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Kenai Pennisula, Soldotna, Alaska
Hypnotist Don Spencer will use his powers to persuade residents

The travel destination was Dubai, and although the location was unique in itself hypnotist Don Spencer never expected to be sharing drinks and conversation with its sheikh, or ruler. That's exactly what happened one night after Spencer's comedy show.

"One of the great things about being on the road," Spencer said. "You get the chance to meet a lot of interesting people. It's a fun cultural experience."

Spencer will travel the road to Soldotna for a hypnosis comedy show tonight at Hooligan's Lodge and Saloon. Alaska hypnotist Tommy Kyte will accompany Spencer on stage.

The two have been traveling the state since Oct. 19, holding multiple shows in Anchorage and a single show in Wasilla as part of Spencer's "Alaska Hypnotic Tour." Hooligan's will host Spencer's second to last show in the state.

Hypnosis shows feature high audience participation. Attendees watch their loved ones turn into what Spencer calls "life-size animations," making people believe they are something they aren't, or making people do something they can't, such as speak a foreign language.

The shows meet the needs of the audience from general to mature themes.

Hooligan's will host a family-friendly show. The hypnotists keep the audience from doing acts that could possibly offend others, Spencer said.

"I have an 8-year-old boy, and it's something that I would take him to. I would not take my 8-year-old son to one of my nightclub shows," he laughed.

In addition to making audience members speak alien languages and believe they are diplomats, Spencer offers a perspective on the educational value of hypnotism.

Spencer began working as a hypnotherapist in 1989. His teachers included Charles Tebbetts, Ormand McGill and Al Krasner among others. Before alternative studies captivated his attention, Spencer studied psychology, philosophy, physiology, abnormal behavior and comparative religion.

He developed the Hypnotism Training Institute of Idaho in 1989, Hypnotism Training International in Utah in 1991 and the Personal Achievement Center for private consultations that morphed into SleepNow Productions, Inc.

SleepNow went online in 1994, and Spencer offers multiple services through the site.

Spencer's products include books and videos. "Hypnotism: Foundations of Belief" is based on course work that he teaches, from having absolutely no understanding to becoming proficient at hypnotism.

"It's a good book to help you understand the mind and how the mind works," he said. "How people are suggestible, and how those traits can be used to create positive changes in people's lives."

"HypnoSex: Embracing Your Sexuality" is geared toward people in relationships.

"If you're in a great relationship then the book can make it better, and if you're in a bad relationship it can teach you how to communicate more effectively with your partner," he said.

Often following shows, Spencer offers sessions to attendees for smoking and weight loss sessions. The sessions are supposed to prepare people's minds to stop smoking or eating by programming life affirming concepts into the subconscious.

"We're doing that here in Anchorage, and if there is interest in Soldotna we are available on Friday," Spencer said.

Kyte's background is primarily in hypnotherapy. Anchorage residents visit Kyte to change unwanted habits from smoking to nail biting. He came to the state to work in construction, but has long had an interest in hypnotherapy.

Spencer is now mentoring Kyte about stage shows.

"I came across some sites with some classes and met with Don through one of those classes, and it's developed from there," Kyte said.

Both agree that the Alaska tour has gone well, meeting residents and having fun all around.

"We've filled the venues to capacity," Spencer said. "And everybody seemed to enjoy our show and asked us to come back."

"It's been absolutely fantastic," Kyte said. "Don's a great mentor, and I recommend him to everybody."

The tour will end in Seward. Spencer and Kyte are scheduled to perform at The Pit on Saturday, Oct. 29 at 8 p.m.

Tickets can be purchased online at sleepnow.com or at the door before the show. Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door.

For more information on Spencer visit sleepnow.com, and for more information on Kyte visit thomekyte.com.

Jerzy Shedlock can be reached at jerzy.shedlock@peninsulaclarion.com

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SAN DIEGO TRIBUNE
By Marcia Manna
May 24, 2007

'Everyone is in a trance'
. . . of one kind or another – just ask hypnotist
Spencer, whose show is a hit in Carlsbad

Spencer the Hypnotist suggests that Hayley has bugs in her blouse. Hayley does what anyone would do with a tickly insect trapped beneath her clothing – she jumps back, pulls her shirt out of her pants and tries to shake it out.

As the audience begins to giggle, Spencer takes the suggestion to the next level. The bugs are multiplying and they are starting to bite. Then ... oh, no ... they are crawling down her body and into her shoes.

