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Volume 68, Issue 53, Thursday, November 7, 2002


Hypnotist, UH alum casts spell on students

By Charity Halphen
The Daily Cougar

Several students had the luck of being contestants on a $50,000 MTV disco dance contest, displaying their kick-boxing skills on the film set of the next Rocky movie and pirouetting for the New York Metropolitan Ballet, all within a couple of hours in their dreams.

Without any inhibitions, hypnotized volunteers performed under the direction of Andrew Becker for a surprised audience filling the seats of the University Center Houston Room on Wednesday evening as part of Homecoming Week.

"It felt like I was in a comfortable dream. I can only remember bits and pieces of what felt like five minutes," said sophomore psychology major Mike Sanguineti in squeamish awe after realizing he had come out of a two-hour-long hypnosis.

Jim McCormick/The Daily Cougar

Students fall under hypnosis under the care of UH alumnus Andrew Becker. The Wednesday night show, part of this week's Homecoming events, delighted the audiences with the inhibition-free antics of the participants.

Sanguinedi, along with 17 other students, were led through a series of hilarious activities as they slept.

Becker, a UH alumnus, began the session by directing the volunteers and audience to focus on a flashing light bulb as he drew them into a deep sleep with the aide of tribal music and his voice.

Not all of the 18 were hypnotized; some only experienced partial hypnosis, and those who didn't feel a thing were soon found out by Becker and sent back into the audience.

As his voice came closer and as the eye lids of the volunteers grew heavier, Becker was able to take several of the volunteers to the sunny beaches of Maui in their minds. Volunteers reclined under shady umbrellas, applied sunscreen and took off their shoes to wiggle their toes in the warm sand of the Houston Room's stage, all for the audience's amusement.

"The people are the show," Becker said while quickly putting the volunteers back to sleep. "Anything can happen, and it's always fun seeing what participants will do with the situations that are introduced.

"One hour of hypnosis is as relaxing as sleeping for eight hours, even though a participant only thinks he has been on stage for five to ten minutes," said Becker, who received training from the National Guild of Hypnotists six years ago after completing a psychology degree at UH.

Having performed in front of more than 50,000 people, Becker is no stranger to putting on a good show for large audiences. His act brought a zesty flavor to this week's lineup of Homecoming events.

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