Freshmen experience hypnosis during M.A.S.T.E.R Plan

Emma Austin

Many of WKU’s newest students experienced the truth of the phrase “see it to believe it” on Tuesday night when comedy hypnotist Eric Mina performed at Van Meter Auditorium as part of WKU’s M.A.S.T.E.R. Plan events.

Mina began the show by inviting audience members to come sit in the chairs onstage for an opportunity to be hypnotized in front of their new classmates. He acknowledged the skeptics of the crowd, assuring them they didn’t need his help to look stupid.

As the group of students sat in chairs lined up across the stage, Mina talked them through relaxing their bodies as he counted down from 10. He told them to double their state of relaxation each time he said a number, until many were slumped in their seats with their arms hanging at their sides.

“Whenever I say the word ‘sleep,’ you will return to this state,” Mina told the limp students. As he explained to the crowd, it was as if they were in a dream.

Mina alternated between waking the students and inducing this sleeping state, where he told them what to think or do once he woke them up. He talked the hypnotized volunteers into believing they were in an orchestra, or that the room’s temperature went from over 100 degrees to below freezing.

At one point he convinced them he was standing in front of them completely naked, causing several to shield their eyes or turn away in obvious embarrassment.

In an interview with the Herald before the show, Mina, a certified hypnotherapist with a psychology background, explained the way hypnotherapy works.

“Your brain works off associations,” he said. He explained a lot of people associate food or alcohol with smoking a cigarette, so whenever they eat or drink, they feel the need to smoke.

“You take those associations and you break them,” he explained. “You’re then able to put in new associations for change to happen.”

Mina said being able to help people drew him to psychology. Hypnotherapy often works faster than talk therapy, because the therapist is speaking directly to the subconscious, breaking the associations that cause pain in the person’s conscious life.

“They hypnotize themselves. I’m just a guide; I understand how to put you into that state of mind.”

During the show, the hypnotized students appeared completely lost in their subconscious. When the volunteers believed they were contestants on “Dancing with the Stars,” one girl explained the charity she was supporting would gather people up and have them grow out their nails, which they would use to scratch walls to make paper for people in Gambia.

If anyone believed this idea came from a conscious mind, he or she may have been less impressed with the show than many of the audience members who watched with slack jaws and wide eyes.

Springfield freshman Jenny Begley said she didn’t remember anything until she left the auditorium and Mina snapped her awake. Immediately after she awoke, Begley said she remembered everything she had said and done onstage.

“It was a lot of fun, although I’m hoping people don’t remember a lot of the stuff I did on stage,” Begley said. She added that her roommate, Leitchfield freshman Morgan Kannapel, would probably put in a roommate change request after seeing Begley dance onstage.

“I was about to pee; I was laughing so hard,” Kannapel said.

At the end of the show, Mina shared what he called “the truth about hypnosis” with the crowd.

“I don’t hypnotize anybody,” Mina said. “They hypnotize themselves. I’m just a guide; I understand how to put you into that state of mind.”