A New Playground
Dr StephanieNelson was rich but bored. Her hypnotherapy practice had been successfullygenerating income for several years and her recent venture into motivationaltapes had outstripped even the most optimistic forecasts. This success was dueto two main factors. First, the tapes included a series of subliminal messagesthat kept customers coming back for more. Second, she had hypnotized andenslaved the head of the world’s most profitable (and extensive) televisionmarketing company. Not surprisingly, the money was rolling in but Stephanie hadsoon discovered that material wealth was not the driving force in her life. Shehad always known (or at least hoped) that there was more to her than a smart,ambitious woman. Wealth was not to be dismissed (it was nice to have a freechoice of homes, cars and holidays) but it was not enough.
She sighed andstared out across her panoramic view of downtown LA. Her room, located at thepinnacle of a suite of offices in one of the city’s most expensive skyscrapers,offered a breathtaking view. ‘Somewhere out there’, she thought, ‘there is thechallenge and the excitement I need’.
Suddenly the soundof a buzzer stirred her from her thoughts. She lent across her desk and presseda small button on her intercom, ‘Yes, Diane?’
‘Stephen is herefor your ten o’clock’.
‘Thanks send himin’.
Several months agoStephanie had seduced Stephen as part of a plot hatched by his unscrupulousbusiness partner. Stephen was now Stephanie’s trusted advisor and his one timepartner was happier than he’d ever been acting as a trouble-shooter in herlegal department. His innate lack of morals made him the perfect person to spotuntrustworthy business approaches (and Stephanie’s hypnotic domination ensuredhis loyalty).
Stephen enteredthe room and naturally waited for Stephanie to signal where she would like himto sit. With a graceful motion of her hand she indicated the large leathersofa. He sat down and began to look through a sheaf of papers that needed herattention.
Stephanie openedthe door and instructed her secretary to hold her calls. Locking the doorbehind her she moved quickly to the sofa and gently placed a hand on Stephen’sforehead:
‘Deep sleep,Stephen, deep asleep now’.
Instantly the execslumped backwards, like a puppet whose strings had been cut without warning.
‘That’s right mydarling’, the hypnotist cooed. ‘Fall deep, deep asleep for me. Deeper… anddeeper… and deeper.’
She smiled as shewatched the exec droop still lower on the sofa, noticing with satisfaction thathis erection now stood proudly (temporarily ruining the cut of his expensivesuit). Stephanie did not often use hypnosis at work. Although every one of heremployees was under her spell, she preferred to run the business as a completelylegitimate enterprise. It was essential to know that she could rely on herpeople one hundred percent, but mostly she reserved hypnosis for specialoccasions when she needed something out of the ordinary or when an employeedeserved a special treat. At this moment she wanted something and the simplestapproach was to address her adviser with total clarity.
Over the next hourshe briefed Stephen on her problem. She wanted to branch out into new areas.Naturally there must be scope for additional income generation but moreimportantly she wanted a new challenge and some mental stimulation. The worldof business was proving dull after years of meeting extraordinarily complex andvaried people through her hypnotherapy practice. In particular, she missed thechallenge of hypnotizing people face-to-face and subtly taking completecontrol. She had an eclectic taste in art, politics and science and felt readyfor something new. The only problem was that she didn’t know what, or where,the solution lay.
Stephen confirmedthat he understood the problem and promised to return with some ideas as soonas possible. Stephanie smiled.
One Week Later
‘Professor Eastmanwill see you now’, the secretary smiled and opened the door for Stephanie.
As Stephanieentered the room she was pleased to see the man rise from his seat to greether: Stephanie always appreciated good manners, and she had found that politemen were the easiest to enslave.
‘Dr Nelson, howkind of you to come in person’, the man announced as he moved to shake handswith the hypnotherapist.
‘Not at allProfessor Eastman. I’m sure the President of a major university like this onehas much more important things to concern him than meeting me.’ Stephaniesmiled and allowed her touch to linger on the Professor’s hand for just amicrosecond longer than he expected.
‘Well,’ theProfessor indicated a couple of plush arm chairs as he spoke, ‘it’s noteveryday that a university – even one as famous as this – gets such a generoussponsorship offer’.
Stephanie smiledand straightened her skirt as she sat, showing just enough leg to raise thetemperature a little. ‘I’m delighted to be able to help, but I do want todiscuss a few things with you first.’
Professor Eastmanlooked puzzled. His financial people had assured him that the deal was settled,Dr Nelson was looking for some ‘scientific’ respectability to go with thefortune she was amassing through instructional self-hypnosis tapes. ‘I, er, Ith- thought things were already agreed?’ he stammered.