In a frenetic dance that would raise James Brown's eyebrows, Hayley hops, stomps and performs a series of floor slides and spastic arm gestures that soon has the audience in stitches. The dance comes to an abrupt end when Spencer makes a sharp click with his tongue against the microphone.

Hayley immediately returns to “sleep state” and joins the group of hypnotized volunteers slouched in their chairs. In the next hour, they will all get their turn in this interactive show that combines comedy, hypnosis and the colorful imaginations of the participants. Beneath the conscious mind, a range of unlikely personality traits await, ready to emerge when Spencer summons them.
Richard, a distinguished-looking salesman of about 50, will become an exotic dancer. Then, he will make the unfortunate decision to remove his shirt and simulate a lap dance, an action one can't help but think that he will one day regret.

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Mike, a muscular high school custodian, will assume the flamboyant persona of Richard Simmons before he plays the drums in a famous rock band.

While the song “Rawhide” plays over the loudspeakers, the group of hypnotized volunteers will ride galloping horses in a rodeo, waving imaginary cowboy hats and lassoing unsuspecting farm animals.

The popularity of the Spencer Comedy Hypnosis Show has ensured monthly returns to the Carlsbad Theatre, where folks can participate or watch the outrageous antics on Saturday, June 23, July 28 or Aug. 25.

At the beginning of every performance, Spencer explains how we are often in a self-hypnotic or trance-like state. It's the moment that lingers before sleep, or a time when you are driving down the freeway and speed past the exit, even though you have traveled the same way hundreds of times before.

Though he can make audiences scream with laughter, Spencer takes hypnosis seriously.

“From my point of view, everyone is in a trance,” said the hypnotist, who looks a bit Svengali-like with long black hair, piercing blue eyes and black shirt and pants. “We are all locked into something, whether it's the conviction that 'I can't lose weight,' 'I can't spell' or 'I can't stop smoking.' I take people from their limited belief about themselves to knowing it's possible to change.”

Spencer, now in his 50s, was interested in psychology 20 years ago and studied at Palomar College. But in 1986, when he saw an ad that offered a course in hypnotherapy, he found his niche and never looked back.

At the end of every show, Spencer tells volunteers to find one thing they want to change and he will facilitate that process as a reward for their participation.

“Hypnosis has to do with our ability to be influenced,” Spencer said. “Change occurs on an emotional level. In the military, for instance, they train your mind to think and act differently and kids are often changed for the better. As much fun as I have entertaining, I love it when I look into people's eyes and I see light bulbs go off. They think, 'If he can make people do something so outrageous, what am I doing in my own life that I can change by hypnosis?' That's what I hope to convey and for me, that's the most exciting part.”

Marcia Manna covers North County arts and entertainment for the Union-Tribune.

"Salt Lake City's Finest Entertainer"
First Night 2002

Famous Hypnotist Uses a Macintosh

SPENCER VOTED THE BEST OF THE BEST!

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By Marsha Barber, Special to the Tribune
Reprint Courtesy Salt Lake Tribune

More People Willing to Give Hypnosis a Try

"You are getting ve-r-r-y sle-e-e-e-py..."
That phrase, repeated in an ominous monotone and accompanied by a swinging pocket watch, is what the word "hypnosis" conjures up for many people. And whether it’s that aura of slightly sinister mystery, a search for healing and inner peace or a quest for fun, the ancient art of hypnosis is enjoying unprecedented popularity. People seek hypnotherapy to help them stop smoking, lose weight and deal with stress. They take hypnotist classes and frequent stage show where they might
find themselves barking like dogs. Droves of eager people, mostly in their teens and early 20’s, come out every Saturday night and plunk down about $$$ to see
Spencer the World’s Fastest Hypnotist.
Each week, volunteers crawl on the floor searching for their belly buttons, leap and yowl like Tarzan, sing and dance a la Madonna and engage in other suspect behaviors. They also spend a fair amount of time seemingly "asleep."
Ready to Rock: At the Avalon, Spencer is nowhere to be seen pre-show in the lobby. Inside, the lights are down and rock’n’roll blasts: Michael Jackson’s "Black or White," Pink Floyd’s "Comfortably Numb." As the music blares, the stage fills with heavy smoke and psychedelic strobe light hats flash. Suddenly, looking for all the world like a rock star with his long, flowing hair, Spencer appears wearing a black T-shirt, black pants and a flamboyant green brocade jacket.
"I’m gonna be messing with you tonight," he says. There are no golden ropes on Spencer’s stage. He asks the audience to lock their hands above their heads. He speaks softly, chanting "SleepNow, sleep, way down." Those whose hands will not unlock when he counts to three are invited to become part of the show.

