This Saturday, I'll be visiting a friend in Columbia Missouri, and taking in a stage hypnosis show.
We'll be going to DejaVu and seeing Tony Lucero, MoJo Master. While the 8:00 pm show is apparently straight comedy, the 10:15 show is the "Erotic Hypnotic XXX show."
The late show is of a lot more interest to me, because it fuels one of the big questions about stage hypnosis: Are they faking?
Ignoring the people who say "Of course they are, it's one big practical joke by everyone who's ever gone up on stage," people tend to fall into two main camps: those who think people are going along with what's expected of them, and people who think the volunteers really are helpless to the whims of the hypnotist.
My answer to the question tends to be that in the context of stage hypnosis, it doesn't matter. The people on stage aren't looking for theraputic help, and anyone who goes to the show is merely looking for enjoyment. The people in the crowd should get that regardless, and the people on stage knew what they were getting into when they volunteered. When people follow the suggestions of the hypnotist, it has the same result regardless of the reason why they did it.
Erotic stage shows give weight to both sides of the arguement, though. The 'power' side says that of course the hypnotist is in control, because there's no way someone would give a random person a lap dance or hump a blow up doll in front of hundreds of people. The 'expectations' side says that there are a lot of things people will do when given an excuse that they wouldn't otherwise consider, and the context of being on stage provides that excuse and is a powerful influence all it's own.
Of course, with hypnosis being one of the closest things you can get to a placebo, it's difficult to give a firm answer to this. My experience is that no matter how real and legit you try to be with your hypnosis, pre-concieved notions and expectations will always have an effect.
What I really want to know: disregarding the showmanship aspect, is stage hypnosis easier than private sessions? That's one of the things I'll be watching for.