How did you start hypnotizing? How did you find out you were able to do it?
When I was only twelve years old, I watched an old black and white movie with my younger brother (he was 11). The movie feature a Svengali-type old man with a white goatee beard who hypnotized this young girl, with a swinging pocket watch, to go out and steal jewellery.
Well, I am very fond of jewellery so decided to give it a try. My father possessed an almost identical watch. It was the best watch he always wore for church on Sundays. My brother and I sneaked into his drawer and took the watch to see if we could hypnotize each other. Really, we were just role playing as young children do. I didn’t believe in hypnotism. I thought hypnosis was just another one of things like ‘flying carpets’ that is sort of make-belief and only seen in the movies.
I had a big surprise when I tried to hypnotize my brother.
I swung the watch in front of his face and simply repeated the phrases I had heard on the film, such as; “look at the watch, your eyelids are getting heavier and heavier. They are starting to close” etc
At first, I thought he was just pretending when he closed his eyes, but there was something unusual about his face. All the muscles in his face had relaxed and his jaw was open. I clapped my hands together in front of his face and he almost jumped out of his skin.
He was a little bit confused and upset, but I calmed him down and convinced him to let me try it again.
This was the point I knew something had really happened and that hypnosis could be real. The next day, I went down to my local library and borrowed three books on hypnosis which I devoured. I practiced what I was reading on my brother and became better at getting him under. Eventually, I started to hypnotize friends and fellow pupils at school.
Hypnosis became an obsession for me and I got to practice it everyday which helped me to get better and better.
How long have you been hypnotizing?
I am 44 years old now, so I have been hypnotizing people for 32 years, but professionally, I have been a hypnotist for 26 years.
When did you realize/find out that you could do hypnotizing for a living?
I was invited to give a lecture on hypnosis, at school, when I was 15. There was a great deal of excitement in the room as I spoke and I could feel an atmosphere of expectancy which thrilled me. I asked one of the teachers for permission to demonstrate hypnosis and this was granted. A few student went under, but so did one of the teachers who volunteered to give it a try.
There wasn’t much I could do with a hypnotized person at that stage, except to make their hands stick or make them like statues –unable to move. When I did this, there was tumultuous laughter and I remember enjoying the feeling of being the entertainer and being completely in control of events.
I placed the teacher’s finger up his nose and he couldn’t move it. The laughter was deafening.
This event was spoken about everyday until the time I left school. It made me a sort of hero.
One other teacher who witnessed the event took me to one side for a chat about it. He advised me that he believed I could have a successful career with the skills he had seen and this is the moment I decided I wanted to do this for a living.
What would you be doing if you weren’t a hypnotist?
I’ve been a hypnotist for so long that I don’t remember ever wanting to do anything else. It gives me so much pleasure that I never become tired of it and often consider how lucky I am to make my living this way.
I have pondered on what I could have been without hypnotism and I can honestly tell you that I am not good at anything else. There is nothing else I can do from which I could make a career.
Have you ever been hypnotized?
Yes! After hypnotizing my brother for a while, I wanted to be hypnotized for myself. My brother couldn’t put me under and neither could some of my friends, who I had asked to try, so I saved up my pocket money and went to see a professional hypnotherapist. I was around 13 or 14 years of age.
The therapist was very confused when I booked my appointment because I didn’t need the therapy part of what he did. I just wanted the hypnosis. He was used to treating people for their smoking habit or for curing phobias, but I just wanted to experience hypnosis.
He got me to lie down on a bed with earphones on and then spoke to me through a microphone.
I distinctly remember thinking that this was a bad way to practice hypnosis. The earphones were uncomfortable and he kept swallowing and splashing down the microphone.
It did work, though, and I found the experience very interesting.
Later, when I was about 18 years of age and a very new stage hypnotist, I attended a meeting of about 14 very experienced hypnotists. Some of them were very famous and the top theatre hypnotists in the world, so I was in awe of them. After the meeting, we went to the bar for a few drinks and had a conversation about our best methods of hypnotizing. He seemed quite impressed by my knowledge and then he described his favourite technique. He didn’t just describe it. He held his finger in front of my face and actually hypnotized me there and then. When I woke up, my shirt was completely unbuttoned, but I didn’t know. When he snapped his fingers, I remembered and realized what I had done. This was a powerful experience for me, but the last time I ever allowed anyone to hypnotize me.
It is possible to perform self-hypnosis and I have become and expert at this, using it many times.
I even hypnotized myself when filming ‘Peter Powers’ Payback for a stunt that involved going up in a small aircraft. I knew the plane was going to make some crazy maneuvers with the rear doors open. I’m not comfortable with heights and knew that I would be the only person on board not wearing a life-jacket.
The last thing I wanted was for the cameras to catch the hypnotist looking terrified, so I hypnotized myself to enjoy the experience.
