Tag Archives: trance

Twenty-Two Stories About Deep Mind Dark Wood

Twenty-Two Short Stories About Deep Mind-Dark Wood.

By DJ Pynchon

Some of these stories happened as I described them.

Some of these stories are exaggerated.

Some of them are complete fabrications.

….Maybe.

1.  Preparation

It would be unfair to say that I had never cooked before. It would be perfectly fair, however, to say that I had never cooked so much so quickly for so many people. My plane was a few minutes late, and I was thrust out into the pleasant New England night. For Lee and Jim, it was 11 pm. For me, it was still relatively early, being from a time zone significantly west of here. The trip to Lee’s house was short, and windy. There was precious little time for pleasantries. But I was cooking, and stressing about it.

Then I remembered that I was at a hypnotist’s house. I stood there in front of the stove and listened to Lee and Jim talk, and decided to push myself into a little trance.

Then Lee said something to me and I looked at the time. It was 1 am. All the chicken had been cooked and put away.

I had wondered flying across the country if I’d be ready for this weekend.

I was.

2.  Self-Preparation

I was trying to figure out what I was.

Not who I was. That I had pretty much well in hand: nice enough, good looking enough for those I cared enough of to dwell on whether they thought I was attractive; smart, clever, polite, diplomatic. Those are all words that describe who I was. Or who I am.

But what was I?

Hopping into the hypno-scene as I had, I found myself drawn mostly to dominants. It made sense; all my fantasies prior to that had involved some kind of female hypnotist slowly taking over my will and giving me intense pleasure, inducing some level of amnesia and taking advantage of me without choice. You know, typical Catholic stuff.

And yet. And yet. Consider that a fair portion of the actual play I had concocted and put in motion involved me as the “top.” It involved me as the mover, the hypnotist, the one holding the whip (or, in my case, the sonic screwdriver).

Maybe… maybe I’m not, strictly speaking, a bottom after all.

And would that make a difference?

These were the questions going through my head in the lead up to Deep Mind Dark Wood. I thought it’d be a chance to explore aspects of myself that I hadn’t really had the chance to… at any point in my life, really.

And so I prepared myself to have the courage of my convictions. Wait. No, that’s not quite right. Because I wasn’t sure of my convictions. Not yet. Rather, I was going to gird myself to try on a new me. To one extent or another, I was hoping to break through and find out what I was. What I am.

And although I was trying to prepare myself, what preparation can one do right before you take that leap?

3.  The Scene

The prevailing color is green. Not the newborn Springtime green of the urgent growth, but the last gasp green of late summer, when Autumn has barely thought about licking the leaves of the trees in the valley.

Helter-skelter in the middle of the woods are scattered clearings and chock-a-block buildings. One such building rises towards the middle of the camp– a massive modest mansion. It has multiple personalities: come at it from any new angle, and you’d think you were approaching a new structure. It also has multiple stories: one in one part; two in another; and three or even four, depending on which staircase one ascends (or descends… or ascends, then descends, then ascends).

The interior of the dormitory is a maze of rooms and hallways. One imagines Escher would get dizzy navigating its entrails.

There is one large gathering and dining room, a well-appointed kitchen, and all the bedrooms one would want.

There are private cabins here and there and several fields for lazing about.

Across a path and hidden from sight is a disused religious maze, and if one weren’t careful, one could even get lost between the maze of the house and the maze of the maze, such is the disorienting effect of the place.

This weekend, though, the lasting memory will, no doubt, be the hazy sticky heat that lay about the place and made every movement seem like swimming through a dream.

In short, for all one’s hypnotic needs, the place was perfect.

4.  Initiation.

The circle.

People from many different corners of the world gathered together to invoke whatever good spirits (or bad, I suppose) to lift them to whatever goals they felt confident enough to inflict upon this weekend.

We held hands. ZanyM led us through the ceremony.

One by one we sipped water from a bowl and spoke of our hopes and dreams for the weekend.

The cadence of voices from other climes and other countries.

The whisper of what might be.

The far off sound of thunder.

Ray Bradbury may have been tempted to call it “delicate.”

Far off I swore I heard a raven call, symbol of change and the oaths you’re glad were broken.

And then another rumble.

And then the words of us, one by one, detailing the signs and symbols we’d adopted.

Ripples in the air spreading out in all directions.

The wave of vibrations hitting the ears and then to the minds.

The oscillator could chart the slide up and down as those words flitted around the gathering.

Already the minds receding and acceding.

I could feel the comfort of trance just from following the bowl from person to person, round and round.

Each word and hope feeding my sense of anticipation.

And the hinted, unspoken promise of any opening circle, that there will be a closing circle. That who you are right there, in that moment, will be deposited at the close, unchanged in any appreciable way. However far one strays from the origin, the circle promises the return, and therefore returns a perfect promise.

Morgan closed the loop with the last drops from the cup and bid us all strap in for the bumpy ride of the weekend to come.

And with that, the circle broke.

5.  Hypno-scenes from a hat.

They had put their nametags in a hat. DJ sat nervously. He wasn’t entirely sure what to expect from the weekend. Frankly the promotional materials were rather circumspect on the question of what everyone would be doing to fill their time. But Mr. Dream, together with LeeAllure, as ringleaders of the event, had gathered everyone onto the side porch. Dream took the name-tags from everyone and threw them into a hat. He and Lee began by trading trances.

They described how, for the duration of the weekend, any filters that were preventing us from achieving our goals would be lifted, but only in such a way as to keep us safe and secure. But that, again, for the duration of the weekend, those filters would be placed somewhere else so that we would be open to the new experiences and to the experiences that we wanted. They spoke these words to each other.

Then, they picked names out of a hat, and each took that person to the side, and performed a hypnotic induction on them.

DJ was still a little nervous. He had met most of these people before, but he really only knew Lee. And, with some minor exceptions here and there, he had only worked with Lee.

Time passed.

One man with a slight accent picked DJ’s name. They wandered to the side.

They chatted nervously a little, in a way not entirely unlike a first date. The accented man asked for permission and began.

DJ dropped like a brick through water.

His mind had been ready, and he opened like a flower greeting the first rain of spring after the frost had faded away. As filters began being removed, DJ found himself nodding to the friendly suggestions.

DJ enjoyed the drifting.

Too soon, the accented voice woke him up.

DJ looked around, seeing various people in various states of trance.

The colors and lights looked brighter and, yet, gauzier.

He thanked the accented man.

Then DJ took a name out of the hat, and continued.

6.  Where the weather goes.

I have often thought that climate makes the culture. New Englanders are hardy folk, because they bear the brunt of fierce Nor-easters then harsh and humid horrid summers.

Southerners are lazily lackadaisical because, perhaps, their progress is forever slowed by half-backed molasses in the air.

Northwesterners are quirky and fond of the weird- months in the rain leads to inventing new ways to entertain and distract.

I hail from near the Pacific, where dry desert sun kisses the skin every day and no air or weather is anything other than a friend. The Western sun loves us so much it will not let a drop of water fall, nor fill the air, lest water distract from the sun’s love of us.

So when I walk outside into the New England summer I wonder what sins I have committed to earn so great a betrayal of what I rely on. In New England late summers, the sun is not your friend. It and its humid allies seek to stifle the very sense of thought. In many ways the slow burn squeeze of thought and brain power is perfect for an enclave such as this.

John Adams’ children from the area open their arms and tell me it’s beautiful. Polite and suggestible, I tell them it is. They look at me insistently, for I have not the fervor of an acolyte.

“It IS beautiful here!” they say again. And look! So it is!

Thus does culture make the climate.

7.  Air Superiority

The remit was simple and from the Wiccan-inspired people in our group: divide ourselves according to the ancient four elements of “Water, Fire, Earth and Air” and develop (within those groups) a group trance related to that element.

I found myself in the “Air” group. We tied some ropes onto a ring and each of us began to dance with each other through the ring, like a giant Ouija fetish, only with the ring holding air… as much as air can be held.

The other “elements” were doing it wrong, clearly.

Fire went down to the fire-pit and talked about themselves among the ashes, before flaming out with little trance accomplished.

Earth lay down sedentarily, contemplating the grass. In my field of vision, they never moved.

Water took forever to decide what state they were in- halfway through our dance, I don’t think they had even figured out a way to begin, or where that beginning would be. Finally Water decided that they wanted more of itself, and begged the sky for rain.

But we- we let the wind move us into whatever many positions we/it desired. Spinning ourselves around the ring. Tying us up in bunches. And when the wind was done with us, and we were done with the wind, the trance and the dance, we stopped.

8.  Clean hands, clean heart, clean dishes, clean mind.

I stumbled out of the kitchen, blinking.

My hands were wet and the entire front of my clothes was damp.

I blinked some more and checked the time.

An hour had gone. I leaned back into the kitchen and saw a pile of clean dishes.

I think I had done them.

I fuzzy memory came back to me.

An hour ago, Lee had led me to the kitchen. “It’s your turn in the kitchen to clean. As you clean each dish, you will find yourself falling deeper and deeper into a trance. Each dish you wash will make you happier and more open. Each dish you wash will clean your mind and make you more open. The cleaner the dishes are, the cleaner your mind will be.”

The image came back in a flood.

My mind was clean.

Looking back now, I realize…. I was in that kitchen a lot.

9.  Molecular Trance.

We are given a length of rope. Well… not really a rope. More like those thick sturdy lengths used to tie furniture. Everyone gets a choice of a color. Mine is blue.

We start with one volunteer in the middle. She stands there, with us surrounding her in a circle, in anticipation.

Three of us approach her, each placing our “rope” around her. Together we can stop her from falling over.

Together, however, we seek to induce her into trance.

We take her off balance, yet still connected to the ground.

I find myself whispering trancey words. The three of us with the fourth in the middle guide her into a glide into hypnosis.

In many ways this is a trust exercise; she trusts us to hold her to the ground. We trust her to fall and drift.

After a few minutes I feel the ropes around me. The same thing happens to the other two. Now we are floating on the ground, as people tug and shape us off balance. I feel like I am floating as I hold and guide the woman in the center. I can barely keep track of what I am saying, though I’m sure my whispers mean something.

I feel like I am floating up into the air and looking down, as ropes interlace between and among us spreading out in all directions. We are a molecule of 24, 25 people spreading hypnosis out from the center and then having it reverberate back in.

I feel it course around and through me. I feel like I am catalyzed and a catalyst. I feel full of words, ponderous and pretentious. Maybe that is who I am. And for once, I do not care.

We are a unit, and a molecule, and every molecule contains atoms, each of which contains positive and negative charge. Whatever charge I have in this molecule is important, and contributes to the sway. For what I am is who I am. Down the road Walt Whitman said that every part of you as sure’s a part of me.

For once, I understand what he meant (and all without benefit of drugs).

A breeze picks up, and, when we are done, we separate into our constituent parts.

10.  What the Butler Became

Towards the beginning of the weekend we were randomly assigned groups and asked to come up with suggestions for “classes” or experiences we’d like to have. Someone suggested we experiment with “transformation” play. Transformation play involves a hypnotic suggestion that the subject have all the characteristics of….someone or something else.

A traditional motif in “mcstories” is when the subject is transformed into a doll or a robot. For the subject, being in a “doll space” means taking a break from thought and responsibility. For the hypnotist, having someone you can order around and who will obey without thought or delay can be quite the fantasy come true.

There are other types of transformation play, however. Some people will enjoy having their intelligence taken away, and this can be done through “bimbo” or “himbo” play. Others may like to experience being an animal, or a specific pet. For others it’s as simple as changing or augmenting a specific personality trait.

So a lot of people wanted to experience different aspects of it at DMDW. As a group, we discussed different aspects of it, and those with experience discussed how best to elicit it from the unconscious.

For the hypnotist, it can be quite a charge to see someone you’re working with adopt a whole new persona, to your specifications and commands.

We then split off into volunteers and hypnotists to run through some possible transformations.

Jim was really interested in exploring service, so had a hypnotist instill a “butler” trigger on him. The butler had his own personality, both supercilious and punctilious. We came to call him “Sebastian.”

Cynthia wanted to experience animal play, and so was hypnotized into believing she was a cat… well, that is to say, a kitten. She crawled around on all fours.

Roger was an effervescent sort. He had kind of a bubbly personality and a certain joie de vivre. He wanted to experience having his intelligence drained away a little.

And me. Well, Lee and I had been discussing how I needed some experience being “not nice.” I’ve always been a little leery about opening up the dark side of my personality to others’ gaze. Lee, for some reason, thought it’d be fun to do. So she turned to me and started whispering in my ear.

“In your mind is a control panel. And on that control panel is a section marked ‘filters.’ And on one of those filters is a dial marked ‘Snarkiness.’ It’s probably set to about a ‘6’ right now. For the next hour, I want to change it, just a little, to ‘8.’ Nod your head if this is ok.”

I, of course, nodded my head.

“Good. Now wake up! <snap!>”

I opened my eyes and I felt, frankly, lighter than I had before. I also felt slightly more predatory. For a while I saw most of the people there as some kind of prey.

I remember going up to “Sebastian,” and engaging him in conversation about how awful butlers were- that they are backstabbing, gossiping two-faced creatures—just to see how polite he could stand to be as I was crapping all over his chosen profession.

I noted with wry amusement how flustered he was becoming. I stopped just before he was about to blow his top. As I left I noted how his shoelaces were not equally well tied. Which flustered the poor bastard even more.

We interacted like this for a while as the group broke up into social discussions. I found my way next to Lee and whispered some of my observations into her ear. I was mimicking this person, or making fun of the ostentatious way one of them was conducting a trance.

At some point I was told that Roger was brought out of his “Himbo” trance, and I immediately responded, “How can anyone tell the difference?”

Before we went inside, Lee reset the dial; dinner was approaching, and I still had three full days with everyone.

11.  Bang a Gong

I’m not sure why the gong was there.

It was large and looked like it came straight from the set of some Asian movie where monks at a Buddhist temple gather. It was slung from a stand at the side of the room.

Brigit and Sonia were there. Sonia was underneath the gong, lying still but looking around furtively as if something were sure to happen. I walked up and Brigit greeted me.

“Sonia’s a gong.”

“I’m sorry?”

“I said, Sonia’s a gong. Watch!”

And with that, Brigit took the gong’s mallet and drummed it on the gong. The effect on Sonia was immediate. Her whole body shook with each reverberation of the gong. As the sounds quieted down, Sonia’s own palpitations and shivers declined. Just as Sonia came to a rest, Brigit hit the gong again, sending Sonia into more and even greater convulsions.

“Can she-?”

“Oh, no. She’s completely mindless right now. All she is is a gong. Gong, gong, gong. She’s gone gong….” Brigit hit the gong in time with every time she said “gong” or “gone.”

She handed me the mallet.

“Are you sure?”

“Yes. She said you could earlier.”

I slowly rapped the mallet against the gong, marveling at how responsive Sonia was.

After a while, I couldn’t help myself. I choked the mallet up and swung it hard and strong at the gong, sending a crashing, booming sound through the room unmatched by anything save for the shriek of ecstasy as Sonia spasmed underneath.

I was about to laugh, when I looked down the room and saw some people look at me sharply, as though I was disturbing something they were doing. Which we probably were.

I held my hand out to silence the gong, and Sonia stopped her thrashing immediately.

Brigit and I looked at each other for a moment

“Do you think…” I started.

“Yes?” she asked.

“What would happen if we hit her with the mallet?”

Brigit and I held each other’s eyes for a moment.

“Let’s find out” she said, eagerly.

Brigit took the mallet from me and started bouncing it off of Sonia’s prone body. Sonia re-started her convulsions. Like the gong, the quivers and quavers kept going even after each mallet’s strike was over.

Sonia looked like a woman in the throes of unseen passion as we took turns hitting her with various degrees of force.

At some point, I saw someone I had to talk to, so I left Brigit to continue poking and prodding.

As I hit the other side of the room, I heard another shriek as Brigit doubtless smacked Sonia as hard as she could. The same people who had been disturbed before glared at me again.

I looked at them and showed my bare, empty hands.

“Not my orchestra this time.”

They grimaced, and went back to their scene.

12.  Mosquitos, a haiku.

Trance is hard enough

Blood sucking insects all ‘round

Inductive itching?

13.  Rapport, Part 1: The Staring Contest

Breakfast at Camp Mindfuck is dangerous.

Mark was talking with Lee about plans for later that day.

Mary was over on the other side of the table, discussing some arcane

scientific discovery.

Mark absent-mindedly asked Mary to pass the water. Neither looked at the

other as Mary reached over to grab the pitcher. Neither really considered their actions as Mark reached across for the pitcher.

But each glanced up to make sure there would be no spill.

They made eye contact.

Each considered how funny it was to make eye contact at a hypnosis event.

Each decided to let the other look away first.

You know, for science.

Each saw the smirk in the other’s face.

Each knew this meant there was a double down.

Each knew that this was dangerous.

The other person’s eyes became the most important thing in the world.

Would they shift away from the other’s?

Would they lose focus first?

Would they trance out or keep focus?

Would they, could they, should they resist?

Each could barely hear the conversation fade away.

Each could barely hear as their hypnotists started whispering in their ears.

Each could barely imagine it, because maybe that wasn’t actually happening.

Each could barely contain themselves as they drifted away from the

breakfast table into a sweet sleepy space.

Each could barely stop themselves from imagining a million different ways to

drift together.

Each could not contain their drop into that yawning sleepy open space

beneath them.

And then…

And then…

A shadow passed as someone else asked for some water.

And the spell was broken, and each was returned to the present tense.

Shaky, Mark managed to pour himself some water, and pass the pitcher on.

Each returned to their conversations.

Breakfast at Camp Mindfuck is so much dangerous.

But it is also dangerously fun.

14.  Maze (a poem)

I am lost

I am following a person I barely know around a maze

Drawn and charted on a former church floor

I am following them, and then I’m not

I am following the lines on the floor

I am lost

I am drawn to the center like the maze

I am drawn to follow

I am meant to follow between the lines that draw me to the center

I follow between the lines

I chart the lines between trance and meditation

I place myself on one foot after another

I am lost

I am steps in a maze which have retraced themselves

I am lost in a loop in a maze which has turned upon itself

I was following and now I am lost and by myself

I stop

The line between trance and meditation is a line I cross

And so I cross myself and my path

I am meant to draw myself to the center, and so

I find myself crossing all kinds of lines

I am no longer drawn to another maze’s center.

Amazingly, I have found myself my own center.

I am found

I am no longer lost.

15. Rapport, Part 2—The Hypno-Egg Contest

Mark started.

He handed the egg to Mary. Mary held it carefully and protectively in her hands. She handed it back to Mark.

Likewise, Mark cradled it in his hands before handing it back.

Mary held it, slightly heavier than last time, before send it the other way.

“I wonder,” Mark said, “which color brings you into trance more? Is it the blue color or is it the red.”

“Wait,” Mary said, “isn’t that cheating?”

“You should answer my question before I answer yours.”

She handed the egg back. “No, seriously—can you do that?”

“Well,” he smirked, “I did help invent the game. So the rules are pretty much what I say they are.”

She smiled. “Well, then, Mark. Would you say that the colors are more effective when you inhale or when you exhale? But don’t answer.”

“W-what?” They continued handing the egg back and forth, but suddenly, Mark’s hands began to waver.

“Because I need you to think about that while you concentrate on handing this Hypno-Egg back and forth so very carefully. And while you worry about that, think about how much you want to win this game and how that desire keeps you going and then think about the feel of the egg in your hand and the weight that you must bear to keep going, and think about all the colors you’re ignoring because the changing rainbow of colors would be captivating if you thought of them too much and then…”

She might have kept talking; Mark wasn’t entirely sure, because he felt himself sinking. But then he realized, she had stopped speaking. She was staring at the egg in his hands.

All he had to do…

All he had to do was shift the egg from his hands to hers and he’d win.

He’d “win.”

He could feel his thumb twitch as he tried to make that move.

He could feel Mary’s eyes staring.

He could sense her outstretched hands waiting.

And yet, for some reason, he just couldn’t do it.

And so he “lost.”

Mary, of course, remembered it the other way around.

16.  The Tough Nut (a haiku)

Repeating “I can’t”

Is its own kind of trance state

A sad, lonely one.

17.  Rapport, Part 3 – Mirror Trance

Mark was walking down the hall when he heard Lee talking with Mort.

“Oh sure,” she said, “mutual trances are a lot of fun. I did one with Mark over at NEEHU last year.”

Mark’s ears perked up. It was a fantastic memory for him. NEEHU was the first hypnosis event he had ever been to and he recalled how nervous he was getting off the plane, driving to the hotel, and meeting the first few people at the event. He had met Lee at the pool and she had both assuaged his nerves and introduced him to his first live trance. The next day, she had somehow convinced him to do a live demo in front of the unconference. He remembered thinking to himself “zero to 60 in no time at all.”

At some point during the demo, Lee had Mark face Sarah, one of the other volunteers. Lee started whispering at them, telling them that they were going to go into a trance.

“I don’t know which of you is going to go into a trance first, you,” touching him on his shoulder, “or you,” now touching Sarah. “But you find you can’t take your eyes off of each other’s eyes, and, Mark, you’ll find that as you watch Sarah go deep, you’ll go just as deep as she looks, and then a little deeper. And Sarah, you’ll find that as you watch Mark go a little deeper, you’ll go just as deep as he looks, and then go a little deeper. And you’ll see the trance in each other’s eyes, and….”

And that’s where his memories got a little hazy.

Mark shook his head and looked around. He was here, at Deep Mind Dark Wood, and Lee was talking about mutual trances, again. It was just Lee and Mort lounging in the room. He stepped into the sitting room, and looked up to see Mary walk in from the other hallway at the same time. They made eye contact with each other, and stopped.

Lee laughed. “I was going to go get some volunteers, but I think we have some already. Mary… Mark… would you please come here and demonstrate something for Mort for me?”

Mark briefly considered saying “no,” just to be difficult. But he walked over and took up a position just opposite Mary, who, likewise, found herself standing across from Mark.

Lee kept talking to Mort, explaining what was about to happen. “So it’s really about establishing rapport between the two people. And I know this will be a little bit easier than usual because of how they had been working together earlier today. So I’ll just ask them to look at each other.”

At this point, Lee directed her voice at the pair staring at each other in the room.

“Look at each other’s faces and take a deep breath in and let it go.”

Mark and Mary did this in unison.

“Now just begin to breathe normally. And as you do that, just look at each other and see how relaxed and happy the other person is.” Mark nodded, noticed that Mary nodded at the same time, and both grinned.

“And as you see how relaxed the other person is, see if you can get as relaxed as they are. Notice how their eyes soften, even as they stay focused on you. Notice how their breathing slows, even as yours slows.”

Mark was noticing all these things. He noticed how her eyes softened but kept focus. He noticed how his breathing was suddenly matching her breathing. He noticed all these things and less. And less.

He had dim flashes of how beautiful Mary looked as she was obviously slipping into a trance, with Lee’s words sliding by his ears. Lee’s voice, however, was a music he could hear and even follow, but whose melody slipped by him.

And he thought that if Mary looked like that falling into trance, he must look the same. And- just as Lee was saying at that exact moment, though somehow he didn’t exactly hear her- that same thought made them both fall even deeper.

The whole world swallowed them up as consciousness fell around them both.

And then-

“And 1…2…3…4… wide awake on 5.”

His eyes blinked into consciousness staring directly at Mary. He watched her blink into wakefulness as well. They both giggled shyly. They stole a glance at each other.

And then-

“-and drop right back down twice as deep, Now!” as Lee snapped her fingers.

And the trance swallowed them both again.

There was nothing but darkness for a while, and then….

“And 1…2…3…4, wide awake again on 5.”

This time, waking up was even more of a chore.

They stole a shy glance around the room again, only to find that it had filled up with ten people watching them intensely.

They both looked down, bashfully.

“And that’s how you do it. They’ll feel like they’re in quite the state of rapport for a while-and they are-but it’s really easy, especially if you have such good subjects like this.”

Mary and Mark both sheepishly thanked Lee for the compliment. They were furtively trying not to make eye contact. Eye contact seemed… dangerous.

Lee kept talking to the newly arrived crowd as Mary and Mark pretended to pay attention. They were slowly and imperceptibly (to themselves anyway, though Lee noticed) moving closer to each other.

Finally, they “accidentally” touched, and made that eye contact…

And fell…

They fell past the room’s laughter on their way down.

They fell past all sense of propriety, too. (Morgan, who arrived in the room halfway through, would say that the little bit of drool dripping from Mark’s mouth was the sexiest thing she had seen that weekend, to that point.)

At some point they never hit bottom. But they never broke eye contact, either. And at some point, somewhere in there, they knew they needed to come back up, or else they would drift in trancey blackness forever.

And so they led each other back to the waking world and to the applause of their friends.

18.  Rapport, Part 4 – That Scene

They would refer to it ever after as that scene.

Periodically, someone would poke their head in to see what was occurring, but only the five people in the room could tell you.

I wouldn’t dare to tell you that I knew what exactly occurred; I was in another part of the complex entirely, staring at the sky and counting shooting stars. But this is what I’ve been able to piece together, after talking to each of them.

Vince had asked Lee and Morgan to do a scene with him. Vince and Morgan had been working on some transformation play involving turning Vince into a butler type named “Bartlesby” earlier in the day. But tonight, he wanted a different kind of vacation. Tonight he wanted some doll play. He wanted to be doll-like servant for Morgan and, by extension, Lee. Vince also wanted to experience what needles felt like, and Lee had brought a batch. Mark had listened to some of the negotiations during dinner and asked if he could watch. Lee, Morgan and Vince all agreed.

Mark ran into Mary on the way to the room where “that scene” was about to occur. The three had already begun, so Mark and Mary sat on a bed in the medium size bedroom. Vince was standing in the middle of the room, already with his shirt off. Lee and Morgan had begun with a dual induction, sending him so very, very, deep.

While down, the two hypnotists constructed a doll persona, filled with nothing but thoughtlessness and obedience. But periodically, one or the other would give the doll an imaginary treat. When the doll ate the treat, the doll would say a new mantra that would both express Vince’s deepest thoughts at that moment, and reinforce the obedience and subservience he was feeling.

As Mark and Mary came in, Morgan had just given Vince a treat. He placed it in his own mouth, and said, “An obedient doll is a happy doll.”

Mark and Mary sat on the bed facing the scene. That line had entirely captured their attention. It was one thing to read that line in a smutty and hot mind control story, but to see it playing out right in front of them? That was something else entirely. This, as they told me later, just didn’t happen.

Morgan and Lee stalked around Vince, like two very sexy sharks taunting their prey. Occasionally smacking his chest or running their nails lightly across his back.

Vince was so far gone into “doll-space” it was hard to tell if any of those feelings even registered in his brain.

Lee placed a treat in his hand. This time, he said, “I am a happy doll.”

Mark and Mary inhaled at the same time. Somehow, they wound up sitting even closer to each other. By the time the next treat was given, “I live to serve,” Mark and Mary found themselves clutching each other. Apparently this whole scene was turning them on. Because of the rapport they had been feeling throughout the whole day, however, this quickly became a closed circuit.

By which I mean, every time Lee or Morgan did something to Vince– the first needle; the second needle; “I live to obey”; “happy dolls obey”; Lee slapping the skin where the needles found themselves impaled in Vince’s skin; the moment Morgan let Vince feel the pleasure coursing through his body for 20 seconds of blissful moans and then silence; when Lee and Morgan took turns with the breath play; “I am yours to command”; etc., etc., etc.—Mark and Mary would find themselves turned on, and turning each other on.

First they were clutching each other’s arms. Then they had their arms around each other. Then they were sitting in each other’s laps. Then they were grabbing each other’s hair and forcing each other to watch. At some point, Mary told me, staring down at the ground, she was pretty sure they were dry humping.

Morgan said she wasn’t sure which was hotter, the scene she and Lee were running, or the heavy petting on the couch.

No one was sure how long the scene lasted. Mark said it felt like 20 minutes. Lee thought it was about two hours. Vince lost all track of time and didn’t even know what day this happened. All I know is that I didn’t see them for at least three hours. I saw that door closed and didn’t bother to poke my head in.

No one was sure how or why it ended. Maybe the sun came up. Maybe there’s only so long a doll can be played with.

No one was sure how Mark and Mary managed not to tear off each other’s clothes, given how much they were apparently pawing at each other.

But really, everyone was certain, that the heat from that room peeled the paint off the walls and seared certain moments into their brains.

As Mark Twain once observed about stars, sometimes, when you least expect it…. Moments just happen.

19.  The Voices and the Bodies.

In the field in the afternoon, they gathered. They divided amongst themselves, an equal number of hypnotists and subjects. The subjects lay on the grass, soaking in the warm late summer sun. The hypnotists moved among them and around them. Their voices starting out as whispers.

They cajoled and urged the subjects to let their bodies stay behind in the warm ground and let loose their unconscious selves to dance around the tree.

Their voices collided and roamed the bodies supine before them.

On some unspoken signal, the voices, as one, raised in volume and intent.

This was not just going to be some simple sleepy trance.

No.

As one, the several hypnotists wanted to hear their chorus sing.

Once cajoling voices became commanding voices, controlling voices, demanding voices. Voices that seeped into sleepy minds and pushed through whatever inhibitions still remained after a weekend of fractionation.

Together, the ten or so hypnotists acted as a conductor, pushing their words into the soon writhing bodies in front of them. The hypnotists had started in a circle, clockwise, but now were going every which way.

The bodies in the middle, some began to clutch each other thoughtlessly. Others had their eyes roll up into the backs of their heads as if possessed.

Which, of course, they were.

The words flooded over them like a flood across a desert of rocks, leaving no resistance in their wake. Five minutes, ten minutes, fifteen. The voices were insistent, were they not? The voices only asked for obedience for just as long as they kept talking.

And the obedience was for just one purpose, after all.

Pleasure.

And these voices, without their own decision or thought, demanded that pleasure. They wanted to lure it out into the open. To magnify it. To have each body’s pleasure reverberate off the next. To multiply and focus it. Up into the air. And back onto their waiting, quivering, deliciously strewn bodies.

Together, these voices squeezed in on what remained of the bodies’ minds. As every thought squeezed out let more pleasure in.

Together, as one, the throng of bodies on the ground outside under the warm late-summer sun, moaned and shouted and groaned and pleaded and cast their yesses out into the canyon.

And as the echo flowed back upon them….

The voices grew silent.

For they were sated and proud of what they had done.

20.  Hash-Marks

Each hash-mark is an orgasm.

One that I will forget.

The reverse of Doctor Who’s silence.

There each instance of terror is a mark to remind yourself of what you didn’t

want to see.

Here, each mark is a trigger for an orgasm you don’t want to forget.

Yet must.

Because each time you see it

You remember each time before.

And then you come.

They shared the game this time

And we got revenge on the other

Once we were allowed to remember

What’s this on my arm?

What’s that on yours?

Dozens of hash-marks

Dozens of orgasms

Shared

And shared alike

Until it was time to say good-bye.

Rolling up my sleeves

A friendly predatory glint in my eyes

Arms outstretched.

“Give me a hug.”

21.  Quiet.

Whenever you have been among your tribe

And you are returning to the grey, structured wilderness

Take a moment of quiet

To consider the questions unanswered

To reflect on who you are

And what you must take with you when you go.

22.  Warping and Wrapping Up

We cleaned the place up, as good tenants do. Every bit of trash was retrieved. Every bit of unused food collected. We had all pitched in, every one. When someone wanted to feel a trance, or go for a walk, or just to talk about what they had experienced, there was always someone there to talk to. Each and every person there had something to share.

And they shared it.

You may well ask what I get out of writing these stories or blogs about my experiences (even when I fictionalize them or render them into tone poems).

It’s only when I reached this last one that I truly realized.

As I’ve said before, I am trying to pay this forward. I am trying to repay those whose stories led me to this point, whose words cast out into the fiery confines of the internet, found my mind and encouraged me to take that first step blinking into the sun and solar systems of the various hypnosis events.

And I hope that I may one day be a good enough writer to lead others to make that same first step.

But I also write because when I took that first step I found myself a home. And so I write to go back to that home, and relive it once again.

We take care of each other and ourselves.

We clean up after each other and ourselves.

It’s what you’re supposed to do, after all.

After all, we are a community.

And this is what communities do.

MEEHU, A Personal Blog, Part 5: Saturday!

Moments in the Woods

or

How Much Can you Do in One Day?

I woke up excited at the prospect of attending the first full day of MEEHU. For many people, going to conventions is solely about the socializing. While I adore the socializing, I loves me a good panel discussion and I was looking forward to a fair number of panels and classes.

Among the classes was Lee’s Rapport class, which I believe I am contractually obliged not to discuss about because it’s one of those classes with a twist. Suffice it to say that it’s an interesting class with a useful application beyond hypnosis.

I also sat in on SleepingGirl’s and Ms. Mesmer’s “Subjects 101” class. This was an outgrowth of conversations and a session she had had on Hypbook to focus on the needs of subjects. Apparently, in several previous unconferences, subject oriented classes were few and far between. Sleepingirl had taken the lead (somewhat ironically) for a discussion on the needs of subjects, especially with respect to focusing on empowering subjects to set boundaries and learning how and when to say no. This panel built on that, including what challenges are faced by people being introduced to the arena for the first time. There were various types of individuals there, from those who had been dreaming of coming to something like this for all their lives to people who were being introduced to the idea for the first time by their partners. One individual was so nervous he had had troubles leaving his room on Friday night, and attending this panel was the first time he had found the courage to actually participate in the fetish in “real life.”

My heart bled for him. (And more on him later.)

The panel was brilliant, and Mesmer and SG really kept it moving and informative.

I then attended the Dual Induction class, led by Wiseguy and LeeAllure. A dual induction is…. Well, just that. An induction performed by two people on a single person. They went through various methods of induction—one taking the lead and another following; one person speaking in the left ear speaking to the “Left side of the brain” and being more formal, while the other spoke in the “right ear” while being more artistic.

In order to bring forth volunteers, we sat in a circle and the Wiseguy and Lee placed an office chair in the middle. They spun it around and, wherever the chair stopped, that person would sit in the chair and receive an induction.

Whether it was karma or some other grand design, the first two people to be in the “mush pot” were perfect. First was MigMig, who had flown in last minute from Mexico City. Aside from a shared love for the beautiful game, Mig was a fantastic participant and a good conversationalist. He was a joy to have at the event.

The second person in the “mush pot” was that very same fellow who had felt stranded in his room the first night. I was so happy for him that he was able to enjoy a trance at the hands of such great teachers.

There were a few other trances and, amusingly enough, when they began discussing having multiple trancers with a single subject, AmHypnotic (who is a fantastic hypnotist in his own right) waltzed into the room. Timing. AmHypnotic then joined Lee and Wiseguy in “ganging up” on a “poor, unsuspecting” subject. It was awesome to watch.

There were other classes and discussions and it was just a delight to soak up all of the thoughts and the overall energy of the place.

One of the classes that Em, Seb, Fay and I attended was “your first trance” which was set up to have people try to experience their first trance as either a hypnotist or subject.

Fay very nicely asked if I was interested in being her first subject. I said I’d be honored.

She had me focus on the wall behind her, on which was a water sprinkler. She said the following:

“OK DJ. Please focus on the sprinkler behind me.”

I did.

“Look at how shiny the sprinkler is, and how it draws your eyes to it.”

It was very shiny. It was, all of a sudden, very fascinating.

“… think about it calming you down.”

I did think about it. How shiny it was. How the light reflecting off of it was holding my attention.

“Think about how it makes you feel….. “

What? How it makes me feel?

“Safe. How it’s used to make sure people are safe.”

Wait… what?

“Think about its uses.”

And I couldn’t resist: “Yes. Think about it’s a good thing it’s there, because looking at all these people in this room it’s kind of a firetrap. And thank goodness we’re not going be burned alive. Easily, anyway.”

And that kind of killed the mood for a minute.

So instead, she decided to try a simple hand-shake induction. Which involves, as you would expect, shaking hands and then, interrupting that process by pulling and saying, simply but firmly, “sleep.” It’s not one to try on beginners. But by this point, I wasn’t really a beginner.

So she did that and it worked. However, although I was obviously a willing participant, she hadn’t technically asked me permission to do that induction right then and there.

So I said, as I was shaking her hand, “here, this is how you should do it. ‘Fay, may I hypnotize you?’”

She said, “yes.”

And I said “thank you.”

And just as I breathed in to say “sleep” to her, she pulled on my hand and said “Sleep!”

And I was out.

She brought me up, and Seb and Em were still laughing.

“Hoisted on my own petard.” I said. Sigh.

After this, we started talking about “switch fights,” which raises an interesting question, “What is a Switch?”

Tangent- What is a Switch (Particularly in Hypnosis-speak)?

 

I think the usual way that people on the outside looking in tend to think of a scene in the BDSM world (when they think of it) is probably in the “Fifty Shades of Grey” sense of it. Which is to say, on the one hand you have someone holding the whip, and on the other you have someone getting whipped. In the BDSM general parlance, one person is the “top” and the other is the “bottom.” This is more or less generally accepted terminology, though you will find master/servant (or master/slave), Dominant (or Domme) and submissive, parent/little, or Sir or ma’am and “hey you,” depending on the needs of the people involved. However you slice it, when someone is performing a type of scene usually there is one taking the lead and the other who is following. Like in a dance.

Oftentimes, one person enjoys being in a space where they are only one or the other. However, some people are quite happy doing either. For example, in these journeys, I’ve seen people who have enjoyed being tied up with rope, and being bound helplessly in the air. The next day, I’ll see them tying someone else up.

With hypnosis, it seems, there is a greater fluidity in whether one serves as either hypnotist or subject, at least more than I’ve seen in my (Admittedly relatively limited) observances. Because hypnosis is premised on (generally) more vocal interaction, it’s easier to switch from one side to the other. In fact, several hypnotists will say that they go into trance themselves, while helping someone into a trance state. That’s not something that can really happen while whipping or tying someone up.

There is, in some corners of BDSM, what are called “switch fights,” which is where two people will actually “fight” for dominance over each other. Sometimes the “winner” is preset, but not always. This can be fairly tame, like a wrestling match or pillow fight, or it can be fairly brutal.

In hypnosis, however, you can have a switch fight between any two people who are interested in going into a trance. In a sense, you’re offsetting their desire to go into trance with their competitive nature(s). The winner(?) is whoever resists going into trance.

So Fay and I discussed having a hypno-switch fight between us and what form that would take. Initially we tried the handshake induction against each other. But literally every time we tried it, we both pulled and said “Sleep” at the exact same time. Which was funny from the outside, but not terribly effective; we were more likely to bang our heads against each other than send each other into trance.

Finally, as a group, we thought about the “hypno-egg.” (see the last blog for info about the Hypno-egg).

If I were entranced to think about the hypno egg the same way Fayvie was, then we could hand it back and forth, and whoever went into trance “last” would “win.”

It was a plan. But first, dinner, which was prepared by the fantastic staff and volunteers at MEEHU. Truly, the whole day was wonderfully run, and it was a joy to be with everyone.

Before the hypno-egg toss, however, I had one pre-planned scene to attend to. At NEEHU, the lovely and talented SweetGasp had put together a “Weeping Angel” Scene. In that scene, she had hypnotized several willing subjects to be the Angels. They were told that they would see a designated person as “the Doctor.” If the Doctor saw them they would stand perfectly still. But if they noticed the Doctor “blinking” or looking away, then they could move. Their goal? To touch the Doctor.

I was told it was a fantastic scene, but I was unavoidably detained at dinner and missed it at NEEHU, so I was determined to participate with her this time around.

I didn’t see much of her over the course of the weekend; her room was quite the social and sundry center. She had surrounded herself with a bevy of like-minded people, and occasionally I would pass by her room, hurrying to some other appointment, catching glimpses of some enticing play before having to scurry on.

SweetGasp and I had agreed on one thing, however: we were both to be the Doctor. I was to be number 13, and she was to be number 14. We had also dressed in our own versions of what we thought “our” Doctor would look like. I was in a blue plaid sports jacket, with a bluish V-neck over a white t-shirt. SweetGasp was also in a jacket over spangly baubles and a very fetching skirt. We started in one of the play rooms where she had entranced the five angel volunteers. We began:

Me (Facing away from the angels, back to back with her, who was facing them, as I held the sonic screwdriver out and activated it): Nope, no angels over here.

Her:     Uh…..

Me:      Do I know that voice?

Her:     I remember that voice.

Me:      Any angels in your area?

Her:     Oh, yes.

Me:      (turning around) Oh. (Glancing at her.) And you are?

Her:     (pulling out a sonic screwdriver) You.

Me:      Oh…. (looking her up and down) Still not ginger.

Her:     (Glancing at me) Plaid? I can’t believe I wore that. At least I have taste now.

Me:      (Turning to face her) Really??

Her:     (Facing me) Yes!

At which point the angels moved, and we turned back to face them.

Me:      On the plus side, you do give meaning to the phrase “wibbly-wobbly.”

And so forth. The banter was almost more fun than the scene itself. But the scene was brilliant in its own right. The “Angels” were consumed with us. Every time we looked away they would advance with serious intent on touching us. We worked our way down the hall as the angels advanced on us, through the con suite, until they cornered us and tagged us after about a half hour of running and banter.

It was fun, and I’m profoundly grateful to both SweetGasp and all the Angels. Though next time we need a rule that if our banter makes them break character, they lose and are no longer an angel. We might have won.

After that (and by now it was only about 8:30 pm) I found the delightfully tiny Fayvie, along with Seb and Emiliana, back in the rainbow room. We found someone to entrance me and give me the same command as Fay, namely, that the hypnoegg would entirely hypnotically consume me and that every change in color would send me deeper. (And thanks to Autumn for filling in on short notice!)

So Fay and I brought two chairs to face each other; we were maybe about one foot apart from each other, and began the competition. It was amazing how deeply consumed each of us quickly became in the Egg (and I capitalize that on purpose). The urge to give in to the trance was enormous; the Egg, which was maybe one foot in length, seemed to loom large in my vision. Each change in color made me want to go deeper and deeper. It became more and more difficult to hand the Egg back to Fayvie. And each time she had it, it was an internal struggle whether I wanted it back or not. Literally, it was an internal war over whether my eagerness to go into trance would win out over my own competitiveness. What made it extremely funny was that Fay was in the exact same boat.

After almost ten minutes of handing the Egg back and forth, each time taking longer and longer to hand it to the other person, the Egg finally settled on one person. Fay held onto it, and I “won,” even though I couldn’t take my eyes off of it either.

Once Seb leaned over and turned the Egg off (thus rescuing both of us) I looked around, and easily about 8 people had gathered around to watch.

Shortly thereafter, Lee returned from an evening she had spent out with some friends. I told her about the Egg fight, and, after a little while, Fay and I agreed to a rematch.

You’d have thought that after the first time, given how fractionated we both were, the second time would happen much more quickly. You’d be wrong.

In fact, this one went on about twice as long. Fay and I slowly handed the Egg back and forth between us. Every move became more and more of an effort, but each one of us was spurred on by our own competitive natures. What also contributed was that our respective hypnotists, Lee and Sebastian, began egging [sic] us on (you’re welcome). Pretty soon the crowd had doubled: we had no fewer than 20 people watching us hand this colored egg back and forth.

For some reason, we had decided that the color blue was the most enticing color. The Egg would shuffle through all the colors on about a 45-60 second timer. We would therefore try to time our hand off to right when the color was about to turn blue. This of course meant that we had to hold on to it, staring intently at the shifting colors, trying to remember to let go right before blue, as either (or both) Lee and Seb were telling us how fascinating the colors were, as the crowd stared at us intently slipping away and us the slipping the Egg from one hand to the other.

It was intense.

In the end, after a good 20-30 minutes, and crowd cheering, and each of us laughing (and enjoying being the center of so much attention, let’s be honest)…. Fay finally succumbed again. I’d say it was a good feeling to emerge victorious, but I was pretty much gone as well, as the last few times I had the Egg it felt ridiculously massive in my hands, and it took such concentrated efforts to push it over to Fay.

[As I read Mrs. Pynchon this, she laughed and said, “Erotic hypnosis?? It’s not like I’d poke my head in, see what you two were doing and say ‘Oh, the depravity!’”]

While I rested and recovered (and Seb shared some time with Fay) Emiliana approached Lee. She had decided to actually experience a trance, and asked Lee to put her under. I couldn’t help but sit nearby (in my already out of it space) and listen in. Lee incorporated Emiliana’s background and interests into the trance; it was amazing to listen to, and I, for once, I managed not to “trancejack” someone else’s trance. However, you’ll have to check out her blog for the details. (http://emilianadarling.wordpress.com).  And for Fay’s take on some of these events, check out: http://fayvie.tumblr.com.

At some point, we realized it was well past 2 in the morning. One by one we drifted off to bed. I was exhausted, but looking forward to more hijinks that were to come.

NEXT TIME: Hypnotic Amnesia class! Pynchon teaches a class! Who for the price of one! Hashmarks! Emiliana really becomes one of us! Strangest, switch-fight, ever!

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!