The Great Entrancement
Spencer’s show is edgy and bizarre. He alludes to black magic. He shouts about miracles and healing's. He produces a voodoo doll, suggesting, "You will do what the doll does, feel what the doll feels." As he pulls the doll’s arms and legs akimbo, everyone on-stage ends up in mirrored configurations. When he sticks the doll’s foot with a straight pin, there are cries of "Ouch!" and wild flailing of feet.

But the piece de resistance of Spencer’s show is when he stands on a person’s stomach, a person whose body is suspended rigidly between two chairs. In a whirl of fog and flashing lights in the darkened theater, he chooses someone and begins chanting "Your body is stiff and rigid," over and over until, with his assistants, he places the by-now rigor-mortis-like person across the chairs and hops onto the torso.


Get Real: Oh, sure, you’re probably saying. These are actors or audience plants. Who, in his right mind, would risk losing control in front of a theater full of people? Make that conscious mind. The bottom line in hypnosis is bypassing the conscious mind(or critical authority, in hypno-lingo) and tapping into the subconscious. "With hypnosis, you move directly into the subconscious mind, which is quite literal and illogical. so, unless there’s a deeply rooted ethical or moral reason not to do something, you just do it."

What exactly induces a hypnotic trance? There are as many answers as willing participants at stage shows. Whatever is expected tends to be realized, is Spencer’s explanation. In other words, if you expect to be hypnotized by staring at a candle flame, chances are you will be. In a workbook Spencer wrote for the hypnosis classes he teaches, he lists everything from fixed gaze on an object to rhythmic drumming to head stroking to voice commands to attain a hypnotic state.
The most common misconception about hypnosis seem to be that someone else will control your mind and that you might never come out of a hypnotic trance. "If you don’t have a propensity to do something, on either a conscious or subconscious level, a hypnotist can’t make you do it,"
Spencer
said. "That’s the bottom line." Are hypnotists born or made? Do they have spooky supernatural powers? Or are they trained professionals, not different from computer technicians or legal assistants?

Spencer’s first hypnotic experience was at age 12. "I had a girlfriend whose father used to hypnotize people, including her. So she taught me how, in a funny sort of way. She’d have me rub her temples and count backwards from 100. Then I’d tell her things to do, like stand up, laugh, whatever, and she’d do them." But he could not shake his experiences as a 12-year-old amateur hypnotist. That combined with an interest in the human psyche, led him to hypnosis classes. He intended to use his skills in a strictly therapeutic setting, and did for several years. But his sense of showmanship got the best of him. "I was always sort of a natural actor," he said."Even with the chimney sweep stuff, I had to put on a show for people because they expected me to be dramatic." Doing hypnosis stage shows was a natural progression. He performed in Southern California and Idaho before setting in Salt Lake’s Capitol Hill area.

Entertainer: The entertainment and therapeutic aspects of hypnosis are really not that far removed from each other. Hypnotherapy helps people break unhealthy habits and deal with childhood traumas. "Hypnosis is simply a tool. Are you going to use it for entertainment or are you going to use it to empower a person? And actually, entertainment can be empowering, too, because it helps people to realize they can just let go. And that’s the same thing we’re doing in therapy—teaching people that they can be what they know deep inside they have the ability to be. Stage hypnotism is what keeps the whole area of hypnosis open. As people come out, see the show, become interested, lose their fear, they will likely be more willing to delve deeper and learn to help themselves through hypnotherapy or self-hypnosis."
From the looks of things in Salt Lake, a lot of people might be delving deeper. As a stage show enthusiast standing in line at the theater said, "It’s like a legal drug. You can let go of your inhibitions without getting addicted to something."

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SPECIAL REPORT

Spencer, World's Fastest Hypnotist

By Jennifer Gordon Gray

Freelance Writer

It's Saturday night at the Avalon Theater in Salt Lake City, and all hell is breaking loose. It's 9 p.m. and Spencer, Master Hypnotist, is his own "World's Fastest Stage Crew." There is only half an hour to set up between a name-brand movie and the greatest show in Utah. It's not quite panic, but it's close.

