I just got back from a hypnotism show by James Mapes a pretty big name guy in the hypnotism world, who does a lot of hypnotism-as-entertainment shows for colleges and universities, as well as motivational speaking for big corporations. Including this year I've gone to the show for 4 years, and it has never had a huge impact on me. He starts out with a short background, then gets right to the point, biting a lemon, the sight of which sends people who have been hypnotized in his shows before sprinting up to the stage...where they fall asleep. After the quick demo, he involves the whole audience, doing relaxation exercises, deep breathing and work with the imagination. When everyone is sufficiently relaxed, you're supposed to visualize a capsule of extremely strong glue on your outstretched palm, and then crush it between your hands....gluing them together. Having your hands glued together like that is a stage of hypnosis...and for anyone who has never experienced it before, it's insane. The last 3 times I've seen the show, nothing has really happened, but this year my hands did not come apart. Honestly I thought I'd be able to separate them whenever I wanted...but I wanted to go up on stage for a few minutes, so I didn't try to separate them. Once I got up on stage I decided that I'd loosen my hands a bit, as they were squeezed really tight and starting to hurt a bit......not possible. My hands, and those of the 30-odd people around me, didn't come apart. At that point I was getting a bit nervous, being that my fingers didn't work. We went through a few more exercises on stage, holding a helium balloon in one hand and a rock in the other hand, and eliminated a few more people from the group, and finally he asked us all to 'sleep' on our feet. That's where it got weird. There was no "ok, he said sleep, so it's time to sleep" thoughts, instead, instantaneously, as if his words were our thoughts, we all fell into a hypnotic slumber...still very conscious of our surroundings, but in a sort of dream world, unable to move. Every year there is a faker, someone who follows all the instructions, but is actually just pretending to be hypnotized. At first I thought I was the faker. I was thinking "damn, what the hell am I doing faking this, I hate people who do that", until I realized that when he asked me to do something, I had no control over whether or not I did it...I really thought that I was faking it, but when I took a moment to consider it, I simply obeyed his words, without a thought as to what I was doing. He sent us on a space journey, increasing and decreasing the temperature, making things stink really badly, making our palms itch, making us laugh hysterically. The strangest thing is that it was all so real, yet I was conscious of what was happening at the same time. For example, when our "spaceships" launched, I felt as if I was being crushed into my seat....yet I still was aware of the fact that I was on stage in front of 700 people. When I was, say, asleep receiving instructions, I'd consider the fact that I could just stand up and walk away...and think to myself that I had to be faking it, because I could have gotten up and left......except that when I tried to stand up my legs didn't move. Anyway, probably the strangest thing about it is that now I have a suggestion left in my mind, so that next time I see him bite a lemon on stage, I'll be compelled to sprint up and fall asleep. The other really strange thing is that I wasn't nervous at all...I pretended I was a lion, breakdanced, did ballet and did the twist in front of 700 people, and really it didn't do anything to me. All inhibitions were gone. Normally I would never have been able to do any of that stuff on stage, but somehow I just forgot about all the people, and focused on the moment. Sounds really strange unless you've been there. Has anyone else seen him before? His show is awesome...both entertaining and informative about the powers of hypnotism. I'm also really interested in trying some self-hypnosis stuff now....I woke up from it feeling incredible....relaxed, warm and fuzzy, while at the same time extremely aware of everything that was going on around me. My apologies for the long post ....it was a wild experience.