Tag Archives: NEEHU

NEEHU6: Part 2- The Wrath of Uncon

NEEHU6: Part Two: The Wrath of Uncon

 

Or

 

Ethics, Schmethics

We drove out from near Manchester, New Hampshire to Hartford in what felt like record time. I had a class that I was co-teaching with Mephki, founder and commander of the NEEHU Empire, but I may have misread the schedule (and by “may have” I mean, I did) so we wound up arriving well in advance of the class.

It was good to be back in the Society.

The playground was pretty much how I remembered it. The main difference seemed to be that, instead of the pale undecorated walls there had been last year, the walls had been painted red and orange, and it gave it a bit of pleasant, sultry ambience. But in any event, the feeling that surrounded me as I entered was the feeling that I was coming home; I saw so many people I had spent time with last year and at the various –ehus as I walked in. I felt immediately comfortable and in my own element. It was fantastic and heartwarming.

Being early at least allowed me to attend a class on “Overcoming Resistance,” which was a fun demo class taught by the erudite LeadPrism and the clever and gorgeous SashasTrance. Largely they focused on when the subjects “pretend” to resist, and ways to circumvent or have fun with that kind of resistance play. Part of it was to feed into the fantasy so many of us share of having our will overcome by a skilled hypnotist. Some of it is (and I think I’m actually giving away secrets, so my Subjects Card may get revoked) that we subjects like the attention hypnotists give us, and resisting means that the hypnotist will be paying that much more attention to us. It’s a little bit like the “brat” paradigm in some BDSM relationships.

[The “brat” paradigm occurs where certain submissives will “act up”– perhaps by deliberately disobeying a command, perhaps just by deliberately making the dominant work harder for something, or perhaps by something else—in order to get punished by the dominant. Essentially, the brat is goading the dominant. Some people love the dynamic, because it injects a certain level of fun and change into the relationship. On the other hand, some people can’t stand it, in part because on a certain level, the power exchange originates with the brat—the brat acts out to initiate the punishment, the punishment isn’t devised at the behest or whim of the dominant.]

In any event, resistance play can be a tool by subjects to draw more attention from the hypnotist. Other times it can serve as a tool for a role-play scene. LeadPrism and SashasTrance enjoy doing interrogation scenes, particularly mad scientist scenes. So practicing and playing with “resistance” is central to that kind of play.

The demos were fun and hot, and the questions and discussions were likewise on point and informative. I felt like the weekend was already off to a great start.

Right after that was the first of three classes that I was helping to present that day.

The first class of the day for me was “Intro to NEEHU 101.” For this class, Mephki and I went over the history of NEEHU and gave first-timers an overview of what to expect from the weekend and how to get the most out of their experiences. Part of the point of the class is also to emphasize the need for all the participants to take care of themselves. We try to remind them to get enough sleep, drink plenty of fluids, and watch themselves if or when they might suffer from “con drop” after the weekend. We also reinforced general ethical criteria, emphasizing the need for consent from subjects and hypnotists alike. We answered questions and led a general discussion. I was very gratified that people seemed engaged and enthusiastic about the event and the outline that Mephki and I provided.

The second class for me was Hypnotic Amnesia with LeeAllure. This was a repeat of a class we had done at MEEHU and WEEHU, and is based on the book the two of us have been working on. I’d like to say I can remember most of it, but I, frankly and not at all ironically, have dim recollections of what we did. (It worked!) I know we spoke about some of the techniques we used, as well as demonstrating a few of the games we’ve played with amnesia.

I’m pretty sure she had me demonstrate our “special water” game. This is a variant on the Merovingian scene from the Matrix: Reloaded, where a chocolate is given to a woman which produces an orgasmic effect on the woman who immediately forgets about it. For my part, Lee has given me a post-hypnotic trigger that, when she calls whatever I’m drinking the “Special Water,” I have a feeling of an orgasm with every sip…. And then I forget that I had the orgasm. The lingering effect, however, is that I feel thirsty… which of course makes me drink more water. I am told that it can be very entertaining to watch. People again seemed engaged and fascinated by the overall topic.

The third class was the Ethics Roundtable, which was billed as a panel discussion with HypnoMaestro, Sleepingirl and myself. I say that we were billed as a panel discussion because there was apparently some miscommunication wherein HypnoMaestro was under the impression that he was the moderator of the discussion. This turned out to be fine, just not what I expected. In any event, the class had a robust and frank exchange of views, with HypnoMaestro giving what he described as the “State of the Union of Hypnotic Ethics for NEEHU.” He recounted a progression from the first time ethics was discussed at NEEHU where the central question was actually “Do we need ethics?” to today, where-by the end of the class- the question seemed to be “What Sort of Ethics Should We Have?” Which leads me to the following tangent, which might be boring to some of you, so please feel free to skip ahead where there will be some sexy bits.

Tangent: Pynchon Pontificates on Hypno-Ethics…. Again.

One of the suggestions I made at the class was that the –ehu’s should individually impose as close to a mandatory orientation/ethics class for new attendees as reasonably possible.

What surprised me more than any other thing I witnessed was that several people were adamant that this was a bad idea. Why? The only reason I heard (or remember being given) was that it was because people don’t learn when it’s mandatory.

Let me state for the record (he said, pounding on the podium) that I think it’s a terrible, terrible idea not to have “mandatory” ethics/orientation classes.

[I put “mandatory” in quotes because a small, privately-operated convention would simply not have the resources to investigate whether someone was attending an –ehu for the first time. Therefore, there would really be no way to strictly enforce a “mandatory” ethics/orientation class requirement. So when I say “mandatory,” what I mean to say is that the –ehu has a statement that says something to the effect of “New attendees are strongly encouraged to attend this class for their own safety, knowledge and enjoyment.”]

If, in fact, it is the case that a clueless hypnotist or subject can cause damage whether through neglect or ignorance, then it seems a no-brainer (if you’ll pardon the pun) to have such a mandatory class. I’m led to believe that every state in the US (and most countries around the world) requires people to attend classes before earning a driver’s license. Is the idea that such classes are boring a reason to jettison the notion of requiring such classes?

To the retort that “such classes create the illusion of safety, which cannot be guaranteed” (which I have heard as a partial justification for not having such classes) I would counter that driver’s-ed classes are likewise no “guarantee” of safety, yet few would deny that, on balance, the existence of such classes makes the world and the highways safer.

And finally, to the retort that “mandatory classes are boring,” I suppose that just makes it a challenge to those who would teach it to make it more interesting and fascinating to the class. As I pointed out in the discussion, my “Subjects 102” class is really 2/3 about ethics and setting boundaries. It’s merely incumbent on discussion facilitators to be more enticing, and to fold ethics discussions into their standard classes.

I’d also point out that it’s not unheard of for kink-related organizations to require people to attend one or more munches and/or orientation classes before being allowed to attend play-parties, so there is a track-record of such requirements.

And with that, I get to hop down from my soap-box.

The rest of the discussion was, for me, really interesting, because it felt like everyone was taking the topic seriously, had strong views, and was respecting everyone else’s opinion. More importantly, it did not devolve into a shouting match, nor did I get the sense that anyone’s feelings were hurt. If only all of life’s important dilemmas could be conversed about so easily. The conversation continued onto Fetlife, and took on its own life (as one would imagine). Many conversations centered on the question of what ethics in hypnosis should look like, why or whether EH should have an ethical code separate and/or distinct from any other kink-related activity, and what enforcement should (or shouldn’t) look like.

Directly afterwards, a group of our friends had a meeting to discuss our “Consensual-Non-Consent (“CNC”)” game. The methodology behind the game was that anyone involved was given a gold or a red-colored necklace. The red-color meant that you were a “bottom,” while the gold meant you were a top. (Switches would wear both necklaces.) Each of us wrote down our limits on a post-it we stuck to the back of our name-tag. Otherwise, anyone with a red necklace could do anything to a person with a gold necklace as long as each was wearing the necklace (and within the parameters of the limits). This essentially meant that there were shenanigans throughout the weekend with our extended troupe of marauders.

After that class, and our little meeting, I admit, I was a little beat. We made our way back to the hotel where HYS, Lee’s slave, had put our luggage away. We rested for a bit, got changed and then headed back to the Society for play-time.

The first order of business once we got back was for me to find WildNutmeg and tackle her…. Wait. No. Actually, it was to bring her into the back room, where we had volunteered to help out with dual inductions. Wiseguy and Mrs. Wiseguy were the ostensible coordinators, but I gather from his blog that Mrs. Wiseguy was busy all day and the two of them did not reach the Society until quite late, so Nutmeg and I were on our own at first.

We did a couple of inductions, including a beautiful one with Unidragon in which we had her envisioning herself flying and soaring into the air and into a trance and in an out of several hypnotic orgasms. It was great to see how Nutmeg and I worked together doing something that we hadn’t actually practiced. We had established an incredible rapport at Deep Mind Dark Wood (for reasons which I’m working on explaining in a separate blog) and it was wonderful to see that rapport continue. We fell into sync very easily. We did a few more, and then Lee volunteered to sit between us.

We did our darndest to take her into a trance. But apparently at some point I happened on the phrase “it’s such a good feeling.” It turns out that when I happen on a phrase I like, I repeat it. Which was unfortunate, because Lee flashed back to Mister Rogers singing “It’s a good feeling,” which was decidedly unsexy.

Nevertheless, Lee forgave me, because she immediately turned the tables on us, and did a very quick double trance on Nutmeg and I. I…actually don’t remember everything she told us. Shortly thereafter, she was off to do a scheduled group trance and Nutmeg was asked by Wiseguy to do some dual trances with him and Mrs. Wiseguy.

Before too long, it was time for Lee and I to do a demo. We had decided on a hypno-interrogation scene, much like the one she and I had done at MEEHU. This time Nutmeg was invited to join us. Nutmeg and I conferred, and chose a “secret code,” which is what Lee would attempt to get out of us. We decided on the first 6 numbers of the Fibonacci sequence: 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8. Where I had the first three numbers (1,1,2) and Nutmeg got the last three (3,5,8). Almost immediately I realized my mistake: Nutmeg, having the second group, would almost certainly wait for me to break, before she did. So I wouldn’t have the joy of watching her break first.

