Hypnotist Roderick Russell Leaves Students in Disbelief

Marisa Engbracht

Hypnotist Roderick Russell entertained Manchester University students in the Cordier Auditorium at 8:08 pm on Friday, September 3, at an event hosted by the Manchester Activities Council.

Any student willing to participate in the hypnotist show was allowed to do so. Many students went up on stage and were hypnotized by Russell, who used varying techniques to get the students to do what he wanted.

Russell claims on his Twitter account to be a hypnotist, sword-swallower, mind reader and speaker. He used a plethora of techniques to hypnotize the students who volunteered; from using a “magic” pen, getting them to relax and talking to them in a calming manner.

The students on the stage did several activities under Russell’s control. At first, he convinced them all to relax and fall asleep. Then, he began painting scenes for them in their mind with his words, ranging from having them paddling a surfboard at the beach to riding a dolphin to doing Jazzercise. He also convinced the students on stage that they smelled terrible, that they smelled their favorite scent and that they were glued to their seats. What seemed to get the most attention from the crowd was at the end, when Russell convinced the students on stage to perform in a dance competition for the chance to win one million dollars. Students twerked, discoed, tangoed, did the robot and performed many other wild moves on stage.

First-Years Brianna Morrow and Chase Thompson were two of many students who were hypnotized in front of the audience. “I felt heavy,” Morrow said, “and afterwards, my fingers were tingly. I was really sweaty. I remember tango dancing with Timothy [her friend].”

Thompson had a similar experience. “I felt tingly and sweaty,” he said. “I would do it again.” Morrow agreed that she would be hypnotized on stage again if she had the chance.

From an audience member’s perspective, the event was enjoyable. “I thought it was really entertaining and funny,” said Eaman Lynch, a 19-year-old First-Year. “I would definitely recommend it, one hundred percent.” She attended with a few friends who went up on stage to be hypnotized. “I wasn’t hypnotized personally,” Lynch said, “but I felt elated and just had a really good time.”

After the hypnotist show, Russell had an encore where he showed off his sword-swallowing skills to the audience. He had a Manchester Activities Council Member check to see if the sword was real, then stuck the long knife down his throat. The crowd gasped and clapped, amazed at the trick. Russell was open to take questions about both hypnotism and sword swallowing after his show, which many students took advantage of.

Overall, from the crowd’s clapping and awe, the hypnotist show was a hit. Students left the auditorium chattering about whether they believed what they had just witnessed. Some were skeptical of those who had went on stage, while some were excitedly telling their friends what they had done on stage.