‘Well, almost’,Stephanie lent forward a little, ‘but I want to be certain that you understandmy mission and will help in any way that you – and your university – can. Doyou have time for me to explain now? It will only take a short while?’ Shelooked at the phone on the Professor’s desk.
‘Of course, ofcourse’, he said, reaching for the phone and telling his secretary to hold allcalls until further notice.
‘Oh that’swonderful’, Stephanie enthused. ‘You’re so kind’.
‘Not at all’, theProfessor laughed, ‘anything to be of service’.
‘What aninteresting choice of words’, Stephanie smiled and moved over to sit on the armof the Professor’s chair. He was startled by her forwardness but found it apleasant change from the stuffiness of university business. ‘Do you mind if Isit here?’ Stephanie asked, making herself comfortable (and showing even moreof her shapely legs), ‘It’s just that I can explain my mission so much moreclearly if I show you something.’
‘No, not at all’,he lied and loosened his collar. He wasn’t used to be so close to attractivewomen. Now here he was seated in an armchair with a gorgeous millionheiressseated over him. He tried to avoid looking at her legs but then found his eyeswandering over her breasts, which were on the same level as his eyes. He took adeep breath, looked up at Stephanie and smiled as he loosened his collar evenmore.
‘That’s it’,Stephanie observed, ‘you make yourself comfortable while I explain theproblem.’
‘Problem?’ Suddenlythe Professor was worried. He’d been told that this woman wanted to gift agreat deal of money to the university with no strings, but now she was talkingof a problem. He shifted in his seat.
‘Oh it’s not aserious problem, and I’m sure you can help me’. Stephanie’s deep blue eyes madedirect contact with the Professor’s. ‘I… er..’ he tried to clear his thoughtsbut she continued.
‘You see I’ve madea fortune – quite a big fortune – out of hypnosis. And I’d like to givesomething back to the field by sponsoring a whole new centre and researchprogram – here, at your university’.
‘That’s great’,the man announced and once again relaxed.
‘Yes it is, but Iwant you to really understand the work and promise to give me your support’.
‘Well’, heoffered, ‘I’ll do whatever I can to help, of course’.
‘That’s so kind’,Stephanie smiled and lent a little closer, ‘Because most hypnosis research inuniversities is very boring and stuffy.’
‘Really?’ theprofessor tried to feign surprise. To his eyes almost everything inuniversities was boring. He’d once been excited by the promise of newdiscoveries himself, but 20 years as a glorified bureaucrat had erased allenthusiasm.
‘Look at this’,Stephanie reached into her briefcase and produced a thick sheaf of printedpapers. She lent down a little and held them out for the professor to read thetop sheet. He glanced at her cleavage and the just-visible edge of her whitesilky bra before locking his eyes on the title page:
STANFORD HYPNOTIC SUSCEPTIBILITY SCALE,FORM C
Andre M. Weitzenhoffer &Ernest R. Hilgard
Modified by John F. Kihlstrom
‘Stanford’, the Professor repeated.
‘Yes, one of yourmain competitors I believe’, observed Stephanie. ‘You see this has been astandard of academic hypnosis studies for more than 30 years now. But I thinkit needs livening up – bringing into the Twenty-first Century’.
The professor raised a curious eyebrow.
‘Let me show you’,Stephanie flicked forward a few pages, ‘Look, here’s where the document reallygets going. At this point, the hypnotist is trying to build rapport with thepatient’. She moved her finger to the top of the text and began reading aloud,moving her finger beneath the text as she went:
INDUCTION BY EYE CLOSURE
Do you see the black pin up on the wall over there?
Stephanielooked at the professor and broke off to explain, ‘You see they place a pin inthe wall and have the patient stare at that spot. Then they go through thiscomplicated explanation’. She looked back at the page and resumed her reading.Automatically Eastman turned his attention back to the page and the movingfingertip, tracing the words before his eyes:
I am going to refer to that pinas the "target". What I would like you to do is to relax in thechair, look steadily at the target, and listen to my voice. Meanwhile, I'llgive you some instructions that will help you to relax and focus your attentioneven more, and
gradually enter a state ofhypnosis.
‘Well’, Stephanieannounced, ‘calling something a target is so clinical. It’s cold, don’t youthink?’
The professorlooked up at her. ‘Yes, I suppose it is’.
