I Was Mesmerized

Better I say that I was hypnotised.

Franz Anton Mesmer, who discovered the phenomenon in the late 1700s, believed that it worked through ‘animal magnetism,’ and treated it like a parlor trick, entertaining the social elite in their homes or small halls.  A hypnotised person is not supposed to do anything beyond their moral limits.  It was revealing and disturbing, the limits that the minor aristocracy would go to.  Eventually, he was booed off his entertainment stage, and the term mesmerism took on a negative connotation.

In the summer of 1958, when I was 14, an entertainer booked the auditorium of the Town Hall for five evenings – Monday to Friday.  He put up posters on lamp posts and handed out small flyers.  He was a stage hypnotist, who promised an interesting and amusing show that included people clucking like chickens.  I HAD to see this.

I attended the Monday show.  I never thought about where he would get willing subjects until he asked for audience volunteers.  I was the first on my feet.  I didn’t feel hypnotized – whatever that was.  I was awake and aware, but felt no drive to do anything but just stand there.  My part came toward the end of the act.  He had me and a girl about my age hold our right arms out.  He lit a candle and passed it beneath her fingers.

She never moved a muscle, while I waggled my hand and acted disturbed.  When he asked me why I was upset, I told the audience that my fingers were hot.  I don’t remember them actually feeling hot, but I remembered that his flyer said that someone would experience it, so I gave him what the crowd expected.

All the volunteers got a pass for a later show.  I was busy Tuesday and Wednesday, but went to the Thursday show.  A University Professor used to give lectures, and when he was done, would tell his classes that psychology inhibited people from being the first to respond, so he always offered to take the Second question.  Thursday night, when he asked for audience participation…. crickets, nobody moved.  I again stood up, and there were five more behind me when I reached the stage.

Some people claim that, “I’m too intelligent to be hypnotised,” but practitioners say that more intelligent people are better subjects, because they are able to focus, and accept the required control.  This night, he saved me for the final part of the act – the piéce de résistance.

He had two of those uncomfortable, tubular steel and formed plywood, chairs placed about four feet apart, and had two of the other subjects sit in them.  He told me, Stand up straight.  You are firm.  You are hard.  You are strong.  You are rigid.  You are like a tree.  You are powerful.  You are as stiff as a lamp-post.  Then he poked me in the chest, and I fell over backward.  Two of the other enchanted assistants caught me, lifted me horizontally, and placed me across the backs of the two chairs.

The one contacted me just below the collarbone and above the shoulder blades.  The other met the back of my calf muscles.  There I hung, suspended in midair, planking, long before it became trendy.  But the show isn’t over, ladies and gentlemen.  Watch this.  He placed another chair in front of me, climbed up onto it, slowly turned to face the audience…. and carefully sat down on my stomach.

Even I was amazed, a scrawny little stick of a kid like me, holding up a 160 pound man.  I was completely aware of what was happening.  I wondered if I had any control over my body.  I allowed my abdominal muscles to relax about a quarter or half an inch.  He felt it, and intoned, Steady!  Steady!  Rigid!  Rigid!

He climbed down to thunderous applause, and turned back to his onstage rogues’ gallery, to begin un-hypnotizing all six of us – and there were only five.  Who was missing?  Where?  When?  How??!  This had never happened to him.  Hypnosis will eventually wear off, but he worried about a suggestible victim being given a direct command in public.

The one missing was a lad, two years older than me.  The hypnotist enjoined us to go looking for him, and take care of him if need be.  I went to his house, and told his father what had happened.  He just laughed, and went back to watching The Honeymooners.  With a 90/95 IQ level, between stupid and stubborn, the boy apparently did not go into a hypnotic trance.

I met him the next day, and he explained.  Nothing exciting happened to him during the show, and he was bored, and felt like a fool, just standing there.  While I was doing my levitation act, he drifted into the wings, down the back stairs, and off to the bowling alley in search of French fries and tourist girls.

