Hypnosis and Haunted Attractions
Most people spend a fair amount of their lives in a trance state without ever realizing it. Being hypnotized is a common experience and in fact, a pleasurable one for most people. It’s a state of consciousness in which the brain is oscillating between 7-10 Hertz. Haunt owners can create more intense experiences by recognizing the fact that their patrons may be somewhat suggestible inside their haunted attraction. Many patrons naturally go into a trance first thing as they enter the haunt without ever realizing it.
There are ways to encourage people to go into trance without having to actively hypnotize them. For haunted attraction owners, encouraging trance can be as simple as overwhelming patrons with a lot of sensory stimuli. Patrons should see, hear, smell, and touch things that are unfamiliar to them all at once. This is an experience that’s easy to create in a haunted attraction, which is why most haunt owners can assume that a fairly high percentage of their patrons walk through their haunts in state of trance.
So, as a haunt owner, how can you use your patron’s suggestible state of mind to your advantage to create a more immersive experience? Sound effects are a good start. Sound effects are, by themselves, suggestions. Patrons hear a wolf howling and they automatically imagine a wolf, even though there’s no wolf there. The sound effects are therefore a “suggestion” of what you want patrons to believe is there. Many haunt owners fail to realize the power of sound, particularly in dimly lit environments. With sound, a haunt owner can alter and enhance the way patrons experience their haunted house.
A patron who’s in a trance will believe in certain experiences that are only “suggested” more than a patron who’s not in a trance. For example, if you create a section of your haunt in which patrons move left down a corridor, then right down a corridor, left, then right, left then… what will patrons do? In their suggestible state, they’ll naturally turn right once you’ve entrained them on this pattern. Congratulations on making your patrons feel disoriented! Disorientation is a great haunted house emotion. Once they’re disoriented, you’ll have a much easier time scaring them.
Though you probably enjoy building sets for your haunted attraction, it’s important for haunt owners to take their patron’s psychological make-up into consideration as they design their haunt. Most haunted house patrons are in a trance and this is a state of mind that can work to enhance the experience of fear and fun if used properly.