Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Am I being hypnotized against my will?!

Have you ever been afraid that someone was trying to hypnotize you without your knowing it?

When I go to parties, invariably someone will identify me as "the hypnotist." The response that gets from people is either curiosity or fear. Sure, there are a million ways of influencing a person covertly, better ways than classical hypnosis, but what the uninformed person wonders is whether their free will can be controlled by another person. After all, in the movies, we see a simple post-hypnotic suggestion turning Woody Allen into a zombie cat burglar (Curse of the Jade Scorpion). We see Dracula turning people into slaves with the power of his mind, Rasputin commanding the royal family of Russia with his evil stare alone. The information that most people have is that hypnosis can enslave and zombify, and no one is safe.

As hypnotists, when confronted by a fear of hypnosis, we jump to reassure the person, usually by saying something like:

"There's nothing to be afraid of...all hypnosis is really self-hypnosis...you're totally aware the entire time...your secrets are safe...it's just like reading a fascinating book/watching your favourite movie/daydreaming..."

And all of that is perfectly true. But it's as if we're jumping to defend ourselves, we're not quite addressing the question: "can I be hypnotized without knowing it?"

Well, I decided to take the bull by the horns and address the question directly. Can I be hypnotized without knowing it?
In the most recent PDF, I've put together the way I know of that can influence people hypnotically and how a person might know if such methods might be used on them.

How do I know if I’m being hypnotized against my will?