Lee went after us using a variety of hypnotic, NLP, and other techniques. It should be noted that I can be a little mouthy in these situations. So I might say things like, “If I confess will you stop boring us?” “You really are a bitch, aren’t you?”, and the classic, “Fuck off!” There was slapping, some hair pulling, and one point where she stood on my thigh in her high heel shoes. Surprisingly, this did not lead to a bruise. (This will be important later.)

She played us off against each other beautifully, playing to our sympathies for each other (Though when Lee told Nutmeg she’d torture me in front of her, Nutmeg offered to help a little too eagerly, thank you very much.). She also “injected” us with a drug that made us susceptible and suggestible. She played on our rapport, telling us that each would feel what the other was feeling, as she pressed down on the place on my thigh where her heel had been.

Between the language, the physicality and the atmosphere, I was definitely soon in the mind space that I would give her what she wanted. I tried to hide breaking, by telling her that it was “First a matter of telling the truth, First a matter of not lying, and Second something to pay attention to.” But before long I told her. And then Nutmeg “broke,” as well. The shame of it was that Lee (like me) does not have a “loud” voice. And much of the interrogation was more intense than boisterous, so a lot of our scene was lost on the people watching it. Nevertheless, we had a great time.

The three of us retired to the “pillow fort” built in the corner of the play room. We laid about and talked about the scene. After a while, Lee lured us into yet another trance, playing once again on our rapport. She made the pleasure of the trance I was feeling reverberate off of Nutmeg, which reverberated off of me, and so forth, until pretty soon, the two of us were a bit of a writhing display on either side of Lee. Lee also may have used her rather fetching spiral-ish-threaded stockings as the basis for a trance, but there’s a certain point at which things got a little blurry.

Lee got up for a while, and Fleur sat down. Fleur wants to note that I did, in fact “drag her to the pillow fort by her hair.” In my defense <cough, cough> I don’t recall any actual “dragging.” But it’s entirely possible I was in such a fantastic top space that some entirely hot and consensual “dragging” may have occurred. Some people just like being treated like a puppet… Or a poppet. I had worked with Fleur a little bit before, and I had an idea. So, with their permission, I put both Fluer and Nutmeg in a trance at the same time, and gave them both the same post-hypnotic suggestion, which was loosely based on a video series called “Hysterical Literature.” Go ahead, look it up on Youtube, I’ll still be here when you’re done.

In those videos, a woman sits at a desk, fully clothed, and reads from a book. As she does so, someone underneath applies a vibrator to her and builds her to an orgasm, as the woman attempts to keep her composure for as long as possible.

In my variant, I gave the Fleur and Nutmeg the post-hypnotic suggestion that anytime I read something to them, they would feel the words I was saying on their private parts, as if the very consonants and vowels were-ahem- strumming over them.

Shortly thereafter, I tested it by reading one of the stories I had published on Tumblr to Fleur. It was a major success. She held herself up against a wall as I, very simply, read the story to her. A few minutes later, I tried the same thing with Nutmeg. Once again, it worked. There’s a fantastic feeling in having someone literally writhing. On. Your. Every. Word.

In the middle of this, ZanyM came by and watched the scenes. I explained in detail what was happening with Fleur and Nutmeg. She was in a bit of a suggestible state, and as I set the scene, I saw that brief enchanting flutter of the eyes that indicate that the brain is accepting new commands. Before long she leaned into me, and I started reading to her… and it worked on her. It’s one of the beauties of fractionation that one can find ones’ self in such a suggestible state. I read her the same story, all the way through, and watched admiringly as she felt every single word. I was so pleased with the moment; that the evening had coalesced in three scenes, each filled with incomparable magic and beauty. I am still so speechless with how wonderfully ZanyM captured the moment from her perspective in her blog.

Sometime after this, Lee, HYS, Lee’s puppet, and I went to dinner. We wound up at our shared hotel room and chatted with ZanyM for a little while. ZanyM was gracious enough to do some of her lovely body work on me, which I greatly appreciated and left me in good stead to be energized and well for the rest of the weekend.

ZanyM’s partner, DrDream, came by, and we all gossiped and discussed our general plans for the weekend.

Shortly afterwards, exhausted after a long, long day of excitement, intrigue, and fun, we collapsed into our beds.

NEXT TIME: Class! Another Class! Yet another class!! Fun classes! All the classes!!! The future of –EHUs!!! Hypno-oh-Oh-OH! Pynchon is approached! Pynchon is approachable?? Dinner!

NEEHU6 Blog and Trip Report: Part One: The Voyage Home

The Voyage Home

Or

Traces and Places of Home, Back in New York City

To begin with NEEHU, I have to backtrack to a few days before.

But before I do that, I need to fast-forward to today. As I begin this blog, I’m somewhere South of Cleveland, twenty-thousand feet in the air. I am exhausted, but exhilarated. My weekend this year was even better than the one last year. I wouldn’t say it was more life-changing, but then again, I didn’t know at the time that last year’s NEEHU would prove to change everything for me. I also just received a lovely email from someone saying that their experience this last weekend changed their life. In my somewhat fractionated, somewhat tired, somewhat open state, I freely admit that the email had me sobbing. Great, big, ugly sobs.

And so I get to begin writing, telling, as much as I can, about how I experienced this NEEHU.

But as I said, to begin that story, I have to go back a few days before the “Unconference” itself. When I decided to return to NEEHU (not that it was particularly a tough decision) my friend ZanyM suggested that I come out and teach a class in New York City a few days before. Now it just so happened that the day I would arrive to teach the class was also the day Lee was to return to the States from a month-long trip in Europe spreading the gospel of erotic hypnosis.

After some coordination, it was decided. I would teach the Subjects 102 class I had taught already at WEEHU and at a special class for the San Francisco hypno-group. Travel arrangements were made, tickets were purchased, and I prepped myself for the trek.

The class itself is really a basic class for subjects to offer tips on how to define and develop boundaries and limits, how to work towards asking for the trances and experiences they want, and how to behave ethically in the community.

Tangent- On Ethics in the Erotic Hypnosis Community.

This topic is one I imagine I’ll be returning to over and over again in this blog and in however long I stay in the community (hopefully a long, long time). And for some of you out there, particularly the more vanilla readers, you may very well wonder why there is any sort of issue with ethics in the Erotic Hypnosis (“EH”) world.

To talk about this I should (once again) take a step back and give some context. Having ethical standards isn’t just important in the related BDSM community; it’s essential. Consider that hitting someone hard (whether with your hand or an implement) is generally considered assault and battery. But what makes it all right in the BDSM community? Consent and assumption of risk. If I ask someone to slap me across the face, I have consented to the resulting slap. This is why, for example, boxers do not get arrested for their actions in the ring, or why you are unlikely to be able to sue someone if you get injured by a fair tackle in a pick-up tackle football or soccer game (or why you can’t accuse someone of assault if they foul you in a basketball game). By participating in your chosen sport you have implicitly consented to a degree of touching, hitting, jostling or what-have-you.

But with BDSM this can be problematic. For one thing, several states claim that you cannot consent to what I understand lawyers call an “intentional tort,” like punching. In other words, no matter how much someone says “punch me” out loud and with sober intent, you cannot, in fact, punch them in that State. In other states, consent is a defense. Great. But how do you establish consent? Well, it becomes imperative to negotiate that consent. But, as I’m sure you may be noticing, surely someone can take advantage of this state of affairs; it seems like it would be relatively easy to assault someone in a BDSM arena and claim “oh, I thought I had consent.” Almost certainly you then have a “he said/she said” (mix genders as appropriate) situation. And one need only Google “rape culture” to see how these sorts of conflicts play out in the world or in the justice system.

As one can imagine, it is rare for people who have experienced consent violations in the BDSM community to go to the local authorities. Given how many people are uncomfortable with the idea of kink, many people understand that to go to the authorities could result in the loss of their job or worse. (It should also be noted that, while a “consent violation” is a bad thing, not all consent violations are treated the same: accidentally having a slip of a tongue and calling someone something they didn’t say they’d appreciate is far different from leaning over and punching someone while they’re in the middle of a scene with someone else. Neither is a good thing, both are to be avoided, but each is a separate issue and should be handled differently.)

But DJ, I hear you asking, are there any special issues with regards to EH play involving these things? Why yes, gentle reader, yes there are. You see, much of the fantasies involving EH typically spiral around the idea of losing your control to another person. Many of us look for that person who will overcome our will power and “make us do these things we don’t [really] want to do.” In short, it’s practically a whole arena predicated on the fantasy of consent violations.

How the hell do you police that?

So my class was developed to try to get subjects to consciously (heh) think about their limits and boundaries ahead of time, so that they don’t (whether inadvertently or predatorily) get seduced into something they may not be comfortable with at that time. And what’s rather remarkable, is that in talking to recreational hypnotists, they’ve said, almost uniformly, that having a subject who can set boundaries and say no, even under trance, makes them more comfortable working with that subject. Think about that.

In any event, it’s a topic I’ll be returning to here and there throughout this blog, I imagine.

I arrived in NYC, met Lee (who had arrived about an hour earlier at the same airport) and headed for some martinis and some appetizers at a very good Thai place just around the corner from the class.

I confess I was nervous. It is one thing for me to teach a class in San Francisco, effectively my second hometown, and to do it at the request of people who had sat in on my class and could assess whether it was something worthwhile. It was quite another to have friends—who had never actually been in the class—essentially stick their necks out for me and vouch for my relative qualities as a teacher. I really did not want to let them down.

With all of that said, it really seemed to go over well. The Eulenspiegel Society, a fantastic organization, generously allowed me to teach at their TES Hypnokink and Novice SIG (“Special Interest Group”) for about 90 minutes. It was a nice crowd and there were some fantastic questions (except for the fellow who may have been confused as to the nature of the class being geared towards subjects as opposed to hypnotists. But that person did arrive late-or else, in my jet-lagged state, I misunderstood the question.).

