October 14, 2009

The Nation’s Third Oldest College Newspaper

Volume 80, Issue 4

Joshua Seth puts NU under his spell

Joshua Seth, the "# 1 American Hypnotist" according to TV Japan, visited Niagara University Sept. 29, attracting a crowd of several hundred to the lower level Gallagher Center, better known as Under the Taps.

Seth tours the world via cruise ship and college campus, bringing his unique brand of hypnosis to the masses.

Seth, who has been around hypnosis most of his life (his father was a hypnotherapist), explains the mentalist portion of his show, saying that "It's based on reading body language and using influence and persuasion techniques to get people to do things without realizing it. It basically is hypnosis, but without putting people under."

Seth began his show by dazzling the crowd with his own form of mental trickery. He was able to guess the playing cards that people in the crowd were thinking of, as well as names of individuals that selected participants were thinking (One girl thought of her grandfather, which Seth was able to guess with little trouble).

His most impressive feat during the mentalist portion of the show was when he randomly selected four members of the crowd and had them give details about a "dream cruise vacation" that they could take. Seth wrote all of these details down and picked a final member of the audience to read what he wrote. He then proceeded to take out another piece of paper from a zipped "diary" that he kept in his jacket.
What did the paper have written on it? "Where: Orlando, Who: Dan, When: 5/21/10, Cost: 2,015," the exact details given to him by the crowd.

While it did seem that some of the participants in the hypnosis portion of his act, all of whom were NU college students, were simply "playing along" with the whole idea (i.e. not actually hypnotized and just up there to get a quick attention fix), some seemed to be under the hypnotists dreamy spell, or as Seth puts it, "under a trace or ˜theta state', which basically means that you're in a heightened state of sensitivity to suggestion."

One participant was so far gone in dreamland, that when Seth walked up behind him and whispered "sleep now" into his ear (his secret phrase for getting his hypnotized victims to fall back asleep), the poor guy fell to the ground in a lifeless heap. Seth guided him down safely, of course, but the act was so sudden and convincing that one could not help but believe what they were witnessing.

The hypnosis portion of his act was the most entertaining, causing many to think they were at a comedy show instead of a mentalist act. With all the students on stage safely under his spell, Seth had them believe they were sunning themselves on a hot beach- one participant went so far as to take his shirt off.

He next told the hypnotized group that they were all in a world-class orchestra, which caused them to all stand and mimic playing various instruments to the soundtrack a Mozart. He convinced all the guys on stage that they were pregnant and in labor, and finished with getting everyone on stage to believe they were in the Japanese-rap World Championship.

I asked one of the hypnotized members, NU junior Vince Shivinsky, if he could recall anything from the act. "Not at all," he replied. "I guess I was doing some goofy stuff, but I could not tell you what it was."
Sensitivity to suggestion or simply a trick, Seth's act was both entertaining and amazing, everything a good show should be.

Read more about Seth at JoshuaSeth.com

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