By Paula Bianchi –
During the late 80’s, I went on my first girl’s road trip with my sister-in-law, Lily, my husband’s cousin, Sara, and her friend, Ann, to Reno, Nevada. It was my first time playing the slot machines and watching other people gamble. I told myself before I left that I was going to let my hair down and have fun.
We attended a dinner with a show. The alcohol flowed, and we were feeling a little goofy and having a good time. (Alan still carries a photo of me sitting at our table in his wallet.) After the show, we wandered around the casino trying to decide what to do next, when we happened upon a little nightclub. There was a large poster, next to the entrance, with a picture of a pair of eyes behind black, horn rimmed glasses, and it said, “Pat Collins – The Hip Hypnotist.”
I instantly remembered her from TV because I used to watch the shows she appeared on, so I knew what her nightclub act was all about. I told the others about her, and we decided to go in to watch her last show of the day.
We quickly found a table and ordered more drinks. While we were waiting for the show to begin, Lily and I decided we were going to volunteer to be part of her show. This was so out of character for me at the time, but alcohol made me feel brave.
The show began with Pat Collins explaining what hypnosis was, and how it can help many people. She used herself as an example in relating how hypnosis helped her recover from a nervous breakdown.
After her intro, she called for volunteers to come up to the stage to claim one of the six chairs. Lily and I jumped up, she was behind me, and ran for the stage. I got the fifth chair, but some guy cut in front of Lily and claimed the last one. At first, I wanted to give up my chair when Lily didn’t make it, but I remembered telling myself that I was going to have fun on this trip, so I stayed.
Pat told us to pick a point in the room and stare at it. She welcomed the audience to try it too. I can’t remember everything she said, but I know I followed her instructions to a tee. Suddenly, she tells us all to sleep and like puppets, we all slumped into our chairs with our heads resting on our shoulders; our eyes closed.
Now, I had never been hypnotized before, but I’ve got to tell you it was the strangest experience I’ve ever had. I was totally aware of my surroundings and understood everything that was being said around me. The one constant thing that never changed was my inner dialog about what was happening to me.
I felt the people sitting next to me, and I heard her talking with the audience about how she can tell if someone is hypnotized. Pat turned her attention to us as she asked for us to open our eyes and sit up in our seats. She then told us to hold our arms out in front of us and make them as stiff as a board, so she can’t push them down. Walking down the line of volunteers, she pushed on each arm. When she got to the person in the third seat, their arms went down, so she stopped and asked that person to look her in the eye. Next thing I know, I see this person, in my peripheral vision, get up and go back to their seat as I hear Pat explaining how he wasn’t hypnotized.
When he took his seat, I could see there were a few people in the audience with their arms out in front of them, and Lily was one of them. Then I hear Pat asking Sara, at our table, “She wanted up here, didn’t she?” When Sara nodded, she asked, “What’s her name?”
“Lily.” Sara answered.
Pat called out to Lily to come up to the stage. She asked her to look into her eyes, then told her to take a seat in the vacant chair. Next, she instructed the people who went under in the audience to wake up.
I was looking straight ahead, but I could see Lily, from my side view, take the stage on my left, and walk by me to her seat. My insides were jumping with joy that she made it, but I had no control over my body. I couldn’t move. Then, Pat asked the people, who came with her volunteers, what our names were.
Pat asked us to lower our left arms, but to continue holding our right arms out in front of us. She took out a lighter and held the lit flame under each arm as she walked down the line. Once she was satisfied that she had a good group, she told us all to relax and sleep.
Bam. We all turned into rag dolls in our chairs. Before she would tell us to do anything, she would talk to the audience about what she was going to make us do. First thing she said was our right foot was on fire. All of us on stage picked up our foot and started blowing on it to put out the fire. Then she said, “Freeze.”
All of us froze in this position of blowing on our foot. I couldn’t move anything on my body. I wanted to smile, but I felt like a statue. I remember asking myself why I was blowing on my foot. I couldn’t see any fire, but I was doing it all the same.
It was so funny to me in my head. My thinking hadn’t changed. If anything, my mind was sharper than before and more alert. I wanted to look at Lily so bad. I was laughing in my head imagining her doing the same thing.
