In movies and in television, we often see people being hypnotized and doing all kinds of bizarre things. In reality, you can’t hypnotize a person and direct them to do anything against their will. So if in our books we want our killer to murder someone because an evil hypnotist put him under and made him do it, that’s not going to happen.
In my latest book Dangerous Vengeance, the heroine was hypnotized, and I did a lot of research so I would portray her hypnosis sessions accurately. At a mystery writer’s conference I recently attended, one of the presenters was a certified hypnotist, so of course I had to hear his talk. According to Glenn Miller, Clinical Hypnotherapist, a person won’t do anything under hypnosis that they wouldn’t do in real life. He planned to do a demonstration and asked for volunteers to come up on the stage and be hypnotized.
I couldn’t resist! For one thing, I didn’t know anyone at the conference, so it’s not like my friends would be teasing me forever and posting embarrassing pictures on Facebook if I did something weird. For another, I wanted to see what it felt like. I’ve never been hypnotized and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to step into my heroine’s shoes.
Mr. Miller began by spending a lot of time putting us into a deep, relaxation state, but I couldn’t let go fully. We were supposed to keep our eyes closed and I tried, though I peeked once or twice. I heard him tell the woman next to me it wasn’t going to work for her and she should get down from the stage. Then, the woman on my other side got up and left. Uh-oh. What was I in for? Even though Mr. Miller assured us we wouldn’t do anything freaky, I felt incredibly vulnerable sitting up on that stage in front of everyone.
When he suggested the room was very cold, I played along and hugged my arms in. When he told us it was boiling hot, I shifted around a little. Maybe I felt the tiniest adjustment in temperature, or maybe I just wanted to. When he told us the person next to us was a teddy bear we wanted to cuddle, I kind of went along with that too, but the woman next to me was totally into it and clung to me like a bat. At least one person got all the way under.
I hung in for the whole demonstration because who knows, maybe a future character in a book will be a reluctant hypnosis recipient, or one where the session goes horribly wrong. Bwa-ha-ha! In Dangerous Vengeance, the heroine is helped along to the relaxation state by a special herbal tea. Maybe that’s what I need to get me there, but I know if I try hypnosis again, it will be a private experience with just me and the therapist.
I hope you check out Dangerous Vengeance, which is on Kindle Unlimited until June 24th, and if you’ve ever had an experience with hypnosis, I’d love to hear it. Thank you for reading!
Dangerous Liars by Naomi Bellina