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Lisbon Central School to be hypnotized Friday

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LISBON - Volunteers on stage tonight in the Lisbon Central School auditorium will believe in invisibility, that they are walking on the surface of Mars, and, when prompted by the word “popcorn,” will act like they’ve smelled something worse than rotten eggs.

The Senior Class Parents of 2012 will host the Terry Parrett Comedy Hypnosis Show at 7:30 p.m., a fundraiser that will help send the senior class to Virginia Beach over Memorial weekend, said Tina M. Martin, event organizer.

“I’ve been at similar shows and with all of the audience participation, it’s hilarious,” Mrs. Martin said. “It should be a really fun and family-oriented evening.”

Terry J. Parrett, Long Island, said Thursday his interest in hypnotism began when he received a book on the subject for his 12th birthday.

“I invited a friend over and tranced him out the first try,” he said.

Before performing for a living, he earned a masters of business administration degree.

“Then I decided I wanted to be an entertainer, and that’s been it for the past 20 years,” he said.

Mr. Parrett defined hypnosis as the unconscious following of instruction.

“It’s hard to explain. Basically what happens is I invite folks on stage and put them in a hypnotic trance and alter their reality so we can have fun,” Mr. Parrett said. “I tap into your subconscious mind and lead you to do things you’re not aware of. Not sleep, but very focused attention.”

In providing examples of what one can expect from his show, Mr. Parrett described a scenario in which he talks a volunteer into smelling something that isn’t there.

“When entranced, they think what I tell them is real. I put them in what they think is the world’s funniest movie and they’re laughing and laughing,” he said. “Then I say ‘popcorn,’ and they act like it’s the worst smell in their lives. That gets a lot of laughs.”

During the 90 minute show, 15 to 20 volunteers are called on stage, but Mr. Parrett uses only six to eight of them.

“Whoever goes the deepest (in trance) in the shortest amount of time,” he said.

Half of the people who volunteer for his show “remember about half of what happened,” Mr. Parrett said. “A third don’t remember anything. They’re up there for 90 minutes, but they think they’ve only been there for 10. That, to me, is the funny part.”

He said high school crowds are ideal subjects.

“They all want to be up there. They’re knocking each other out of the way to get up on stage. If I put 40 chairs up I’d fill ‘em. That’s great for me,” he said.

Admission for tonight’s show is $10 for adults and $8 for senior citizens and children at the door. Refreshments will be for sale during intermission, during which, Mr. Parrett said, the show continues.

“I’ll hypnotize someone into being a shoelace monitor during intermission and another to stand by the refreshment counter and cheer every time someone makes a purchase,” he said.

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