America's hypnotist, Paul McKenna promises to help you lose weight, conquer phobias, increase your confidence, and get a good night sleep. The former DJ, British TV presenter, and stage hypnotist attempted mass trance hypnotism on the Dr. Oz show (seen on Charlotte's WBTV). The purpose of the performance was to help the thousands - potentially millions - of viewers lose weight.
We have all seen the stunts that stage hypnotists do. Some of it is quite entertaining. But is there a dark side to this "parlor trick?" Are there any dangers to being placed in trance states? Is there any harm done when the hypnotist - regardless of his training - places a client "under" without knowing their medical or psychological history? Should Charlotteans be concerned about possibly injurious effects to their spiritual and mental health as a result of mass trance hypnotism done over televison?
In March 1994, Christopher Gates and his girlfriend, Beverly Gibbs, attended a televised hypnotism performance by Paul McKenna in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire England. Gates volunteered to come up on stage. Under hypnosis, Gates danced like a ballerina, like Mick Jagger, acted like a school boy, and became an interpreter for aliens from outer space. (Source, the Free Library)
Great fun was had by all that night, but in the days ahead, Christopher Gates' life became a living hell. According to a BBC report, 9 days after the stunts, Gates began having severe headaches. After a hospital visit, he was diagnosed with schizophrenia.
Mr Gates told the court that following McKenna's hypnotism performance
- he suffered severe headaches and was unable to sleep that evening.
- the next day he began giggling and crying at a redundancy meeting at work.
- he later lost his job.
- he heard "mumbling voices" which he believed belonged to Jesus or Moses.
- he was 'Afraid to have a shower'
According to his girlfriend, Beverly,
- he became convinced he was going to die and that God was watching him.
- he became too scared to go to the toilet or have a shower because he believed Paul McKenna was lying in wait for him
- He also believed someone from the TV show Coronation Street was sending him subliminal messages from the fictional pub the Rovers' Return, telling him to stop drinking.
- on another occasion he started laughing uncontrollably at a Freddie Starr show
Gates eventually brought the matter to court, suing Paul McKenna for 200,000 British pounds damages. Gates charged McKenna with turning him into an "aggressive schizophrenic." The Court, however, ruled in favor of McKenna and against Gates. According to a judge, Gates' schizophrenia was of natural origin and that its manifestation after being hypnotized by McKenna was tragically coincidental.
Again, a court ruled that in this instance, Paul McKenna did not cause Christopher Gates to become schizophrenic. But there is still cause for alarm. Dr Oz's show is seen by millions. Thousands of men, women, teens, and children may have participated in the trance hypnotism session led by McKenna. (I would advise against it, but Dr Oz http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/monday-dr-oz-show) and McKenna's site http://www.paulmckenna.com/free-download.aspx still offer video and audio of a trance hypnotic session)
How many viewers at home were suffering from diagnosed or undiagnosed mental illness? Should there not be a requirement that a hypnotist must know their client physical and mental health history before hand?
From a spiritual perspective, it is not a hidden fact among those who practice deep meditation that there can be unpleasant psychic incidents. Malevolent entities can attempt to make contact. There are spirits who are not interested in the welfare of humans and they can gain entrance through trance states.
Deep meditation can sometimes lead to a frightening, "Kundalina Awakening."
Symptoms of Kundalini Psychosis
According to kundalini expert Kurt Kreutzer, professor of electrical engineering and computer science at the University of California, Berkeley, "awakening" is a sensation so powerful that it is often compared to a "freight train" or an "erupting volcano." Symptoms, usually temporary but sometimes long-term, may include blissful or terrifying visions, trembling, shaking, assuming unfamiliar yoga postures, singing, reciting mantras, speaking in tongues and making animal sounds. These reactions are caused when the contents of the unconscious mind "spill over into consciousness," he says, and constitute a "spiritual emergency." Read more: Kundalini Problems.
At the very least, caution is advised. Beware. Your spiritual life and your mental health should not be put at risk in the hands of someone who you don't know. Someone who's credentials are questionable. Someone who is not a licensed mental health professional or spiritual counselor in North Carolina. Someone who for entertainment, practices a technique which has the potential to cause spiritual and psychological harm -- ask Christopher Gates.