something which cannot be taught, but it can be learned through intelligent observation and experience. Make the personal commitment right now to do so.

Remember, there are no shortcuts to success. You should not start working on the material in this chapter until you are able to successfully hypnotize the majority of people you come in contact with. Then and only then, will you be fully prepared benefit from this next stage in your development.


Start your first session by hypnotizing a previously responsive subject. Someone who has responded well to the Stiff Arm test in Chapter Two is ideal. Once you are confident your subject has entered a state of hypnosis, begin with the Invisible Shackles (Muscular Catalepsy). This should present little difficulty and provide you with the quick, early success you need to set the tone of the session. The next test, Too Heavy - Too Sticky (Hypnotic Control), represents your first major hurdle in hypnotic testing. If the subject doesn't pass this test, stop testing and awaken the subject. Otherwise, if the Hypnotic Control test was successful, proceed to Hail to the Chief (Role Playing) and then awaken the subject after the test is concluded.

Schedule a follow-up session on another day with any subjects who successfully completed at least the first two tests. After hypnotizing the subject in the second session, begin with Falling for You (Hypnotic Control). After successfully completing that test, move on to, Dream Mate (Hypnotic Illusion). If that test succeeds, proceed to Watch The Birdie (Hypnotic Hallucination) and then conclude the session with Can't Get Up (Posthypnotic Suggestion). Even if the subject fails the second test on Hypnotic Hallucination, you should still try the Posthypnotic Suggestion (Can't Get Up).

After each of these sessions, document what transpired. Analyze what was successful, what wasn't, and ask why! Was it you? Or was it the subject? Most importantly, try to think of any way you might improve your presentation and handling next time. Above all, don't get discouraged. Every session, whether an abysmal failure or a resounding success, will teach you an important lesson about this fascinating field and get you that much closer to your goal.

Session 1, Experiment 1: Muscular Catalepsy

Muscular Catalepsy refers to the range of hypnotic tests where a subject's muscular control is affected by the suggestion of the operator or hypnotist. These tests can be performed regardless of the subject's depth of hypnosis, as well as in the waking state as elimination tests to identify highly suggestible subjects on stage.


In this test, a subject is unable to separate the hands. Ask the subject to stand up, clasp both hands together and interlock his or her fingers as if in prayer. Next, the subject is requested to press the palms tightly together. The hands, thus locked together, are extended outward with the muscles of both forearms tightened. The operator may assist the subject, as needed, to find the correct positioning.

Suggestion: "The muscles in your hands and arms are beginning to tighten. They are getting tighter and tighter. Your muscles are so tight now, your hands are locked together. Concentrate on hands and arms, every muscle is locked rigidly in place, like solid steel. You cannot take your hands apart. In fact, the more you try to take your hands apart, the tighter and more locked together they become. You cannot take them apart, no matter how hard you try. Try and pull them apart. You cannot." Wait a few moments to let the effect sink in.

Removal: Clap your hands together with the command, "Relax. You can take your hands apart now. All of the muscles in your hands and arms are completely relaxed." With the subject's concentration broken, the subject will now be able to separate the hands. If the subject seems to be having a problem, touch them and suggest again, "Relax your hands, they are no longer stuck. You can take them apart now."

Session 1, Experiment 2: Hypnotic Control


After succeeding with the last demonstration in muscular catalepsy, have the subject sit back down, eyes still closed. Use suggestion to intensify and deepen the subject's hypnotic state before proceeding. You should also give the subject some time for orientation. In this test, the subject first finds it impossible to first lift the chair and then, once released from this suggestion, a second suggestion makes the person unable to let go.

Suggestion: Ask the subject to stand up, and then to turn around and look at the folding chair. "The chair you were sitting on weighs as much as your car, several thousand pounds. You cannot lift it, no matter how hard you try. Go ahead and try to lift the chair, you can't lift it." The subject will struggle in vain to pick up the chair.

Hypnotic Control tests illustrate how a subject's perceptions and actions can be controlled by the power of suggestion. This test uses a second suggestion (recommended for male subjects only) to shift the subject's "reality" midstream. Success will indicate you are working with a very imaginative individual.

