Hypnotist hypes Webster crowd

Monique Canada, sophomore pre-med major (left), and JaVan Richardson, freshman undecided major, perform a rap song.

Monique Canada, sophomore pre-med major (left), and JaVan Richardson, freshman undecided major, perform a rap song.

Parker Willis

Hypnotism brought a show to campus and kept the crowd in a trance of laughter.

After traveling 11 hours to get to Missouri Southern and cutting it close by showing up to Webster Hall auditorium only 30 minutes before his 7 p.m. show, Joshua Seth hit the ground running using only a minimal amount of props consisting of a baby doll, a scratch pad and an iPod.

Seth started his show with a few card tricks, math tricks and some mind reading to get the crowd warmed up before starting his hypnotism.

He started with around 20 volunteers on stage, but he gradually narrowed it down to six enthusiastic audience members. These six were the ones most influenced by Seth’s suggestions and provided for the majority of the entertainment.

Seth convinced his volunteers to do everything from rap in Japanese, dance on command and fall asleep at the snap of his finger to ballet, run in slow motion and pose like a body builders.

Other highlights of the show were when he convinced the four men still left on stage they were pregnant and coaxed two into labor, one of which gave birth to the rag doll. Even though he didn’t believe it was his, he cared for it like a mother onstage.

Then Seth hypnotized the six left into believing he was invisible, right before chasing them around stage moving chairs and other inanimate objects as he herded them from one side to the other. He made a few faint during this part of the act and had to scare his volunteers out from hiding behind the curtain several times.

“But it was all in good fun,” said Monique Canada, sophomore biology major and volunteer. “I’m a little embarrassed to know what I did, but at the same time, I’m sure it was funny and everyone probably enjoyed it.”

She said she doesn’t really remember what happened while she was on stage.

“I was relaxing and I was still thinking, but I don’t know what I was doing, like why was I standing in the middle of the stage half the time,” Canada said.

Another volunteer, Mark Billings said he didn’t really remember much, but afterward, he felt completely rested. He said he didn’t even mind that after he got off stage Seth cued him and the other volunteers to stand up and yell “party at my house,” which he did remember.

“Your conscious of what is happening but it seems like it went by in a flash,” Billings said. “I asked my wife what time it was and couldn’t believe it was 9 p.m. because everything went by in a snap.”

It was the first time Seth has done a show at Southern, but he said he would return to another if he was asked. He averages a couple of hundred shows a year traveling all over the U.S. and as far as Tahiti, Australia, New Zealand and last year he did a televised show on the streets of Japan with a translator that has now been seen by more than 10 million people.

But after the show, he said he likes doing campus shows the best.

“I love going to colleges; college kids get it when I’m talking about the psychology behind it,” Seth said. “And, I hope that they find that interesting. College kids can take all the energy and length. I just did a two-hour show. Where else are you going to do that? It’s an ideal environment for me.”

In the end, Seth said he hopes the crowd gets more out of his show than just entertainment.

“I hope that what I do goes a little bit beyond what most hypnotized do,” he said. “I’ve been doing this my whole life. I’ve got my own philosophies and thinking on how to affect behavioral change through the mind.”