The second half of the class was given over to open discussion, which I also found very gratifying and informative.

(I can’t tell you much of the details since such discussions are generally considered private so as to create a safe space for open discussion. Please imagine that I answered questions wonderfully and masterfully and that will be far enough from the truth to protect the integrity of the event.)

Also—technically speaking, I can now say I performed off-Broadway.

A group of us then went out for a quick bite and then Lee and I crashed at ZanyMo and DrDream’s place. Special thanks to both of them for being such fantastic hosts and friends. Somehow, despite me being on Pacific Time and Lee being on British Standard time, we all went to bed at around the same time.

The next morning, Lee and I went to Penn Station and then boarded the train for her place up in New Hampshire. Although NEEHU does more or less start on Thursday night with pre-parties and hot tubbing at the hotel, Lee wanted to go home for at least one night before the weekend, and I was happy to accompany her to prep for the classes we’d be co-presenting. Plus, riding on a train with “your own private hypnotist” for a few hours is pretty cool, and I’m not one to look gift-horses in mouths.

But even on top of that, there was the fact that there is a lovely symmetry in spending the day with Lee. Faithful readers may remember that when I arrived at NEEHU, at the pool, at the hotel, Lee trance tackled me and gave me my first ever live trance. It was the culmination of a day that changed my life (and it’s only gotten better from there). So spending the same Thursday-one year later- with Lee only made sense.

After the train we took a bus for the remainder of the trip, which is where I wrote the “Prologue” blog.

We spent the remainder of the day and night getting various items together and hatching plans, as well as meeting up with people who’d be traveling with us to the site.

As, perhaps you can tell, I was excited to return to NEEHU. I was also slightly nervous—would it be as fantastic the second time around?

I mean, can you ever really go home again?

NEXT TIME—Classes! More Classes! Three hours straight of classes! Why do I volunteer for these things? Subjects 102 contains a whole section on saying “no,” why can’t I do that, too? And, of course, catching up with “old” friends.

30) Fitful sleeps

31) My first munch..

NEEHU 6: Prologue: The Undiscovered Country

“Bring Him Home”

or

Six Unconferences and a Movie

Somewhere over Utah, it hit me.

I was going back to the start.

Was it only last year? It feels in so many ways like it was only yesterday that I was thrown from the saddle of my usual life. When I decided to take the plunge and check out the New England Erotic Hypnosis Unconference (“NEEHU”). When I decided to attend my first kink convention. When I decided to embrace a part of me that I had only fed in fits and starts. When my then-job helped by laying me off mere hours before I was to leave. When my wife straight up told me to go, despite the layoff, because the plane ticket and the NEEHU ticket were already paid for, and I’d otherwise just mope about the house all weekend. When, in so many ways, my life began.

In that time: I have traveled across the country (counts on hands) four times after decades where I couldn’t be near an airport without two stiff martinis and a Xanax; I have been composing (with Lee Allure) a book on Hypnosis (still working on it, thank you very much) and engaged in easily 50-plus hours of hypnosis by LeeAllure over the span of a month for it; have become friends with people whose blogs I used to read in fits of jealousy, and now I know them, have played with them and have blogged about it (wait a minute…. What are you feeling right now?); have been asked to teach at two events on either side of the country about different ways of being a better hypnotic subject; have had my first piece of erotic fiction published on the inestimable mcstories.com website, source, font, and catalyst of so many people’s fantasies and kinks; I have found friends-so many brilliant, wonderful, sexy, fun, intelligent people who have accepted me as one of their own, and if they’re not happy to have me come out to see them, they sure as hell fake their enthusiasm; and, as I write this, I am on my way to NEEHU6, one year later, and I can say that I have found a community that I can call home.

Is the community perfect? Dear lord, no. But is your family/sports team/religion full of perfect people? (I mean, answer that honestly.) Any individual community within a society will have some reflection of that society, even if it’s reaction or opposition to that society. And heaven knows, it’s not a perfect society.

But I can now write this sentence—and it’s a sentence I never thought I’d write—this is my community.

And I’m coming home.

 

*          *          *          *          *

 

So I’ll be blogging about my experiences this year. In part this is because I applied for and received a blogger’s scholarship from NEEHU (thanks, guys!) so I have pretty much committed to it. I have also volunteered to be on (counts on fingers again) seven panels, ranging from a hypno-blogger’s panel (hey guys! Come and say hi!) to a really erotic group trance session that Lee and I will be performing on several willing volunteers. In a separate room. With blindfolds (for the participants).

I’ll provide recaps of each of my classes, as well as, hopefully, providing an idea of what it’s like to be at NEEHU. Again. If you’re out there and on your way, please come and say hi. If you’re in the area and not joining us in Hartford, what’s your problem? And if you’d like to attend one day, make sure it’s soon.

And please, please, please, use my experience as encouragement to chase whatever dreams you have (whether or not they include an –ehu attendance) and try them.

You may just find a new home.

MEEHU, A Personal Trip Report, Part One: Putting it Together

Coming Home

Or

Putting It Together.

 

As I am beginning to write this part of my trip report, it’s Tuesday morning after MEEHU has finished. I’m on a plane flying towards California. I am tired. I’m harried.

It’s going to be about 10 a.m. when I get out of the airport, and I’ll have been up since 1 a.m. my time, having driven through pre-dawn Chicago to return a rental, and deal with the vagaries of travel and still I have a full day of work ahead of me.

And yet…..

And yet.

Sitting here now, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

I guess I’ve been looking forward to it for months: MEEHU stands for the “Mid-West Erotic Hypnosis Unconference” and is located near Chicago. It’s been on the schedule for about a year.

In May, Mrs. P looked at me and said, “You sure there’s not another event sooner than MEEHU in July?” I don’t think I was getting cranky. And I don’t think I was exhibiting a need or an addiction. But I think she knew how much I gained from NEEHU, and how much it fed, and still feeds, me.

So, yes…. I was looking forward to MEEHU.

Back in April (as loyal readers of my blog will doubtless remember) LeeAllure approached me to work on a project with her. The cat’s out of the bag now—it’s a book on working towards, and working with, Hypnotic Amnesia.

When she approached me, I asked her, “Wait, I have to spend several sessions with you attempting hypnotic amnesia, and then write and publish a book about it…… Where’s the downside?”

Before I went to tell Mrs. P about it (and make sure there were no objections) I spent a little time planning how I was going to present it so that we could discuss it. I got as far as “LeeAllure wants to write a book with me-“ when she cut in with, “And you said ‘yes,’ right??”

So I guess you could say my outrageously good luck has continued since NEEHU.

I’ve also spent more time getting to know people on Hypbook, which has become the de facto official social networking site for people interested in Hypnosis. Among those people who I’ve become friends with on the site include Fayvie and Sebastian.

(For those who don’t want to wade through my previous blog-and who otherwise don’t know- most people don’t use our real names at these conventions; first, there is still a stigma attached to these types of explorations for too many people; and, second, there are a lot of idiots out there in internet land. So most of the names I use are the “handles” that they have adopted. It’s weird to step into and out of that world, and to find myself responding to a different name is very, very strange.)

Sebastian lives near Chicago, and Fay lives somewhere in the Maple-Leaf State, but they’ve been brought together online by the wonders of the Hypbook chatroom and a mutual love of hypnosis. Fay had decided that she would take the plunge and come out to MEEHU, both for the sake of meeting Sebastian in person, and for all the stories she heard from hypno-kinksters (including certain people who will remain nameless, but whose name probably rhymes with Incheon) how awesome the –ehus are. And no, there really isn’t anything overtly romantic going on between the two (and it wouldn’t be anyone else’s business if there were).

Perhaps to lessen the stress of meeting new people all at once, Fay had the idea of meeting for cocktails in downtown Chicago. (MEEHU was held in a suburb of Chicago, about 45 minutes due West of Downtown). And so that was the plan: I’d fly into Chicago, meet LeeAllure at the car rental, and then meet Fay, Sebastian and her friend Emiliana at the John Hancock for cocktails on the 95th floor. We would be met there by a mutual Hypbook friend of ours named Tesdinic, who was also traveling from out-of-state, and her travelling companion.

I was excited and really, really looking forward to the event. In fact, I had been working my brain off in the weeks leading to MEEHU; I had so much going on, my flight plans changed a week before the event. Instead of leaving from Northern California into O’Hare, I wound up flying from Southern California into Midway. I was ready for a vacation, and to kick back a little, and face the experiences with a brand new mindset. It was a mindset that had been profoundly changed by my experiences with hypnosis.

One of the consequences of my experiences at NEEHU is that I felt part of a community, really for the first time I can recall. I had a similar feeling at various Sci-fi conventions, but there seemed to me something deeper about the connection I’ve been feeling with these people. On Hypbook chat, we’d be as likely to talk about soccer, current events, movies, sci-fi shows, whatever, as we’d talk about hypnosis. And everyone, to a person, is intelligent and pleasant to be around. I think what I am trying to say is that I’ve felt invested in this community, even if I’ve only truly been a part of it for about 7 months.

One of the other consequences of my experiences at NEEHU is that I started to feel my own shape for the first time in memory. Not to be over-dramatic, but I felt like the “fear” of being judged for who I am and what I want—not just in terms of hypnosis, but in terms of every aspect of my life—is now in the rear-view mirror. I embraced something about myself (my desires, my wants, my inner-most secrets) and found acceptance, with my partner, with the “vanilla” friends I shared my blog with, and with a new community. Rather than being destroyed, my whole life felt liberated. And a consequence of this liberation is that I’ve felt myself more willing to express an opinion on things, instead of apologizing for my own shadow.

I was interested to see what, if any, difference this made upon re-entering the scene in “real life.” (It should be noted that where I live is not conducive to experiencing such things at meet-ups or munches.)