‘Of course it is’,Stephanie’s voice took on a friendly tone, as if she was not only agreeing withhim but also congratulating him on his perception. She looked back at the pageand began reading again, all the while tracing her words with her brightlypainted red nail:
"Please look steadily at the target and while staring at it keep listening tomy words. You can become hypnotized if you are willing to do what I ask you to,and if you concentrate on the target and on what I say. You have already shownyour willingness by coming here today, and so I am assuming that your presencehere means that you want to experience all that you can. You can be hypnotizedonly if you want to be. There would be no point in participating if youwere resisting being hypnotized."
‘You see this is pointless, I think’, she observed the man slowly move his gaze from herfinger to her face. ‘All this talk about being willing to be hypnotized… Ifyou’re sitting there listening to her talking and doing as she says, well ofcourse you’re not resisting. Are you?’
The professor shook his head. He wasn’t really sure what point Stephaniewas making but with a sponsorship deal on the line he felt it was best toagree. He didn’t realise that her previous sentences had subtly suggested thatthe hypnotist would be female, let alone that he had already been cast in therole of willing patient:
"Just do your best to concentrate on the target, to pay close attention to my words,and let happen whatever you feel is going to take place."
Stephanie continued to look at the page and trace the words with her finger, but shebegan to slow her pace and lower her voice a little. The changes were verygradual but she knew their effect would be potent.
"Just let yourself go. Pay close attention to what I ask you to think about; if your mindwanders bring your thoughts back to the target and my words, and you can easilyexperience more of what it is like to be hypnotized."
Stephanie was pleased to see the mansinking a little lower in his chair, his eyes constantly fixed on her finger asit traced the words and acted as his moving ‘target’.
"You know already that hypnosis is perfectly normal and natural, and followsfrom the conditions of attention and suggestion we are using together. It is chiefly amatter of focusing sharply on some particular thing. Sometimes you experiencesomething very much like hypnosis when driving along a straight highway and youare oblivious to the landmarks along the road. The relaxation in hypnosis is verymuch like the first stages of falling asleep, but you will not really be asleep in theordinary sense because you will continue to hear my voice and be able to directyour thoughts to the topics I suggest. Hypnosis is a little like sleepwalking,because the person is not quite awake, but can still do many of the things thatpeople do when they are awake. What I want from you is merely your willingness togo along and to let happen whatever is about to happen. Most people find hypnosisto be an interesting experience."
‘Now this is much more like it’, she smiled at the man, ‘this is emphasizing how pleasurablehypnosis can be.’ The man raised his eyebrows, he’d never thought of hypnosis aspleasurable and, to be honest, he hadn’t been paying close attention to whatshe was saying. Until Dr Nelson’s advisor made contact a few days ago he didn’teven realise that the university did any work on the subject at all.
‘Oh yes,’ Stephanie affirmed, ‘Hypnosis can be very pleasurable. It is awonderful, sleepy, sexy kind of feeling…’
Her finger retraced the last few lines:
"What I want from you is merelyyour willingness to go along and to let happen whatever is about to happen.Most people find hypnosis to be an interesting experience."
Eastman focusedback on the words. This was not a usual meeting and he wasn’t sure what he wassupposed to be doing. His room was hot in the mid-afternoon sunshine and thecloseness of this beautiful woman had raised the temperature still further. Nowshe was droning on about this Stanford thing… she seemed to want to read thewhole thing to me. She seemed to take it all very seriously – even pointing outeach individual word – but he was finding it hard to concentrate. He remindedhimself of the sponsorship deal that he was clinching and decided to playalong. If she wanted to show him this document that was fine. He’d pretend toread along – just following her fingernail – and maybe he could sneak anotherpeak at her breasts.
‘But at this point it gets really confusing’, Stephanie announced, drawing the man’s attentionfrom the script and back to her face.
He stared at her,not understanding the question.
She looked back at the page and indicatedthe next section of printed instructions:
Special Instructions Concerning Eye Closure
- If eyes remain open, go to Instruction 0(2).
- If eyes close, go to Instruction 0'(2') and continue through 0'(7').
As soon as eyes close, terminate sentence appropriately, then say:
"You are comfortably relaxed, but you aregoing to relax much more, much more. Your eyes are now closed. Just keep youreyes closed until I ask you to open them or to wake up."
‘You see’, she explained, ‘what happensnow depends on you. If your eyes were closed I’m supposed to read out thissection, “You are comfortably relaxed.” But your eyes are open, so I’m supposedto move ahead to a different section.’
