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  • Writer's pictureEverest Schipper

Hypnosis: A Cate School Experience (Nathan Newlove '25)

Updated: Feb 27

After three weeks of intense schoolwork and gloomy wet days, Cate School's communal spirit was lifted when, on January 29, Brian Imbus came to Cate to hypnotize everyone willing. Two years ago, when he came, the Cate students did not believe that the people on stage were truly under the influence of his words and thought of it as an act to garner laughs; this year changed everything.

An excited energy rippled through the theater as the audience found their seats before the convocation began. Anticipation for the hypnotism to begin was feverish, and even those who acted like they didn't care still sat in eager anticipation. The lights dimmed, and Mr. Knecht introduced Mr. Imbus, an accomplished hypnotist and great speaker. Mr. Imbus took the stage and gave a quick overview of what he would be doing for those in attendance. He told the audience what hypnotism is and its benefits. The audience rippled with interest, and quiet chatter filled the aisles. Like a magician, Mr. Imbus pulled out a glow-up toy from behind his back and lit it up. He told the audience this is how he would bring their minds into the state of hypnosis. As anticipation climaxed, he asked the seniors who wanted to go on stage. The theater exploded with hands, and people pointed at the most worthy volunteers. As students filled the chairs on stage, he informed the audience that they could still be hypnotized even though they weren't on stage. This gave the audience hope that they could still enter hypnosis. Then, the show began.

The house lights dimmed, and deep chords filled the students' ears. He asked the audience to get comfortable in their seats, and he turned on the light-up ball. Like it's performed in movies, he told everyone to relax their minds and succumb to the energy. Some people couldn't get comfortable, so they watched the people around them rather than try to be hypnotized. As they looked around, they saw the few hypnotized people in the audience. Junior Nico Huiner whispered, "Bro, there is no way this is real…" People locked eyes with their friends and silently laughed. On the stage, Mr. Imbus tapped each person's shoulder and told them to sleep. As he did, their bodies went limp, and they fell forward into their laps. The house lights came up, and the audience members who were not hypnotic were engaged with those on the stage. Then the fun started.

Thinking back to when Mr. Imbus controlled those on stage, junior Zadin Stephens recalls, "No one knew what was about to happen, and it exceeded all of our expectations." Mr. Imbus proceeded to give those under hypnosis silly commands and odd scenarios. Senior Everest Schipper said the most memorable was "when he told them to all go to their dream vacation destination," as they stretched out, relaxed and happy as if on the beach, he said that the temperature was rising and getting too hot. The relaxation turned to annoyance, and they started to fan at themselves madly. As chaos ensued, he informed them that it was now getting way too cold! People bundled up in their jackets and huddled together for warmth. The audience was shocked by how silly and animated their beloved seniors were. Junior Chris Soto happily shared, "As soon as the people got hypnotized, their personalities switched, and they became so much more relaxed and happy!" After 40 minutes of scenarios and code words, which made them do funny things, Mr. Imbus woke those still in a trance, and they walked off stage confused and wondering what had just happened. The audience erupted with applause, leaving the theater with tears of laughter in their eyes. 

Junior Baye Breene, part of the audience who happened to get hypnotized in the process, declared, "I don't remember much, but I had a great time and want to do it again!"


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