At RAH, hypnotist David Hall casts students under his spell


David Hall, a hypnotist from Boston, drew students under his spell on Friday night in the Student Center Pit with his show “Cards Against Hypnosis.”

Hall was invited to Rowan After Hours (RAH) after some of the RAH staff saw him at the National Association for Campus Activities conference in October, according to graduate coordinator for RAH Tom Marsella.

“We wanted to use [Hall] because he’s a little different than what we’re used to,” Marsella said. “He had the interactive part with the audience and the Cards Against Humanity meets hypnosis show, so we were excited to bring him to Rowan.”

Hall became interested in hypnosis in college after attending a show. From there, he studied the craft and now travels around the country performing.

To begin the show, Hall chose volunteers from the audience to be hypnotized. He lured the chosen students into a slumber and turned to the audience to ask what he should do next.

Hall decided what to ask the hypnotized students to do in a rather unusual way. He had large Cards Against Humanity-looking cards next to the stage. The first card had a sentence with a blank, and the next card had two options to fill the blank. Audience members chose one of the options either by a vote of the whole crowd or whoever obtained a cloth disc Hall threw into the audience.

This method made for some interesting situations onstage. The hypnotized students were put in various fictional situations, including thinking their shoes were phones, dancing like crazy upon hearing the words “Harlem Shake,” seeing their favorite celebrity in the audience, thinking they were at a Beyoncé concert and one guy thinking he was Beyoncé.

“[Being hypnotized] feels like a slight meditation. It’s like the moment when you’re about to wake up in the morning and you can hear everything but you want to stay asleep. It’s very relaxed,” Hall said.

Just before the show was finished, the hypnotized students were instructed to walk off the stage one-by-one, and Hall said they would remember everything they did while under hypnosis when their feet left the stage and hit the floor.

Kate Byrnes, a freshman music education major and one of the hypnotized students, was horrified as she realized everything she did onstage during the show, which included a lot of dancing.

“It was embarrassing,” Byrnes said. “I’m not one that likes to dance, even with people I’m close with. I don’t even know what kind of dance moves I was doing, and I don’t want to think about that.”

Henry Hill, a sophomore math education major and one of the participants, was also hypnotized last year during the first weekend of his freshman year with last year’s hypnotist.

“It was a really fun night, so I figured it would be fun to do it again,” Hill said. “It didn’t feel like I was hypnotized. It felt like I was in control most of the time, but there were also moments where I wasn’t sure why I was doing those things. I made a fool of myself up there, but I had fun doing it.”

Hall, in a unique career of his own, offered advice to students who want to pursue something that may seem unusual to other people.

“My advice is if you’re interested in something or you’re passionate about something, especially at this time in your life, it’s the perfect time to go for whatever you want to go for. Most people, when they graduate college, can move anywhere in the country and do whatever they want to do. They haven’t started their full career yet, so this is the most ideal time to try and go for whatever you’re passionate about. If you have to re-evaluate and try different things, try different things, because you never know until you try,” he said.

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