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Students get into an altered state of mind

3/3/2014

By ELIZABETH GOLDEN

By ELIZABETH GOLDEN

egolden@dailynews.net

Chris Jones hypnotized a packed Beach/Schmidt Performing Arts Center on Thursday at Fort Hays State University.

Originally from Chicago, Jones always wanted to be a magician but said he refused to practice and wasn't good.

"Then I started hypnosis," he said. "I didn't need to keep secrets. I could tell everyone what's going on from the beginning."

Jones finished school with bachelor's and master's degrees and quickly decided to travel the country full-time as a hypnotist instead of holding a traditional job.

Toward the beginning of his show, Jones asked for volunteers to come on stage. He wanted to find people who are "the center of attention and life of the party."

Twelve people went on stage.

Jones said hypnosis might not be successful on everyone, so he looks for clues in audience members and chooses accordingly.

"It works through repetitive sounds and social engineering," he said. "Anyone can be hypnotized for clinical purposes, like losing weight and quitting smoking. Anyone can as long as they're open-minded and relaxed."

Approximately half of the students were released after the hypnosis was not successful.

Jones continued to "play with" the remaining hypnotized volunteers.

He explained the feeling of being hypnotized as "it's kind of like you're drunk."

Jones describes himself as a comedian and a hypnotist.

The volunteers acted out several scenes. From pretending to be "sexy Playboy bunnies" to hiding from the police to interpretive dancing, Jones used upbeat music and repetitive words to keep the volunteers in a dream-like state.

"It really felt like I was in the clouds," said Erick Perez, a sophomore. "It was crazy. Now I feel refreshed, like I could run a marathon."

Toward the end of his act, Jones told the hypnotized volunteers the hypnosis did not work on them, and they would forget all the festivities until they walked off the stage.

"It usually takes 12 to 13 seconds for the hypnosis to wear off," Jones said.

On occasion, it takes longer.

"I didn't go up there," Vincent Nguyen, a junior, said repeatedly.

Freshman Mary Cooney said she felt drunk, as Jones described the feeling.

"I didn't really know what I was doing," she said. "I was just doing stuff. You can't control it."

The event was sponsored by University Activities Board. They will be hosting Peter Boie, a magician for non-believers, on April 8.