Is Stage Hypnosis Fake?
Have you ever watched a video online featuring a stage hypnotist and wondered if what you’re seeing is fake? It’s easy to be skeptical and assume that the participants are just acting, but the truth is that stage hypnosis is real. Let’s take a look at some of the common misconceptions about stage hypnotism and how to know that what you’re seeing on stage is indeed genuine.
Is Stage Hypnosis Fake According to Science?
Hypnosis is an intriguing phenomenon that has long been associated with stage performances and showmen. However, there is a body of scientific evidence highlighting its clinical validity. Clinical studies involving both cognitive hypnotherapy and traditional hypnosis interventions have demonstrated the powerful effects more subtle forms of hypnotic intervention can elicit on the treatment of mental and physical health issues.
It may seem like I got off topic there, but the connection between stage hypnotism and clinical hypnotism is simple: hypnosis is hypnosis! While there is a difference in the application of hypnosis from one scenario to the next, the hypnotic state is the same either way. This state of narrowed attention and increased suggestibility is what has been studied over and over, and there is clear evidence to support its existence.
If you want to know for sure whether what you're seeing during a stage hypnotism show is real or not, there are some easily observable signs to look for:
- Some hypnotized subjects develop red blotches on their skin from a change in circulation that occurs. You might see their cheeks get red, or red patches on their arms.
- Notice the posture of the volunteers. They'll often get so relaxed that they'll sit in positions that "normal" people just wouldn't maintain. Also, they won't fidget like the rest of us would if we were sitting in a chair for 30 minutes straight.
- If you get a chance to be close to a hypnotized subject, their eyes will sometimes give you clues about how they're doing. The whites of the eyes sometimes turn pink, the pupils can become enlarged, and the tear ducts release more water, giving them watery eyes.
Hollywood Contributes to us Asking "Is Stage Hypnosis Fake?"
One of the biggest misconceptions about stage hypnotism is that it involves some kind of magical power or ability. This couldn't be further from the truth! The reality is that all hypnosis does is allow someone to enter into a heightened state of suggestibility, which means they are more likely to follow suggestions without questioning them.
You wouldn't know that from the way hypnotism is portrayed in movies and television, though, and what often happens is that people get so used to seeing these dramatized versions that when they finally see a real instance of stage hypnotism, it doesn't match up and it makes them feel like it's not real.
Screen writers love to blur the lines between what's real and what's imaginary. It makes for a better story. When you see a hypnotist in a movie wielding incredible power over other people, it contributes to the feeling that all hypnosis is either evil or ridiculously fake. In the real world, hypnotists have much less influence over their subjects than in Hollywood.
If we put a dozen stage hypnotists in a room, they would all have numerous stories about the times when their subjects rejected their suggestions, didn't follow directions, and made their job more difficult. Good technique is important, but there's always an element of chance for stage hypnotists, and sometimes we fail on stage. When you see a hypnotist fail on stage, it's actually a sign that you're seeing a hypnotist making a genuine effort and doing the real work of hypnotism.
YouTube Also Makes us Ask, "Is Stage Hypnosis Fake?"
It's important to remind ourselves that so much of what we see and hear on the internet is carefully controlled content. We must ask ourselves what the intention behind that content may be, and is it not what we first thought it was.
Some content creators care more about the "vanity metrics" of views and likes than anything else, and so they'll do whatever they think is going to get them those views and likes. That could include faking hypnosis. More likely, it's going to mean only putting the most successful hypnosis content out for consumption.
A great example of this is instant hypnosis inductions. A rapid hypnosis induction is generally an induction that takes place in less than a minute. An instant induction takes less than 30 seconds.
Stage hypnotists and street hypnotists will often put up videos on their YouTube channel of them "zapping" people with an instant inductions. It makes them look like they are really effective hypnotists. Here's the catch: instant inductions have a really low success rate.
A stage hypnotist doing instant inductions may try six to ten times before getting it to work on someone. They only put the successful video up on their channel. You don't see videos of all the failures.
The other tactic they will often use is to do an instant induction as a "re-induction" to someone who was already hypnotized. They are not hypnotizing them for the first time, but putting them back in hypnosis after already being hypnotized and emerged. In these videos, it's not that they are lying, but that it's weird to explain the context, and easier to just show the technique.
But when all you see on YouTube is the successes, it skews your understanding or expectations around stage hypnotism when you then go and see it live. This can lead to you feeling like there's a mismatch when you catch a live show, and maybe even feeling like what you're seeing is fake.
In conclusion, while it can be easy to be skeptical about stage hypnosis due its mysterious nature, rest assured that it is indeed very real! Although it might seem like magic on-stage, all it really involves is skillful suggestion-based techniques used by experienced professionals. So next time you find yourself watching a show featuring a stage hypnotist, remember these facts and keep an eye out for signs of genuine hypnosis!