A private school in Quebec recently featured a hypnotist for an end-of-year school activity, and it wasn’t quite as entertaining as predicted.
After several of the students at the private girls’ school didn’t snap out of the hypnosis– one girl for close to five hours, reports say– 20-year-old hypnotist Maxime Nadeau was forced to call his mentor for what Canada’s CBC News called an “emergency intervention.”
[Nadeau] worked on a small group while others watched the show. When it came time to end the event, several girls in the audience remained mesmerized and couldn’t snap out of it, no matter what Nadeau did.
He called his mentor and trainer, Richard Whitbread, who made the hour-long trek to the school from his home in the town of Danville.
Whitbread found several girls were still suffering the effects of “mass hypnosis.”
“There were a couple of students who had their heads lying on the table and there were [others] who, you could tell, were in trance,” he said. “The eyes were open and there was nobody home.”
Whitbread said he went through the process of making the girls think they were being re-hypnotized and then brought them out using a stern voice.
Watch video of the event, below:
The mentor speculated that because Nadeau was young and attractive, and dealing with 12-13-year-old girls, they may have been more keen than the average person to follow his instructions, and therefore fell deeper into a trance than intended.
CBC described the girls’ reactions:
The girls later described being under the sustained spell as feeling spaced out, with heavy limbs.
One student who was watching the show said it felt like an out-of-body experience.
“I don’t know how to explain it. It’s like you’re no longer there,” Émilie Bertrand said. “You’re spaced out.”
Bertrand said even if the show effects lingered, everyone still enjoyed it.
“It was still a good activity,” she said. “At the start, it was funny. Even if there were consequences after, I’d do it again.”
Administrators at the show said they found out soon after that hypnosis is not recommended for children under the age of 14, the Huffington Post reports, because they can be more sensitive to its effects.
And while the interviewed students didn’t seem particularly troubled by the events of the day, many parents are questioning the school’s decision to hypnotize the students in the first place.
“WHAT was this school thinking?” a commenter asked. “Children should NOT be hypnotized…Period!”