It was this sort of feeling that I was taking with me into MEEHU. I’d be seeing people I hadn’t seen since NEEHU (Mephki, Marc Cabot, SweetGasp, Sleepingirl, CCKitten, Ms. Mesmer, AmHypnotic, Daja, SpiralTurquoise), and meeting people I had only spoken to on chat (Fayvie, Sebastian, SuppleSpiral), and of course, spending time with my writing partner and friend-with-hypno-benefits LeeAllure.

LeeAllure and I had made general plans to work on two things for our book that are more-or-less impossible to do so via Skype: something called the Esdaile state, and dual inductions. We had also plotted out a couple of fun scenes in advance, if we had time, including a visit to the Chicago Institute of Art to visit the Magritte exhibit and spend some time in some paintings. (More on this later).

This time, it was feeling less like a journey into the unknown, and more like a homecoming. I only hoped the travel gods were feeling less surreal this time.

And so this was my headspace entering MEEHU: filled with a different sort of anticipation, and a different sense of self, than I had five short months ago. I didn’t know if my incredible run of luck would continue, or if the whole experience would be an anti-climax.

 

Next time:      Thursday! Meeting People! Chicago Driving! More Meeting People! The World’s Best Worst Hotel in the World! The Best Exotic Hypnotic Hotel Room! And More!

 

NEEHU, Part 7: Monday and afterwards

Warning! My sappiest writing ever!

As always, if there’s a mention of you’d like me to excise, please let me know.

Objects in the Rearview Mirror Are Closer than They Seem.

Or

Every Epilogue is Actually a Prologue for Something Else

 

Monday morning I opened my eyes to the sound of the first of two wake up calls, got out of bed, threw open the curtains and looked out onto first snow.

This is what waking up feels like.

That I was able to open my eyes was a feat in and of itself. I think I had only about four hours of sleep, and for me, they were between 11 pm and 3 am, but here I was, at 6 a.m. Eastern time, with my eyes somehow open and mostly alert.

Snow hadn’t been in the forecast at all. It cast an extra layer of difficulty on my day as I ran through everything I had to do. I grabbed my things and walked into the unaccountably bitter cold with my luggage. I ran back into the hotel to get some food from their buffet, and found myself slightly flummoxed by the lack of any NEEHU people around. I looked around and felt a little pang, like being the last kid to be picked up at school, as the setting sun illuminates the spaces where kids were playing a short time ago.

I drove to the airport, turned in the rental car, and made my way, slowly, inexorably, to my flight.

There was nothing surreal about the flight home: no woman almost touching me, no errant cats, no plethora of dogs. Everything went smoothly until I wound up disembarking at my airport, unleashed into a warm 80 degree day and life where I no longer knew what “normal” meant.

This is what waking up feels like.

 

I find it difficult to put into words what NEEHU has meant for me. In some ways, it’s not NEEHU itself, but the people I’ve met there, the experiences I had, the feelings of being among people-friends, really- interested in the same things I am. Some place where I found acceptance. Acceptance. There’s something glorious about being some place where the continual subtext is “There is nothing wrong with you.”

And yet, putting what the weekend has meant to me into words, as something more than just a series of events that I participated in, seems inadequate.

When I departed for the weekend, I had just lost my job and had no idea what to do with myself. When I departed the weekend, I had a spring in my step I hadn’t felt in ages. I wasn’t 100% sure what I would do next, but I knew I had—and have– the tools to handle everything that comes my way. And, more importantly, I knew there would be a “next.”

My wife actually said it best, just tonight: I used to be shiny, but now I also actually have density, and gravity, and form.

Look, I’m not saying NEEHU will cure what ails you, or that it’s a one-stop fix-it emporium for whatever malady you might have. Nevertheless, for me, and for me alone, it was the catharsis of 15 years of fantasy and anticipation and represented the destruction of all the reasons why I couldn’t, why I shouldn’t, embrace what makes me happy.

For those of you in this fetish, someone made the comment that the people who are drawn to it often have some kind of social anxiety. I’ve read blogs by people who have gone to an –ehu or some other convention (and not even a fetish convention) who come home and say how they couldn’t bring themselves to talk to people. I can’t speak for people with social anxiety; it’s something I haven’t really suffered from. But I can tell you that, if you have the strength to go to any kind of gathering of like-minded people, the others are all in the same boat as you are. There’s a reason they’re there. And that reason is that they like that thing that you do. So talk. Pretend you’re someone else for a minute, and say “hello, what brought you to [this common interest]?” The second minute will be easier. I promise.

 

Tangent—Will Hypnosis Change You?

One of the fears of hypnosis is that the subject will be somehow profoundly changed by the nefarious hypnotist, and that their life will be irrevocably altered. If you ask me “will I still be the same person after a hypnosis session?” I will tell you the truth.

No.

You won’t be the same person. You will be different.

But that’s true of anything you experience, isn’t it? Because before the session, you were a person who had never been hypnotized. And now you will never be that person again.

Just as you were the person who had never bungee jumped, or parachuted out of an airplane, or scuba-dived, or seen Reservoir Dogs, or been to Connecticut, or walked down Main Street past a pub that was playing the perfect song for you to hear at that moment. And now that you’ve done that thing, you will never be that person again.

How will that experience change you? That I don’t know. But the Chinese had it right when they said “You never pass through the same river twice.” I am not the same person who left for NEEHU. I think I’m better for the experience, but it’s possible I’m not. You may go and have a terrible time, or a forgettable one—I don’t know. But know this, hypnosis will change you, because everything you experience, changes you. And that’s ok.

If you’ve read this blog, first, thank you. But second, please, find whatever it is you want to do, something you’ve been thinking you might do and do it.

It might be finishing that novel, or going on that trip, or changing a relationship, or, stepping away from the corner of the room and introducing yourself to someone new, or committing to a lot of hard work for a specific end. I don’t know what it is for you. I’m not going to say that it’s as trite as “following your bliss” or “rediscovering your smile.” What I am going to say is that the reasons “why not” are the enemy, and should be vanquished.

A friend of mine who has been reading this blog (hullo, JR) said that she thought I was very “brave” for going across country to a weekend with almost no real life experience in the field, and not really knowing anyone there. I thanked her, and yet, to me, in the final analysis, it would have been foolish of me not to go.

Consider: before I decided to go to NEEHU, I hadn’t successfully finished a story I’d started in years. I finished that short story right before NEEHU because I committed to doing it before I left. Why? I had mixed motivations, but part of it was I wanted to have something to point to that said I belonged with the people I had read about; it was my own personal admission ticket. And that was true even if no one read it; and yet, people did.

Consider: before I went to NEEHU, I had never blogged. I certainly never finished a considerably-sized writing project. With this blog, I will have written I don’t know how many words, but by gosh, I’ll have finished the project.

Consider: only one person in my life knew of my interest in hypnosis. Now, I have so many people I think I can call my friends, who know and accept me for this. I have told a few friends who I thought could handle the secret, and they have not wavered in their love and support. In fact, they’ve bugged me for more posts, and have asked smart, interesting questions.

Consider: I lived in a world where I was sheepish about my interests and had a job that valued conformity. I lived in a world where I was not in my own shape. Past tense. Now I live in a world where I can be myself, do the things I enjoy, and I have been accepted. My mind is open, and I am so very happy.

Again, it may not be NEEHU for you and it may not be WEEHU, or MEEHU, or your local meet up or munch, your local iris club, or political party meeting, or church, or pet rescue, or family. It may be none of them that works for you. But find it. And do it. Life’s too short to do otherwise.

Whereas before I was nervous about attending, and thought about waiting until next year, now I wonder why I didn’t go sooner.

This is what waking up feels like.

 

I should thank some people.

First, to Mephki, the organizer of NEEHU. Her vision is what has formed the foundation for this, and all the –ehu’s. Where she finds the energy, considering her day job, is beyond me. I do wonder, as NEEHU grows, how it can keep the small, family feel, even as the number of attendees rises. But that is a glorious problem to have, and something for another day.

To SweetGasp, for being so awesome. There were actually a few scenes with her that I didn’t write about, mostly because I didn’t know quite how to approach them; I think I figured it out, but I’ll let her have final say on if it’ll actually see the light of day.

To OneEyedStranger, for being so calm and accepting. I knew that as long as he was around, nothing could go too wrong; he just has that aura. Plus, he’s incredibly smart, and I always saw his wheels turning. I look forward to reading his take on events going forward, because I know they’ll come from a place of concern, and care, and not judgment.

To Skyla and D, for running Hypbook. It’s the website that has drawn so many people together, and it’s their blood, sweat and tears that have helped bring so many of us into contact with each other. I’m sorry I wasn’t able to spend more time with them.

To ZanyMo, for being such a caring presence, and for revealing much of her carnal self for the benefit of the trancey-takedown demo.

To LeadPrism, for being so engaging and genuinely excited for me and my experiences. I hope to hear more of his adventures, and what new insights he’ll have next time we talk.

To GleefulAbandon, for letting me torture her with song parodies.

To WildNutmeg, for letting me beat her at arm wrestling, and for her mathematically beautiful tattoo.

To MrDream, for letting me surprise him.

To LeeAnn, for being a hoot. For bringing the party. For being an example to all of us, of enjoying our friends, and our experiences.

To Sleepingirl, for setting the standard for writing brilliant blogs and for how to be a great subject. And also for finding the time to play.

To Ms. Mesmer, for being a muse for a convoluted, but ultimately very hot, Doctor Who scene, for her fantastic blog, and for her friendship.

To Marc Cabot, for his writing and his willingness to listen to my wacky ideas. It was truly an honor to co-top with him, and his ability to improv is second to none.

To LeeAllure, for experiences beyond compare. Whatever she saw in me that was worth fostering I can only imagine, but I am grateful she saw it, and thrilled it was there. Thanks for being sane and sadistic, fiendish and friendly, and generous and dastardly.

And, first among all of these fine people, thanks to my wife, Vanilla Pynchon, who has been such an ardent supporter of my adventures. I can only hope that everyone has the opportunity to have a partner who so whole-heartedly supports them in chasing their dreams and fantasies as much as she does for me. I can only demand that all of you be that person for your partner. I hope that, as much as she has had my back in all these things I’ve done, I can have hers, as she pursues her dreams.

 

So… what of this blog? What have I been up to since NEEHU? What’s next for me?

Well, the work issue has resolved itself, and I now have a job where I’m appreciated, and can work from home, and pays me (assuming the hours continue at this rate) the same as I was making before.

I have built on the friendships I have made at NEEHU, carrying them with me. I am in the Hypbook chatroom quite a lot, and have really enjoyed my time there.

More unexpectedly, I have a larger hypnosis-related project on the horizon. A few days after I started publishing the blog, LeeAllure contacted me on Hypbook chat and asked if I were interested in working on something with her. I’m not yet at liberty to discuss it in detail, but when I mentioned it to Mrs. Pynchon, I didn’t quite reach the end of the sentence before she asked, “You said yes, right?” (I love that woman.) So we’ve been working on that in the last few weeks. Watch this space for updates as that comes closer to fruition.

I have been beyond thrilled with the reaction my blog has received. Thank you all for your comments, and for your attention. Once upon a time (just over six months ago) I had never had anything of my creative writing published anywhere. I had never even completed a short story in I don’t know how many years. But knowing that people were reading and appreciating what I was writing really pushed me through to finish this task. I already have a couple of creative writing projects on the boil, and I’ll be publishing them to this blog. I hope you’ll do me the honor of continuing to read what I put on here.

And as I mentioned earlier, my wife has talked about how much more “up” and yet relaxed I’ve seemed. I haven’t had migraines as much as I used to, and I seem—and feel—sharper.

Since I got let go from my job, since I went to NEEHU, since I accepted and fanned the parts of me that I had let stay fallow, since I started doing the things that fed me, instead of what I could put up with, I can honestly say that every aspect of my life has improved.

This is what waking up feels like.

 

NEEHU, a Personal Recap, Part 6, Sunday

One Trance More, aka Sunday Morning, Coming Down.

In putting together the blogs of my experiences at NEEHU, I’ve been able to assemble a through-line for each part. I haven’t really been able to do that for the blog for Sunday. Partially, I think, it was because everyone was a little woozy from the entire weekend. Partially it’s because, at least for me, it was a mere confirmation of my experiences of the previous three days of revelations. So I apologize in advance for what, almost by necessity, must be a mostly episodic recounting of the events of Sunday.

It is also the case that Sunday was apparently scheduled as a slow day. Whereas Saturday was packed to the gills with things to do, Sunday was a lot more loosey goosey.

I woke up after a fitful sleep and made my way to breakfast. I sat with LeeAllure, ZanyMo, LeeAnn and her husband CrazyTrain. We were discussing some of the things we had seen and done over the course of the weekend. LeeAnn talked about how she had been hypnotized, and had seen LeeAllure hypnotize CrazyTrain a couple of times, but that the two of them (LeeAnn and CrazyTrain) had not actually done anything together. I think you could have seen a visible light bulb go off over my head, and I changed seats so that the two of them could sit next to each other. I suggested that the two of them do the “mirror trance,” as LeeAnn and I had done, relatively briefly, on Friday night. LeeAllure took the lead, and ZanyMo and I provided a little hypnotic assist. It was a joy to watch the married couple, who obviously care about each other a great deal, send each other into trance. I didn’t hear the exact suggestions given to them by LeeAllure, but I did appreciate the smiles that danced across both their faces.

We slowly made our way over to the Society. It seemed like there were fewer people hanging about on Sunday, though, again, the surrounding churches did their best to fill the air with hymns and sermons. In keeping with the more laid back air of the day, my memories of the day are that I drifted from conversation to conversation.

The main distraction for the day stemmed from something LeeAllure had done to me earlier in the weekend and which I have wholly failed to mention. She had installed the “Radio” post-hypnotic trigger. When she said the phrase “Radio On” I would start to feel slightly turned on. Well, let’s be clear; I would begin to feel slightly more turned on than I usually do. Once the “radio” was “turned on,” she’d be able to throw out some numbers, with 1 being a background kind of pleasant feeling, and 10 being a surge of endorphins that would put me fairly close to the brink of orgasm. Periodically throughout the weekend, she’d “turn the radio on” and throw numbers at me per her whim. In a particularly dastardly move, she was even forming Roman Numerals with her hands to give me the particular triggers. I do wonder what people were thinking as she was standing a few feet from me making a “V” sign with one hand and showing me three fingers with the other, and I reacted as if I stumbled over something on the floor.

I only went to two classes on that day. The first was “Trancey Takedown” featuring ZanyMo and Chewtoy. Essentially the two of them performed an extended scene in front of us, transitioning from wrestling, to a trance, to certain bits of pain and conversation, back to wrestling and back to a trance, all over the course of about 30 minutes. I was sitting with GleefulAbandon, LeadPrism and LeeAllure. The scene was very hot, with certain things the two were saying really hitting some of us in the feels. For example, “You can resist all you want, but either way, I win” being the foremost among them.

Despite the hotness of the scene, those of us in the peanut gallery were discussing Phantom of the Opera, and how it is essentially musical erotic hypnosis porn (with the phrase “angel of music” being some kind of trigger phrase for, gosh, I don’t know, doing scales or something). We then talked about how there hasn’t been a very good musical about BDSM, which led to us discussing how the great composer Stephen Sondheim is allegedly… VERY allegedly… big in the gay leather scene and has his own dungeon. Which led me to start re-working the lyrics of “Putting it Together” into a salute to BDSM. For example: “Whip by whip/Putting it together/Slap by slap/Only way to make a real good scene/Just wearing leather is no foundation/Every little squirm just plays a part/Having just permission’s no solution/Everything depends on negotiation/Putting it together/That’s what counts.” You get the idea. This was enough to constitute some kind of torture for Gleeful. Which was fine by me.

Shortly after this, Daja and MistressJaya started an unscheduled class for “hypno-switches” geared mostly for women, but for which I was assured it was all right for me (as a male hypno-switch) to attend. It was a very laid back discussion, and I was very glad it was added to the schedule. Kudos to Daja and Mistress Jaya for running a well-balanced and informative discussion.

I went and volunteered a little cleaning up, and came back to find hypnotists Lee, LeadPrism, SteedIrl and Setsudo involved in a friendly game of Crazy 8’s. Now, as you might expect, this was no ordinary game of Crazy 8’s. This game used special “hypno cards” that had Ellman statements on them. For example, one card would have the prompt “Three Truths.” The idea being that if you made three factual statements and then included, framed as a factual statement, something that you wanted the listener to accept, then the listener’s brain is more likely to accept the fourth item as a true statement. So I might say “It’s Sunday afternoon, we’re in Hartford, we’re having a good time playing this game, and you all want me to win this game.”

The cumulative effect of these cards was that all the participants were in a state of almost-trance. Everyone, that is, except me. For once, my competitiveness meant that I was not falling into any trance-in fact, I was ironically the most hyper-alert I think I felt the entire weekend. While I didn’t outright win the game in the classical sense, I think the fact that I was able to bounce up and accomplish things right after meant I was sort of a winner. This is especially so, since I didn’t see any of the rest of them for a good 30 minutes or so afterwards.

I did briefly get to assist on a trance that LeadPrism enjoyed courtesy of Lee and LuckyAlbatross. I also spent a little more time helping with clean up in the kitchen, but for some reason- whether it was a combination of sitting on hard chairs, my age, the stresses of constantly being on edge for three days, or what have you- my back was killing me. ZanyMo very kindly and graciously offered to do a little massage and realignment, and I must say that my back felt great for weeks afterwards.

I think we did a pretty good job of cleaning up the Society, and bade our good-byes to the place. We were due to meet at a Chinese restaurant a few blocks from the hotel, and I have to say that, for the most part, the restaurant was able to handle the influx of 50 people with great aplomb. I ordered my one and only alcoholic beverage of the weekend. For some reason, my meal showed up well before everyone else’s, and Mephki took a picture of me looking “smug.” This was also the time and place where LeeAnn finally used the “snap” and “sleep” trigger on me that LeeAllure had implanted waaay back on Friday. I understand her eyes lit up at having the effect on me. I can only say that much because, of course, I was under.

After dinner, LeeAllure headed back home; she was starting to feel a little under the weather. I got to bid her a farewell, and thanked her once again for taking me under her wing. (At one point on Friday afternoon, I thanked her for spending so much time putting me under. Her response was something to the effect of: “Yes, DJ, because the only reason I hypnotize you is so that you are happy. I’m getting nothing out of it whatsoever.” Which is a response that I think will provide no small measure of satisfaction to the gentle readers who know me from before NEEHU. I.e., yes, someone actually out-sarcasmed me, if only briefly.)

Because I had had a cocktail, I was fortunate that Ms. Mesmer was available to drive me the quarter mile back to the hotel. I joined the vast majority of NEEHU partiers in the pool and Jacuzzi area. Someone, somewhere had procured an uninflated beach ball and a very energetic game of keep away ensued. At some point I managed to wriggle my way out of being held by three different people at the same time. (Mephki called me “eel-like.” I’ll take it.)

Later, we started a game of high-stakes “chicken” with ZanyMo on my back. Just as we set up, we turned to see two teams, Sleepingirl/CCKitten and Mr. Dream/WildNutmeg heading our way.

Here’s the problem with playing a game like “chicken” with kinksters: the masochists play to lose, and the sadists don’t care whose blood is spilled. Suffice it to say, we had a great time. (Oh, all right, Sleepingirl/CCKitten finished in last, and the other two teams played to a tie.)

We shut down the pool and found our way (after drying off) to the con suite.

I must admit that by this stage I was rather tired. I got to briefly chat with GoddessDarla & Croissant, Daja, Mephki, LeadPrism, Ms. Mesmer, Marc Cabot, SpiralTurqoise, Divney and AmHypnotic at one point or another. However, with how loud it was, and the extent to which my jet lag was finally catching up to me, I was not long for the “after-party.” As I was leaving I saw HypnoTy sitting in the corner, engaged in what seemed like a very hot hypno-scene with someone, and I reflected on how far each of us had come in just a short weekend. I said my good-byes to all the people who were not otherwise engaged in some kind of scene or other.

