OK?: A night with comedic hypnotist Dale K in Graham Chapel
What are the ethics of hypnotism? That’s the main question I walked out of hypnotist Dale K’s show, sponsored by Social Programming Board and held in Graham Chapel, with. Some pretty questionable yet funny stuff happened up on that stage last night and depending on how real it was for those involved, there could’ve been some awful moments.
Dale K explained to the audience that being under hypnosis is not a lack of control but is a state of even more control and awareness than normal. He had a deep and dark voice, but at times it felt forced, like he wanted to sound majestic and intriguing. A kid walked in and said to his friend, who was already sitting down, “I’m surprised you’re actually here…I thought you’d just tell people to come and not show up.” That’s kind of how the whole audience felt. The place was mostly empty, and no one really knew what to expect.
As he appeared on stage, my friend said to me, “What kind of childhood did he go through to become a hypnotist?” Along with that, I think we were all wondering whether this stuff actually works. Could this guy actually make these people do whatever he said? Let me get this out of the way early: For all of the haters out there, it seemed pretty legit.
After he brought a bunch of volunteers on stage, he slowly brought them into the hypnotized state, with a lot of slowly counting down and telling them to relax their every muscle and every fiber of their body. Sometimes, when people weren’t fully in it, he would send them down, back into the audience.
The first big highlight came when all the volunteers were told they were in an orchestra and to play an instrument. Everyone on stage—which was about 10 students—got into it, I mean, super into it. One was told to become the conductor. He walked up and absolutely owned the stage for a good 30 seconds, putting on an unbelievable performance.
Then, things started to get weird. Dale K told all the participants to imagine that they had X-ray vision, so they could see through clothing. Once he had this idea engrained in their mind, he stood in front of them and snapped his fingers. Was the moment weird? Yes, absolutely. All of the people on stage looked away and shaded their eyes, as Dale K pranced around stage, strutting his stuff to those who could “see.” Is that OK? Anything goes in hypnosis shows, I guess.
Next, all the men were told they were going to be going through labor, and the women were going to help them. This was a hilarious scene—the men really looked like they were in some pain. Once it was over, they all got to name and hold the fake babies they had given birth to. One volunteer, named Michael, was given a doll to hold the place of his imaginary child. Then, Dale went on to “accidentally” hit the baby multiple times with his mic. It’s all funny, but now we had participants staring at a middle-aged man, who told people to imagine him naked and a baby getting hit. Is this all OK? Yes! It’s fine. This is a comedy show! It’s fake!
All in all, the people who did show up seemed to enjoy themselves, including me. And I think many of the skeptics may have had their minds changed.