After the long drive down, we met up at The Head of the River pub in Oxford, and had the opportunity to get to know everyone. I was surprised to see that one of the guys was a regular reader of the blog, and showed me he had been reading it on his mobile! Now, I’m no stranger to technology, but even I was a little astounded at that. I guess the world really *is* moving along at a very dramatic rate these days.
But, back on topic. Once we’d gotten out of the cold, we began talking and inevitably, when with a group of hypnotists, the weather wasn’t the topic of conversation for very long. I love making friends through the blog, and Parkey has been no different. I’ve been talking to him on Skype and MSN for the past few weeks now, and managed to zap him into trance a couple of times. Before the Meet he let slip that he hadn’t been one to buy the round many times, and felt a little guilty about that fact. So of course, being a woman of morality and fairness, I decided to give him a trigger that would give him the compulsion to offer to buy the next round. Aren’t I good?
But, from there the conversation began to go less and less in my favour. In effect, all I’d done is made Parkey swear revenge, and since he’s tranced *me* before now, I probably should have thought my actions through a little more before I shot my mouth off…
From hallucinations of water pistols (which Lex allowed me to combat with hypno-umbrellas!) to the demonstration of my triggers in front of the group. I spent a good while being the demonstration dummy, and we began a good discussion about the finer points of my hypnosis at one point. You know it’s funny, since I’ve been around the fetish side to hypnosis for a long while now, I was explaining some of my alternate personalities to one of the guys, and he had to stop me at several points so I could explain to him.
I never usually try to bog myself down with learning too much information about the theories of response to hypnosis; all the technobabble regarding the reasons *why* people go into trance and the like. In my opinion, the more I learn about this kind of thing, the easier it will be for me to spot when they're being used on me. Similarly, it'll be more difficult for me to slip into trance to the extent I do now. So, I tried not to involve myself as the discussions get too technical, and settled for watching the shiny candle on the table for a while...As our stomaches began rumbling, we headed into Oxford to a restaurant, and it wasn't too long before Darren's hypnotic tendencies were itching to be let loose. There was a rather amusing moment where Darren had taken his subject half way through a rehersal induction as the waitress came across with the food. His arm hanging in mid-air, she simply raised a confused eyebrow, thinking it best not to ask as she placed the food down.
Now, I'm sure it's not merely an 'occupational hazard' that I naturally get very sceptical whenever anything strange starts happening. Usually, I'll immediately look to Lex to pointedly ask what he's been upto, but when I returned from the toilet, I saw the lads in deep conversation which ended abruptly as I approached the table. In almost second nature, I looked to Lex, but then the thought occurred to me - there's five of them here, who do I turn to first? I highly doubted I was being overly cynical, and with hindsight I feel much more secure in that view, but before I could pry we were leaving to head to another pub.
I noticed as we were walking that another had joined our number, and although everyone seemed to gloss over his appearance as a normality, I couldn't help but find this strange. Had I missed out on the meet and greet session? Turning to Lex, I quietly inquired as to whether this guy was 'with us', to which he casually replied that he was another hypnotist, and offered to introduce me. He told me his name was Parkey, and extended his hand. I'd taken it before I'd even realised how foolish a thing that was to do! Before I knew it, I was staring at the palm of my hand as it drifted closer and closer to my face, making my vision blur slightly... Bloody Hell! A hypnotist indeed!
I politely told him I wouldn't be shaking his hand again.
He seemed to know a lot about Oxford though, understandable since he was 'from around here'. I didn't know that some of the Harry Potter films had been shot in Oxford, and he told me it was because of the natural beauty and magic the City had. I took it on good faith, as the City *was* beautiful, although the magical description struck me as being lifted from a travel brochure or something. Without warning, the group stopped, and I almost walked straight into the guy in front of me. They turned towards a wall, and Parkey mentioned something about the concept of Diagon Alley being lifted from Oxford. He said there were areas in Oxford you'd never reach if you didn't know where to look.
He then proceeded to walk right through a wall.
No matter how many times you re-read the above sentence, you won't have been half as taken aback as I was. First Parkey, then the rest of the group (including Lex!) walked through the stone as if they were just heading down to the shops! I placed my hand against the brick, pushing lightly on it. My mind spun, there was no way on this Earth I could have actually witnessed what I did. It was impossible! People didn't just walk through walls! Harry Potter was just a book, and Oxford's version of Platform 9.75 couldn't actually exist, could it? Either way, they'd all left me, there was no question about that. But why wasn't Lex as surprised as I was? Had this been what they were talking about as I returned to the table? "Let's all freak the new girl out" - Yeah, thanks lads.
Lex reappeared through the brick and took my hand. He led me into the wall and out the other side. I don't know what I was expecting, whether it was a momentary dematerialisation as my body matter passed through solid brick, or even a weird sensation in my stomache - whatever it was, I didn't get it. Nothing at all. We went down a few more tight alleys, but I hardly noticed them - my mind still spinning from what had just happened. As we entered the courtyard, I realised how alive with activity this place was. Students from all over crammed into the huge beer garden (of which I later dicovered there were two more). How could so many people have hard about this place? Was I really that naive or dense to still be amazed by it? I tell you, my ghast was truly flabbered.
It was about then I noticed a man calling us over to a table. After turning behind me, and seeing another of the group go up to meet him, I realised he was calling us. Turning to one of the others, I inquired as to who he was. "Who, Parkey?" he replied casually, "Sorry, want me to introduce you?" I nodded, wondering why men simply didn't think about such simple common acts of courtesy.
Now, you may be spotting a pattern here. It transpired later that I had been 'prepped' by Lex for the Meet, to accept without suspicion any handshakes offered to me. At the Meet itself, and at the table, they had decided that they would have me hallucinate this wall covering the alleyway, and also have me forget who Parkey was every time he was out of my sight. It appeared that the lads were impressed with my abilities as a subject (I know Parkey certainly likes to toy with my ability to hallucinate things) and thought they'd play with my head a bit.
Aren't they nice?
I'd just like to point something out to you boys, an old saying I read in a book. "Forgive and forget, but keep a list of names."
The whole evening was amazing, and it was wonderful (if not a little mind-blowing) to meet up with so many other hypnotists. Oxford really is a beautiful place, and the guys were a really good laugh. I've learnt a lot from the meet, in terms of my capabilities as both a hypnotist and as a subject. I'd just like to thank everyone that came, as well as those poor unsuspecting students the rest of the group began hypnotising! Looking forward to the next one, definitely.