Students REALLY get into hypnotism demonstration in Canada

Emergency hypnotist called in to undo damage after Sherbrooke school show.

A Quebec all-girls high school said the activity went awry as numerous students had problems after the show — including one girl who remained stuck in a trance for four hours.

The incident occurred last week at a private school, College du Sacre-Coeur in Sherbrooke, during a lunchtime end-of-year event.

At least five students appeared to experience trouble after the show, given by a 20-year-old hypnotist.

Principal Daniel Leveille said Friday in a news release that at least one student remained in a trance for four hours — which the administrator described as a “deep sleep.” In addition, 13 other students reported having headaches or nausea.

Administrators said they learned after the fact that hypnosis isn’t recommended for people under the age of 14 because people that young are particularly susceptible to it. The school said through a spokesman Friday that it had no idea such a show could have those side effects.

Tip: Jon via email (Thanks!)

WHOA. They had “no idea” of the side effects because hypnotists CAN’T do that. What a great story — what looks like a textbook example of suggestibility. From the surface, these girls have convinced themselves that they have been severely affected.

A similar effect occurs in exorcism/possession or religious experiences. People can easily give themselves over to the moment and believe they are trapped in that condition until someone of authority frees them.

In a hilarious anecdotal side note, my 14 year daughter also had a hypnotist come to her school. She tells me it was “utter bullcrap”. It was obvious that the participants played along with the act and she even asked her friend who volunteered if she was really “hypnotized” to which she answered “NO! I was totally faking it,” because it’s an act and you want to perform as expected.

This story is utter bullcrap.

  6 comments for “Students REALLY get into hypnotism demonstration in Canada

  1. June 15, 2012 at 8:11 PM

    I think your analysis–“believe they are trapped in that condition”–is probably correct. My paper “Hypnosis, Voluntary Action, and the Law” looks at the best cases I could find of real-life “coercive hypnosis” and describes some of the early experiments on the subject which wouldn’t pass institutional review today:

  2. June 15, 2012 at 8:15 PM

    You won’t be laughing when I say “butterfly” at TAM and you start laughing uncontrollably!

    Wait. Okay – you WILL be laughing, but inside you won’t be.

  3. June 15, 2012 at 8:16 PM

    Thanks, Jim.

  4. June 15, 2012 at 8:17 PM

    Yeah, I’ll be ACTING. Cause you want me to do that.

  5. foxmaiden
    June 18, 2012 at 3:38 PM

    I am listening to you on Monster Talk right now and went to your site to suggest you cover this story that was reported in my local paper… and you already had. I am excited to have found your site!

  6. June 18, 2012 at 4:16 PM

    Thanks! I really appreciate that. Send any news links to

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