She flipped forward to the relevantsection and read out loud, a little more slowly… and seductively:
"Now take it easy and just let yourself relax. Keep looking at the target assteadily as you can, thinking only of it and my words. If your eyes drift away, don'tlet that bother you.... Just focus again on the target. Pay attention to how thetarget changes, how the shadows play around it, how it is sometimes fuzzy,sometimes clear. Whatever you see is all right. Just give way to whatever comesinto your mind, but keep staring at the target a little longer. After a while, however,you will have stared long enough, and your eyes will feel very tired, and you willwish strongly that they were closed. Then they will close, as if by themselves.When this happens, just let it happen."
Stephanie took a long deep breath.Eastman followed suit, his eyes fixed on Stephanie’s finger as it retraced thelast sentences again, even more slowly this time:
"Just give way to whatever comes into yourmind, but keep staring at the target a little longer. After a while, however,you will have stared long enough, and your eyes will feel very tired, and youwill wish strongly that they were closed. Then they will close, as if bythemselves. When this happens, just let it happen."
Stephanie let out a little yawn and moved down to the next set of instructions:
- If eyes remain open, go to Instruction 0(3).
- If eyes close, go to Instruction 0'(2') and continue through 0'(7').
As soon as eyes close, terminate sentence appropriately, then say:"You are comfortably relaxed, but you are going to relax much more, much more."
‘Ooooppps, silly me. I got lost there. Iwas supposed to move ahead again. If your eyes were closed I’d tell you thatyou are comfortably relaxed…. Very deeply relaxed…’, she smiled at the man, whosmiled back at her vacantly. ‘But your eyes are still open… so I’m supposed togo down…. Down to the next level… ’
As she said the word ‘down’ her finger drew Eastman’s eyes back down toward the next sheet ofpaper:
"Now take it easy and just let yourself relax. Don't be tense. Just listencarefully to my voice. If your thoughts wander away from it, that is all right, but justbring your attention back to it. Sometimes my voice may seem to change a little, orsound as if it were coming from far off. That is all right. If you begin to get sleepier,that will be fine, too. Whatever happens, accept it, and just keep listening to myvoice as you become more and more relaxed. More and more relaxed. Just listenand relax. Whatever you feel is happening, just let it happen."
Eastman’s head wastitled forward slightly, almost resting his chin on his chest and forcing himto look upwards in order to keep the words in sight. Every word he heard, everymovement of Stephanie’s fingertip, put more and more pressure on his rapidlyexhausted eyesight.
"Relax more and more. As you think of relaxing, your muscles will relax.Starting with your right foot, relax themuscles of your right leg.... Now the musclesof your left leg.... Just relax all over.Relax your right hand, your forearm, upperarm, and shoulder.... That's it.... Nowyour left hand.... And forearm and upperarm.... And shoulder. Relax your neck, andchest.... More and more relaxed....Completely relaxed."
Stephanie wasn’t sure whether Eastman wasactually following along with the progressive muscle relaxation but he showedno signs of looking away from her mesmerizing finger as her silken voicewrapped its magical blanket around him:
"As you become relaxed your body will feelsort of heavy or perhapsnumb. You will begin to have this feelingof numbness or heaviness in your legsand feet.... In your hands and arms....Throughout your body.... As though youwere settling deep into the chair. Thechair is strong; it will hold your heavy body asit feels heavier and heavier. Your eyelidsfeel heavy, too, heavy and tired. You arebeginning to feel drowsy and sleepy. Youare breathing freely and deeply, freelyand deeply. You are getting more and moresleepy and drowsy. Your eyelids arebecoming heavier, more and more tired andheavy."
Eastman’s eyes automatically followedStephanie’s finger as she moved slowly down the script – occasionally drawinghis eyes back up to repeat a line, then dropping them down again to the nextsection:
"heavier and heavier. Your eyelids feel heavy ….., too, heavy and tired. You arebeginning to feel drowsy and sleepy."
‘Sleepy…..Drowsy….’ Stephanie glanced at the professor and was pleased to see his eyelidsdrooping as he struggled against their weight. He was unaware of anythingexcept her words. His eyes simply followed her fingertip, reading the words atthe same time that her silky voice floated softly into his subconscious mind,all the while lulling his conscious mind into a deepening trance.
"You are breathing freely and deeply,freely and deeply. You are getting more and more sleepy and drowsy. Youreyelids are becoming heavier, more and more tired and heavy."
Stephanie flicked forward another couple of pages:
"Staring at the target so long has madeyour eyes very tired. Your eyesmay hurt a little and your eyelids feelvery heavy. Soon you will no longer be able tokeep your eyes open. You will have stoodthe discomfort long enough; your eyesare tired from staring, and your eyelidswill feel too tired to remain open. Your eyesare becoming moist from the strain. Youare becoming more and more drowsy andsleepy."