Pulsating rock and roll music fuels the pre-show energy level. Equipment doesn't appear in place by magic - more like it's thrust into place. Electric cords fly across the grey-painted stage, and metal chairs are arranged into two neat rows. The tension gradually ebbs as Spencer and his sound man Scott find their rhythm. It's just another Saturday night at the Avalon.

"Testing One. Two. Three." Voices chant along with the music as Scott makes sure this hypnotist can be heard perfectly - no doubt he will sometime be heard across America, as is his goal. Spencer's stage presence make the modern-day microphone obsolete.

Props wait in plastic trunks. Silver strobes and multicolored stage lights pierce the dimness of the some 500-seat theater. The Avalon itself has seen better days, yet it maintains a tinge of its old dignity - gold velveteen stage curtains, red fold up seats in frayed cord fabric, a chipped gray concrete floor. It's even said to be haunted, this Avalon Theater. But right now, any ghost in his right mind would be hiding behind the curtain at stage right, staying safely out of the way.

Spencer does an impromptu tap dance, boot heels pounding the wooden stage deck. Through a handless, cordless microphone clipped to his ear, he tells theater owner Art, hovering around the lobby door, that the show will start at 9:30 "on the dot" - even if late comers are still standing in line in the chilly Utah evening. "They have to learn to come on time," he firmly insists.

Spencer is in charge.

Everything is finally set and the audience is let in. They mill around seeking their assigned seats, and then the house lights suddenly die, leaving some audience members stranded in the aisles. Their dark forms hover uncomfortably over those fortunate enough to be seated on the aisle.

A good bit of Spencer's audience is repeat business. They know what to expect. Newcomers, though, have the pleasure of seeing Spencer's show for the first time.

With a burst of silver strobes and a dash of smoke, the man they've come to adore takes the stage. Not much can be seen - the house lights are still black - but it only adds to the mystery. After all, it's nearly Halloween.

"Clasp your hands over your heads,"
he yells as the crowd raises its arms. He is a dim figure in black leather pants and a knee-length satin brocade coat, maroon. His hair streams black and long over his shoulders. He's in his element; it's his show.

He tells the audience that their hands are still glued together. They can't separate them no matter how hard they try. Some, though, are unbelievers. Their hands break apart, and are rejoined in futility. They won't be among the lucky ones, chosen to be Spencer's partners in this evenings entertainment.

He calls the willing to the front of the stage, "Come quickly, as fast as you can," he encourages, and about 20 race through the aisles, hands still in their uncomfortable embrace. One by one, he takes his victims up on stage and with a shouted "Sleep," they collapse like rag dolls to the floor. He gently makes sure none will hit their heads as they fall. When he's finished with the last one, this group lies slumbering serenely, like kindergarten students on nap mats. He surveys his work with pride. "This is what I like to see," he confides to the rest of us, still awake.

Spencer loves his job, and it shows. He works both the hypnotized and the audience, and has us right where he wants us. Not a large man in stature, he still commands attention better than most. There can be nobody else like him.

That is a fact that hasn't gone unnoticed by certain female persons up on the stage. He has implanted a suggestion that those on stage slap their faces whenever they have a "dirty" thought. One young woman, staring at him in obvious lust, slaps herself repeatedly throughout the two-hour show. Her eyes never leave him.

Not just the girl, but all those on stage are willing to do whatever Spencer tells them. They play like puppies, the men waltz with each other, one believes he is invisible. The audience is really digging the whole thing; one blonde woman straight out of Betty Crocker College laughs so hard that she has tears running down her face. Perhaps some are offended by some of the antics and walk out, but the majority don't take life so seriously - they came to have fun, and that is precisely what Spencer is furnishing.

The showman's coup de grace comes near the end of his show, and this night involves the young woman, whose face will surely hurt the next day after so much self-slapping. He convinces her that her body is stiff and rigid, and no matter how hard she tries to relax, it is impossible. When he's sure she's ready, Spencer takes her head and shoulders while a helper takes her feet. They suspend her over two black sawhorses, and she lays unmoving, like an ancient mummy. A cloth is placed over her stomach -
Spencer
mounts a chair and clambers aboard. His arms reach out to embrace the audience, and his eyes blaze with the thrill of it all. When she awakens, the girl will remember none of it. But the audience will. They'll be back time and time again, to live in Spencer's magic for just a moment more.