Removal: Clap your hands together with the command, "The chair is very light now. It weighs only a couple of pounds. You can lift it up easily. Go ahead and lift it up."

Added second suggestion for male subjects only:

Suggestion (while the subject is still holding the chair up): "The chair is covered with glue and now your hands are stuck to it. The more you try to let go, the stickier the chair becomes. You can't let go. Try to let go. You cannot."

Removal: Clap your hands together with the command, "Okay, all of the glue on the chair is gone without a trace. Your hands are no longer stuck to the chair. You can set down the chair now."

Session 1, Experiment 3: Role Playing

Role Playing is a category of tests whereby, through the power of hypnotic suggestion, subjects assume personalities different than their own. These transformations are often quite remarkable and fun to witness. A subject who wouldn't dream of singing in the shower, will readily take on the persona of a famous rock star. Likewise, someone who knows nothing about music, can be handed a pencil for a baton and asked to conduct an orchestra or play the drums.


After successfully completing the previous experiment in hypnotic control, have the subject sit down again and take a few moments to deepen the hypnosis. Make sure you give the subject sufficient time for orientation as well. In this test, the subject becomes the President of the United States.

Suggestion: "When you open your eyes in a moment, you will be the President of the United States. You will be sitting in the Oval Office and I will be interviewing you for the New York Times. It will be just you and me in the room, and we will be surrounded by many of your favorite pictures and personal momentos. You will remain the President until I clap my hands. At that moment, you will be yourself again and you will immediately close your eyes and go back asleep. Go ahead and open your eyes. Hello Mister (or Madame) President, thank you for accepting my interview." At this point, you may ask whatever questions you like and the subject will answer them in all seriousness as the President of the United States. Of course, you can change this personality to any individual (ie. your are Madonna or Michael Jackson) or type of person or job function (ie. you are a counter clerk at Dunkin Donuts).

Removal: Clap your hands and the subject will respond by immediately going back to sleep. Note, the suggestion was also removed by the hand clapping cue, so no words are needed.

This test should end the first session. Awaken the subject and if appropriate, schedule a follow-up session to work on the last three tests in this chapter.

Session 2, Experiment 2: Hypnotic Illusion


Tests of this type have the capacity to make the subject look somewhat silly or foolish, so you must use them with discretion in actual performance situations. Good natured people with high self esteem make the best subjects for experiments of this nature. Extremely shy or self-conscious subjects who might be embarrassed should be spared. In this test, a common household broom becomes the subject's dream mate-either a beautiful girl or a handsome man. Begin by handing the subject the broom, the eyes still closed. Say, "In a moment, you will open your eyes and there in your arms will be, the most beautiful girl you have ever seen (or in the case of a female subject, the most handsome man).

Suggestion: "On the count of three, you will open your eyes and see that you are holding the most beautiful girl you have ever seen. She is perfect in every way. Her eyes, her hair, you will love everything about her. Ready. One. Two. Three. Open your eyes." Allow the subject time to respond to the illusion for a short period of time. The subject will embrace the object and even kiss it as the person would a dream mate.

In tests of Hypnotic Illusion, an illusion or false impression of an object is suggested to the subject. This range of experiments requires an actual physical prop of some type to provide the initial stimulus. It need bear no real likeness to the object it is intended to represent. The amazing power of the subject's imagination will fill in the gaps.

Removal: "Your dream girl (man) is starting to fade away. Fading far away. Your eyes are beginning to close now. Close your eyes and sleep. Go deep, deep asleep." You can take away the broom now. If this test was successful, proceed to the next test in Hypnotic Hallucination. If not, go directly to the Posthypnotic Effect test.

Session 2, Experiment 1: Hypnotic Control

This second experiment in Hypnotic Control can also be used as an elimination test with or without inducing hypnosis.


