By Elina Shapiro – Contributing Writer
Eric Mina, a life coach and certified hypnotherapist from Scranton, PA, hypnotized ten students at UMF during his show on Friday the 13th.
At the start of the show, Mina invited anyone in the audience to come on stage to be hypnotized, to which students responded eagerly. “[Hypnosis is] being in subconscious mind which is highly suggestible,” said Mina. “You inlay suggestions to help people or have fun on stage.”
Throughout the show, volunteers’ bodies went completely limp, and they believed exactly what they were told. When Mina said he was blue, participants reported that they saw a blue man. They made comments that generated roaring laughter in the audience such as, “You should probably see a doctor!” and “Are your parents blue?”
When Mina said that he was invisible and carried a shoe across stage, participants screamed in horror, believing that the shoe was floating. When they were told they were dogs, they followed Mina’s orders and rolled over, sat, barked and waited for a treat. When participants were told that an audience member was Channing Tatum, they dangled off the stage trying to shake his hand.
Although the experiences were dictated by Mina, they felt like reality to those who were hypnotized, even though the students were just on the stage of Nordica Auditorium.
“The surrounding experience was real; I was really a dog, and I was really a cat, and a dancer, and a model,” said Cody Curtis, a freshman and Visual Arts and Graphic Arts Major with a concentration in Theater at UMF. “It was really weird. I saw the cameras, and it was as if people were coming out with cameras and there were ones coming from above that looked like they were dangling and moving, and I was on stage.”
Some students found the experience to be similar to dreaming. “I wasn’t actually sleeping, but I felt completely relaxed,” said Sarah Jenkins, a senior and Elementary Education major at UMF. “My eyes were heavy, my breathing changed, that was really weird.”
Time was distorted in the minds of the hypnotized. “It felt like it happened for maybe five minutes, but it was an hour and a half,” said Jenkins, laughing. Students reported that they knew the audience was there, and they knew what they were doing was strange, but they had no control. “I could see [the audience] but I didn’t care, and usually I totally would have cared,” said Jenkins.
Mina ended the show by having those who were hypnotized “see” themselves in a film about their future life in which they make better choices and feel more confident about themselves.
“I became what I want to call myself a ‘Dream Achievement Specialist,’” said Mina. “I want to help people achieve their dreams and goals in their lives and get over their biggest hurdles so they can have the life they’ve always wanted.”
In addition to leaving the stage with a new life vision in mind, students felt peaceful.
“It’s very relaxing, you feel wonderful after. Shaky, tingly, but you feel wonderful,” said Curtis. “I felt very relaxed, I felt like I just slept for like a day. But at the same time, I am kind of tired.”
Mina loves his job as a hypnotherapist because he can do performances on stage, where he feels at home. “What I love about hypnosis on stage is that I get to show [how the mind works] in a very fun and interesting way, it makes people a lot more interested in listening to the information,” said Mina. “I love entertaining and I love inspiring people and seeing that their minds are more powerful than they realize.”