Hand signals, gestures, and commands captured each individual, placing them under trances while onlookers watched in awe. This was what it was like for students who experienced hypnosis through Christopher Jones who fascinated the Xavier University community on March 20, 2019. Faculty, staff, and students participated in the hypnosis event to take some down time in the middle of a busy semester.
“I wanted the students to take a break from studies and be able to get a good laugh and just be entertained by something which they have never experienced,” said Tyler Nelson, the event organizer, who is Xavier Activities Board comedy and novelty chairman.
Jones grew up on the south side of Chicago and is a graduate of Mount Carmel High School. Since he grew up with a speech impediment, he started learning magic. In college, Jones saw traveling comedy hypnotist Frederick Winters’ show and he was one of the students charmed by his special talents.
“I saw a hypnotist when I was in college, and he hypnotized me. I felt like I was a baby kangaroo in a pouch. I was like this impossible,” Jones said. “I chased Frederick to his car and asked him how to do this. He told me what books to read and I read every book I could to learn hypnosis,” Jones added.
Since then, he has been practicing hypnosis for 11 years and he has appeared live on America’s Got Talent in 2015. He hypnotized the judge, Howie Mandel, on the NBC show in front of a large studio audience leaving judges Heidi Klum, Melanie Brown, and the audience in shock.
“I hypnotized Howie on the stage by putting him to sleep while he was standing. I also convinced him that he was wearing gloves but in reality it was just the motion of stretching gloves,” Jones said.
Aside from his growing national reputation, Jones has continued to take his show on the road to smaller venues. Xavier University students said they attended the event to take their time off studies and have some fun. This was the first experience for the majority of the students with this type of performer, but for some, they had already experienced hypnotism.
“The experience on the show was very fun even though I have been hypnotized before,” said Crystal Minor, a biology, pre-medicine major at Xavier. “The experience with Chris was more fun in regards to the hypnosis I have received before. I didn’t remember what happened initially until he had to like snap me back out of it to just remember what actually happened. It was a lot of energy in the room and I had a great time,” Minor said.
Audience do not often understood what hypnosis is, Jones said, and therefore have attributed it to all kinds of strange phenomena. Many times they become skeptical and conclude that it cannot be a real state of mind or body, he explained.
“I would say that going into the show that I was skeptical, I did not know what to expect,” said La’Shance Perry, a sophomore, mass communication major. “He really went into depth explaining the stigma that a lot of people have about hypnotism and he also had somebody from the audience read a psychology book to show that hypnotism is real,” Perry said.