Begin your second session by hypnotizing a subject who has responded well to at least the first two tests in the previous session. Have this person stand straight up with both feet together, hands at sides, and eyes closed. Tell the subject to completely relax. You can see if the subject is still tense by pulling him or her backward towards you slightly. If the subject doesn't move easily or appears too stiff, more relaxation is needed. Explain that the subject is going to feel an invisible force pulling him or her backward and not to resist-you will not let the subject fall.

Suggestion: "Lean your head backward. Relax your body. There is an invisible force pulling you backward. You are falling backward. You are falling backward. Do not resist the force. You are falling backward." The subject should give in to the suggestion and fall backward into your arms by this point. If not, place your left hand on the subject's forehead and slowly draw it backward across the top of the ear and down the nape of the neck very slowly and suggest: "As I draw my hand away, you will fall backwards into my arms."

Removal: After the subject is helped to stand up straight again, clap your hands and say, "Stand up straight, the force pulling you backward is gone."

Session 2, Experiment 3: Hypnotic Hallucination


Give the subject time to rest and for orientation after the last test and then, deepen the hypnotic state even further. In this test, the subject sees and plays with an imaginary canary.

Suggestion: "On the count of three, you will open your eyes again. This time, you will see a cute little yellow canary perched on your left hand. You will play with the little bird and then it will fly around the room before returning to you. When the little canary comes back to your hand this time, it will slowly fade away and you will close your eyes and sink into an even deeper level of sleep. Ready. One. Two. Three. Open your eyes." (Thus, this test is self-terminating and requires no removal).

Tests in Hypnotic Hallucination are closely related to the type just covered with one important exception-no physical props or other articles are employed. The subject's imagination conjures up the entire illusion through the sheer power of suggestion.

Does the subject actually see the little canary? Absolutely! If you doubt the strength of such a hallucination, you need only think of how real some dreams seem when you are sleeping. The same power of imagination is at work here. Hypnosis just provides us with a window to watch it.

Session 2, Experiment 4: Posthypnotic Suggestion

The term, Posthypnotic Suggestion, is sometimes misunderstood. It does not refer to a suggestion given after hypnosis, but rather one given during hypnosis-the effects of which are not felt until a subject is awakened from the state. Audiences find tests involving Posthypnotic Effects among the most fascinating of all hypnotic phenomena to observe. This is probably due to a natural curiosity about the power of hypnosis to work even after a subject has returned to normal consciousness.


After deepening the hypnotic state even further and then giving the subject time for orientation, you will be ready to proceed with the fourth and final test of this session. Posthypnotic Effects are the most difficult of all phenomena to produce, so your success here will indicate you are well on your way to mastering the power of hypnosis. Upon awakening from hypnosis, a subject feels fine and perfectly normal in every way, except he or she is unable to get up from the chair.

Suggestion: "In a moment, you are going to wake up. You will feel great in every way, except you will be unable to get out of your chair. No matter how hard you try, you won't be able to get up. You'll wake up feeling wonderful, but you'll be stuck to your chair...until I snap my fingers and say you are able to get up." At this point, proceed to awaken the subject per the standard procedure. The subject will wake up feeling fine, but will struggle when trying to get up. The subject will be genuinely surprised by the inability to rise.

Removal: Snap your fingers by the subject's ear and say, "Okay, you can get up now. You are no longer stuck to the chair."

As all hypnotists know, this power is very real and must be used with caution and discretion. Always remember to remove or limit the influence of a posthypnotic suggestion-so it does not extend beyond the period of your performance.


So you have it, a complete series of tests illustrating the full range of hypnotic phenomena. Practice them well with every subject who exhibits the capacity to enter deep hypnosis. And remember to document your progress along the way. Learn from your successes, as well as your failures.

Was this article helpful?

0 0
Advanced Hypnosis For Newbies

Advanced Hypnosis For Newbies

For anyone concerned that this is a report designed to teach readers how to convince crowds of people to act like chickens or dance to an unheard song just with a carefully placed keyword - relax. While hypnosis is often paraded in that form with large crowds visiting celebrity hypnosis experts to see what wonders they can perform, the majority of hypnosis used is to aid people seeking a solution to a problem they cannot resolve easily with any other method.

Get My Free Ebook

Post a comment