When the snap of his fingers echoed vibrantly throughout Asplundh Concert Hall, the volunteers were asleep and willing to comply to even the whisper of his voice. Five hundred students and family members watched in amazement as Dale K, hypnotist and comedian, stood on stage in front of 15 dazed participants on the campus of West Chester University Friday night.
Only moments before, Dale K selected 20 anxious volunteers to experience the power of hypnosis. The lights dimmed, melodious music escalated synonymously with both Dale K’s instructions and the heart rate of the eager crowd.
“Focus on my hand and take a deep breath” said Dale K. “It will be your visual anchor.” The volunteers obeyed synchronously-even before the hypnosis took full effect.
“Stare at the ceiling and allow your eyes to grow heavy,” said Dale K. “Don’t force them shut. Let your eyes rest as I count backwards. Five. Four.”
Slowly, the volunteers sank deeper into their chairs. “Three. Two. One,” said Dale K. The volunteers’ posture slouched as their heads fell heavily onto the shoulder of the person next to them. Soon, the participants slipped into a coma like an overdose of tranquilizers- entranced only by the monotonous repetition of his voice.
Dale K sieved through the volunteers, telling the ones who appeared least hypnotized to leave the stage, and allowing the participants under the strongest influence to remain.
“From now on you will respond to my every suggestion without hesitation,” said Dale K. “We will tap into your imagination and your physical body. Just listen to my voice.” The power of hypnosis was proven early on the participants who had difficulty “ungluing” their clenched hands.
Others were lifted out of their seats as Dale K suggested they held a large helium balloon in their hands. These volunteers then fell to the floor as Dale K made a large “popping” noise into the microphone.
The audience showed their appreciation for the show with roars of laughter and appropriate applause.
The power of suggestive hypnosis was not only an exhibition of Dale K’s ability to manipulate the volunteers’ behavior, but the crowd’s uproarious laughter fueled his imaginative exploits.
“The temperature is dropping quickly in this room,” said Dale K. “It’s 40 degrees, 30 degrees, 20 degrees.” The volunteers shivered, added layers of clothing, and huddled together to share each others body warmth as he counted down. “Freeze,” said Dale K. The volunteers remained immobilized like statues. Dale K took out a small camera and took a picture of them clinging to each other.
“This one will be available on e-bay if anyone is interested,” said Dale K.
Other examples of hypnosis included convincing the volunteers that a terrible smell was coming from another participant, persuading them he was naked on stage, and impregnating male participants-both literally and figuratively- with his suggestions.
“I knew what I was doing, but I don’t know why,” said Elyssa Sobel, a sophomore participant in the show.
“I just remember people clapping,” said Tina Culbreth, a first year participant. “Something smelled terrible.”
The crowd gave both Dale K and the participants a standing ovation at the conclusion of the show. It was an exciting and entertaining spectacle.
“It was an awesome time,” said junior, Kevin Schopf. “I didn’t believe it at first, but I do now.”
Dale K has been touring his show for 15 years. This was his second stop at West Chester University in three years. His interest in hypnosis was sparked from watching a similar show as a kid.
“I more or less motivate people to do things in a sleep-like state,” said Dale K. “When you’re uneducated about something, you don’t know why it works.
“It’s like asking a passenger how a plane flies. They have no idea. But if you ask the pilot how a 747 gets off the ground, his explanation would be overwhelming.”
Dale K concluded a tour of 29 shows in 30 days. This included stops in cities like Chicago, New York and Tampa Bay. He performed on campus’ at Notre Dame, Virginia Tech and Bowling Green. “There is no dark magic or mischievous trick,” said Dale K. “It’s just the power of suggestion.