It hasn't always been glamour and glitter for Spencer. At one time, he made his living from hypnosis therapy and teaching. He still offers classes on occasion, and has written numerous on the subject. But it's the stage action he craves now, and the audience that craves him.

When most shows end, spectators usually rise and leave. Not so at the Avalon. When this show concludes, Spencer'S fans surge toward the stage, eager to speak to the master. He patiently greets each person, but those who know him can see the exhaustion in his face. He pours his heart out to his audience, and when he's through, Spencer is spent. It takes him a day or so to recover, he says.

But it's also worth it. By next Saturday, Spencer will return in fine fettle to the Avalon Theater.
It's what he has to do.

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After a few years in college pursuing a degree in psychology, I dropped out to study an alternative way of helping people," he said.
For more than 10 years Spencer worked as a hypnotherapist to help his patients stop smoking, lose weight, rediscover suppressed memory and even improve sports performance. "Through hypnosis I helped people change their trance states," Spencer said. By helping people change their trance states, a condition most are not even aware of, Spencer helped his patients change their mind set about a certain behavior. The problem for people who smoke or are overweight or, for athletes, who just can't seem to get out of a performance rut, is that they believe in these roles so much that their attitude has become a part of their subconscious. Through hypnosis, I helped people access a trance state that worked better for them," he said.

 

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Hypnotic Attraction: Local Hypnotists
Spencer and Vandermeide Bewitch the Crowds on Saturday Nights

By Jeff Vice, Staff Writer
Deseret News , 28 February 1997

It's not a post-hypnotic suggestion that keeps bringing Utah audiences back to Spencer and Benjamin Van Der Meide's shows - at least not to their knowledge. And if the local hypnotist is resorting to that kind of chicanery, he's definitely not telling.
``That probably wouldn't be very ethical of me, would it? And to be honest, I hadn't even thought of doing that before now,'' he said with a laugh.Under the name Vandermeide, he has been performing as a hypnotist for more than 30 years, both in Europe and the United States. And for the past four years, he has been inducing trances in Utah - both at the Avalon Theater and at the nearby Murray Theater, his current stage home - making his comical hypnotism lectures/performances the Beehive State's equivalent of the long-running ``Cats'' musical.
And like ``Cats,'' Vandermeide continues to sell out his shows, which start every Saturday at 9:15 p.m. In fact, ticket sales for his shows actually begin each Monday to keep up with demand.
``We have a lot of repeat business for Vandermeide,'' said Tom Henderson, the delighted operator of the Murray Theater. ``And the people who come back bring two or three friends with them, who then bring two or three more people.''
The hypnotist himself is at no loss for words while explaining his popularity.
``It's the way I do my show,'' he said, simply. ``It's a clean show that you can bring your kids, your grandkids or even your grandparents to. You can feel relaxed because there's nothing offensive about it.''
During his two-hour show, Vandermeide actually lets his hypnotized subjects do most of the performing - whether they're performing piano concertos or describing the inside of a haunted castle.
He also tries not to change the content too much, since audiences have come to expect to see one of them clucking and strutting like a chicken or seeing another one ``rock out.''
By comparison, Vandermeide's new competitor, Don Spencer, is much flashier. (Like Vandermeide, Spencer performs Saturdays, though his show starts at 9:30 p.m. at the Avalon Theater.)
In his two-hour show, Spencer also practices quick induction - wherein subjects enter a trance as soon as the hypnotist gives them a spoken suggestion, such as ``sleep!'' But he also ends it with one particularly spectacular feat - he stands on the stomach of one of his subjects, usually female, who is suspended only by sawhorses.
As of late, Spencer has also taken to post-show, question-and-answer sessions, as well as audience surveys. He also has his own web page ( http://www.sleepnow.com ) for questions and comments.

``My show is very '90s, very upbeat. I also try to make it very exciting, in a rock 'n' roll sort of way,'' said Spencer, who enters the stage mysteriously, with smoke obscuring the audience's first view of him.
Spencer's crowds have been slowly but surely increasing since he began performing at the Avalon a year ago and the theater is nearing capacities most Saturday nights.
``He brings in a much younger crowd than Vandermeide, but he's starting to get pretty popular with the kids,'' said Art Proctor, owner/operator of the Avalon Theater, also known as ``Salt Lake's first house of hypnotism.'' Proctor has been featuring hypnotism at the Avalon for more than 30 years, and had Vandermeide for three years before he moved on to a bigger theater.
``It's another way to use the theater, and it's worked pretty good for us so far,'' said Proctor, who has also welcomed concerts and magicians in his theater.
Diane Bradshaw, director of the Utah School of Hypnosis, said she is slightly surprised that Utahns have taken so well to Vandermeide and Spencer's acts, since hypnotism has a certain stigma in some Utah circles.
``Hypnotism looks very magical, but it's not. Nonetheless, a lot of people look it at it like it's something dark and mystical or like it's faked,'' said Bradshaw, a licensed hypnotherapist who also performs hypnotism on stage from time to time.
Both Bradshaw and Spencer actually use their hypnotic skills for therapy - including correcting behaviors like smoking and overeating - or teach to others the art of self-hypnosis. They're also working on hypnotism's image, locally.

