Today: Jun 25, 2024

Southern students fall under hypnotist’s spell

Olivia Richman, General Assignment Reporter-

Members of the audience ran up to the front of the stage and lined up in a row. After a few minutes, each volunteer began to sway back and forth in a sleep-like trance. And that was only the beginning. 

Hypnotist, Steve Wronker, had over twenty teenagers under his spell. From that moment on, Wronker made the students and visitors do things he said they may not have done if not under his hypnotic control: They imitated every-day household items, from a washing machine to a vibrator; he made them imagine they were playing guitar, licking a huge ice cream cone and even danced with a shoe up to their ears, under the impression that that was where the music was coming from. Some volunteers even thought they won $10,000 and began screaming at the top of their lungs. 

“My favorite (routine) is having them forget their name,” said Wronker. “Just look at the audience’s reaction. The audience is blown away by it. I also like the shoe radio routine.”

Wronker said he has been a hypnotist for the past 24-and-a-half years. He started off performing magic tricks until there was another recession. Then Wronker began learning how to hypnotize people from a fellow hypnotist. He began doing it for not only the money, but because he loves what he does, Wronker said.

“I’ve known Steve for a while now,” said Evan Bieber, a member of Programs Council, the group that got Wronker to perform at SCSU. “He came here two years ago – my freshmen year. I called him up and asked if he wanted to come perform (at SCSU) and he did.”

“I love coming to Southern,” said Wronker. “I don’t do many colleges because I do a clean, show. There are a lot of R-rated and X-rated shows out there. I do a PG-rated show so more people are willing to participate.” 

And participate they did.

“It was definitely successful,” said Bieber. “Compared to most hypnotist shows, this show had a lot of volunteers. It was cool because everyone had a friend that they knew up there.” 

“I absolutely believe they are hypnotized,” said Wronker of the participants in his shows. “Basically, to know they’re hypnotized you need to know how hypnosis works. They lost their inhibitions. They were able to do silly things without the feeling of embarrassment.”

Wronker said in order to tell if people are actually hypnotized or not, he simply sees if they follow his suggestions. Another way to tell, according to Wronker, is to see if the people that are supposedly hypnotized have an expression on their face. If their face is blank during the first few routines, they’ve been hypnotized. 

Blake Williams, a marketing major at SCSU, said he wanted to get hypnotized because he heard of a friend’s experience: his friend was hypnotized at a previous show and danced to music by the recording artist, Shakira. According to Williams, he wanted to do something silly. 

“(I remember) standing, sorta,” he said. “It’s vague, you know? Almost, like, blurry.”

Math major Dan Radil said he experienced something similar after the show. 

“(I volunteered) because I was skeptic,” said Radil. “I’m still somewhat skeptic but I have these weird images of a movie screen. I’m assuming something he did related to that. I also remember an ice cream cone.”

“It was a lot of fun,” said Bieber. “Steve always makes it funny and fun without crossing any lines and making it awkward.” 

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