Ron Stubbs got into hypnotherapy to help people. Since the mid-1990s, hes been helping people lose weight, stop smoking and combat tinnitus (ringing in the ears).
But his greatest success has been at making people act silly.
Stubbs, who bills himself as a rock and roll hypnotist, now is a performer, helping audience members get risqué in his stage act, which he performs at casinos and bars about 250 nights a year. On Saturday, hell perform at Olympias Royal Lounge.
Among the tricks his willing volunteers perform: Chubby men dance around shirtless. People spank one another. Older women quake in fear. Its all in good fun, he said.
People are going to do funny things. I give them a suggestion at the end of the show that they will not be embarrassed, humiliated or angry. Theyll think its the funniest thing theyve ever done.
He also checks in with volunteers to make sure they are OK and offers to make suggestions to help them with pain, weight loss, etc.
And do people remember what they did?
I make sure they remember, he said. The looks on their faces when they realize what they have done thats my fun.
But Stubbs doesnt use such props as a swinging pocket watch. That is an old stereotype, he said. I do everything with my voice.
He prides himself on his speed at hypnosis. A lot of stage hypnotists might take anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes to drop people into trance. My typical induction is probably five to seven minutes tops.
Weve kind of got it down to a science now, he said. When Im on stage, people see and they hear exactly what I want them to see and hear. ... By the time people get up on stage, theyre already half hypnotized. Theyre already kind of preconditioned.
Appropriately enough, Stubbs came to stage hypnosis while he and his wife, Jeanie, were visiting Las Vegas.
I was working with self-inflicted violence, he said. One of my clients called me. She was a 12-year-old girl, and she had cut her wrists. I looked at my wife and said: I cant do this anymore. My heart hurts.
Our friend that we were visiting was a stage hypnotist. My wife said, Why dont you try this? I did, and its worked out.
Stubbs was no stranger to the stage even then. Hed been a performer all his life, serving as the front man for several bands.
When I started doing the stage work, it was a natural progression, he said. I love being in front of an audience. You put me in front of 10,000 people, and Im a very happy boy.