``Contrary to popular belief, you can't get `stuck' in a hypnotic trance, nor can you force someone to divulge their deep, dark secrets while they're hypnotized. Some people are afraid that if they're hypnotized they'll lose control,'' Spencer said. ``Obviously that's not true.''
Despite healthy crowds for Vandermeide and Spencer's shows, Salt Lake still isn't big enough for three hypnotism shows, however. ``Hypno-Mania,'' the Tower Theater's Friday night hypnotism show (which featured Bradshaw, among other local hypnotists), lasted only a few weeks before it was canceled due to lack of interest.
``Two's company, but three was definitely a crowd. Unfortunately we were the odd man out,'' said Greg Tanner, the Tower's owner/operator.``Either that, or it could have been the night we had it on. Maybe hypnotism's supposed to be only on Saturdays.''

Spencer, the World's Fastest Hypnotist is still working his hypnotic charm every Saturday night.

Maybe that's the way it's supposed to be.
SPENCER PERFORMED AN AMAZING 320 STRAIGHT WEEKS AT THE THEATER
TO SELL-OUT CROWDS. He now travels with the show.

 

spencer

 

OREM - After 100 consecutive weeks of sellouts at the Avalon Theater in Salt Lake City, a clinical hypnotherapist and natural-born showman will bring his comedic hypnotist routine to Orem.

After a decade of using hypnosis to help people overcome smoking, childhood trauma, stress and weight problems, Spencer, as he is now known, has taken his flair for the dramatic on the road.

SCERA will host Spencer's Utah County debut in its new Show house on Feb. 20 and 27, March 6 and 13 at 9:30m.

Admission is $7 and tickets may be purchased in advance and at the door.

Spencer says there is nothing magical or mystical about hypnosis. "Hypnosis is based upon the power of suggestion with the addition of relaxation and concentration," he said. "Most people can be hypnotized in less that one second.:"

In Spencer's stage show, he asks the audience to lock their hands above their heads and tells them softly that they "sleep now, sleep, way down.
Those whose hands will not unlock when he counts to three are invited to become part of the show.

Ormand McGill, the dean of American Hypnotists and the author of the Encyclopedia of Stage Hypnotism said, "I've never seen anyone hypnotize a group of people as fast as Spencer.
He is spectacular!"

Professional Experience

Spencer was born and raised in Los Angeles. He has appeared in television, commercials and hosted a radio talk show. Most notable, however, is his professional experience - he has trained more than 20,000 people in hypnotism, given lectures throughout the United States and operated two schools of hypnotherapy.

"Now, with my stage show, he said, "I've taken my hypnotic talent to the arena of family and youth, where I can educate the audience about hypnotism and keep them laughing at the same time."

Though the lights, sound and music give his stage show its energetic atmosphere, audience participation is what makes every show different and exciting. "With no one personality being the same, the only consistent thing is that a good time is always had by all," he added.

Hypnotized volunteers may be seen crawling on the floor, searching for their belly buttons, yowling like Tarzan, acting like a martial arts secret agent, pretending to be an opera singer or attempting to fly like a bird.

"Yes, it's hilarious entertainment, but it also helps people realize that sometimes it's OK to just let go, that it's OK to be silly, and it's OK to be an individual," Spencer said.

Spencer ends his show by standing on the stomach of a person suspended between two chairs.

The finale uses an audience member hypnotized to be stiff and rigid like steel.

In Control
One of the misconceptions of hypnosis is that the participation has lost control. "Not true," said Spencer. A hypnotist can't make you do anything that is against your ethical or moral standards. It just helps you lose your fear by bypassing The conscious mind."

Spencer has performed at colleges and universities throughout the intermountain region, as well as numerous county and state fairs, corporate parties hotels, casinos and nightclubs.

