“I appreciate your skepticism,” said Dr. Steve Taubman just before he began to hypnotize willing MCLA students, “but this is real. You’ll see for yourself soon.”
A good-sized crowd sat in the bleachers of Venable Gym Tuesday night to see Taubman hypnotize students as a part of Student Activities Council’s Freak Week.
“A lot of people ask me, will you make me do anything weird?” said Taubman, who paused before answering, “Yes.”
About thirty students initially volunteered to be hypnotized, coming from the crowd to stand on the yellow line of the gym floor before Taubman performed a test to find who was able to be hypnotized and who would have to sit back down. The crowd was narrowed down to about 25 and were given chairs to sit in facing the bleachers. As the night progressed, more students were asked to sit back down because they came out of their hypnosis.
Over the next hour and a half, Taubman made the students perform various acts under hypnosis, ranging from the slightly abnormal to the absolutely outrageous, including going into labor and celebrating as winners of MTV’s “Sexy Dance Contest.”
The first thing he had students do under hypnosis was put them on a warm, sunny beach, and relax.
However, he then told them it was the hottest day they had ever experienced in their life. The students reacted accordingly, including one male student who stripped down to his boxers.
Taubman incorporated all of the students’ senses; at one point, he told them that when he said the word “Pepto Bismol,” their neighbor would emit the worst smell they had ever experienced. Then, he convinced them they were the ones who smelled bad before spraying them with an imaginary spray that made them believe they smelled like their favorite scent.
Later in the evening, the participants were convinced that the audience was no longer there, but rather replaced with a projector screen and were told they were watching various films. The first was “the funniest movie [they’ve] ever seen, and the harder [they] try not to laugh, the louder [they] laugh.” The comedy was quickly replaced with a sad movie, and everyone was openly sobbing on their neighbor. When the sad movie was replaced with a romantic one, some participants got cozy with their neighbors. But their faces turned to disgust when the film was suddenly changed to a dirty film, and they were told that they recognized their parents as the stars.
The participants got friendly with the audience a little later. Taubman told them that when he said he heard a phone ringing, they would think they were secret agents and the ringing was coming from an audience member’s shoe. Participants did rolls and slid across the floor to get to the audience before yanking off sneakers, flip flops and boots to answer their supposed call.
Taubman wasn’t above using the old tricks of hypnotism, and no matter how many times they’ve been used they remain funny. He made the participants forget their names, and the harder they tried to remember it the more they forgot. He also convinced one male student to hand over his wallet every time the word “stage” was mentioned; he gave it to Taubman close to 6 times.
All 90 minutes were full of acts that the participants are guaranteed to not believe they actually did, but their friends will never let them live down. Before the participants were allowed to leave, Taubman pulled them all aside and ensured that they were no longer hypnotized, and most importantly that they all remembered their names.