Paul Ramsay captures minds

Hypnotist Paul Ramsay (credit: Abhinav Gautam/) Hypnotist Paul Ramsay (credit: Abhinav Gautam/)

Throughout the years, scores of power-seekers have sought to gain access to the power of hypnosis and mind control to create an enslaved population ready to carry out their bidding at any moment. Luckily, the only people who have such power are benign entertainers such as hypnotist Paul Ramsay, who recently performed a show on Saturday during Spring Carnival.

First, Ramsay did some preliminary testing to see who could potentially come on stage to become hypnotized.

In the first test, Ramsay had the audience close their eyes and hold their hands out. He told them to imagine one hand was full of bricks and the other hand was being held up by balloons. When he finally told the audience to open their eyes, some people had one hand raised and the other lowered; those people, according to Ramsay, were more susceptible to being hypnotized.

Afterward, Ramsay went into another test in which he told the audience to forget their names. He then asked those who forgot their name to come up on stage and did a demonstration showing that he could wipe their names from their minds and bring it back again with the snap of his fingers. He then eliminated certain people who did not properly answer his questions until there were only five people left on stage.

In Ramsay’s show, the audience used remote controls to participate in an interactive poll to decide what actions Ramsay should get the participants to perform next. Unfortunately, much of the value added to the show from this mechanic depended on how far you were away from the screen; the screen was small and on the left edge of the stage, making it difficult to see the text.

First, Ramsay hypnotized the participants into believing they were the founding members of the Carnegie Mellon Ballet Club and had them dance ballet moves on stage. Then he had them hypnotized to do individual behaviors at the mention of a cue word. One guy had extremely itchy nipples. Another participant shouted “WHO’S YOUR DADDY!” whenever Pittsburgh was mentioned. Another person behaved like a pirate captain. One person jumped up from their seat, and another person felt wind blowing in her ear.

At times, the hypnotist seemed to be surprised by the intensity of his powers. For instance, in a segment involving a Guitar Hero championship, at the end Ramsay asked the participants to do a special move. One Asian male performed an intense twerking maneuver (dubbing it “The Korean Sexy”), which seemed to disconcert Ramsay somewhat.

Disappointingly, music always seemed to be cut short in the show. During one segment, when a participant was hypnotized into believing she was Miley Cyrus performing her hit song “Wrecking Ball,” the song was cut off once the twerking started. Also, at the very end, when the participants were encouraged to start a group singalong of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’,” the song was once again cut short just as everyone had got up and started singing. To call it “killing the moment” would be an understatement.

At the end of the night, Ramsay’s show might not have gotten audience members to believe in the power of hypnosis, but it nonetheless offered an entertaining show full of ridiculous people doing ridiculous things.