30 Days of Hypnosis: Day 2

What was it like the first time you were tranced or tranced someone?

Actu­al­ly, I should amend that to the first two times I was tranced. This is a sto­ry I often tell to per­suade peo­ple that hyp­no­sis is real.

In 1984, I attend­ed a con­ven­tion in Cleve­land, Ohio. I pri­mar­i­ly want­ed to meet Mar­i­on Zim­mer Bradley, the writer and cre­ator of the Dark­over nov­els and sto­ries, but the real treat was in meet­ing Kather­ine Kurtz. I knew Kather­ine from her Deryni nov­els, a series of nov­els set in a medieval fan­ta­sy set­ting much like medieval Europe, where the mag­ic is pri­mar­i­ly used by the Deryni. The Deryni are a muta­tion from human­i­ty which grants them psy­chic pow­ers, includ­ing telepa­thy and telekine­sis, plus what can only be described as mag­ic. One of the tele­path­ic tal­ents used was the abil­i­ty to induce a hyp­not­ic trance state in unsus­pect­ing or unward­ed sub­jects. It should come as no sur­prise, then, that Kather­ine was trained as an Erick­son­ian hyp­no­tist, and she reg­u­lar­ly wrote that into her sto­ries.

On the final day of the con­ven­tion, Kather­ine and a few oth­ers par­tic­i­pat­ed in a pan­el on hyp­no­sis, and as part of it, she did a group induc­tion and two guid­ed imagery ses­sions for the audi­ence. I par­tic­i­pat­ed whole­heart­ed­ly and that is a mem­o­ry I still treasure.

Which leads to the sec­ond time I was ever hypnotized.

A good friend of mine just fin­ished train­ing as a hyp­no­tist, and I invit­ed him to come to the month­ly meet­ing of the local Doc­tor Who fan club, where per­formed a demon­stra­tion of hyp­no­sis for the mem­bers of the club. (I should point out that we would watch a Doc­tor Who episode at every meet­ing: this time it was ‘Masque of Man­drago­ra’, which has one of the most evoca­tive hyp­no­sis induc­tions ever.) After the meet­ing was over, I vol­un­teered to do a more per­son­al demon­stra­tion for anoth­er of the club mem­bers. He gave me the tra­di­tion­al post-hyp­not­ic amne­sia sug­ges­tion and brought me out of trance.

And that’s when I went into a fugue state.

I could­n’t think, I could­n’t speak: I could only mouth words that I did­n’t know how to say. It only last for maybe 15 sec­onds before I was put back into trance and then the sug­ges­tion was removed.

I did­n’t under­stand then but I believe I under­stand now what hap­pened: my sub­con­scious under­stood the sug­ges­tion to for­get being hyp­no­tized to mean for­get ever being hyp­no­tized, and my pre­vi­ous expe­ri­ence was some­thing I def­i­nite­ly want­ed to remem­ber, so the two impuls­es were in con­flict and my mind was frozen.

And those were the first two times I was ever tranced.

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