A circus performer stood locked in a trance for hours after he accidentally hypnotised himself while practising his routine in a mirror.
Sword swallower Hannibal Helmurto, 38, whose real name is Helmut Kichmeier, stood transfixed in front of the mirror for five hours until his wife Joanna found him.
Unable to rouse him, she was forced to phone her husband’s mentor, hypnotherapist Dr Ray Roberts, who trained him on an intensive course recently.
Dr Roberts spoke to Helmut over the phone and he slowly came out of the trance. Helmut said a person under hypnosis only responds to a voice of authority.
Joanna, 22, said: ‘I was really shocked when I found him, he was just like a zombie starring at himself in the mirror.
‘His pupils had gone really small, which is a sign of someone under hypnosis.’
Helmut, who has performed in the Circus of Horrors for four years, had recently learned how to put himself into a somnambulistic trance – a way of hypnotising yourself – to enable him to swallow multiple swords in the infamous circus.
The performer, who is originally from Germany but now lives in London, said: ‘I underestimated the techniques and how powerful they were. I put myself in a very deep state and lost all sense of time around me.’
He said he could not remember anything when he came out of the trance, other than getting up at 10am and starting to practise his hypnosis.
He said he had no idea where the missing five hours had gone.
‘It is a very pleasant feeling, sometimes it is so pleasant that you literally forget the things around you and that is what happened to me,’ he said.
‘Your body is absolutely relaxed. You don’t feel a thing. On the one hand your body is relaxed and floating and on the other hand your mind is extremely focused on something.’
The self-taught hypnotherapist has been practising the art for nine years. He added: ‘I have always been interested in hypnosis because I had seen it on TV and thought it was a right big spoof.
‘I started reading and learning about it and it turns out it is not a big spoof at all. I got into it being a total disbeliever.’ …
I call shenanigans. I suspect this is a publicity stunt because you can’t get “stuck” in hypnosis, or in self-hypnosis any more than you could get stuck awake or stuck asleep. Could happen if you have some kind of brain disorder, I guess.
There is no evidence that anybody can become stuck in hypnosis. The worst that might happen could be that you fall asleep – and wake up unhypnotised! Orne & Evans (1966) conducted a famous study where participants were hypnotised, and the experimenter leaves the room under the pretense that there is a problem he has to attend to, the participant is then observed (without his knowledge) to see what happens. The result was that participants spontaneously woke up, the high hypnotisables taking slightly longer to do so. – http://www.hypnosisandsuggestion.org/faq.html
… If there were any emergency the subconscious would take over and bring you out of hypnosis. Any person who chooses to remain in trance will drift off to sleep and wake up normally, maybe after minutes or even an hour or two, depending on their state of tiredness prior to being hypnotised. http://www.hypnotherapy-services.com/faq/getting-stuck
You can no more get “stuck” in hypnosis than you can get “stuck” awake or “stuck” asleep. It’s a natural state which naturally gives way to other states after a while. For practical reasons, most hypnotherapists do explicitly end their clients’ trances, but if they didn’t the clients would naturally either return to full alertness or fall asleep.
Myth 4 – Getting Stuck In Self Hypnosis -Some people worry that if they learn self hypnosis they’d get themselves stuck in some hypnotic trance or limbo state. This fear is baseless. Even if you fail to come out of your self hypnosis session after your appointed time, you can simply fall into a sleep and awake typically, feeling refreshed and rested. The human mind however has the amazing capability to keep control of time internally, so you can decide on the length of session you wish to conduct. Most people will come out of the trance state within minutes ( or maybe seconds ) of their determined time.