Accusations were hurled, chairs were tossed aside and clothing was removed in Friends Hall last Friday night, as YouTube personality, “Wizard Wars” competitor and Canadian Magician of the Year Spidey hypnotized roughly a dozen students in a demonstration of hypnotism that entranced attendees.
An informal, expletive-filled joyride loaded with jokes, Spidey’s act was well received by his audience, who laughed continuously throughout his nearly two-hour-long set.
The show’s participants – students who showed a propensity for hypnosis after a brief test conducted by Spidey from the stage – also enjoyed the event.
“It was hilarious,” said freshman Juliet DiBonaventura, a fan of Spidey’s most popular online video, in which he hypnotizes a police officer in order to get out of a speeding ticket. DiBonaventura sat on stage for the first half of the show, and attempted to convey the incongruity of her experience:
“It was weird, because you had all these eyes on you, but you also felt really relaxed,” she said.
Michael Lingle was also on stage. Hypnotism has become a bit of a hobby for the Ramapo senior: he has been hypnotized three times previously. Like DiBonaventura, he described the state of hypnotist as one of free of inhibition:
“I remember climbing across the chairs during the spy show,” Lingle said, referencing the portion of Spidey’s show in which the hypnotized contestants ran throughout the Hall as the theme of “Mission: Impossible” played over a speaker system.
“I remember all the wacky, provocative things that happened. I remember everything that happened, but I can’t tell you exactly why I did them,” he said. Skeptics often ask him if what’s happening is real, Lingle continued:
“Everybody asks me questions about it, like, ‘Do you actually believe in it?’ And I do. I wouldn’t do half of those things if you just came up to me and said, ‘Do this for me.’”
Despite his appearance, Spidey – a tall man who ascended the stage clad in a leather vest covered in zippers and studs – was not the mysterious warlock he says some view him as, but rather the opposite: a friendly entertainer willing and able to explain hypnotism to the curious.
“I tried it for a little while, and for a while nothing would happen, until one fateful day, I actually hypnotized a very good friend of mine, and all of a sudden she’s there, playing this imaginary piano at my house,” said Spidey, describing his first steps into the world of hypnosis.
“I looked at my other friend like, ‘Holy shit, what’s happening right now?’ It’s one thing to see people on stage…but it’s another thing when it’s a good friend of yours who you know would never lie to you. I was addicted. I’ll never forget that.”
Judging by the overwhelmingly positive response to the event, many at Ramapo find hypnotism addicting as well.