Jim Wand – Hypnotist at large

Photo by Jose Dehoyos
Volunteers display their interptation of the “imaginary kissing partner.”
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Jim Wand applies his special touch.
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Students feeling something.

When one walks into a room full of people expecting to see a hypnotist demonstration, it is important to choose the right seating. There are the skeptics, read non-believers. There are the believers and, right in between, there are the truth-seekers. All were present to see one man, Jim Wand.
Thanks to Student Government and the Office of Student Life, Wand ran a demonstration and a self-hypnotism seminar at the MATC West Allis campus on Thursday, Oct. 16.
MATC is one of 65 schools he will visit in the next 78 days. Wand is a world-class hypnotist. He has been seen on “The Conan O’Brien Show,” in his Comedy Central special and in countless shows across the U.S. for the last 22 years. Before doing exhibitions, he was a psychologist for seven years.
Wand walked through the crowd with the swagger of a man who definitely knows what he is doing. He was getting to know the weary students and informing everyone about hypnosis and its science, things like spreading information of the brainwaves alpha through delta, how hypnotism isn’t a mind control game where one can be tricked into robbing a bank naked, and the power of the subconscious.
Once the show started, 12 volunteers emerged from the audience to be seated in front of the crowd. All volunteers sat in a line, with their hands on their knees and feet flat on the ground.
After setting up a light as a focal point, Wand began a slow countdown from five to zero while volunteers breathed slowly with closed eyes. Soon he guided them into a hypnotic state, proving this by having everyone go limp in their chairs.
With hypnosis in tow, Wand told us we are more open to accept ideas as 85 percent of our brain is subconscious. Only in hypnotism can we achieve access to it. He then shared a recollection of a man doing a standing back flip on command, without ever having done one before.  Although your body will not perform a feat it isn’t capable of, your brain will not allow you to do anything out of your character either.
To prove the brain’s ability to drift in and out of conscious behavior, he asked Rachel Soliday, a high school senior studying in MATC’s psychology program, to give her name. She perked up with doe eyes, shouted her name joyously, and immediately fell forward in a sleep state on Wand’s command.
To demonstrate the value of openness, participants were guided to believe that they were spending a relaxing day at the beach. Some even pantomimed putting on lotion to remain comfortable. Upping the ante, non-participants were privy to the students going on a date with a celebrity of their choice. It is undeniable that Wand is a performer and an artist. Remarking how we were very supportive of each other as a student fell asleep, slumped over another student’s back, he constantly delivered quick wit and commentary.
He walked the participants through a series of games such as showing the evolution of dance. One student was a Martian who crash-landed on Earth, with another student acting as his interpreter. The interpreter informed us that she had been speaking Martian for 64 years. All events culminated in a grand finale of sorts.
Individual students were given specific jobs during this time. Someone would scream at hearing “Illinois,” or get “electrocuted” upon hearing “microphone.”
Jacob Plantz, Respiratory Therapy program, was told that he was sitting in front of an angry pit bull. In actuality he was looking at a brown balloon animal that had the same amount of limbs as a dog.
The sight of the balloon caused Plantz to freeze with fear for a moment. Then, like a balloon dog whisperer, he stared the animal down in a very calm way. The staring contest ended when Mr. Wand popped the dog and lifted Plantz from his hypnotic trance. When asked, Plantz said he felt happy and well rested, and that he hazily remembered seeing the dog.
Not before leaving some parting words of encouragement, all participants were lifted from hypnosis and felt equally well. Soliday reported feeling serene and aware but out of control. Derek Bratkowski, Manufacturing Engineering, recalled being happy waking up as well.
Wand concluded the demonstration to invite everyone to the self-hypnotism seminar that was directly to follow. There he taught people methods for a guided meditation of hypnosis for self-improvement. Goals such as dieting better, losing weight or quitting smoking, can be aided by hypnosis. Wand said that the only limitation to improvement by hypnosis lies in the capabilities of both the hypnotist and the hypnotized.
Wand left the campus headed to do a show the next day in Tampa, Fla. He will finish the semester visiting other universities before moving onto a series of casino shows across the world. Including being seen on cruise ships, Wand has 220 shows booked this year.
More information on Dr. Jim Wand and hypnotism can be found on his website, www.hypnotism.com.