Preston is good, clean fun, limited only by the imaginations of the participants
WHAT: Shannon Prestons World of Hypnosis
WHERE: Buffalo Bills
WHEN: May 2 & 3
Hypnotists have proven to be a locals favourite in Whistler and this weeks performance at Buffalo Bills promises to be another crowd pleaser and more!
This show is just a little different, as the star is a woman. Although there are many women in the hypnotherapy field, Vancouvers Shannon Preston is just one of three female hypnotists on the Canadian entertainment stage.
"I was always intrigued by the concept of hypnosis, but I didnt necessarily believe in it, says Preston. "I had seen a few hypnotists and it didnt work on me, so that only convinced me that it was fake and I wanted to find out more about it
"Once I did get hypnotized, that was it. I was hooked. Now its 12 years later and Im still going."
Preston became fascinated by what she thought was one persons power over so many strangers. This, she discovered, was not the case at all. Preston says hypnosis is more about communication and co-operation. Starting her studies in the late 80s, there werent many formal schools teaching the art of hypnosis. Instead, Preston set out to experience the mystery hands on. Along the way, she met a stage hypnotist who would become her mentor, co-performer and husband. Tragically, he passed away after suffering a heart attack during a performance.
"We were married for 10 years and worked together on creating this show. Its important for me to keep that going."
Preston has been performing solo for about two years now and is showing that she has enough spark to carry the show on her own. A self-proclaimed "glitter bug" with a penchant for anything show biz, Prestons flair and natural ability keep the houses packed.
"I try to create a safe environment. When they come to the show, I dont want people to be apprehensive about whats going to happen to them. I dont turn anyone into exotic dancers, or bring out their deep dark sexual secrets. All your skeletons remain in the closet," she laughs. "If I see someone who has those exhibitionist tendencies, I might make them into Madonna and give them a microphone and a boa, but it would be a dead mic. I wouldnt make them sing or do anything they would regret."
Preston points out she cant hypnotize someone who isnt willing and certainly cant make them do anything they wouldnt do under normal circumstances. By reassuring her audience she isnt out to make them look foolish, she finds more participants fall genuinely under her powers of suggestion.
"My favourite intermission is to have everyone in the audience appear to be a celebrity in the minds of the hypnotized. It becomes very interactive for the audience too. Some of us bear a small resemblance to someone famous, and those features can be accentuated when someone is in a hypnotic state, much like you would see them if you were sleepwalking or dreaming. And because they believe theyre meeting someone famous, its also a really fun experience for those who are hypnotized."
Being of the fairer sex may also help explain Prestons near perfect hypnotic success rate of 98 per cent.
"Its kind of interesting that in emergency situations, like an evacuation in a building, its most often a womans voice doing the countdown or giving instructions. Psychologically its more soothing, nurturing and instils a sense of safety subconsciously that wouldnt be derived from a male voice."