‘More and more drowsy…. More and more sleepy.’ Stephanie added to the printed text andknew that every word was taking Eastman deeper under her spell.
"The strain in your eyes is getting greaterand greater. It would be a reliefjust to let your eyes close and to relaxcompletely, to relax completely. You willsoon have strained enough; the strain willbe so great that you will welcome youreyes closing of themselves, of themselves."
Stephanie’s voice grew even more seductive as another page turned:
"You are relaxed, very relaxed. By lettingyourself go you can become even more relaxed. You can reach a state of deeper,more complete relaxation. You are becoming increasingly drowsy and sleepy."
"There is a pleasant feeling of numbness and heaviness throughout your body. You begin to feel so relaxed, sosleepy. It is easier to bring back your thoughts from other things and toattend only to my voice. Soon you will just listen sleepily to my voice, as youbecome more and more deeply relaxed."
‘Yes… that’sright, just listen sleepily to my voice… and grow more and more deeply relaxed.Deeply relaxed.’
"Your eyes are tired and your eyelids feelvery heavy. Your whole bodyfeels heavy and relaxed. You feel apleasant warm tingling throughout your body asyou get more and more tired and sleepy.Sleepy. Drowsy. Drowsy and sleepy.Keep your thoughts on what I am saying;listen to my voice. Your eyes are gettingblurred from straining. You can hardly seethe target, your eyes are so strained.The strain is getting greater, greater andgreater, greater and greater."
Eastman’s head jerked a little, almost as if he was wakingfrom a day-dream, but his eyes remained fixed on Stephanie’s bright red nail asit descended to the next paragraph:
"Your eyelids are heavy. Very heavy.Getting heavier and heavier, heavierand heavier. They are pushing down, down,down. Your eyelids seem weightedand heavy, pulled down by the weight....So heavy.... Your eyes are blinking,blinking.... Closing, closing"
As Eastman’s eyesfinally closed Stephanie felt that familiar, deep rush of pleasure that alwaysaccompanied a successful enslavement. She loved hypnotizing people, butthe biggest thrill was to take them covertly or against their will. And now sheknew that she had the President of the university at her command. She thoughtabout all the possibilities that the university offered: all those scientists,the facilities, the students. She wasn’t sure precisely what she would do witha university at her disposal, but she knew it would be magnificent. Firstthough, she needed to complete Eastman’s training. Having used the Stanfordscript to seduce him, she decided that its deepening sequence would alsosuffice for her purposes. It would be all the more powerful because it retainedthe pretence of the innocent hypnotic induction happening by accident as sheread to Eastman. However, now that he wasn’t following along word-by-word, shewas free to depart from the set script as she wished.
"You now feel very relaxed, butyou are going to become even more relaxed It is easier to relax now that your eyes are closed. Please keep themclosed until I ask you to open them or until I ask you to wake up....You feelpleasantly drowsy and sleepy asyou continue to listen to my voice. Just keep yourthoughts on what I am saying. You are going to get much more drowsy and sleepy.Soon you will be deep asleep but you will have no trouble hearing me. You will notwake up until I ask you to...."
Stephanie foundthe relevant part of the script and settled in the second armchair. Eastman wasslumped with his head forward, his chest rising and falling with every deep,long breath. He was already in a deep trance but the hypnotist knew that shecould take him even deeper. She looked at the relevant page and began:
‘Soon I shall begin to count from 1 to 20. As I count you will feelyourself going down, farther and farther, deeper and deeper into a deep restfulsleep.
Yes, a deep restful sleep just for me. But you will still be able to dothe sorts of things I ask you to do without waking up.... One... You aregoing to go more deeply asleep.... Two... Down, down into a deep, soundsleep.... Three, Four... More and more asleep.... Five, Six, Seven...You are sinking into a deep, deep sleep. Nothing will disturbyou.... You hear only my voice. You are sleeping deeply, listening only to me,and waiting for your next command.
It’s so easy to do as I say. It feels wonderful to do as I suggest. Nowgo deeper with Eight, Nine, deeper and deeper asleep for me.Ten... Halfway there.... Always deeper asleep....Eleven, Twelve, Thirteen Fourteen, Fifteen... Although deep asleepyou can hear me clearly. You will always hear me distinctly no matter how deeplyasleep you are.
Sixteen, Seventeen, Eighteen... Deep asleep, fast asleep.
Nothing will disturb you. You are going to experience many things I will ask you toexperience.... Nineteen, Twenty... Deep asleep. Deep sleep.Sleeping deeply in hypnosis for me, and only for me.’
Stephanie smiled at the enchanted exec. His university was about to become so much moreexciting.