Johnson Hypnotizes UB Students

Late Night UB Event Met with Resounding Approval

The Spectrum

Cris Johnson must shop at the big and tall store to find sleeves large enough for all of his tricks.

Students cheered with amusement, bafflement and bewilderment as hypnotist Cris Johnson entertained students with an endless array of hypnotic spells Friday night at a packed Student Union Theater.

Organized by Late Night UB, the laughter-packed event failed to produce a dull moment during its two-hour duration. Johnson, along with 20 volunteers from the audience, entertained the crowd with the show.

"Holding events that are a little bit different than what a student might experience on any given day gives students the chance to experience new things and find out something about themselves that they might not have known before," said Jessica Ettell, a programming graduate assistant of student activities. "Being hypnotized or watching others be hypnotized is a fun event that isn't a common thing to see on campus, so we thought it would be different and exciting. Holding events such as this one gives students something to do on a Friday night and that is what Late Night is all about."

Before his show, Johnson gave the audience a brief introduction to the process of hypnosis. He explained how he begins by putting participants in a deep hypnotic trance, changes the volunteer's personality and creates a new environment. Johnson promised a lot of fun and also guaranteed that the volunteers would benefit from the process by having their fears, concerns and worries reduced, while simultaneously improving their sleep.

The outcome of the show proved he was an honest man, true to his words.

To answer the doubtful looks of skepticism from various members of the crowd, Johnson explained how, contrary to popular belief, hypnosis is not something that only the weak-willed fall for. To prove his point, Johnson took 10 minutes before proceeding with his main acts to perform light hypnosis spells on the audience. It worked, and the audience was intrigued.

During the main performance, Johnson had volunteers wrapped around his fingertips as they followed through with each and every humorous, but clean, command. Participants found themselves on a cruise in the Bahamas, getting chased by the police, winning the lottery and performing dance routines. All of these situations projected the volunteers' creative subconscious ability and imagination.

Excited volunteers had positive feedback about being on stage.

"You just feel so relaxed. I kind of couldn't move my feet sometimes because they felt so heavy," said Meredith Garrison, a freshman environmental science major. "After we snapped back to reality, I was just like, 'Whoa!' It was just so cool."

It is safe to say that every member of the audience was thoroughly entertained and intrigued. Ethan Putnam, a freshman communication major and another volunteer, explained how he felt about his experience.

"It's not as though [when you are up there] that you truly believe any of these things that are being prompted to you," Putnam said. "You're just in such a state of relaxation, as if you don't really care and you just want to breeze through the whole show."

Even while prioritizing the need for clean humor, Johnson did not fall short of delivering a show that had the whole crowd in a constant state of hysteria.

"I am very cognitive about ethics and treating my volunteers with respect, and my ideas about these are narrow, so I do super-safe shows," Johnson said. "The stereotype is that all young students want is raunchiness and filth. Thankfully, I'm finding that's not true. I mean, I love George Carlin and he drops the F-bomb every two seconds, but it's just not appropriate for everybody. I think clean humor actually requires a lot more talent."

Claiming that he was on a "post-show high," Johnson mentioned what he most enjoyed during his short duration here at UB.

"I loved the enthusiasm of the audience," Johnson said. "The laughter and the applause actually work as a reinforcement that sends the hypnosis deeper. And the deeper they go, the more outlandish things they are likely to do. And secondly, I loved my volunteers, they were all superstars."