Once upon a time, in a world where children occasionally woke up not wanting to go to school, Jemma Fitzgibbon woke up feeling rather excited about the day ahead of her. She smiled and sang as she packed her bag for school and she skipped from her bedroom to the kitchen as she cheerfully poured her cereal. Her parents were not surprised to see her this way, as Jemma had been speaking about it for weeks: Today, she would get to present her science experiment to the class. Jemma knew there would be other students in her class nowhere near as excited as she was about getting up and presenting in front of the class, but, then again, not everyone in her grade was a formally trained hypnotist.
Jemma had been training to become a hypnotist with her grandfather every day over the past three months. He had patiently taught her everything there was to know; from the exact words and tone of voice to use, to the speed at which the stopwatch would be expected to oscillate. Jemma had been a terrific student, always present, always listening and always grateful for the knowledge her grandfather was volunteering. Her goal for today was to make her grandfather proud, so she picked up her black kit-bag and made her way to school.
The morning couldn’t have gone any slower as Jemma sat through experiment after experiment, watching as the next student got up and exploded yet another volcano, or share their theories on how the town of Greenvale could start a space program. Finally, Mrs Cranston called Jemma’s name, so she picked up her kit-bag, took her chair with her and positioned herself at the front of the class. She opened up the bag, took out a long piece of white cloth with the words, Jemma: The Amazing Hypnotist, written in large letters on the front and stuck it to the blackboard. “Ladies and gentlemen! You have been wowed by the natural wonders of volcanoes, blown away by the potential power of rockets, but, now it’s time to get serious as you become captivated by the intricate art and science of hypnosis!”
Following an impressive applause, