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Desc:Bob Larson's religious version of stage hypnosis makes man talk in funny growling voices.
Category:Religious, Educational
Tags:hypnosis, mass hysteria, exorcism, Bob Larson, stage hypnosis
Submitted:sasazuka
Date:02/13/13
Views:1902
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Comment count is 8
paranex
I'm sure I've mentioned this on POE Red or POE News before, but I went to see Bob Larson back in like '99. He literally did this EXACT routine, demonic voices and everything. Hell, this is tame compared to what I say: A guy confessed to, in front of FOUR cops, molesting seven children. He even described taking the kids into his basement and...yeah. This is a complete set up. No stage hypnosis or anything -- the "possessed" people are actors. They have to be.

This is how it works: You go to the show, Bob gives a little speech about the glory of Christ, the hidden war between demons and Christian warriors, whatever. Then comes the good part: He asks people to come forward and talk about their problems. They all have horrible problems that conveniently fit into Bob Larson's teachings. Drugs? A demon must be causing you to crave cocaine. Sexual addiction? A demon must be causing you to cheat on your wife with dudes you met at a rest stop.

Then, Bob asks the audience to pray with him, goes into his little exorcist routine and the person's voice magically drops two octaves as they start pretending to be a demon that Bob talks to. He finishes his exorcism, does one or two more, rinse and repeat, and then, a-womp-womp-a-loo-womp-walomp-bam-boom, they're all cured and Bob says "Hey folks, don't forget to check out my collection of six DVDs for the low, low price of .99! Act now and you also get a free book! Thank you very much, good night ladies and gentlemen!"

It's hard to believe maybe, but good con artists know how to find marks who won't question anything they say, no matter how ludicrous. Bob Larson, to my mind, is probably one of the greatest con artists of all time. He makes PT Barnum look like an amateur. He's managed to find the most gullible people in America and instill in them a mindset that is utterly impervious to rational thought, criticism or hard evidence. It's incredible, even though it's also fascistic and terrifying.
sasazuka
It can be stage hypnosis (or related mass hysteria phenomena) without being obvious. If people come in believing they have demons, they're already in a suggestible state without really any need to do a formal induction, though there have been reports of Larson doing subtle hypnosis inductions by having people focus on the cross while he uses NLP-like language cloaked in religious terminology to assist them in reaching an altered state of consciousness.

Not that I'm going to deny the probability he does use some actors (there's been reports of the same "possessed" individuals showing up on stage at different shows in different cities), but I believe a lot of the "possessed" aren't actors. I don't think they're actually demon-possessed because I don't believe in literal demons, but they're sincere people being manipulated by a master manipulator.

paranex
Yeah, that's true -- never underestimate mass hysteria. Which, if anything, only makes Bob Larson MORE of the greatest con artist of all time.

You seem to know more about this than I do, which is nothing, but does NLP actually work? The only people I've ever seen who endorse it are obscure psychologists from the 70's, Scientologists and PUAs (none of whom seem particularly credible, ha ha ha). Like I say I don't know much about it, but is there any evidence it works?

badideasinaction
NLP is a great technique for convincing people to buy NLP products, and for convincing practitioners that it's working. All other bets are off.

Blue
I really want to believe the guy fucking children was an actor. I think about that chick tract about the doctor that figures out a little girl was being raped by her father and then responds by sharing the gospel of Jesus with him and then it's all okay and he's not a child fucker anymore and completely safe around his daughter from then on. I think they place it in the same category as beating off when your wife isn't home.

NLP is kinda dumb. It was made up by an idiot and it's pretty much useless, unless you're trying to bed a girl with two thumbs and a fetish for that sort of thing.

badideasinaction
I remember reading up on the NLP forums and newsgroups back in the day, and more often than not it was followers coming up with incredibly detailed reasons that their NLP patters or whatever the hell they were called didn't work because their prey had been accidentally dropped into some randomly-worded mindspace by their surroundings. In other words, all their pseudoscience was built around coming up with reasons why it didn't work that time.

PUA has the same thing. It's a magic feather that convinces you to ask everyone and write off the ones who say no with mystical mumbo-jumbo disguised as psychology to prevent you from giving up. It might work, but not because of magic words, but because of the law of averages.

The people I've known IRL who are big into it are the living breathing example of "you can't cheat an honest man" - they're all looking for a conversational Konami code and in turn they end up being suckered, all the while convinced they're Svengali.

Jet Bin Fever
I once barked like a dog on stage to make a semi-retarded kid not look stupid at a tennis camp talent show. I wasn't hypnotized at all of course, but I didn't want the kid to look bad in front of all the other campers. Afterwards, several of the kids asked me if I was really hypnotized. I said, of course I was, why would I bark like a dog if I wasn't?
Paracelsus
Aren't miracles tawdry? The showmanship always has the reek of the souk to me.
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