Alumnus Jim Wand returns for his 20th year to dazzle with mind tricks during Homecoming

DUBUQUE — Jim Wand was back with his hypnotic antics this past Thursday as part of the Homecoming celebration, and once again did not disappoint.

An alum of Loras himself, he made sure to praise the school and boasted that it was his 20th year performing here. He has been involved in the field of hypnosis, however, for over 30 years. Wand also holds a PhD in psychology. Having catered to stars such as Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno, George Strait, Rascal Flatts, and Sylvester Stallone, as well performing in Las Vegas and schools all across the nation, Wand has quite a bit of experience under his belt. He is also currently embarking on a tour of more than 60 colleges and universities in 72 days.

A natural entertainer, Wand did not disappoint even though a lot of the audience had seen him once, twice, or even more times before. He began the show by explaining a little bit about how hypnosis works, to calm those in the audience that were possibly apprehensive about the possibility of being hypnotized. He defined hypnosis as an altered state of consciousness, where access is gained to the subconscious mind. Daydreaming and zoning out while driving were two comparisons that Wand made to the mental state one enters while under hypnosis.

He also reassured the audience that there are many misconceptions about hypnosis. One is that a person will do absolutely anything they are told while under hypnosis. In fact, a person will stick to their morals and values while under hypnosis, and will snap themselves out of hypnosis whenever they so desire; they are not locked into the process.

Also, it is a commonly believed myth that people who can be hypnotized are weak-minded. However, the opposite has been proven to be true. In reality, the more intelligent and creative the person is, the more easily they are able to be put under hypnosis. However, anyone is able to be hypnotized, as long as they are in the right state of mind, the appropriate techniques are used, and the person is willing, but not attempting to be hypnotized too hard.

Besides entertainment, Wand described many practical uses for hypnosis. Some of these include: weight loss, smoking control, treating drug addiction, alcoholism, stress, depression, etc. It can also improve study habits, memory, self-confidence, concentration, etc.

After this explanation, Wand selected volunteers from the audience to come up on stage to be hypnotized right away. He also clarified that anyone in the audience who was willing, could also try to be hypnotized, and a great many did achieve this. Within minutes, a large group of students were under hypnosis and performing hilarious dances, professing celebrity crushes, being made to believe that Wand was a floating head, and more.

“It was so surreal. I remember everything I did, but felt disconnected. At times I had a small urge to open my eyes and question what I was doing, but I just couldn’t, and it was so much easier and automatic just to go along with his suggestions. I also remember not caring at all what I was doing and I was so relaxed and comfortable. Once he blew the whistle at the end though, I snapped out of it and was really self-conscious, and just wanted to get off the stage as soon as possible,” said sophomore Aleah Erenberger, one of the volunteers.

At the end of the show, the whole room had a smile on their face and was laughing, as the hypnotized came out from under the spell and rejoined their friends in the audience. Wand thanked the attendees for a great night, and reminded everyone that he has videos for sale on his website, http://hypnotism.com/, as well as instructions for how to hypnotize oneself.

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