As students shuffled into the USU Beach Auditorium Wednesday, they were handed a release of liability form and neon yellow wristband. They whispered to each other, wondering who might get picked to be hypnotized by Chris Jones, illusionist and comedian.
Jones is best known for his America’s Got Talent performance, where he got comedian and known germaphobe Howie Mandel, who only fist bumps people to shake his hand.
Associated Students of Long Beach State saw Jones at a conference during the fall semester and thought to bring a hypnotist to campus.
“We did some research and consulted with some students like ‘Hey would you like to see an illusionist, a magician, a hypnotist,'” Beach Pride Events Coordinator April Marie Castro said. “A lot of folks said, ‘oh we want to see a hypnotist; we want to see our friends [get hypnotized].'”
Jones started his show by pulling a student on stage and doing some illusion work with a poker chip. He then had that student pick 11 other students to join them on stage and sit in the white chairs Jones had lined up.
He encouraged students in the crowd to participate in the activities he had others on stage doing. Jones made his way across the stage, hypnotizing students to sleep before hypnotizing those participating in the audience.
“I’m talking about this experience, but I feel like it happened three days ago,” said Sion Charles, one of the students Jones hypnotized. “It’s in pieces for me, so it’s really hard for me to say what happened, but I think it was fun.”
As Jones awoke the hypnotized students, he gave them one last command. Because Charles’s favorite artist is Drake, he instructed those who were hypnotized to be convinced Drake was on stage before waking them up and ending the night.
Jones made sure to involve students in the crowd throughout the whole process.
“I’ve never been to one [hypnotist show], so it was cool to see it,” said third-year student Sarah Perdomo. “I think it was fun. It was so funny.”