by Christina Jordan
A stage full of hypnotized EWU students: that is all the entertainment that a full-house audience needed last Saturday night.
Dan Lornitis, a hypnotist based in Chicago, shared his talent with Eastern students and parents in a 90-minute show in the Showalter auditorium.
“Dan Lornitis visits hundreds of colleges a year,” said Berto Cerrillo, the master of ceremonies as well as the adviser for campus programs. “Are you ready for our main event?”
After a brief introduction, Lornitis began the show by playing relaxing music and explaining that he is just a “tour guide,” and that the audience would experience the results of “self-hypnosis.”
After choosing and seating 16 students, Lornitis shook each of their hands and asked them to close their eyes, take deep breaths, put their hands in their laps and relax.
“Imagine a blanket of relaxation that is wrapping itself around you,” said Lornitis.
Marissa Pamatigan, one of the students, only took about 60 seconds to be hypnotized; she had slumped down in her chair with her head on another student’s shoulder before anyone else did.
“I feel good,” Pamatigan said after the show. “I feel like I just slept really well. I don’t remember anything at all. Wait, I may have been on a plane at some point.”
Lornitis took the students on an imaginative plane first, where they stowed their luggage under the seat and went through turbulence. The students actually made the hand motions under their chairs and some even began to shake because they felt like they were in turbulence.
When Lornitis told the students that it was hot and sweaty at the imaginative airport, they were wiping their brows and rolling up their sleeves. When he told them that it was cold, most of them wrapped their arms around themselves and leaned towards their neighbors for body heat.
At one point in the show, Lornitis told the students that they had a super sticky glue holding their hands to their pants and that they had a fly on their nose. The students could not move their hands to get the fly off, try as they might.
Then the students were invited to be a five-year-old at a movie theater. Lornitis told them they were watching “Bambi.” They all jumped when he made a gunshot sound. Most of the students were sad about the death of bambi, except Danica Frazier, who was laughing hysterically while some students were actually shedding tears.
“I wanted to get hypnotized because my brother did at his senior party,” said Frazier.
“No one remembered anything and I thought [that] it would be fun. I remember something about ‘Bambi’ but that is about all.”
“Relax and sleep deeper and deeper still,” the voice of Lornitis repeated almost every three or four minutes.
Lornitis had the students milking a cow in a contest to see who could milk fastest and most creatively. The crowd became hysterical when some of the students were milking while standing with their backs to the audience, while holding one leg up to their chins and the like.
Students named their cows things like Chuck Norris, Chicken and even after themselves.
Near the end of the show, Lornitis began assigning tasks to specific students.
When he would say the word ‘microphone,’ one student would think that her belly button was missing and start to search for it all over the stage.
When he would say his own name, another student would stand up and say, “You’re fired!”
Lornitis also assigned a “Laughing Police” to a student who was particularly deeply hypnotized. Lornitis gave him huge sunglasses and a whistle. Every time the audience would laugh, he would point to them and blow the whistle. He literally lost his temper up on stage.
Another student was told to be a shoe thief, so every time Lornitis pointed to someone, the shoe thief would crawl up and remove their shoe.
Pamatigan was told that she could not remember her first name. Every time Lornitis asked her what her name was, she literally could not recall it.
Every time Lornitis said the word ‘water,’ Frazier would stand up and start to walk away while saying sheepishly, “I have to pee, I have to pee.”
“After I woke up, I didn’t know where my shoe was,” said Frazier. “And I do not remember anything about the word ‘water.’”
At one point in the show, students were figuratively pulled over by a police officer for speeding. Lornitis walked around asking the students why they were going so fast.
Danielle Terrel, one of the students, responded, “Because my pregnant grandma got run over by a reindeer.”
“I don’t remember anything from the show at all,” said Terrel.
After the show, some of the families lingered in the room while laughing about what their sons and daughters said during the show.
“My daughter was my favorite star of the show,” said Terrel’s mother.
“Different personalities get me laughing every time,” said Lornitis. “It is like I am a member of the audience. The police guy really made me laugh.”
Lornitis explained that this was a completely safe hypnosis and that it is mentally and physically impossible to remain in the state of hypnosis perpetually.
“They are in control because it is self meditation,” said Lornitis. “I can’t force them to be hypnotized, they decided that [tonight] for themselves.”