Hypnotist Chris Jones engages UMD students in a mesmerizing performance

Featured Image by Leah Brennan


“All hypnosis is, is I’m giving you a suggestion.”

The Hoff Theater was filled with laughter and amusement when Chris Jones hypnotized an eager group of University of Maryland students. This event drew an overwhelming crowd to the Stamp Student Union.

Jones, a Chicago native, has been practicing hypnosis professionally for six years. He has performed at universities in all 50 states, and he also competed on America’s Got Talent in 2015.

“I was a magician, but I wasn’t very good.” Jones got his start in magic, but soon switched to hypnosis. “ I like that you don’t need to keep secrets. I wasn’t a good magician because I used to tell people how tricks are done.” Jones originally went to college to be a track star, but then ended up writing his grad school thesis on the art of hypnosis.

“It’s mostly science based—like—if the people trust me I can influence them, but people who don’t trust me don’t get hypnotized.”

Jones began the show by having the volunteers stand up from their seats. He directed them through a series of physical instructions to begin the process. He first instructed the participants to forget their own name. Anyone who stuttered and stumbled when asked for his or her name was invited onto the stage to participate in the remainder of the show.

Jones sent participants back to the audience if they were unable to be hypnotized, or if they woke up in the middle of the show.

“Sometimes they think they’re hypnotized, so like, I don’t like the word ‘faking.’” He claimed that hypnosis is random; some people just cannot be hypnotized at one given time. Jones added, “I think anyone can be hypnotized. I cannot hypnotize everyone, however.” Jones’s hypnosis usually works on about 20 percent of his audience members.

Jones led the volunteers through a series of imaginary situations. They believed they were on a rollercoaster, at a prom, at a house party and at various other events. No matter what outrageous act these volunteers were directed to perform, they effortlessly obeyed. As soon as Jones snapped his fingers and uttered the word, “sleep,” the volunteers’ heads immediately dropped to their chests, as they fell into a deep slumber.

While the participants believed they were contestants on Family Feud, Jones asked, “What is something men do that annoys women?” When one female student replied, “Exist,” the audience exploded with laughter.

Sarah Lee, a junior communications major, was one of the participants.

“I thought it was mind-blowing, because I always thought hypnosis was like some kind of voodoo-mind-control.” Lee said that the show exceeded her expectations, and that she felt relaxed and carefree onstage. “It’s not like he’s in your mind telling you what to do. It’s more like because you’re so relaxed and so comfortable, that you don’t really care about the audience.”

The students bombarded Jones with positive feedback. “I loved the audience. They’re giving me credit, but like, they did all the work. They’re funny.” Jones felt the show went well, and he would be happy to come back to Maryland to perform again.

Jones also uses hypnosis to help people focus, lose weight, and quit smoking. He has a video on his website that is designed to permanently help people quit their bad habits.

“If you’re looking to use hypnosis to improve your life, check out NGH.net.”

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