Hypnotist wows again

A former hypnotherapist, Kim Bromley uses his powers of hypnosis for a night of laughs during Welcome Week.

Though he has performed at UND’s Welcome Week for 10 consecutive years, Kim Bromley’s hypnosis show has proved a unique experience every time.

The Chester Fritz Auditorium was packed through to the mezzanine with approximately 2,000 students and community members last Saturday night, according to Casey Weaver of the Hall Orientation Team, the group that organized the event.

Once the 30 chairs on stage were filled with eager student participants, Bromley conducted a 15 minute-long “induction,” during which he persuaded the volunteers to clear their minds and enter a stage of complete relaxation.

“It’s a lot like meditation,” Bromley said in his dressing room before the show. “It’s a matter of letting go of your other thoughts. It’s basically a focused state of relaxation.”

Once the induction was complete, Bromley put all his volunteers to sleep in their chairs. After that, there was no telling what might happen on stage.

To begin, the hypnotist told the participants that they were driving a car. Immediately, the volunteers began turning imaginary steering wheels and giving phantom drivers the middle finger.

When told their cars had begun to overheat, one male student instinctually ripped off his shirt.

Bromley said that he has seen the most shy, introverted students completely lose themselves on stage, doing things that they would never would have done under normal circumstances.

“Hypnosis is always self-hypnosis,” Bromley said. “Even though I’m up there guiding them, it’s always up to them to let themselves be hypnotized.”

He said that theatre and art majors, or people who have active imaginations, are the easiest people to hypnotize.

Surprise hypnosis

Taylor Bruer, a sophomore, was not one of the volunteers on stage, but by the end of the night, she became one of the most entertaining people to watch; she became hypnotized while watching the show from her seat.

“She ran on stage to give CPR to a shoe,” said Aj Scholtz, a friend sitting next to Bruer in the second row.

Bruer said she had been to a hypnotist show twice before, but this was the first time she had ever been hypnotized herself.

“That’s so embarrassing!” she said when told of the booty-shaking dance she had done on stage. “That’s so awesome, but it’s so embarrassing. I love it. I would never go in front of a ton of people and embarrass myself like that.”

Her friend, Emily Engh, agreed.

“I would have liked to try, but I’d be too scared of what I’d do,” she laughed. “Not in front of all these people.”

Sophomore Carleigh Lider was another unsuspecting audience member who became hypnotized in her seat. The same thing happened to her at last year’s show as well.

“I got hypnotized in high school once at prom,” Lider said after giving up trying to find her missing flip-flop, which she thought was a kitten while under hypnosis. “I hear that it’s really easy for creative people [to get hypnotized]. I’m usually pretty creative, so maybe that has something to do with it.”

When Lider’s friends noticed she was following Bromley’s commands from her seat, they urged her to join the others on stage.

“I know what people told me, but that’s about it,” she said. “The whole time, I remember thinking, ‘Gosh, this is stupid.’ But I was doing it anyway.”

Hypnotic enhancement

An art professor at NDSU, Bromley has conducted experiments on his students with a colleague in the Psychology department. Bromley had his classes paint still life scenes, then compared them with other still life scenes they created while under hypnosis.

“We did a research project to see if hypnosis was significant on creativity, and we found that it was,” Bromley said.

Hypnosis, he urged, has other benefits as well —— many that college students would find particularly helpful.

“Half an hour of hypnosis is like a two hour power nap,” he said. “I’ve used hypnosis at times when I need to do a project, and it’s late, and I feel like falling asleep. I’ll hypnotize myself for a bit, then continue, and I’m energized and ready to go.”

“I feel like I just got eight hours of sleep,” Bruer said after the show.

“Some people don’t believe in it and oftentimes when they come they think, ‘This is all fake; people are just faking it up there,’” Bromley said. “But I think once they come see it, they know better.”

Will Beaton is the features editor of The Dakota Student. He can be reached at [email protected].