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The Daily Tar Heel

Everybody Was Kung Fu Fighting

No, you're not under the influence of drugs or alcohol; you're under the influence of hypnotist Tom DeLuca.

An enthusiastic Memorial Hall audience witnessed DeLuca use his powers of suggestion Tuesday night to elicit hysterical behaviors from student volunteers.

DeLuca's performance, entitled "An Evening with Tom DeLuca: Theatre of the Imagination" was sponsored by the Pop Culture Committee of the Carolina Union Activities Board.

DeLuca's hypnotic process began when he chose 20 volunteers from the audience and instructed them to sit on the black plastic chairs that were lined along the stage.

While soft, instrumental music played in the background, DeLuca turned his back to the audience and began speaking to the volunteers in a low, monotonous voice. For about five minutes, DeLuca instructed the group to breath deeply, close their eyes, relax and squeeze their hands tightly together.

After DeLuca counted to five, the volunteers woke up and the fun began.

After telling the group to perform actions like reeling in a fish and driving a Ferrari, DeLuca selected five or six members from the group and sent them offstage.

After whittling down his group to those who were most responsive to his techniques, DeLuca began to issue a series of commands.

After he instructed the volunteers to pet cows, the group began to make stroking motions in the air. Then DeLuca commanded the group to milk a cow, and the volunteers began to pull on imaginary udders.

DeLuca next used his powers of suggestion and told the group that they felt very thirsty and needed something to drink. In order to quench their insatiable thirst, many of the volunteers began to aim the udders into their mouths in order to drink the imaginary cow's milk.

Other scenarios DeLuca created involved telling two male group members that every time he stomped his foot, they would believe that they were members of the New York City Ballet. When DeLuca stomped his foot, the two began to prance around stage and twirl each other, eliciting uproarious audience laughter.

During the second half of his two-hour performance, DeLuca instructed one volunteer to "believe that fruit have feelings. Every time you see a piece of fruit, you will feel compassionate toward it."

For the rest of the performance, the member jumped out of his seat whenever DeLuca began to eat or peel a piece of fruit. He became very angry after DeLuca took a bite out of an apple. "Look at the big hole you just left in him," he said. "I want you to regurgitate it."

One of the most energetic scenes of the night occurred when DeLuca told one volunteer that when she woke up, she would believe she was Britney Spears. When DeLuca said the words, "Britney, Britney," the volunteer began to perform.

While Spears' song "Oops, I Did it Again," played overhead, the member proceeded to sing along to the words and perform choreography from Spears' music video.

After her performance was over and DeLuca told her sit down, an audience member yelled "Are they real?" in reference to the authenticity of Spear's chest. The hypnotized student then grabbed her own chest and replied, "Of course!"

Throughout the show, the audience remained highly entertained and enthusiastically responded to DeLuca's performance. Nishaan Sattar, a senior biology major, said her favorite part of the performance occurred when hypnotized volunteers danced with each other to an Outkast song. "It was amazing to watch," she said.

Sattar said she believed the hypnosis was authentic. "Nobody would make that big of an ass of themselves on purpose."

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