Pat told us the fire was out, and she wanted us to stand up. “When I count to three, you’re all going to be washing machines. One, two, three.”
I made a circle with my arms in front of me and started doing the twist with my body. My knees swung back and forth with each twist. Using my side view, I could see we were all doing basically the same thing except for one guy. I couldn’t see exactly what he was doing, but I heard the people in the audience laughing.
Pat tells us we’re no longer washing machines, so we all stopped and stood up again. She proceeds to explain to the audience how sometimes she can find hidden talents in people from them participating in her show.
To show this, she sets the scene for us by stating that we’re at a dance party, then, tells us to dance. All of us started dancing. I used this to my advantage as an opportunity to see what Lily and the others were doing. We looked like we were dancing in a club. It felt good to finally move.
Then, Pat said we were ballerinas, and we all started dancing like a ballerina. I wanted to laugh, but I couldn’t. Next, she told us to dance like Michael Jackson. I felt myself doing the leg kick thing that he does as I was holding my arms and hands like I thought Michael would.
No one showed any hidden talent, so she stopped us. I heard her talking to the audience before she turned and instructed us to put out our right arm because she had something, she wanted to give us. We all did what we were told.
Pat walked up to each of us and said she was giving us a pet parrot. She called us out by name and asked what our parrot’s name was. I don’t remember what everyone else said, but my parrot’s name was Herbie.
With my side view, I could see all of us acting like we really had a bird on our arm. They were petting and talking to their parrot. This time I could visualize a large, bright colored Macaw sitting on my arm. I was tripping out. After we all told her about our pet bird, Pat told us to put them away. We all pantomimed putting them into their cages.
When we were done, Pat told everyone, but me, to sit down. I remember her standing next to me with her arm around my shoulder. She points to a man sitting at a table right in front of us, and she asks him for his name. He answered, “Jack.”
Pat said to me, “Now Paula, I want you to tell Jack why he isn’t going to get any tonight.”
I was cracking up inside. At first, I felt lost for words, then suddenly, I hear myself giving all kinds of reasons why he ain’t getting any. I can only remember two of the reasons though. One was I had a headache, and the other was me telling him if he didn’t do more around the house, then, he wasn’t getting jack shit. This made the audience laugh. Made me laugh too because I couldn’t believe I said it. With that as my parting words, she told me to sit down and sleep.
While I was slumped in my chair, I could hear Pat explaining to audience how she could never make us do anything we didn’t want to. She then turned to us and said, “On the count of three, you’ll all be naked. One, two, three.”
Suddenly, I hear a commotion on the stage as everyone jumped up to hide behind their chairs. Everyone but me. I just sat there. In my mind I thought, “Oh well, they’ve already seen me.” Then I just sat back and relaxed in my chair.
“Oh look. Paula doesn’t care if she’s naked.” Pat announced to the audience, and they laughed.
After the laughter calmed down, Pat told us we weren’t naked anymore which made the others take their seats again.
I was sad when I heard Pat announce that the show had come to an end. She told us on stage that if we wanted to meet with her after the show, she could help us with stopping smoking, problems sleeping, and a whole list of other things if we wanted, then, she counted us up and awake.
Lily and I looked at each other and giggled. We both felt wonderful and relaxed. As we were walking off stage, Lily told me she wanted to take Pat up on her offer to help her stop smoking, so we walked over to Pat’s table, and Lily waited for her turn.
I wish I could remember what Lily did up there, but I can’t. She doesn’t even remember. All she really remembers was looking into Pat’s eyes when she asked her to, so she could see if Lily was hypnotized. Lily said she’ll never forget her eyes.
When we left the nightclub, all we could do was talk about our experience. Lily and I felt all refreshed and energized, we could have gone out all night, but Sara and Ann were pooped, so we all went back to our room and left the next day.
I had such a blast on that trip. It’s one that I’ll never forget. The suggestions Pat gave to Lily about quitting cigarettes worked for a few months, then, Lily ‘made’ herself start smoking again because she felt she needed them for stress. Even though, she swears what Pat did worked.
In my next mind games article, I want to talk about racism. Thanks for stopping by for a visit. I love your support. Bye for now.