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The Sandman, Hypnosis, and The Village People

Since you, my loyal readers, have already gotten two financial posts here and and guest posts at Club Thrifty and Unique Gifter this week, I am going to give you a funny story from my past that has absolutely nothing to do with money. We are all born with special gifts. Some of us have artistic or athletic talents. Some are good with numbers. Some of us have rather unique skills that really don’t benefit us except for providing amusment to others. I apparently have the gift of being an easy person to hypnotize, and I found that out in a very public way.

When I was in optometry school in Memphis, I went out with a group of friends one evening to celebrate someone’s birthday. We decided to go to the stand -up comedy club to see The Sandman, a hypnotist. At the time, I didn’t believe in hypnosis. I was a science major and a rational person. It just didn’t make sense to me, and I thought people who were supposedly under hypnosis were faking it. This was comedy, though, so it should be good for a laugh, even if it was all fake.

When it was time for the show, this tall, ugly, bohemoth of a man walked out on stage. He seemed pretty tall and looked to weigh over 200lbs with long hair and a long black cape. He looked more like a professional wrestler, but this was our comedic entertainment for the night. He then asked for voluteers to be in tonight’s show. I’m sure it was maybe strength in numbers or the amount of alcohol we had already consumed, but my friends and I made a beeline for the stage. There were five of us along with about 7 or 8 others from the audience.

The Sandman had us sit in chairs and interlock our fingers with the two index ones pointing out. We were supposed to imagine a string being wrapped tighter and tighter around our fingers. He kept repeating this over and over, each time faster. I was waiting for the old locket on a string, and someone telling me I was getting very sleepy, but that never happened. He kept tapping people on the shoulder and telling them to go back to their seats. I was waiting for him to tap me because I knew I had full control of my facilities and was not hypnotized. Finally he told those of us who remained, about 6 people,  to put our hands down and heads up. There we were under the stage lights looking out at the audience. I’m thinking to myself that I have fooled this clown because I am certainly awake and aware of what’s going on.

He started at one end of the stage and told each person to do something horribly stupid and embarrasing. One fellow had to make out with a stuffed dog, one guy had to act like a lady. We were told that the person beside us was the worst smelling thing we could imagine. I kept telling myself that if he asked me to do something ridiculous that I was going to go sit down. Then it was my turn, and he told me to go dirty dance with this cowboy in need of some major dental work who was seated at one of the tables up front. To my astonishment, I just went right up and started bumping and grinding. I knew totally what I was doing but just didn’t care. We did lots of other stupid stuff which culminated in a performance of YMCA after he told us we were the Village People. I was the one with the headdress.

After our singing debut, he told everyone to sit down except me. I must have been the best villager because he chose me for the grand finale. I don’t remember every part of the show, but I remember this as clear as a bell. He grabbed two chairs and spread them about 5 feet apart. The lights went down, the smoke machine kicked up, some finale music was playing. He then asked me if I was pregnant or had any back problems. Nope. He told me to close my eyes and put my arms straight down at my sides. He then kept telling me I was a steel bar with a cord being wrapped around me, tighter and tighter, just like in the beginning, except my whole body was the bar. It seemed like a long time that I was imagining myself as a steel bar, but I’m sure it was only a few seconds. My eyes were closed, so I did not see this next part, but The Sandman picked me up like I was a 2×4 piece of lumber. I was completely parallell with no bends, a steel bar. He the put me down with my head and neck on the seat of one chair and my ankles in the other one. Nothing was supporting me from my neck to my ankles. I was like a bridge between the two chairs. That in itself is impossible to do. I have tried many times and can’t hold myself up like this. Next, Mr. Sandman stepped up and stood on my torso. I felt no pain, pressure, or even exertion. He stood there for a bit and then got down, picked me up like a 2×4 again,  and set me down. He told me I would wake up now and feel relaxed, like I’d had the best night of sleep ever.

After the show, I was more relaxed than I had been in a while. I remembered the whole thing. It was the strangest, but most euphoric feeling. We bought a video of the show, and I cannot believe I was able to do that. Besides putting on a good show or giving someone a laugh, I wonder what we could accomplish if we were able to access that part of our brain that allowed me to hold up 200 pounds with my neck and ankles. I know people do hypnosis for smoking cessation, weight loss, and other addictions, but it is still viewed as hokey by most of the general population, prior self included. I certainly don’t hold the key to the mind, but after The Sandman, I am certainly a believer in the power of hypnosis.

