Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Hypnotised man flees show into path of traffic

MINUTES after a man was hypnotised on stage into thinking people were invisible and that he could smell a stench, police were called amid fears he would get hit by a car.

The man ran from a Peter Powers show at the Enmore Theatre in Sydney's Newtown on October 19 soon after he was on stage scratching an itch brought on by hypnosis.

Mr Powers last week played down the dramatic incident, saying he always "removed hypnosis" before the subjects he prompts to see leprechauns and preach gospels leave the stage.

He said the drama began shortly after hypnosis was removed and the 20-year-old man, Chris, left the theatre and another audience member chased him fearing he was still under hypnosis.

Police were called to the scene after a report 180cm-tall Chris, who was dressed in faded jeans, was seen running through traffic "acting crazy" just after 9.30pm.

He had earlier been on stage, hypnotised into thinking he was itching all over, had been convinced he was feeling cold enough to shiver and he was convinced Mr Powers was invisible.

Chris was stopped in King St after running into traffic and, according to Mr Powers said he had only run because he thought he was being followed from the theatre.

"When somebody is hypnotised they are not in any danger, you could cross the street and walk around town, it is not going to make you walk into the path of a bus," Mr Powers said.

"But before anyone leaves the stage I remove hypnosis from them, when we heard someone had left the building who had been on the stage we were concerned.

"We had removed hypnosis but one member of the audience panicked and chased this guy up the road. I spoke to the guy and he was fine -- he was perfectly normal. He said 'when I left a guy was chasing me, I was frightened so I ran'."

Mr Powers said he ensured his "process" to remove hypnosis had been successful and then gave a personal number to the man in case he needed it.

The hypnotist is on a national tour and said he was able to send people to sleep with a simple command and even had subjects chasing leprechauns around theatres. He said he always tells his subjects to remain in the theatre until the show ends.

A box office worker at the Enmore theatre said events management staff were unable to comment over the phone and could only be contacted by email. Staff declined to return a phone call.

Newtown police were unable to confirm whether they attended the incident but it is understood there are no ongoing investigations.

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