Stage lights beamed down. Crowds went wild as “Jumpman” boomed through the speakers in Marbeck, performed live by world-famous rap artist Drake.
At least, that’s the way a few Bluffton students remember Sept. 5.
An unforgettable night for some couldn’t be harder to remember for a few select Bluffton students who participated in a campus event led by hypnotist Chris Jones.
Jones, comedian and hypnotist, travels around the world performing acts of hypnosis on any willing participants. Jones has performed hypnosis professionally for seven years, spanning across television shows such as “America’s Got Talent” and “Steve Harvey.”
While some believe Jones’ appearance on “America’s Got Talent” would be monumental for him, he claims it was just a stepping stone in his professional career.
“I made $150 on America’s Got Talent,” Jones said. “I had been performing for five years before that, and they saw my YouTube videos. I started professionally in 2010 and in 2015, they got a hold of me and said, ‘We want you on the show.’ So, I already had made some money before that.”
Tasting a bit of life on national television didn’t change Jones’ preferences.
“I’ve done bigger shows, but at the end of the day, I really like colleges because I connect with college people in a certain way,” Jones said. “I’m 31, but I’m still very much 19-years-old.”
Jones connected with the students of Bluffton University in a surprising way.
Jones was set to perform in Marbeck Center at 9:30 p.m. and seats began to fill in the unusually dim area of campus. Jones never knows what to expect when preparing for each school.
“Every show’s different,” Jones said. “I’ll be in the New York area and there’s just more skeptical people, I feel. Midwest people will buy anything, while New York people are like ‘No, I don’t believe in this and you’re trying to steal my wallet.’”
Bluffton University sophomore, Cassie Reinhart, had seen a hypnotist when she was younger, but remained somewhat skeptical and nervous when heading into Jones’ show.
“I was just scared that I was going to like fall into it and embarrass myself,” Reinhart said. “It made me a lot more comfortable how he said he wasn’t really going to embarrass anyone, it was just to entertain.”
Despite certain skepticism in the crowd, Jones began his show at 9:30 p.m. with a few warm-up jokes to loosen the students up. Once he felt it was time, the real show began.
“A repetitive sound will zone you out, and so I create repetitive sound and I put people to sleep,” Jones said. “They let go and get heavy and tired.”
As Jones began his hypnotism, the heads of many volunteers on stage, and even a few in the crowd, dropped at the word ‘sleep.’
Jones knows that not everyone will go in able to be hypnotized.
“Maybe I can hypnotize you, maybe I can’t,” he said. “But, I can’t systematically hypnotize everyone in the United States or all the people in the world.”
Throughout the show, Jones got the few entranced students to do a variety of comedical acts, such as an invisible hula hoop competition and even a trip back to a high school prom. The participants appeared to be fully immersed into each activity, keeping straight faces through all of Jones’ jokes.
The comedy aspect of Jones’ performances make him a stand-out in the hypnosis world.
“I’m a comedian to people,” Jones said. “I just don’t go around telling people I’m a hypnotist because it’s a little controversial, and it scares some people.”
At the end of his show, Jones needed to ‘wake up’ the participants. Before doing so, Jones said that they would awaken under the impression that they were at a Drake concert. The students awoke and burst into excitement at the sight of the famous rapper that was seemingly in front of them. Many of the students are still convinced that no hypnotist ever came to Bluffton, rather Drake was there.
Jones erased much of the skepticism from Bluffton students. Sophomore Courtney Perry had her opinion on hypnosis completely changed.
“I went in really interested, but still kind of skeptical,” Perry said. “I felt a majority of the participants were seriously hypnotized. I think one or two people maybe fell in and out, but I think the majority was definitely gone.”
Jones said he enjoys seeing people becoming believers in hypnosis, but it’s really all about the entertainment.
“I don’t get paid more money if they’re fooled, I don’t get paid less money if, whatever,” Jones said. “I’m here to entertain them. To provide a safe form of entertainment, an alcohol alternative, that’s really my job.”
While Jones uses hypnosis for entertainment on many campuses around the world, he claims there is a huge demand for hypnosis-related treatment.
Jones says that he has allowed people to get over fears, addictions, and mental blocks through the use of hypnosis as a tool.
“I have a website; it’s www.quitwithchris.com.” Jones said. “As long as the internet is free, I’ll help people lose weight and quit smoking by listening to an audio.”
“They don’t need to meet me. They just need to listen to it twice a week and they resist the urge to smoke cigarettes, or they eat half the portions, so they therefore lose weight.”
“Hypnosis is maybe unlocking, unleashing or opening a small part of your brain to create something special.”