I guess that shows like this may still exist in Las Vegas or Atlantic City lounges, but hypnosis has come to be used much more professionally and effectively to aid in combating drug or tobacco use, stress, depression, psychiatric and relationship problems.  My two experiences were all in fun, but it can be quite serious.  Have any of you had hypnosis therapy?

Flash Fiction #262

PHOTO PROMPT© Ted Strutz

CANON LAW

…. But the Contessa’s brother is left-handed – I showed that in chapter III, when I had him defend Uncle Auggie from that footpad.

She can’t approach the Duke, because I had her in Milan when the robbery occurred.

I could have Rodrigo, the valet, carry the message, but I’ve already showed that Duke Milburn refuses to converse with other noble’s servants.

Could my cook tell his cook?

Writing this historical fiction isn’t as easy as it seemed.  I should have put up that story-board when Bob suggested it.

Where’s a really good Deus ex Machina, when I truly need one?

***

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

30 Day Opinion Challenge

 

Another Challenge

#5 – Five things that irritate you about the same/opposite sex

The first thing that I am irritated by, is the wording of this item. Really?? Blame an entire gender for not one, but five things?

Bell Curve

People are people. Their actions and attitudes fall along a bell-curve. No matter how large or small the group, there is no one thing that ALL of them agree on or do. Like race or religion, you can’t blame the entire group, just because there are some assholes within it – and there are assholes in every group. I prefer to judge people one at a time, on a case by case basis.

What irritates me about people, whether singly or as a group, is where they rub up against others, and do it badly. I am all for self-confidence, but not when it becomes egotism. There generally is no excuse for intolerance, or greed. These are just ways for insecure people to keep score, in a life that should not be lived like a game.

I wondered if I was too easy-going – too laissez-faire, because I couldn’t find five things to be irritated about, by a large group of anonymous strangers. Then I looked back at the things I’ve posted about, and forward at the file of posts I have ready to go. Nah, I’ve got plenty of things that irritate me.

A commenter asked me why I occasionally bother to read posts by Bible-thumping Christians. Why would you expose yourself to that? Because, while they may be irritating, they can also be entertaining and fall-off-the-chair funny.

I read one recently, who claimed that God caused all the evil of Earth to sink to the center, and the compression caused the core to heat up. God then used the molten core for Hell, and the increase in the size of Hell and the heat, caused plate tectonics, and Pangaea to break up. The continuing addition of Earthly evil and condemned souls causes Hell to continue to expand, and the rising heat is the cause of Global Warming. You can’t make this shit up…. although, he did. I don’t know whether to applaud the creativity, or just give him a slap upside the head.

I don’t think that I’ll bother to try to find five irritating things, while the list-writer is busy getting psychological therapy. As a proponent of Inclusion, I think I’ll try to find five ways that we can all just get along. Wanna help?? Drop your suggestions in the comments.  😀

’18 A To Z Challenge – A

Challenge '18 Letter A

Charlie Brown

Aaugh!  Is it April again??  I just awoke from my winter’s hibernation, and shambled out of the Den, to find other folks well into the alphabet already. As usual, I’m off to a slow start.  Using my Great Awakening as a cheat for the letter A, I’ll make this one a theme-reveal post – “Theme” in only the loosest of senses.

I thought that I might use ‘Trope’. It’s a figure of speech that includes ‘interpolation,’ which is just a fancy word that means the (sometimes)nonsensical non-sequiturs covered by the promised rambles inside some of my rants.

I decided instead, to go with Chaos And Confusion.  I provide the chaos, and you are confused.  This is completely different from last year’s theme, which was Confusion And Chaos, where you were confused, and I provided the Chaos.  Got that all straight??  Good, now explain it to me.

Understand

Alms! Alms for a hungry beggar!  Hungry for inspiration – not food.  (Have you seen my tummy recently??  Happily, NO.  My belt size threatens to become greater than my IQ.  [And there you have the first of my non-sequitur interpolations.])

If any of you have a word or theme, for any letter, that you think would be safe to let me loose with in public, feel free to submit it.  I would welcome all suggestions.  I can do serious research, or just my usual, disorganized babble.

