A number of years ago I attended a theater where the emcee introduced a hypnotist and asked the audience for volunteers to come up onstage to be hypnotized. The hypnotist spoke to each person briefly, then dismissed the majority of volunteers, leaving only four people. When the emcee asked why he had dismissed the others, his reply was, “I cannot hypnotize anyone. I just throw out some suggestions, and the volunteers either accept them or reject them.”
The hypnotist put the four volunteers under a mesmeric trance and had them do silly things that amused the audience. Then he dismissed three of the volunteers but retained one man. After again putting the man in a trance, the hypnotist told him and the audience that he was going to have the worst toothache he would ever have. Immediately the man’s jaw started to swell as if he had a ping-pong ball in his cheek. He started to run around the stage screaming in pain, with tears running down his face, while the audience laughed uncontrollably.
The hypnotist motioned for silence and said, “You think this is very funny, don’t you? This man couldn’t have a worse toothache if he really had one!” He then snapped his fingers, and the man’s jaw went back to normal. The hypnotist told him he would not remember a thing, thanked him for his participation, and asked him to return to the audience.