SPA Event Leaves Students Hypnotized
In an event hosted by SPA LateNight, hypnotist Tom DeLuca performed his ImaginAction show to a packed audience in Heritage Hall Friday Night. Going into the event, I was hoping to see some classic one on one hypnosis with a guy waving a pocket-watch in someone’s face, but that’s not Tom DeLuca’s style.
DeLuca earned a Master’s degree from the University of Illinois and started off performing around the Mid-West before before he got into the big times. DeLuca prefers performing at college campuses. He earned the title of Campus Entertainer of the Year way back in 1986, the year this film was made.
DeLuca started off the show by asking for twenty volunteers out of the crowd. Complete chaos ensued with students standing on chairs to get his attention. I sat there with my hands in my pockets; completely unwilling to go up on a stage and have some guy rub my shoulders and tell me to act like a bird.
After putting on some music you’d expect to hear in a planetarium, he stepped away from the microphone and began saying something to the students to put them to sleep, or pretend to. While some students merely sat up with their eyes closed, others sat slumped over almost falling out of their chairs.
That’s when things got weird. DeLuca convinced the students to use their imagination and do various things like driving cars and talking as if their tongues were swollen with novacane. By the end of the show students had driven Ferraris, eaten ice cream, gone fishing, milked cows and forgot what Penn State’s mascot was.
A couple of the participants left the stage and returned to their seats during the show, either too mindfucked to continue or because they couldn’t stand the awkwardness of what was being done them on stage.
Things got interesting during the cow milking phase when one student, who I’ll refer to as Wendy, got out of her seat and began to slowly wander half-dazed across the stage with her eyes closed until a SPA member pulled her back into her seat.
One student was convinced that she was from another planet and began screaming gibberish into the microphone with another student acting as a translator. This was apparently too much for Wendy, as she ran off stage and exited the hall in a dead sprint with several SPA members and students chasing after her.
The show went on but a majority of the audience were too focused on what happened to Wendy to pay attention to what happened on stage; that remained a mystery throughout the rest of the show.
I left the HUB that night with no real answers to the question I went in with. Is hypnotism real? To my boy Sigmund Freud, probably not, but to Tom DeLuca, it’s not only real, but his profession.