Self-Hypnosis works very well.
What is the weirdest thing that happened in a show?
There have been so many weird things happen, but I’ll tell you about an experience I had in Sydney, Austalia.
It illustrates how differently people behave when hypnotized and that is what keeps it so interesting for me.
In one stage routine, I will tell a guy that his chair is hot and he jumps out of it rubbing the burning part.
I then tell him that his feet are burning and he starts to hop up and down as the audience laugh.
Finally I tell him that his penis is burning and that it is getting hotter and hotter. You can imagine what he now start to do. He is jumping up and down with both hands on his crotch. I offer him (kindly) a glass of water which then pours down the front of his trousers.
I’m sure you can imagine how funny this scene is. Now, I have performed and seem it happen hundreds and hundreds of times and the result is always the same – the guy pours the water down his pants. NOT this time!
On this particular show, I gave him the water, but was then distracted by another hypnotized subject who appeared to be sliding off their chair while still asleep. As I went stop the sleeping subject from falling, I heard an uproarious, loud scream from the audience and looked up. The guy had flopped his hot penis into the glass of water.
It was hilarious. All the years I had been performing this routine, I had never seen anyone react in that way.
Is there a difference in hypnotizing people from different countries? Are some countries easier to hypnotise than others?
There is a bit of difference in hypnotizability between different cultures.
At first, I found Irish people difficult to hypnotize, on stage, and discovered an identical problem in Malta.
I managed to find a way around this and then it became just as easy to hypnotize them as anyone else.
The secret was to avoid laughing or creating laughter right at the beginning of the show which is something I usually try to achieve. Instead, I made everything serious. Only after they had been fully hypnotized they were no longer concerned about being laughed at and the shows went well.
I found it a little bit harder to hypnotize Dutch people. This is because I speak English and that is not the first language of Dutch people and it does make a difference.
I am very impressed by the ability and skill of the Dutch people in speaking English, so I must explain this further.
I come from a region in the north of England, named Bolton, in Lancashire. We have rather an unusual accent and also tend to speak very quickly.
My first attempt to hypnotize people in The Netherlands was at the TV studios in Hilversum, watched on TV monitors by nervous producers from RTL.
They had paid for me to fly from Australia (where I was touring) and were very worried that I may not be able to hypnotize Dutch people.
I did manage to hypnotize some of the volunteers, but it was a bit harder for me. Some people didn’t understand everything I was saying, so I was advised to speak more slowly and to use plain vocabulary.
With a few adjustments it became easier.
I started to learn the Dutch language and attempted to hypnotize one or two people who didn’t speak English too well using Dutch.
It was difficult because I speak Dutch with a pronounced accent and when you are trying to hypnotize someone, you need them to concentrate fully on WHAT you are saying, not the WAY you are saying it. It was interesting to perform a stage shows in Amsterdam at Theatre Fabriek.
There were some people on stage who didn’t understand what I was asking them to do, so I spoke to them in my best Dutch, OFF MICROPHONE (I was far too shy let the audience hear me) and said: “Knijp je handen stevig samen. Sluit je ogen. Als ik tot drie tel, voel je dat je achterover vallen. Je valt niet, want ik laat je niet vallen” etc. etc.
To my delight, the instructions were carried out.
One interesting thing that observers noticed was that after being hypnotized, my Dutch subjects understood what I was saying much more easily that when in a normal state of consciousness.
In which country/countries you haven’t been to would you like to do shows?
I would love to perform in Las Vegas and New York, USA, Germany, Japan and India.
What is your biggest/funnniest blooper?
On stage in Scotland, I hypnotized one of my subjects to believe that he had just won millions on the lottery.
He grabbed my microphone and told his boss, who was sitting on the 5th row of the audience, that he was an “arsehole” and that he could “shove his f****** job up his arse!!!”
Do you have plans for the future?
I am writing new shows for TV and have negotiations taking place with networks in 4 different countries.
I am touring with my live show quite extensively.
It is my intention to continue learning Dutch.
Within the next few years, I want to open a retreat in a beautiful, mountainous region in Queensland, Australia.
This will be a place where people can come for healing, to explore consciousness, other realms, develop psychic abilities, learn hypnosis and stay in a relaxed and peaceful environment.
I’m about to complete my first book about my life and adventures on the road, as a hypnotist. Then, I can start on my next books, for which I have numerous ideas.
What is your favorite food?
OYSTERS!! I just love them. When I last stayed in Amsterdam, I discovered a little place on the Leidseplein called the Oester Bar.
I went in there every day and ate between 36 and 48 oysters with a good bottle of white wine. Yummy!!
Do you have hobbies?
I cook, bake, make sausages, cure, preserve and smoke meats and anything else to do with cuisine. I also play squash and read lots of books.
What is your favorite place to have a vacation?
The Whitsunday Islands in Australia.