Howie, Pal, Shall We Shake on That?

Nicholas PollakOP-EDLeave a Comment

Howie Mandel. Photo: Fame Images

I recently was watching “America’s Got Talent” when, to my surprise, a young man of 25 came on stage and introduced himself as a hypnotist who specializes in college and high school hypnotism shows.

He wanted to hypnotize emcee Howie Mandel. It is well known that Howie will not shake hands for fear of becoming contaminated by the germs of others.

At first the audience was told, “If you don’t want to be hypnotized, leave now.” Again to my surprise, one-third of the audience got up and left until the act was over. This told me that many still consider hypnotism to be mind control.

I assure you there is no mind control. Unless you are willing to be hypnotized, you cannot be. If you would not do something in a waking state, you will not do it under hypnosis.

Back to America’s Got Talent: Viewers were not allowed to see how the hypnosis occurred — although as a hypnotist, I saw exactly how Mandel was hypnotized.  We saw the result when Mandel repeatedly shook hands with anyone  who wanted to shake. The hypnotist had told him that all persons were wearing fine rubber gloves that could not be seen but protected him.

The camera panned to a girl in the audience who also went into hypnosis. She was very hypnotized. The hypnotist did not see her. Eventually Mandel was brought out of his trance. Once again, je would not shake hands with anyone.

Heidi Klum, a panelist, said the hypnotist should spend more time helping to solve problems. The hypnotist shrugged. It was astute of Heidi to recognize that hypnosis can be used to help instead of ridicule people.

In addition, the girl in the audience still was hypnotized. No one paid attention to her. Finally, she awoke, wondering what had happened. The hypnotist made no attempt to ensure the girl was okay. This was disgraceful.

He was voted through to the next round and just recently he appeared for the second time. This time he asked two members of the panel, Mel B and Michael Buble, on stage to hypnotize them. When he tried to hypnotize them, he failed dismally.

Booed off the stage, he made two remarks, insulting Buble and telling Mandel he should visit him to resolve his fear of germs. No way, said Mandel.

Here is why the hypnotist failed:

He committed several basic mistakes.

Hypnotism is created in only two ways. The first is to give the conscious mind a lot of information rapidly. This overloads the mind and causes it to retreat into the subconscious, and the person is hypnotized.

The second way is to simply stare at an object or stare into space until you go into hypnosis.

When you attend a stage show, the hypnotist will conduct several tests with the audience to see who would be a good candidate.  The rate is one in five people. Those who go on stage already are nervous. Tension increases when they reach the stage.

So the person already is overloaded. Unfamiliar with the process, he is so heavily stuffed that it only takes a simple command to put him into hypnosis.

Unfortunately for the America’s Got Talent hypnotist, he did not make sure that the two judges were good hypnotic candidates. Further, the judges were familiar and comfortable when on stage.

The normal nerves an audience member would demonstrate were missing.

As a result neither judge went into hypnosis. The hypnotist looked stupid.

I have said before that I believe stage hypnosis causes more harm than good to the profession.

As far back as the mid-1800s, members of insane asylums in Paris were brought out and hypnotized in public so that people could witness the way insane people could act normally when hypnotized.

Although stage hypnosis can be fun, it does not approach the benefits a willing person can gain from hypnotherapy, with a hypnotist whose main goal is to resolve issues such as low self-esteem, anxiety, panic.

Make an appointment. Be the better you.

Do not hesitate to contact me by telephone, 310.204.3321, or by email at See my website at

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *