Hypnotist’s Review of Now You See Me

This week’s free hypnosis training lesson explains the legitimacy behind the movie Now You See Me.


Hypnosis Opener: Mentalist & Hypnotist Merritt McKinney is seen hypnotizing a lady to first lose her ability to speak & walk before having bad news erased from her memory.

The induction where Marritt commands her to “Sleep” before pulling her head into his right shoulder via his hand on her neck is a common induction. This is especially popular during 1-on-1 street hypnosis demonstrations.

While this could be done as an initial induction as the movie portrays, there generally needs to be more pre-talk before a hypnotist is able to fully hypnotize the person properly within their comfort zone. Since we didn’t see anything before this moment, it could also be considered a re-induction where she was conditioned to simply “give in” next time she heard the word “sleep”.

As for the commands to lose one’s ability to speak or move, I’ve seen both executed during comedy hypnosis shows. Speaking often involves the hypnotist simply commanding the volunteer to forget their information. Thus, when the person tries to respond to a simple question like, “What’s your name?” they seem unable to talk, when the reality is they’re trying to remember information in a confused state of mind.

The not moving command is utilized just, if not more, often than the above command. One funny factor is that many hypnotists also utilize paper money as a reward factor if the person can manage to un-stick themselves. I have often hypnotized my volunteers to be stuck to their chairs and unable to grab my wallet or card feet away to gain a monetary prize.

Merritt’s next move is negatively busk-related and purely for money. He read’s the husband’s mind to reveal to the wife that the husband went on a “business trip” to fool around with his wife’s sister. He does this to set up the man to pay him 100’s for his street performance. Granted, the lady getting hypnotized again by the simple snap of Merritt’s fingers is a real-world tactic called a re-induction (when the hypnotist puts their volunteer back into a state of mental/physical relaxation more than once).

It’s interesting to note that Merritt “bops” the gentleman’s head while stating the gentleman will imagine Merritt naked next time he considers cheating. This is a physical disruption immediately followed by a scenario-related anchor of “I’ll imagine Merritt naked next time I think about cheating”. This anchor would then take effect the next time the gentleman every considered adultery.

Merritt’s last technique is known as induced amnesia. This is where he tells the lady she will forget the information she just heard/her overall experience, leaving with the impression the hypnosis wasn’t effective. While he could’ve simply removed the cheating details, having her block out her entire experience helps ensure she won’t remember any specific details.

French Volunteer: This character’s experience was actually explained in the movie, though I’ll cover it again for anyone who either hasn’t seen the film or wants a refresher.

In short, a gentleman who is chosen from the audience watching the Four Horsemen, finds himself in his bank in France. The big question was how did the Horseman find out how to get this specific man to his specific bank during a live show?

Much like magic card tricks, the volunteer  was a force (meaning he was previously chosen by the Horseman). They gained his financial information with some sneaky tactics and simply needed him to show up to their show to make the performance look impossibly awesome.

This was done by psychologically conditioning him. As shown in the move, one of the Horsemen walk by him speaking of Las Vegas, another plays with a poker chip while passing him and another speaks to him in french after bumping into him. These tactics would be considered “subliminal messages”. Multiple mini messages the subconscious picks up on, that the person will then act upon at a later time.


Overall, the movie portrays hypnosis more realistically than almost any other Hollywood-produced film.

However, let me cover a few points:

  1. Be a quality busker. If you’re going to perform on the streets, in a cafe or wherever, request a small fee upfront ($1-$5 for example) before carrying out a demonstration. Shaking people down won’t leave people with viewing you in the best light. There have even been demonstrations I’ve done for fun where people offered to tip up to $20. It’s not everyday someone meets a hypnotist, so just be kind/ upfront with your intentions if you’re performing for money.
  2. Perform properly. While the initial induction discussed is possible, it’s honestly better to have more detailed pre-talk that goes beyond, “Now, look into my eyes”. That’s Hollywood talk and not very realistic for making the average person comfortable with having a stranger hypnotize them in seconds. Learn what hypnosis actually is, how it works & feel free to explain these details to your volunteers. When people don’t understand something, they tend to fear it to some extent. Therefore, the more you inform them, the more comfortable/ open they’ll become to letting you hypnotize them. After you’ve made them comfortable, you may more likely have the opportunity to make them experience what you see in this week’s video demonstration and more. You can learn all the necessary precautions with our free informational book HERE or how to actually begin hypnotizing people HERE.
  3. Avoid permanently erasing memories. While induced amnesia is realistically applicable, it’s something that should be incorporated professionally, not carelessly. If you’re performing for comedic street or stage hypnosis, use it throughout the show to either temporarily make people forget their name or age or that they were even hypnotized. However, if you induce amnesia and don’t bring those forgotten memories back, you run some legal risks. While you’re simply a  mental guide bringing your volunteer(s) to their own point of temporary amnesia, they may still report you for “messing with their heads” if they fail to regain their memory. Trust me, you don’t want any hypnosis-related legal headaches!

This week’s video demonstration I review Now You See Me & compare it to my shows…


Now You See Me is simultaneously entertaining and (based on my knowledge, experience I and other hypnotists continue gaining) accurate.

Merritt, as portrayed in the movie, is a professional Street Hypnotist who can effortlessly tap into a persona’s psyche. Note, that this type of execution takes months, if not years, of practice. It took a few years of pre-talk and physical practice to get to the point I’m at now. As they say, “Practice makes perfect”.

How exactly did I induce & remove amnesia in this clip? Answer in the comments below and, if you’re right, I’ll shout you out in next year’s informational video and provide you a mammoth gift (only valid until 1/3/19) 🙂

If you have any remaining questions regarding this week’s lesson, simply leave a comment below and I’ll answer to the best of my ability. Are you prepared to learn how to hypnotize anyone, anywhere at anytime with Street Hypnosis or how to construct a full professional Stage Hypnosis act:  CLICK HERE!

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