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Hilltop hypnosis: Welcome Week hypnotist tradition continues

Hypnotist Josh McVicar instructs student volunteers to huddle together for warmth. Photo by Angeline Schmelzer

You’re getting sleepy, then you’re hot, then cold, then warm again. All of a sudden, you see naked people and then you’re naked. No, you weren’t taking an evening summer walk in the Midwest; you were being hypnotized by Josh McVicar.

ACBU hosted McVicar, a professional hypnotist and magician, Saturday, Aug. 28. In addition to the evening show, he also performed magic tricks earlier in the day at the activities fair. 

During the show, 20 student volunteers were placed in a state of hypnosis and told to do things they probably wouldn’t have done if it weren’t for McVicar’s instruction. 

Whether they were telling absurd lies about their friends on “Jerry Springer” or singing children’s songs at the top of their lungs to win “biggest diva,” people living on N. Cooper Avenue could probably hear the laughter from Alumni Quad.

Lauren Hope, a freshman nursing major, said she enjoyed the event. She became part of the action when a hypnotized student ran up to her thinking Hope was an animal. She was hugged tightly, checked for ticks and was even given a pet name.

“It was probably the strangest experience that I have had,” Hope said. “It felt really weird to be groped and called ‘Suzie’ by someone that I have never seen before.”

McVicar is also a magician, and said that his favorite part about touring college campuses is adding new things to his shows to keep it fresh.

“The college audiences are my favorite because I get to try things and put stuff in the show that would be very innovative, but maybe certain corporate industries aren’t ready for,” McVicar said. “It allows me to really branch out with what I get to do.”

Ashley Kasper, junior nursing major and event coordinator for ACBU, said a hypnotist is usually brought to campus around Welcome Week to encourage students to engage in a fun event at the beginning of a new school year.

Kasper was not an initial student volunteer, but she did get hypnotized while in the audience and was later invited on the stage to participate with the others.

“I have actually been hypnotized twice before this … and I think this is the deepest I’ve ever fell into hypnosis, so it was a really fun experience,” Kasper said. “I’m sure I’ll learn about everything I did on [the stage] because I currently don’t remember.”

McVicar liked that the event was outside because students were able to fully engage with the show. He added that the audience was excited and happy to see entertainment.

“I thought Bradley was awesome,” McVicar said. “I had a blast doing magic and hypnosis. It was just such a fun school with such awesome students.”

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