Canadian students at an all-girls private school had to be rescued from a "mass hypnosis," which lasted for five hours in one case, when a hypnotist-in-training had to call his mentor for help after a performance.
A number of 12- to 13-year-old girls at the Collège du Sacré-Coeur school in Sherbooke, Quebec, had attended an end-of-the-school-year performance by hypnotist Maxime Nadeau last week. Several volunteers were taken up on stage to be part of the show, while others in the audience watched. But when the show ended, several audience members were left hypnotized and in need of emergency intervention.
"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," Nadeau's mentor and trainer, Richard Whitbread, told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. "The eyes were open and there was nobody home."
Nadeau said he wasn't panicked as he tried everything possible to snap the girls out of hypnosis. "Being in a trance is a state of well-being," Nadeau explained. "I wasn't stressed. I knew they would get out of it."
He told the CBC that he eventually had to call Whitbread, who had to travel an hour to the school. Whitbred used a technique in which he re-hypnotized the girls, and then brought them out using a stern voice. He said that because Nadeau was a young, attractive man, the young girls were perhaps too willing to follow his instructions.
The girls told the CBC that they felt out of the norm while hypnotized.
"I don't know how to explain it," student Émilie Bertrand said. "It's like you're no longer there. You're spaced out."