Who would you like to hypnotize? Which Village Person would you like to be?

Photo credit to Wikipedia

I googled The Sandman after writing this. He is still around, and he doesn’t look a thing like I remember. Apparently his dad was also the Sandman, so I believe it would have been the senior Sandman I saw or maybe he just seemed bigger onstage! If you’re curious, here’s the link.

About Kim Parr

Kim Parr is a private practice optometrist, freelance writer, and personal financial blogger. You can follow her journey to 20/20 financial vision at Eyes on the Dollar.


  1. This is amazing! I would have been like you I reckon, completely sure of myself and knowing I couldn’t be hypnotized. At least I would have been like that until it happened.

    Are you able to put some of the video up on your website or YouTube?

  2. Wow. Like Glen I probably would’ve been insistent that I could not be hypnotized.

  3. That is incredible. I have no idea how hypnosis works, but you really get to wonder how you can hold a man with your body and then when you are wide awake you can’t. Is your mind telling you you can’t do this or that, or is having your mind shut down putting all strength on your body? I know we are very soft on ourselves because we naturally want to avoid pain and look for pleasure instead. People who run marathons, survive days without eating after a plane crash and push their bodies to extreme limits are probably not even close to what they could do under hypnosis then.

  4. So weird. Mr. PoP was a groupie of a local hypnotist when he was in high school and tried some hypnosis on friends, but I’ve never agreed to it. Don’t even know if he’d be able to do it anymore!

  5. I tried to get hypnotized at our “post prom” party, but I wasn’t able to go under. However, I really enjoyed watching my friends make fools of themselves. Have a great weekend Kim, and thanks again for the wonderful guest post!

  6. That is an awesome story. My friend got hypnotized at a high school presentation a hypnotist did… I knew it was real because she was EXTREMELY embarassed afterwards at the stuff she did.

  7. I’ve been to shows like that and loved them! But it is very interesting to hear that you remembered what happened and felt like you were not under. At these types of shows you never really get to talk to the people that are go through it so I loved reading your side of the story. It must be fun to watch the video.

  8. Wow that’s incredible! You should convert the video and post a clip!!

  9. Awesome story!! Amazing what you can do under hypnosis. I’venever personally done it BUT Mrs.CBB has not once but twice because it was that much fun. She says she remembers when she was in her early 20’s there was a hypnotist that would tour the bars but it was all related to sexual things… she said it was bloody hilarious. No one got naked or anything it was simply stupid things they had to do. Mrs.CBB says she knew what was going on but just did it anyway like she was in a whole other world. She’d do it again she says but not sure about having someone step on her back… Mr.CBB

    • I actually did it again as well, at a show in Las Vegas. It wasn’t nearly as fancy at the Sandman show, but again, I made an idiot of myself and just didn’t care. I think I needed to see if it would work again and it did.

  10. That’s a great story.

    I saw a hypnosis show when I was attending my university, and I thought it was all real, and people did the silly suggestions under hypnosis.

    But, as I looked back I became convinced that it was just a hoax, and the volunteers were just playing along with the hypnotist.

    Now, in light of your amazing story, I shall have to revise my opinion once again.

  11. I’ve never actually seen a hypnotism show. But I always think of the movie Office Space when somebody talks about it.

  12. I would not want to be hypnotized! I do not like to give up control particularly in front of an audience. I suppose I would pick the cowboy.

  13. I’m not opposed to trying hypnosis myself to get over some bad habits or something, but I don’t think I’d ever want to hypnotize anyone else! I don’t have enough restraint to handle that responsibility.

  14. I was hypnotized to eat better. It was a fascinating experience. Also, in financial planning, I learned a ton about Neuro-Linguistic Programming, which has its roots in hypnosis.

    …and you keep saying that to yourself about the cowboy in the front row. You know that you and he had something special 😉

    • For a while, my criteria for a boyfriend was a full set of teeth and a job. Luckily my standards improved before I met my husband.

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