Thursday, October 14, 2004

Hypnotism made
him better man

A funny thing happened to Sailesh Jiawan upon making a complete fool of himself while under a hypnotist's spell more than a decade ago. "I fell in love with it," states Sailesh, now a performing hypnotist himself.



"World's Funniest Hypnotist":

On stage: 8 p.m. today through Saturday

Place: Gussie L'Amour's, 3251 N. Nimitz Highway

Tickets: $20 advance; $25 at door

Call: 836-7883

At the time, he had decided to take part in renowned hypnotist Terry Stokes' stage show on a whim. It was his first experience with hypnotism. Following the act, Sailesh purchased a videotape of the evening's events. What he saw on the tape floored him. There he was, outfitted in a tutu, prancing around on stage as a ballerina and, later, engaging in behavior no right-minded individual would dare exhibit before a crowd of 2,000.

"Things came out of my mouth that I'd never say in public," he says, chuckling. "I did some of the craziest things. I thought, 'My God, I can't believe I just did that.'"

Enthralled by this powerful medium, the newly converted Sailesh soon sought the mentorship of Stokes and other hypnotists.

"He actually got me out of my shell," he says of Stokes. "I finally believed in myself. What that experience taught me was that everything I was hiding on the inside because of my shyness was just a part of me. It opened up a whole new world for me. I actually started doing things like stand-up comedy. I was studying to be an accountant at the time and wound up doing this for a living."

For the last nine years, Sailesh has traversed the world, successfully plying his trade as a hypnotist, though he says business has really taken off in the last two. Part of his appeal is his willingness to explore adult themes. This rarely fails to elicit howls of disbelief from his audiences. "They're funny situations, like what would you do if you got caught cheating, to what you'd say to your sex therapist, to what you would do if your chair were giving you multiple orgasms."

He might even urge participants to converse in foreign languages they do not speak, or act as if they are guests on the Jerry Springer show, making up outrageous lies about people they know in the crowd.

Yet, says Sailesh, he is mindful of his audience and is always careful not to cross any boundaries with his subjects. In fact, many have returned to his shows, avowing they are better for the experience.

"I leave up to them post-hypnotic suggestions that they're going to have more motivation and self-confidence and self-respect. That's one of my ways of thanking them for being part of the show."

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