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Go to Sleep, Fast

Billed as the World's Fastest Hypnotist, Spencer will bring his Rock and Roll Comedy Show to the Stateliner Lounge, Monday, March 6 at 7 p.m. Sponsored by the Stateline & Silver Smith and Peppermill Rainbow Casinos, proceeds from the show will go to Wendover in Need. Fast paced with lots of laughs, Spencer has proven a great crowd pleaser and has performed on stages across America, Asia and the Middle East. It's an unusual show, it is a laugh a minute show,and it is a show with all proceeds going to charity.

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Theater Wins an Encore
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New curtains are only a start, says professional hypnotist Spencer, who plans to reopen Kamas Theatre.
The long dormant Kamas Theatre may find a new life under the direction of new manager.
(Photos by Steve Griffin/The Salt Lake Tribune)

BY KARL CATES
July 2001


THE SALT LAKE TRIBUNE KAMAS -- Framed by dark, tumbling curls and punctuated with piercing eyes, his show-biz visage seems better suited to Vegas than Kamas. But Spencer is in town, and he's here to hypnotize.
This seasoned spellbinder has been a Utah performance staple for years, providing mystique and intrigue at any number of corporate retreats and company parties while sustaining a five-year run at the Avalon Theater in South Salt Lake.
He has an international following of sorts, too, recently returning from an engagement at the Hard Rock Cafe Manila, in the Philippines, and a slate of private appearances for hypnotism enthusiasts in Saudi Arabia.

Now, he has moved to the country, taking up residence inside the Kamas Theatre, an abandoned movie house that dates from 1940. "Videos did in the movie business here," said Scott Anderson, proprietor of the nearby Kamas Kafe, retelling a fable all too familiar to small-town motion-picture exhibitors everywhere.
Instead of heralding a feature film, for the last two years the Kamas Theatre marquee has announced simply that the 283-seat building was "Vacant." Then came Spencer, on the verge of taking a gig at a hotel-casino in Las Vegas when he ambled through 1,300-resident Kamas on a fly-fishing jaunt.

"I saw an ad -- 'Theater for Rent' -- and I said, 'This is it,' " recounts Spencer, who was taken by the vision of a vaudevillian entertainment venue for his unusual skills.
As he finishes remodeling the building this summer -- "expanding its stage, installing lights and adding curtains and art for dramatic effect" -- Spencer is promoting the theater as a Saturday-night talent-search center and occasional playhouse.
 "We'll have music, we'll have stand-up comedy, we'll have plays. I'm even going to show old movies."
The high cost of exhibiting current-run films is prohibitive, Spencer explains, but he said he believes the theater and Kamas are ripe for variety shows that are hard to come by in a high-tech age.
Gary Russell, manager of the nearby Poison Creek Antiques, said he welcomes the resurrection. "Good Lord, other than the pizza shop and the Chevron station and the Texaco, there's nothing open in this town in the evening," he said. "A little more culture can only help."
Russell, himself a songwriter and singer of some repute, said he especially appreciates the promise of open-microphone nights.
Still, the main attraction may well be Spencer and his hypnotism routine.
Audience members lured onstage may be lulled subconsciously into bursting into song or performing unusual feats of strength, behavior Spencer insists is based less in enchantment than in self-realization.
Said the showman: "We all have latent abilities."

UPDATE: What a great time at the Kamas. Fun people, great community, lots of laughs! We went, we conquered, we moved on to more adventures. Look for us in your hometown! IF YOU DON'T SEE US.... ASK US TO COME!!!

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Spencer Opens Non-Smoking Comedy Club

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Eureka, Montana January 31, 2009

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Chad Price and Kurtis Proudfoot perform a finale dance while apparently hypnotised at the instruction of hypnotist Don Spencer Friday night in the LCHS auditorium.

By Krista Tincher
Of the Tobacco Valley News

The Lincoln County chip ‘n dale dancers had their debut Friday.
It came as a surprise to everyone - including the dancers. They appeared to be hypnotized. And they may be too embarrassed to talk about it today - if they remember exactly what happened.
But there was a lot more than dancing going on at the LCHS auditorium Friday. There was horse racing, and roller coasters, and an awful lot of... sleeping.
Under the soothing words of hypnotist Don Spencer, around 12 volunteers slumped over in their chairs under the stage lights in the auditorium packed with people.
“Breathe in, and breathe out,” he said to them as he positioned the volunteers, propping them up against one another.
“Hypnotism is no more than me giving you a suggestion, and you responding to it,” he told the audience. “We do it every single day. How many times have you been reading a book, and you got so engaged in it that time just passed on?” Or watched a movie. Or been driving a car and daydreaming. “That’s a hypnotic state of mind,” said Spencer.