I went down to my room and remembered that MrDream and ZanyMo were just down the hall from me, so I knocked on the door to say my good-byes. In their room, MrDream was conducting a series of hypnotic experiments (you know, for science). WildNutmeg and GleefulAbandon were there as well. MrDream had hypnotized Nutmeg (who, it must be noted, is rather strong and wiry) to be just as strong as she thinks Gleeful is (who, it must be noted, is somewhat less strong and wiry than Nutmeg). The best way to test the suggestion was to have the two of them engage in an arm wrestling match. Over the course of the next few minutes each of us in the room had a match, both right- and left-handed, with Nutmeg. She handily defeated Gleeful and ZanyMo, and posted a one and one record against MrDream. She and I, however, had two epic matches. Right-handed, I dropped her hand to about an inch above the table. She refused to budge from that position for easily four solid minutes. Stubborn that she is, she refused to give up and met every ounce of strength with enormous resistance. Finally, I pushed through and got her to yield. My right arm was sore for about a week afterwards. After a few seconds to catch our breaths, we did our second match left-handed. Both of us would. Not. Budge. Neither of us moved an inch. After about five minutes of both of us turning red and no actual movement, we declared it a draw.

As ZanyMo and I talked, MrDream hypnotized Nutmeg, and told her that she was afraid of a stuffed bunny Gleeful happened to have, then let Gleeful get motivated to touch Nutmeg with it. This resulted in Gleeful chasing Nutmeg around, menacing her with the stuffed bunny. At some point, Nutmeg came over to where I was and hid behind me. From that moment, I decided to play interference on Nutmeg’s behalf, preventing Gleeful from easy access with the bunny. Zany called out to me “match Gleeful’s energy” and sure enough, I went from tired to energized in no time. I believe I even proclaimed, “Bring it, Gleeful. Bring it!” After a few minutes of this, ZanyMo shouted “Now match her strength, too!” And I, all of a sudden, couldn’t stop her from moving closer to Nutmeg, and, ultimately, hitting her with the bunny.

 

Tangent- On Fractionation and Suggestibility

There is a concept in hypnosis called “fractionation.” Essentially, it is the act of repeatedly putting someone into trance and taking them out again. After a few times going down and coming up, it’s almost as if you enter a near-trance state even when you’re “awake.” What this means functionally is that, while “fractioned,” one is much more susceptible and suggestible. It’s usually a good idea not to drive a car or operate heavy machinery shortly after having a deep hypnosis session. By the end of three days of constant hypnosis, you should probably not operate a car or walk down a hallway without some supervision. You should definitely not plan on buying a car; lord knows what you might be talked into. I’ve seen people talk about the “dangers” of being in the state. I can’t say that I felt in peril on Sunday night, but there was a lingering afterglow of sleepy euphoria. I suppose someone might have been able to take advantage of me in that state, but I certainly felt safer being in and among the people of NEEHU.

What’s most interesting about fractionation is just how suggestible I felt. Certainly ZanyMo never did a formal induction, but her suggestions regarding strength and energy were just as effective as if she had taken me down. Nevertheless, I did feel as if I was a partner in the suggestions, and could have refused to comply. Of course, this could also be post facto rationalization.

If I could suggest one thing to organizers of future events it would be to include a general warning about being careful when re-entering the “real world,” and, perhaps, to conduct a “clearing class” to help people clear away the cobwebs (and, perhaps, remove any unwanted, lingering suggestions).

 

Shortly after the bunny incident, I realized just how little time I had to get some sleep before I had to leave at the ungodly hour of 6 a.m. I bid ZanyMo, MrDream, WildNutmeg, and GleefulAbandon farewell, and headed to my room, where I spent the next half hour packing before crashing, with a head full of stories and ideas, into bed.

 

Next Time: Snow! Departures! Arrivals! Sun! Con Drop! Epilogue! Unexpected project! Closing thoughts!

 

NEEHU, A Personal Recap, Part 3. Day One: Friday.

A Whole Lot of Shaking Going On.

I dragged myself out of bed at 7:00 a.m. Which, for me, was really more like 4:00 a.m. Fortunately, the wonderful and well-appointed hotel provided a buffet breakfast. I sat down with some of the friends I had made over the course of the previous day. Lee came over and sat next to me. Before I knew what was happening, and only shortly after she had said “good morning,” she tossed the “pause” trigger at me, and started tickling me. It was a fine good morning, thank you very much, and, as I mentioned, quite the abs workout. She released me, and at the same time stopped tickling me, which caused my brain an interesting minor conniption. I accused her of being a sadist, to which her only response was, “well, you’re the one laughing.”

I then met in person, for the first time, LeeAnn. (I know, this will be confusing; there’s a “LeeAnn” and a “Lee,” or “LeeAllure”: I won’t change either of their names, so you’ll just have to bear with it.) LeeAnn had come to hypnosis via her hope to deal with some personal issues, and had found an open and inviting community in Hypbook. She had brought her husband, CT, along in an effort to educate him about the community. It should be noted that LeeAnn is a loud woman, with an easy and infectious laugh, and had the wide-eyed look of the kid in the candy shop for all of the weekend. She was also fascinated by how easily I was going under, and then coming up, and then going back under, at LeeAllure’s urging. Then again, so was I.

We ultimately departed and went our separate ways to the location where NEEHU proper was to be held. The location is called “The Society,” and it is a BDSM club just outside of downtown Hartford. Should you type “The Society Hartford” into your handy map or browser search of choice, the first thing that will show up is “The Society Room of Hartford.” This is most definitely not the same place. Which is how I wound up driving through the very center of Hartford, Connecticut, at 8:30 am (5:30 am my time) in an unfamiliar car and jet lagged beyond all contortion. It was an inauspicious start.

Fortunately, I was able to drag my sorry self to the Society (five miles away from “The Society Room”) without too much more effort, beyond a sheepish acceptance of being lost.

The Society is a very interesting place. It’s located in a post-industrial part of town, in what I can only imagine must have been the warehouse district once upon a time. Somehow, a number of small churches have grown up around the location. At various points in the weekend, we could hear the strains of gospel or Christian rock drift down to our little dungeon. Some were perplexed that this happened even late into the night, but it is the trend for churches to provide late night entertainment for those believers who struggle to remain clean of drugs and alcohol. Be that as it may, you haven’t lived until you observe a hot BDSM scene to the strains of Newsboys’ “God is Not Dead” coming down from upstairs.

The Society is, ironically, very comfortable; it is clean, and filled with places to lounge and relax in in and among the St. Anthony’s Crosses and chain spider webs. As you enter past the guarded door, there’s a changing room just off to the left. Beyond that there is a long hall that goes to the main room. The hall has two doors on either side, one that leads off to a quiet room to the left and a “medical play” room with gurneys to the right. The main room is quite large, and had been sectioned off for our purposes with a vending table and a blanket fort, as well as chairs and couches for us all to sit at. Off the main room on the right was a separate play room, with various implements as well as a class room. At the end of the main room was a narrow “hard point” which opened into the kitchen and another lounge-y area. Beyond even that was a bar room with booths.

I had volunteered to work in the kitchen, and threw myself into washing dishes (I demurred from actually cooking or serving as a sous chef; in my jet lagged state I did not want to be trusted with sharp implements. Moreover, my track record with cooking is genetically poor.) As a bonus, I find focusing on washing dishes to be extremely satisfying. Almost trance inducing. I pretty much washed dishes for more than an hour while SweetGasp, aided by the able sous chef, OneEyedStranger, and with assists from Sleepingirl and CCKitten, rocked out a fantastic series of breakfast and lunch items. (This is where SweetGasp unleashed her beignets upon an unsuspecting group of attendees. Had she charged for them, I’m fairly sure she’d have walked away from the weekend with a profit, or at least a few souls in her pocket.)

Sadly, I am far older than I used to be, and the jet lag and standing got to me, so I handed off my task to other people and went off to classes.

The next bit will only be understandable if you read my story “Be Careful What You Switch For.” Which I’ll place right here. Go read it—I’ve been told it’s not so bad.  ttp://djpynchon.wordpress.com/2014/04/06/be-careful-wha…-for-fiction-2/

So I had posted the story a few days before NEEHU. As I was wandering around the Society, Lee walked up to me, and used her sleep trigger. She leaned in and started whispering to me about how awesome it would be for me to have a mantra running through my brain that would feel so good if I were to find myself repeating it out loud every so often. She didn’t use the “mindless plaything” one from the story, but rather suggested “My mind is open, I am so happy.” That’s it. Try it. Repeat it a few times and you’ll find it’s a pretty good feeling. (You probably shouldn’t do it right before you see a car salesperson.) And really, beyond the other suggestions she gave me, it was very helpful; it put me in a frame of mind to be more accepting of the world I had found myself in. However, and in line with the thread of my story, she asked me to get other people to say it, too, albeit with less orgasmic rewards than in the story. This was something I was unable to do.

Tangent- Willpower and Hypnosis

One of the questions I do get asked often is whether you can be “forced” to do something under hypnosis that you otherwise wouldn’t want to do. I think there are two ways answer to the question: directly, and from a more “meta” perspective.

Directly speaking, the answer is no. You can’t be “made” to anything you don’t want to do. More broadly speaking, hypnosis can lower your inhibitions, especially if you do so in partnership with a skilled hypnotist. So, to reframe the question, when you are drunk and “making a fool of yourself” are you doing so “unwillingly”? Are you responsible for your actions?

