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Stage Hypnosis

Stage Hypnosis and what it’s all about

Throughout history there have been those who have given public demonstrations and exhibitions of hypnotic phenomena, often giving private consultations after their shows. By the early 1850s performances were common across America, Canada, Europe and Britain. Unfortunately the art, although very popular, was slowly reduced to a mockery by sometimes fake hypnotists who used stooges and crude routines. In the UK the 1952 Hypnotism Act was brought in to protect the public from dangerous and pornographic hypnotists and all shows now require a licence from a Magistrate or local Council. In many parts of the world there are laws which totally prohibit public exhibitions of hypnotism.

Early in this century genuine stage hypnosis was revived with the success of an American hypnotist, Ormond McGill. He was a pioneer in presenting hypnotism on television and is known world-wide as the Dean of American Hypnotists. His book, The Encyclopaedia of Genuine Stage Hypnotism written in 1947 became know as `The Bible’ of stage hypnotists. In 1970 a second book was written called The Art of Stage Hypnotism. Now a third and definitive book is available, The New Encyclopaedia of Stage Hypnotism. Ormond, now in his eighties, was in Britain in April 1997 to present a training seminar, an unforgettable event for all those interested in the development of hypnosis. In addition to his international stage reputation, he has written many excellent books on aspects of hypnosis, magic, meditation, mysticism, etc. He is also a certified clinical hypnotherapist and a gifted trainer. A stage hypnotist performs his act on a mass of people and is the most highly skilled of all hypnotists. The phenomena is genuine and can serve to create a real interest in the subject of hypnotism. The secret lies in selecting only those who are highly suggestible, can go quickly and deeply into the deeper stages of hypnosis, and are likely to prove entertaining.

Unfortunately a stage hypnotist with no therapy background will not know whether the subject has any serious emotional or medical problems which might make them unsuitable for some of the tasks they might be asked to perform. In particular it is worth noting that there is currently a campaign supported by professionals for a ban on the use of regression and some other hypnotic phenomena on stage. Ultimately the greatest safety for the public lies in ensuring that the stage hypnotist is also a qualified and practising hypnotherapist who will be aware of potential problems and can handle any unexpected reactions which may occur.

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