A Trusted Friend in a Complicated World

Craziest Things That Have Happened During Hypnosis

While hypnosis can be used as a resourceful tool in therapy, it can be fodder for some strange anecdotes from both hypnotists and those hypnotized. Here we look at everything from the light-hearted to the powerful and dramatic hypnosis moments.

Expensive pendant with a diamond

Dude, where’s my necklace?

One young woman on Reddit recounts the time she was hypnotized on a family cruise at the age of 17. “From what I have been told, I was very susceptible (easy to hypnotize). The hypnotist got me to find my ‘lost’ necklace and told me to check in the audience’s bags and other possessions,” she recalled. “My parents told me that I actually walked out of the theatre room into the casino and started asking people on the pokey machines if they knew where my necklace was before my parents came and brought me back on stage.” Here are 9 things to know before you try hypnotherapy.

surgical instruments and tools including scalpels, forceps and tweezers arranged on a table for a surgery
Dario Lo Presti/Shutterstock


“I had a gentleman I worked with to help him through his treatment for prostate cancer,” says Scott Schmaren, an internationally known hypnotist. “Right before his surgery I did a session with him and recorded it for him to use to control his ability to heal and recover quicker.

“After his surgery, there was a horrible mistake made; he was given a lethal dose of Heparin, a blood thinner. He was hemorrhaging internally and they were preparing for him to die. He put on his recording of our session and he was able to stop his bleeding and raise his blood pressure. It saved his life. The doctors could not explain how he was able to get his blood to clot and stop his hemorrhaging with a lethal dose of a blood thinner.” If you’ve ever considered seeing a hypnotist, here’s how it really works.

Face flying bird with open wings on grassy meadow. Eurasian Eagle Owl, Bubo bubo, animal with big orange eyes. Nature habitat in Norway.
Ondrej Prosicky/Shutterstock

Sight unseen

“Probably the most jarring and surreal experience I had facilitating hypnosis occurred when I was in the two-year training program. I was working with a young woman with Dissociative Identity Disorder rooted in severe childhood sexual abuse,” says Reverend Sheri Heller, LCSW. “During a hypnotic session in which she regressed to a childhood memory with her grandfather, the perpetrator, she lost her eyesight. As a child, she conceptualized him as an evil owl who removed her sight with his talons. Luckily we were able to […] regain her vision. I quickly pulled her out of trance at that point. This experience taught me to not do age regression with hypnosis for the purpose of memory retrieval. It is too destabilizing for the patient and the therapist!” Read how one hypnotherapy session ended this woman’s debilitating fear of spiders.

Rows of new chairs in the presentations hall
Iakov Filimonov/Shutterstock

Seat taken

“I was hypnotized onstage at a meeting where there was a hypnotist doing a demonstration,” says Robert M. Barrows, president of an advertising agency in Burlingame, California. “After my part was over, the hypnotist said, ‘OK, take your seat.’ I literally picked up my chair. He said that when people are under hypnosis, they often take things literally, and he realized that I was still under hypnosis, so he took me under again and then took me out of hypnosis.” While it can produce some funny stuff, here are 13 ways hypnosis can change your life for the better.

Number 7

Not-so-lucky no. 7

“It was a strange sensation,” describes one Reddit user who was hypnotized. “The guy put me under, and then told me to forget certain things, like the number seven or the name of one of my friends in the room, then woke me up. He asked, ‘What’s five plus two?’ I knew it was seven. My brain knew it was seven. I’m not a child, I can do simple math. I just could not say the number seven. He even had me count my fingers one by one, and each time I came up with eleven.”

Weight Scale.
Billion Photos/Shutterstock

Major changes

It didn’t happen in a single session, but hypnotist Scott Schmaren describes something incredible that happened to him thanks to hypnosis. “I had struggled all my life with obesity. At my peak, I weighed 360 pounds, and I am only 5’6″,” he explains. “Hypnosis has allowed me to lose and keep off more than 180 pounds for many years and change every aspect of my life.” Another woman tried hypnosis to beat her sugar addiction and this is what happened.

Close-up view of $100 banknotes
Alex Staroseltsev/Shutterstock

Money maker

While at a county fair a hypnotist made a woman believe that she had hit the jackpot in a big way. One woman described to the online magazine Thought Catalog what happened to her friend. “They brought up about 10 people, did all their little tricks, and even made my friend think that she won the lottery,” says the pal, who was in the audience. “She was crying on stage and told everyone that she actually lost her job that day and that this was a gift from God. The entire audience cringed.”

Father holding head of his newborn son in hands. Loving father hand holding cute sleeping newborn baby child


“I was accidentally hypnotized at a USO show in Spain in 2005,” remembers a Reddit user. “I was in the audience, really tired, and drinking beer. The hypnotist saw me falling asleep and brought me onstage. I remember doing things like giving birth, holding my newborn son, and having my voice crack with joy when I was asked what gender my child was, (I’m a man by the way). It was an interesting experience, where I was about 50 percent aware at any given time.” If you’re interested in hypnotherapy, here are a few things to know before your first appointment.

Stack of woolen checked blankets, autumn and winter concept
Anna Mente/Shutterstock

What does the hypnotist feel?

“My body has felt incredibly cold during a session, where blankets have no effect,” said hypnotherapist Carol Lawson on the Hypnosis Training Academy website. “I’ve also felt as if I’m on fire, depending on the type of healing going on.”

Owen Kolasinski/BFA/Shutterstock

Famous believers

Actress Olivia Munn is totally on board with hypnotherapy, according to an interview with Good Housekeeping. “I was going to a hypnotist to help me with my OCD and trichotillomania [chronic hair-pulling]. One day I told him I don’t work out, and he said, ‘What do you mean?’ I replied, ‘I don’t know. I just kind of don’t. I yo-yo.’ He said, ‘You have to! It’s good for your anxiety and depression.’ So during one of our sessions, he hypnotized me. I’m not exaggerating: That was on a Friday, and by Monday I was working out every day at 6 a.m. If I missed a session, I’d double up and do it the next day.” Read why hypnosis can work even faster than meditation.

close up of white shirt and red lipstick on it

Set secrets

According to celebrity hypnotist Kimberly Friedmutter, the rich and famous are very open to the idea of using the medium to relieve stress and help with issues they face. During one particular session, Friedmutter told InTouch Weekly, a celeb said she needed her help “not to fall in love with her co-star,” and this was a client who habitually falls in love on set, reports Firedmutter.

Rob Latour/WWD/Shutterstock

Special delivery

The craziest thing that happened to Jessica Alba during hypnosis? She had a baby. The actress told Ellen DeGeneres about her experience with hypnobirthing. “It’s not like the clock in front of your face and you go out and you wake up and you got a baby,” she explained. “Basically, my husband takes me through sort of a meditation. So he’s saying, ‘You’re relaxed and you’re floating on clouds,’ while you’re going through labor and your contractions.”

Hiding behind Red Curtain
Markus Pfaff/Shutterstock

Naked and afraid

When Redditt user Kaufmann76 was hypnotized he recalls feeling incredibly relaxed. But there was a part of the experience that may have freaked him out. “One part that stands out in my mind is [the hypnotist] told all of the participants that on the count of three we would look down and realize we were completely naked. When he hit three I remember looking down and then looking up at the large crowd watching me and feeling incredibly embarrassed.” He says he ran behind a nearby curtain. “My friend who was also being hypnotized, and is a lot more confident in himself got a huge grin on his face, put his hands on his hips, and seemed incredibly proud of himself.”