In my experience, just from the weekend’s activities, I can honestly say that I stopped myself from doing things which I was asked to do. Lee’s suggestion was that I get other people to say the mantra “My mind is open and I am so happy.” I had a few opportunities to carry out the suggestion later on Friday, but I didn’t. And I didn’t because doing so would have not been congruent with the consent I was given for the scene in question; in other words, it would have been taking them out of their “scene” and inserting them into mine. And, for whatever reason, I couldn’t get myself to do that. Later in the weekend I was given a suggestion to experience something, and I refused, because the environment I was in just wasn’t comfortable, for whatever reason. The hypnotist understood and redirected me to something fun I was comfortable doing. In both cases I was given “commands” that conflicted with whatever ethical code I was following at the time. In both cases I refused to follow the commands. I felt more in control of my actions than I do when I’ve been drinking. So, in my experience, you cannot normally be made to do something you don’t want to do.

From a more “meta” standpoint, note that one of the appeals of recreational or erotic hypnosis is that it fulfills the fantasy of giving up control to someone. Whether in that fantasy world it’s because the hypnotist is “stripping away” the will, or because the inductee is giving up the will, um, willingly. So if that’s the fantasy, why is that person trying to resist? And how? And so, for such people, there is a tension between the fantasy fulfillment and the requirements that such play is entered into with consent. And for those people, the answer to that question is, by design, much trickier.

 

So after the quick induction and instruction from Lee, at 10 a.m., I attended my first class. It was taught by a veteran of hypnosis events called Wiseguy. Wiseguy has written many stories that are among the foundations for the erotic hypnosis genre. They are excellently written, and are on the more romantic or “soft” end of the “mind control” genre. He led a class on “Brain Overload,” which is to say, on hypnotic inductions that confuse or “overload” one’s thoughts. In essence, the brain becomes so overwhelmed by rational thought that it seeks an exit from thought, and runs towards a trance. These are inductions designed for active, critical minds, such as my own, and it was the best way for me to start the weekend. He read a fantastic hypnotic script that had me in a light trance.

I believe it was sometime this morning (though it may have been fleetingly the night before) that I met LeadPrism, who was attending his first –EHU a well. He and I would have several wonderful conversations throughout the weekend, as we both came at it more from the amateur hypno-enthusiast side of things, than from the BDSM side of things.

After the first class, I ran into LeeAllure and LeeAnn, who were discussing–what else?—hypnosis. LeeAnn had mentioned to Lee that she (LeeAnn) had never put anyone else into a trance, and certainly not live. Lee volunteered me for the honor, and offered to help her through the process. Which is how I found myself seated on a couch in between two gorgeous women about to be put into a trance. Or, as I like to call it, being in a “Lee Sandwich.” This time, Lee was on my right, while LeeAnn sat on my left. LeeAnn playfully put one of her legs over my left leg. Lee followed suit and put one of hers over my right. So there I was, held down, and about to be forced into a trance. (I know, what a terrible predicament. There’s no violin small enough to convey your sympathy, I’m sure.)

Lee started the induction, and…. I was out in less time than it takes to describe it, really. LeeAnn, I guess, was startled by how quickly I was gone, and couldn’t find her voice. Partially, I understand that she was also being tranced by Lee’s induction. They had a conversation, as I floated between them, and decided that we (Lee and I) should try and induce LeeAnn. At this point, LeadPrism came into the room, and Lee asked if he would join us. MrDream (the other half of ZanyMo, and a fine hypnotist himself) happened by, and he, too, volunteered to help induce LeeAnn. So with me on LeeAnn’s left, Lee on her right, and MrDream and LeadPrism on other chairs nearby, we all started talking in smooth, hypnotic tones.

I think all four of us kept talking for a good ten minutes. LeeAnn was out cold, and it was wonderful to watch up close as someone else went into a trance. Halfway through I realized, “I’m helping put someone in a trance!!!” It was the first time I ever put anyone into trance (or, at least, a quarter of a trance). I thanked LeeAnn profusely for the honor. Less than 24 hours officially into the weekend, and I had both hypnotized and been hypnotized. There weren’t any commands given to her that I can recall, beyond that LeeAnn should be open to having a good time over the weekend.

Shortly after that we broke for lunch.

After lunch, I wandered around, after doing a little bit of clean up and some more dishwashing. I went into a class on “dual inductions and co-topping.” There I found Lee and her friend ZanyMo doing an odd “co-topping” session with “GleefulAbandon.” (Gleeful and I had sort of bonded earlier on our shared love of Broadway tunes, and I had asked if she knew the lyrics to the “Confrontation” scene from Les Miserables. It was something in my mind as an uber-geeky thing to do to just randomly do it in the middle of the room or something. What? Jason Siegel and Neal Patrick Harris do it. Youtube it.) Essentially, Lee and Mo were infringing tightly on Gleeful’s space. Gleeful saw me, made eye contact and said “help me.” I confess, I saw the odds, and joined in on the co-topping. Somewhere in there, Lee and Mo used the overload to send her into a trance.

It was a very instructive scene to observe if for no other reason than that it firmly established that going into trance does not necessarily require relaxation.

 

 

Tangent- Facial Expressions

I need to make a note about the expressions on people’s faces as they go into trance. I had heard it said many times by hypnotists that watching someone give in to a trance is a very fantastic sight. Having been around people as they were drawn into and out of trances, I must say, I quite agree. There’s something delicious about seeing that look of surrender on someone else’s face. This is so particularly where you yourself know that feeling that’s conveyed. I mention this now, because Gleeful had a particular look at times when she heard a trigger word, or when someone was about to hypnotize her. The look was something along the lines of “Oh god, I can’t believe this is going to work again, and I like it, but I can’t believe I like it, and I can’t believe I’m this easy.” The reason I know that look and what she was conveying is because those very words were going through my own mind, about me, the whole weekend.

 

At some point on Friday, Lee spoke to me about how she wanted my participation in a hypno demo that was happening later that evening. I also spoke to Marc Cabot about a scene I had come up with in my mind for his ongoing subject, Ms. Mesmer. He agreed to help with it, and we agreed to do the scene on the following evening.

I took OneEyedStranger and SweetGasp to the hotel, where we spent some time in the hot tub, watching the rain come down. After that, I took them out to dinner, and then went back to the hotel to change before we finally headed back to the Society for the evening’s events. I must apologize to the two of them because I needed reminding of my destination easily five times in each direction. Which wouldn’t be so bad, except that it was only a 15 minute drive. Apparently my poor brain had been rather overloaded.

Friday evening was designated, in part, as requesting cocktail attire. It was nice to see everyone dressed to the nines. Fans of corsetry would have been very sated by the visions on display, and I actually felt slightly out of place in a simple blue-lavender suit, when there were so many people in leather and lace.

The group had planned a series of hypnosis demonstrations, to give people an idea of the various ways hypnosis can be used. LeeAllure had had this idea to involve this pseudo-hypnotic method called, rather delightfully, “Erickson Ambiguous Touching.” Lee had demonstrated it to me several times. Essentially, the “hypnotist” (although hypnosis isn’t particularly required) shakes the subject’s hand, using a method whereby the middle finger drags across the palm while thumb and pinky alternately tap on the outside of the hand. It’s deceptively simple, yet time after time it resulted in my hand going numb and, essentially, staying in one place until moved by the hypnotist. Plus, by dragging a finger from the shaken hand to the other hand, the numbness and catalepsy can be transferred. Yes, I know. And yet it worked.

Lee gathered me, LeeAnn and Mrs. Wiseguy together to demonstrate this method. We took turns. First Lee shook Mrs. Wiseguy’s hand and left it in the air, then demonstrated how the hands stayed in place. Mrs. Wiseguy did the same for me, posing me in Rodin’s “Thinker” position. Then I did the same with LeeAnn and, in a spurt of improvisational genius <cough, cough> posed LeeAnn making the “YMCA” letters, one after another. LeeAnn then did the handshake with Lee. We still had some time left, so Lee decided to do a quick hypnosis scene with us.

First, she had me go into a bit of a trance with my eyes open. Then she had LeeAnn and I face each other and had us do a “mirror” trance. Which is to say, you place two people facing each other, and tell each that they are going to go into the same level of trance as the person they’re facing. Sit back, relax, and watch the decent. LeeAnn was slightly concerned—and I can’t blame her—because it’s a very intimate thing to do. And she was somewhat concerned that her husband, who was in the audience, would find this objectionable (I understand, ultimately, he did not.) So, as I was going deep, I was doing my best to keep her calm, and to demonstrate that there was no cause for alarm. To my mind, it lasted less than a minute, but I am certain it went on for much longer than that.

There were other demonstrations. Marc Cabot had a hysterically funny trance, which you should read about on his blog (“You want to make fun of me, ok then, you can’t stop yourself from making fun of me.” “Look at me, I’m Marc, and I wear a funny hat to bring attention to myself.”). There were a couple of really hot and intimate scenes as well. (In some cases I wish there had been a microphone to pick up some of what was said on “stage.”)

The point of the demonstrations was to show how hypnosis can be useful and entertaining with respect to everything from a hot and heavy BDSM scene, to a typical adult Vegas-style hypno show with induced orgasms and singing, to something playful and innocuous, like our scene. In that sense, it was very effective.

I spent a good chunk of the rest of the evening hanging out and chatting with various people. I got to talk about some favorite topics, including Doctor Who, and English soccer.

[Deleted Scene].

At around 2 a.m., I dragged myself back to the hotel and poured myself into bed.

Next time- Saturday, Part One. Improv scene! Slapping! Pushing! Moving! A day as a “hypno-slave.” So much happening that Saturday had to be broken into two parts! Stay tuned!

NEEHU, A Personal Recap, Part 2: Thursday

Chapter Two: Pre-NEEHU-con.

“Leaving on a jet plane, don’t know when my brain’ll be back again.” (With apologies to Mr. Denver).

 

            I left on the red-eye into Hartford. I was flying, more or less, across the country, and I normally don’t like flying. The flight itself was surreal. There were three dogs (a service golden retriever and two bischon frisses) and a cat on the plane. At some point the cat escaped its carrier. You have never seen anything stranger than airline stewardesses tiptoeing down the center aisle trying to catch a cat while not waking passengers up.

            Meanwhile, the woman on my left was fast asleep, and kept lowering her head to my shoulder, before repeatedly jerking it back into an upright position. It made sleep rather difficult. For me, anyway.