Please stop back again soon for a post that doesn’t use any letters of the alphabet, but definitely in two weeks, when I use the letter B to batter the American Bible Belt, and Donald Trump’s banality.  😯

Comin’ ‘Round The Mountains

Condom

A 50 year old man walks into a store and asks the
pretty girl behind the counter where the condoms
are. “What size are you?” she asks.

The man replies “I don’t know”. So, she unzips
his pants and whips out his dick and says
“Ooooh, extra large condoms, Aisle 3”

A 30 year old walks in and asks the same thing.
She unzips his pants whips it out and says “Large
condoms – Aisle 3”

A 14 year old is standing outside and sees all
this “I wonder if I go in there and ask if she’ll
do the same for me?”

So, he goes in and asks…She unzips his pants,
whips it out and shouts “Clean-up to the Counter
please!”

***

We have enough youth,
how about a fountain of smart?

***

A physicist, an engineer, and a statistician go on a hunting trip. They are walking through the woods when they spot a deer in a clearing. The physicist calculates the distance of the target, the velocity and drop of the bullet, adjusts his rifle and fires, missing the deer 5 feet to the left.

The engineer rolls his eyes. ‘You forgot to account for wind. Give it here!’ He snatches the rifle, licks his finger and estimates the speed and direction of the wind and fires, missing the deer 5 feet to the right. Suddenly, the statistician claps his hands and yells “We got him!”

***

Doc: Your lab tests show that you’re doing fairly well for a 65-year-old.
Male Patient: “Fairly well”… Do you think I’ll live to be 80?

Do you smoke tobacco or drink beer or wine?
     No. I’m not doing drugs either.

Do you eat rib eye steaks or barbecued ribs?
     No. I think all red meat is very unhealthy.

Do you spend a lot of time in the sun, like golfing, sailing, hiking or bicycling?
No, I don’t.

Do you gamble, drive fast cars, or have a lot of sex?
No, I don’t do any of those things.

Then why the hell do you want to live to be 80?

***

Why Jim Wheeler doesn’t like this joke

A man worked as a Production Engineer, always trying to find ways to do things faster, easier, cheaper. One day a co-worker asked him if he was like this in his entire life. “Oh yes.” He replied. “Just last week I mentioned to the wife that her system of making my breakfast was inefficient, and made several suggestions as to how she might improve things.” “Did it help?” “Oh yes, she used to take a half an hour to make me fried eggs, bacon, toast and coffee. Now, I do it myself in less than 18 minutes.”

😯

 

A To Z Challenge – Y

april-challenge

M – I – C – K – E – Y….

Letter Y

are we all shouting Yay?? Because we’re almost finished with this Mickey Mouse challenge!

Mickey Mouse

It seems like just yesterday that I began this series, but it’s more like ‘days of yore.’  I’ve written about yummy food, and my long-past though perhaps not sufficiently-misspent, youth.  I can’t find any reference to all the wife’s knitting yarn, although I did include some in other posts.

I imagine that you are yearning for me to get back to publishing posts that are at least a little more serious.  I can’t think of what to do with ‘yardstick.’ You are free to imagine on your own, as long as you don’t make any inappropriate suggestions.

There’s only one more letter, and I’m done with this task. Then I’m giving it up for Lent.  😆

Flash Fiction #126

 

lost-head

PHOTO PROMPT © Liz Young

Gone – And Forgotten

Johan was the most disorganized, forgetful person I’d ever met.  Instead of putting things where they belonged, and knowing where they were, he just dropped them….wherever, and spent his days saying things like;
“I wonder where I set my beer down.”
“Has anybody seen my smokes?”
“I have to leave soon.
  Somebody help me find my keys.”

After locating his glasses for him – 8 times, today – I suggested that he arrange his life a little more carefully.  He agreed that it was a good idea.  “Honestly, sometimes I think I’d forget my own head if it wasn’t screwed on tight.”

***

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.