Hypnotist plays mind games with Misawa volunteers
December 19, 2003
MISAWA NAVAL AIR FACILITY, Japan — Single sailors here couldn’t stop laughing for about 90 minutes Tuesday night.
On stage at the Mutsu Officers Club, eight of their friends fell under the spell of professional hypnotist Chuck Milligan.
Their behavior ranged from bizarre to goofy.
Petty Officer 3rd Class Sean Monahan didn’t seem to mind wearing a rubber ducky floatation ring around his waist, hollering at the audience to get out of his swimming pool every time Milligan uttered “water.”
Navy Airman Rickie Hearne moon-walked on stage at the mention of pop star Michael Jackson.
And, upon cue, Navy Airman Emily Worcester struck the floor violently with a plastic bat trying to kill imaginary cockroaches.
About 90 sailors turned out for the free event, sponsored by Morale, Welfare and Recreation for Misawa’s single sailor Liberty Program, said Jeffrey Shaw, Misawa’s Liberty Program coordinator.
“I got to see my friends on stage acting crazy,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Taiwan Green. “I was surprised. I didn’t think they would go under.”
Of the 16 sailors who volunteered to sit on stage, only eight fell into a hypnotic trance. Milligan said not everyone would be hypnotized. Some people can’t relax and get caught up in analyzing whether hypnosis is working. Others are so physically tired that while hypnosis works on them, they sleep through the whole program, Milligan said. And some people just fall into a light trance, he added.
In a deep, soothing voice, Milligan made the sailors fall asleep and wake up upon command; some fell flat on their face to the floor. Milligan played tricks on their sleepy minds, at one point telling them they were “butt naked.” The audience hollered with delight as the sailors squirmed in their chairs and tried to cover up.
Milligan has performed for sailors in Japan for 12 years. This was his first visit to Misawa. In the States, where he lives in San Diego, Milligan does shows for college students. A former San Diego police officer, he’s been a professional hypnotist for 18 years, he said.
“It was supposed to be a party trick and I got very good at it,” he said, noting that he went to school to become a therapist, and learned to use hypnosis as a therapy tool.
As Milligan brought the sailors out of their trance, he told them that they would remember everything that happened on stage but that they would not be embarrassed.
“I have to protect them from their friends,” he quipped.
Worcester, who not only went after fantasy cockroaches but also danced and sang like Britney Spears, incredulously recalled the evening.
“The whole Britney thing threw me off,” she said.
For more information about Milligan, or to inquire about his show, visit www.chuckmilligan.com or e-mail Milligan at: firstname.lastname@example.org.