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Boone County Fair hypnotist welcomes skeptics

Friday, July 24, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT; updated 12:29 a.m. CDT, Friday, July 24, 2009
Matt Praisewater, sings, "May I please have my belly button back"? while in a hypnotized state at the Boone Couty Fair on Thursday. The audience was entertained by Linda Dietz and her ability to move the participants to do crazy things like Elvis Presley and Aretha Franklin impersonations.

COLUMBIA — With people loudly singing opera, blowing imaginative train whistles and pretending to fly in an airplane, a new hypnosis show at the Boone County Fair is full of interesting entertainment.

For the first year, the Boone County Fair is offering the Mystic Muse show as part of this week’s entertainment. With shows at 5:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. through Saturday, hypnotist Linda Dietz will hypnotize volunteers for the enjoyment of an audience.

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While some people are unable to be hypnotized, audience member Breanne Baker responded to it, even though she said she didn’t believe in hypnosis before volunteering.

“I felt really calm and kind of away from everything that was going on,” Baker said.

Dietz, who has been a hypnotist since 1998, said she doesn’t hand pick the participants, and insists that anyone can be in the show.

Although some people are more open to the experience than others, the show gives many people the opportunity to let loose, Dietz said.

“It gives them permission to have fun and act like a kid in a safe way,” she said.

Participant Tricia Davis was one of those people. She said she is usually a more reserved person, but still got up on stage and followed all the instructions.

“I just wanted to experience it, and I didn’t actually believe before, but now I do,” Davis said. “It really brings out the inner kid in you.”

During the show, Davis said she felt tingly and as if she was sinking into her seat, but yet still understood what was going on.

Although both these participants were convinced, non-believers are common. Dietz said she is not out there to try and persuade them that hypnotism is real.

“I’m not here to convince, I’m here to provide entertainment,” she said. “If they don’t believe it, that’s fine, but if you were entertained, then the show was successful.”

Dietz said she views herself as an "edutainer," because she tries to help the audience understand more about hypnosis while also providing entertainment at the same time.

While there is a routine show, she said the demonstration is different every time since each show provides new participants, making it enjoyable to watch more than once.

While providing fun shows for both children and adults, Dietz also teaches hypnosis techniques as a way to fight tobacco addiction and food addiction. On Sunday, Dietz will host a two-hour program at Quality Inn to address how to use hypnosis to obtain a smoke-free status. The event costs $45 per person.

Dietz said the program has shown a positive long-term effect on participants as long as they continue to follow the instructions.

In the end, Dietz encourages hypnosis doubters to attend and judge for themselves.

“If you’re not sure, come watch,” she said. “Awareness precedes change.”


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