Grant Saunders is a comedy stage hypnotist from the Colne Valley.
He is a one of only a few full-time comedy stage hypnotists and his act brings a fresh, new look to a world that has been shrouded in mystery for years, and does this in a hilarious, modern and down to earth way.
Here’s how Grant, who is based in Linthwaite, answered our 20 questions.
1) How did you become a hypnotist?
I first got my interest in hypnosis through my mother and have had a keen interest since the age of 15. I have studied through various hypnosis/hypnotherapy courses.
2) What do you think of sceptics who think it’s all fake?
Love them! Sceptics can make the best volunteers on stage and their reactions afterwards when something dramatic has happened is quite profound.
3) Have you ever been hypnotised yourself?
Yes all the time, its such a nice feeling and has great benefits so anytime I need just to relax or mentally rehearse for the show I always use hypnosis.
4) What happens when you’re hypnotised?
A common misconception is that you are unconscious or asleep when you are hypnotised, but the reality is that you can still hear everything that’s going on around you, you just don’t care. Everyone experiences hypnosis differently, but it feels like a pleasant daydream.
When you accept the suggestion react automatically without question or hesitation, so for example when you are told that you cannot remember your name on the count of three when asked by the hypnotist “what is your name….” Your name slips from your mind, and the look on peoples faces as they try and remember what their name is, is amazing because they didn’t think they were hypnotised but they can’t even remember the name they have had since the day they were born.
5) Has anything unexpected ever happened on stage?
Always expect the unexpected! I have been a professional stage hypnotist for 15 years now, and the safety of the volunteers is the number one priority even though many things look spontaneous I am always aware and in control over the volunteers on stage.
6) Have you ever ended up being physically assaulted?
One of the suggestions I give people is that they own a magical little fairy and its dancing in the palms of their hands, I then steal the fairy and eat it, which as you can imagine the volunteers get a little angry at me, one time I forget to “stick them to their chairs” and had a large lady from Scotland jump up and land a good right hook on my shoulder.
7) Can you tell when someone’s faking?
Yes. And generally will send them back to the audience. I want to give people the chance to experience something fantastic and if someone if faking it then they are taking that opportunity away from someone who genuinely wants to give it a go.
8) What’s the difference between stage hypnosis and hypnotherapy?
They are very similar however one uses hypnosis for entertainment purposes, and the other is just for therapy or personal development.
9) Can you make someone do something they don’t want to?
No, you cannot make someone do something that goes against your morals, values or make you do something against your will, even in the deepest state of hypnosis your mind will always protect your sense of self first. So I couldn’t hypnotise people into robbing banks for me!
10) Can you make someone quit smoking?
Hypnosis is one of the best ways to quit smoking. In fact, hypnosis is the best way to make any permanent behavioural change.
11) Are there any perks of the job?
I have travelled around the world and performed on some amazing stages from Balmoral Castle to luxury five-star cruises.
12) Did you always want to do this?
Hypnosis has and, I believe, always will be a great passion of mine, and I consider myself very lucky to earn money having fun.
13) What does your family think to your job? Do they ask you to hypnotise them?
They are very supportive, and it’s always a pleasure when they come and see me perform although I am always more nervous when family and friends come to a show. I have never hypnotised a family member. I think it's best to keep work and family stuff separate.
14) Are there some people who can’t be hypnotised?
Everybody can be hypnotised. However, there are some who struggle to concentrate enough. People think you have to be weak-minded to be hypnotised. The opposite, however, is true, the stronger your mind, the better your powers of imagination and concentration and the quicker you can be hypnotised.
On stage there are a few groups of people that for health and safety reasons we ask not to volunteer, such as pregnant women or people who are not of reasonable sound mind and body.
15) Does it pay well?
A good hypnotist in the UK can earn from £500-£1500 a show
16) Under what circumstances would you send someone off the stage?
If someone was drunk, disruptive or if I felt they were not happy continuing the show I would ensure that suggestions removed and they can watch the show from the audience.
17) Can you ever get “stuck” in a hypnotic trance?
No, this is another myth with hypnosis, even if someone was deep in hypnosis and the hypnotist dropped down dead after a while the volunteer would realise nothing was happening and just get bored and emerge from trance.
18) Has anything ever gone wrong on stage?
I once had someone sneak up behind me and pulled my trousers down, I was stood there in front of 200 people with my trousers round my ankles, I was not best pleased and from that moment on I always remember to wear a belt!
19) Can anyone learn how to hypnotise people?
Yes, it’s not a gift and I can’t speak to the dead! Anybody can learn to hypnotise, just like anyone can learn to play the guitar.
20) Who’s the best candidate for hypnosis?
Someone who wants to be hypnotised, open minded and with at least an average intelligence and on stage a good sense of humour.
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