            Also, about halfway through the flight, the couple across the aisle from me got into a whispered spat that went on and on. Needless to say, I got about 20 minutes of sleep on a 5-hour flight.

            Working in my favor, however, was that I had called the hotel we were staying at to request an early check in. I found out later that, not only was the lovely lady who fielded my call the liaison for our merry band of kinksters, but she had taken it upon herself to let me check in 7 hours early, and had given me a free upgrade. Things were already starting to turn around.

            I promptly collapsed in my room for about five hours. When I woke up, I showered, attempted to make myself look presentable, and wondered into the lobby to see if there were people I recognized from the internet. Shortly after being there, I saw Marc Cabot, who I recognized from a webcam chat, and made my move.

            I introduced myself, and we found that our rooms were right across from each other. Over the course of the next few hours, I met the following:

            Marc Cabot: A man whose sense of sartorial elegance gives new meaning to the word “dapper,” also a fantastic writer of hypnosis related stories. A very smart man, he and I share the same profession;

            HypnoTy: A lovely lady who was at her first hypno conference. She and I bonded over the fact that we expected to be very shy and sit on the sidelines, and agreed that we would happily work with each other if we couldn’t overcome this shyness (This conversation would seem hysterical later.);

            Sleepingirl: A young woman, whose blogs had started me down this journey. (I thought, when I saw her, “that’s her! I’m actually here!” and then, of course, “I wonder if I’ll get mentioned in her blog.”) She has a sweet face and a mind built for many, many, non-sweet things. A fellow Doctor Who junkie as well, a fact that will become important later.

            CCKitten: A vixen, very sweet, with eyes that are by turns pleading and mischievous.

            DaSade: CCKitten’s husband, and Sleepingirl’s top. DaSade was also our contact for the Society, the location of the weekend’s festivities. A serious man, with a knowing grin lurking somewhere underneath his stern countenance.

            OneEyedStranger: a veteran of NEEHU, he’s a friendly fellow with a kind heart. He was part of the kitchen volunteer brigade and was extremely helpful making me feel at home.

            Over time we would be joined by Mephki and SweetGasp, who gathered us together for the CostCo run. NEEHU wasn’t to start until the next morning, and Mephki wanted to make sure there was food and snacks for everyone for three days.

            Mephki is positively delightful, and it’s her enthusiasm and infectious love for hypnosis, the people associated with it, and a fair few other things, which make the whole weekend move. She has a warm energy, but, rarely for someone as intelligent as she is, she is not afraid to let her silly, playful, side show. She is not, however (and by her own admission) the best driver in the world. Which is why I thought SweetGasp (who had driven with Mephki) would be best described as a pale, nervous, jittery creature…. Turns out it was just Mephki’s driving.

            SweetGasp is a charming person who would be a valuable addition to any kitchen, both because of her considerable grace under pressure and, let’s face it, raw talent. The beignets she made later in the weekend were angelic, and her ability to marshal the resources of a relatively limited cooking area were formidable. Beyond that, she’s got a down-to-earth soul, and a vibe that says that she’d fight to the death for her friends.

            I was getting a nice rush just from being around these people. Not the least that they were all, to a person, extraordinarily good looking, but because they were all, to a person, smart and witty. It was like landing at the port in 1920s New York, penniless and destitute, and finding yourself accepted and befriended at the Algonquin Round Table.

            All right, I’m overegging the pudding a little, but nevertheless, I was having so much fun hanging out with these people, just going on a three-hour Costco run, that I was frankly getting less worried that any other part of the weekend would pan out. After a few more grocery stops, we delivered most of the groceries to the site, and then returned, finally, to the hotel. By now it was around 9 pm. Mephki and I ran through the pool area. I briefly saw Lee, introduced myself quickly, and told her and anyone around that I was off to get my swimsuit and come back. As I returned, Lee walked up to me. Lee is an extremely attractive woman, whose glasses do nothing to conceal eyes that are often both searching and, frankly, diabolical.

            She told me she didn’t want to interrupt me wanting to go to the hot tub, but she did want to know if she could talk with me. I was flattered, and so agreed. (Note to others, flattery will take me anywhere.) So we wandered over to some lounge chairs in the corner. She wanted to show me some jewelry she had recently purchased. And, before I knew it, she was performing an induction on me. ….and I was out. I believe she said she wanted me to have a fantastic time over the weekend, and to open myself up to the possibilities and experiences I might have. I have a memory of thinking “this is happening. This is actually happening.” I wish I could recount more of what was, in actual fact, my first live trance ever, but it felt like, for a moment, all I had in the world was the smile on my face, Lee’s hypnotic words, and the echoes of people playing in the pool in the distance. She brought me up, and then back down a few times, in a practice known as fractionalization, which is designed to send the vict- um,–I mean the subject– into deeper and deeper trances.

            Tangent: What Does Trance Feel Like?         

            Probably the most-asked question of all time by people new to the concept, and one I’m not sure I could have really answered until the weekend of NEEHU. Some of the people who have known me for ages know that I am a bibliophile. Some of those even know how I get when I read a good book. It’s like I completely lose myself. People have had to literally shake me to get me out of the book. Trance is a little like that—supreme focus in one sense, with a bit of an altered mental state as well. In hypnosis, it feels as if that “reading focus” is spread out throughout my body. It’s sort of the difference between smoking pot and ingesting pot in terms of where the high is centered (or so I’ve read; not that I’d have first hand experience). There was always a sense in the back of my head that I could stop whatever it was that was going on, but that I didn’t want to. This, I understand, is quite common. I don’t recall any moments where I saw something that wasn’t there, but I can say that at various moments it felt like my pain receptors were turned off, or that other things were turned on. Also, I should point out that other things that will be described later did actually occur, and that as the weekend progressed, everything felt more and more real to me.

            At some point Lee and I decided to head up to the con-suite and found ourselves in Mephki’s room, who graciously offered some of her special Asian pork soup to us. Marc Cabot and Ms. Mesmer joined us as well. Ms. Mesmer is yet another massive Doctor Who fan. Unlike many of the other people I’ve described, Ms. Mesmer is a shy woman. Like all of the other people I’ve described, she has nothing to be shy about; a very pretty girl, given to hiding behind her glasses and bangs, she was thoroughly enjoying being Mr. Cabot’s hypnotic plaything. Judging from her blogs, she (much like Sleepingirl) is enormously responsive to hypnosis. She had recently been drawn back to hypnosis after some time away, and seemed to be making up for lost time.

            What transpired next can only be summed up in the following section title:

            “Dear Hypno-Penthouse, I never thought this would happen to me…..”

            Marc was enjoying doing some hypno play with Ms. Mesmer, and I was seated on a couch between Lee and Mephki and across from HypnoTy. Marc asked Lee to put Ms. Mesmer under and to have a little fun with her. So Lee induced Ms. M, and gave the following trigger to her: When either Marc or she said “that’s not funny,” Ms. M would immediately start laughing. Moreover, she would laugh harder each and every time “that’s not funny” was said by either one of them. The laughter would continue until one of them said “OK, that’s funny.” See? Simple, yet kind of mean.

            I’m sure that’s exactly the observation I would have given if I hadn’t…. if I hadn’t slipped into a ricochet trance from Lee’s trancing of Ms. M. Which Lee took advantage of by giving me the same trigger as Ms. M, with the additional caveat that our laughter would spur the other on, and, moreover, that if she (Ms. M) and I made eye contact, we’d laugh harder. Now it’s a weird experience doing that. It wasn’t as if the phrase “that’s not funny” was somehow the most hysterical thing anyone ever said. Nevertheless, I did find that I couldn’t stop laughing, at least until one of them said “That’s funny.” Have the trigger done to you enough, and it’s quite the abs work out.

            Now in one of the mp3’s that Lee has released, she does a “pause” trigger, which leads you to cease moving, while fully conscious of everything that’s going on around you. Lee reinforced that, and I did, in fact, find myself unable to move. While Lee on one side, and Mephki on the other, started tickling me. Because, you see, I stupidly mentioned that I was ticklish. I had a good reason; one of the events Lee organizes is for tickle fetishists. (“Wait!” I hear you say, “There are tickle fetishists?” Of course there are; have you seen the internet?) And I good-naturedly said that although I was ticklish, I didn’t entirely see the point of flying out for a weekend of nothing but that. I’m not entirely sure Lee heard anything beyond the next words “I’m ticklish.” So there I was, “paused” and being tickled, as Ms. M was laughing after Marc said “that’s not funny.” A couple more hours of this and I’d have a 6-pack.

            Lee released me, and we all calmed down a bit. I mentioned that I had just had my live hypnotic cherry popped-so to speak. Mephki said she was slightly sad, because she had hoped to be around for that. So Lee said something to the effect that it’s not too late, that I was, essentially, still under, which was news to me. And before I knew it, Lee was hypnotizing me in my left ear, as Mephki was whispering in my right.

            I’ll write that again.

            Lee was speaking in my left ear, as Mephki was whispering in my right. Just as a smile was about to run away with my face, HypnoTy, from across the room, joined in as well.

            Remember how three hours earlier (and, what, a page and a half ago) I was going to be ok if I never experienced a trance the entire weekend? I was awestruck. Even Marc said something about the lucky position I found myself in. Moreover, all those words spoken in both ears and from across the room were sending me DEEP. I actually have no idea what happened for the next few minutes. I don’t think much happened, but it was such a, such an….- really the only word that I can think of is “exquisite”- exquisite feeling. At some point they brought me up. Whether my silly grin was visible from space I’ll leave to others to sort out. All I know was that the trip was worth it, and NEEHU hadn’t even officially started.

After some more conversation, and a few more adventures, which are really other people’s stories to tell, if they wanted to, jet lag and a full day finally caught up with me, and I poured myself into bed. Somehow, with the first day still ahead of me, I fell asleep somewhere around 2 am.

            Next—Day One! Magic handshakes! Classes! More trances! Sandwiches! Live Demonstrations! Dish washing!