Eventually, Spencer told his row of slumped-over volunteers that they were driving a car. A row of arms flew in unison to each imagined steering wheel, eyes still gently shut, bodies relaxed. The cars picked up speed. The volunteers became animated as Spencer described what was happening to them. They raced, they braked... and they morphed into cowpokes swaying to the motion of their horses.
As the night went on, Spencer weeded out those that were less receptive to the hypnotism, sending them back to the audience.
For those that remained, waves of audience laughter followed each series of antics. Spencer gave his hypnotic volunteers directions, and they followed without question.
A few chosen young men - simply following Spencer’s directions - put on a spontaneous chip ‘n dale dancing show, ripping off their shirts and gyrating to the music, eyes still closed.
And in a blast to the past, the volunteers all became 6 years old again. Eureka elementary teacher Shelly Moen was an especially persnickety 6-year-old, making faces at Spencer when his back was turned.
Moen also - upon instruction - became convinced that her name was a random man’s name, and curiously forgot the number five. She had trouble counting her fingers and toes.
All of this, said Moen, she didn’t remember clearly after the show - until Spencer, sending her to “sleep” again, instructed her subconscious to remember after the show.
“After he woke me back up, I did remember,” said Moen. “It was really interesting.”
Moen said that when she first volunteered to be hypnotized, she didn’t think it would work on her.
“The next thing I was totally conscious of was standing up and bowing,” she said.
The time between - nearly two hours - was fuzzy in remembrance, dream-like. “I remembered, but I didn’t remember specifics,” she said.
She remembers pretending to ride a horse, she said - but she was surprised to find that she’d taken off her sweater when she woke up at the end of the show. Come to find out - she had been instructed that she had insects in her clothes, and had to throw off her sweater and shake them out.
And for everything Spencer told her to do, she said - she did it unquestioningly, without thinking. Subconsciously. “There was no desire to not do it,” she said. “I didn’t even think about it.”
Needless to say, she’s had a few students - and teachers - trying to help her with her counting skills this week. “I can count again,” she said with a chuckle. “I know my numbers now.” And her name isn’t Bill, or Bob.
Sarah Mossing, another volunteer and a student at LCHS, enjoyed her hypnotic experience. “It was fun,” she said.
For the first half, she didn’t think she was hypnotized, she said. She was just going along with everything, pretending. But then she began listening more carefully and focusing upon what Spencer was saying.
“It was kind of a dreamlike thing,” she said.
And in the end, she said, she felt refreshed - as if she’d slept. “I think it’s pretty cool,” she said.

“Hypnosis is a natural state of mind,” explained Spencer in an interview Monday. “Something that people experience every single day.”
Entertainers and writers are both hypnotists, he said - activating the imaginations of watchers and readers.
And parents, he noted, are the world’s greatest - and most important - hypnotists, at a stage of life when a child’s subconscious mind is still forming. “A child is raised and will become what they are taught,” he said. Whether raised in a wholesome environment, or in an abusive family - “You attract that which you believe to be true about you,” he said.
And what he does with hypnosis, he said, is teach the conscious mind to relax, putting aside preconceived notions and allowing the subconscious to shine through. “In a clinical sense, we us hypnosis to access memories that no longer serve a purpose,” he said, to root out subconscious blocks that effect unwanted behaviors.

And as far as the shows go - the purpose is twofold.
“I want them to have a good time,” said Spencer - just to come out and laugh.
And he also hopes that the audience and participants realize, through the show, “That they have a potential that’s really unlimited in nature,” said Spencer. “To give them the opportunity, no matter who they are or where they are at - ” to realize that they are free to be whomever they decide to be.
“People always think - ‘I’m stuck where I’m at,’” said Spencer. But in reality, that’s just a perception.

Friday’s show was a successful fund-raiser for the LCHS Technology Club as well, according to teacher Wade VanNess. The club finished the night with a profit that raised about 30 percent of the funds needed for the club’s trip to Seattle in April. The club boasts twenty one LCHS students this year.
“I think it was a tremendous success, and we had a good time,” added VanNess.

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