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A "hypnotic" fringe festival event

by Sarah Morris- Copy Editor
Tue, Sep 19th 2017 07:00 pm
Photo taken by Sarah Morris/COPY EDITOR
Almost famous: This year at the KeyBank Rochester Fringe Festival there was an event called the Howie Hypnotize Show. One person who got hypnotized was convinced that he was Eddie Van Halen. He took center stage and began `shredding` on an inflatable guitar, embodying the '80s rock star as a girl accompanied him on air drums with inflatable sticks (above).
Photo taken by Sarah Morris/COPY EDITOR Almost famous: This year at the KeyBank Rochester Fringe Festival there was an event called the Howie Hypnotize Show. One person who got hypnotized was convinced that he was Eddie Van Halen. He took center stage and began "shredding" on an inflatable guitar, embodying the '80s rock star as a girl accompanied him on air drums with inflatable sticks (above).
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One of the over 500 performances featured in this year’s KeyBank Rochester Fringe Festival was The Howie Hypnotize Show, put on by a hypnotic therapist who blew the audience’s mind on Friday, Sept. 15, at the School of the Arts.

Howie Hypnotize began the show with an optical illusion, showing the audience one of his props: a large, flat circle with a black and white spiral painted on it. He spun the circle and the audience stared at it, fixated by the object. When he put it down, those who watched it began to see his head warp, growing and shrinking depending on which way he spun it.

After his introduction, Hypnotize invited audience members to come onstage and take one of the several open seats. He explained what he would do and then led the group in a meditation exercise. Participants closed their eyes and followed his simple relaxation and breathing instructions, keeping their feet flat on the floor and palms facedown on their laps. He spoke in a soothing voice and then, with one word: sleep, all 13 volunteers went unconscious. The command was so powerful that two of the girls dropped face-first onto the floor of the stage, drawing a collective gasp from the audience.

Hypnotize started the first exercise with music. He told the sleeping group up onstage that they were driving alone, listening to music and enjoying themselves. The participants reached for their invisible steering wheels like zombies and stepped on the gas. Hypnotize turned up the music and told them to start dancing along while they drove. Sitting in their chairs, they hopped up and down and whipped their hair around, all while completely asleep.

After that, Hypnotize brought the heat. To make them stop dancing, he told them they were on a beach and the temperature was rising. They began fanning themselves, and the more the temperature “rose,” the hotter they became. Watching a group of sleeping people pretend to put on suntan lotion and throw their shoes off definitely made the audience laugh hysterically. 

Then, the temperature plummeted. Those who had taken off layers were quickly reaching for them again, shivering from the cold they believed they were experiencing. Hypnotize had them believing it had become so cold that in response they huddled up together, complete strangers, in an attempt to get warm. There was a lot of confusion between them when Hypnotize woke them up and they realized they were hugging people they had never met before.

Hypnotize also made the audience play air guitar and drums onstage to Van Halen songs. He even made one participant believe that he was Eddie Van Halen himself. He went all out playing the guitar on stage.

At one point in the show, Hypnotize convinced a girl that her name had been Kevin her entire life and when he asked her how long that had been her name, she was confused by what she perceived to be a bizarre question.

Before waking them up, Hypnotize ended the show by telling the unconscious group that whenever they look in the mirror from now on, they’ll feel confident and will retain all knowledge from school.

Hypnotize is an alumnus from The College at Brockport and hopes to come back to campus and put on a show. Hypnotize first got into hypnosis in 1989.

“[What inspires me is] finding more things that’ll work more than medication,” Hypnotize said. “We have more healing inside our bodies than the medications that they make. They’re already fabricating the medication to mimic the same things that are in our bodies. Your body actually makes it already, it’s about helping the body release it in hypnotic state.”

He also discussed trade secrets about how hypnosis works.

“It’s a brainwave state,” he said. “It’s between being fully conscious and asleep. I just learn how to put people into that brainwave state where they’re more creative.”

Hypnosis bypasses the conscious part of the mind and speaks to the unconscious. When Hypnotize puts someone in a hypnotic state, he is placing an idea in a sleeping person’s brain, making them believe that the idea is true.

“The performance was impressive. I didn’t think that hypnotism was real until I saw the show,” Nicolas Lopez, an audience member, said after the show.

Along with shows, Hypnotize also does hypnotic therapy. He focuses mainly on weight loss, stress management and sports performance. People can make appointments, book shows or learn more about hypnotism through his website, howiehypnotize.com.

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