PAUL McKenna brought his new show, The 3 Things That Will Change Your Destiny Today, to the Queen’s Hall last week.
I have to admit, I couldn’t resist popping along to see what the evening would entail.
For those too young to remember McKenna from his early days, in the 90s he was the best known hypnotist in the country, if not the world.
He toured the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands, the US, Australia, and Hong Kong and had his very own prime-time TV show, The Hypnotic World of Paul McKenna.
Always one to be fascinated by the art of hypnotism, I’ve seen numerous stage hypnotists over years.
The first was the notorious Robert Halpern back in the 70s, who finished his act by hanging himself from a ‘real’ gallows while under the influence of hypnosis himself.
Many years later, I discovered just how that ‘real’ gallows worked when the very same prop was hired for a play I was involved in.
Of course, the drop was made possible by a hidden safety harness and nothing at all to do with hypnotism.
However, it was Australian hypnotist The Great Reveen who got me wondering. He made it look very easy, too easy really, when I saw him at the Playhouse, where he enjoyed a sold out season.
At one of his shows I watched dumbfounded as a friend suddenly ‘went under’, flew from their seat, down the aisle and onto the stage where they were given a number of hilarious commands that had the audience crying with laughter.
I asked them afterwards what they remembered of being on stage. ‘Nothing’ they replied.
I’m still not sure it wasn’t just attention seeking, though.
Although I’ve always been cynical about the entertainment value of hypnosis, so much has to be faked, I’m not dissing the power and benefits positive suggestion can have in life.
As McKenna eschewed the showbiz side of his career to concentrate on life coaching, I found myself turning to one of his self-hypnosis tapes back in the day when I had difficulty sleeping.
Relaxing as his distinctive tones resonated around the room encouraging me to count down from 300... 299... 298... I drifted off in no time at all.
So, what would he do at the Queen’s Hall where a few hundred had turned out to see him?
All appeared to be looking for something, whether a way to move on from an issue or to build their confidence.
Demonstrating techniques such as neuro-linguistic programming, which works on the principle that everyone has all the resources they need to make positive changes in their own life, it was fascinating to watch.
For 90 minutes, McKenna became a guide, leading people through their subconscious and trying mass experiments as the audience sat, feet planted firmly on the floor, eyes closed, allowing his voice to cajole them to a better place.
Now that has to be a good thing, doesn’t it?
That said, when it comes to stage hypnotism and punters suddenly believing they’ve won the pools... nah, still not convinced.