Ian Stewart, Guinness World Record holder for chainsaw juggling, can perform a litany of magic tricks and swallow swords – putting people asleep and placing them in crazy scenarios in their own mind, is a piece of cake for the Truro-born hypnotist and performer.
Stewart will be bringing his skills as a hypnotist to the 2018 Eastern Nova Scotia Exhibition (ENSE). The show is set to take place Aug. 31, at 8 p.m.
“I bring people up out of the audience, and introduce them to a relaxed state of mind. When they’re in that state, they become highly suggestible and are able to follow those suggestions,” Stewart said. “I can make them think they’re on the moon or think they’re a world-champion bodybuilder – things like that.”
While Stewart can’t change people under the influence of his hypnotism, he said he can make them believe they are in situations in which they wouldn’t normally find themselves.
“I can suggest to them things, that wouldn’t normally happen, are happening. I can tell them their hands are stuck together. While they’re not stuck together ordinarily, I can tell them their hands are stuck together, and they will think they are,” Stewart said. “They act the same way they would any other day – except their hands are stuck together.”
Stewart noted although people do act in entertaining ways, they never break character. Nobody who goes under hypnosis would do anything that they would later regret.
“You mind is very protective of you,” Stewart said. “Basically, when under hypnosis, the mind says, ‘I’m going to sit back and have a cup of coffee, and watch – but I’m going to look over you like a parent and make sure you don’t do anything I don’t want you to do.’”
Although Stewart has performed at international venues as far away as Las Vegas and Germany – in Germany’s Got Talent – he is excited to get back to Antigonish.
“It’s great to be back. I’ve performed at the schools quite a few times, and the exhibition a few times,” he said. “We’re looking forward to having a good time – and I have a track record of having a good time.”
Participants in Stewart’s show are volunteers, and he can tailor his show to accommodate anywhere from five to 40 people.
“The show is different, based on the number of volunteers you get. I do different material with a larger group than a smaller group,” Stewart said. “There’s quite a different vibe when we get a few volunteers, versus a lot.”
Although his show is versatile in that regard, Stewart noted that some people can take far longer to hypnotize than others.
“Everyone is different. Different people require different methods to hypnotize. There are some who are out in less than 30 seconds, and there are also some people who take an hour to hypnotize,” he said. “You don’t have time to deal with that, so you have to get the quickest people so you can get the show rolling.”
That being said, Stewart added, “one-on-one, everyone can be hypnotized.”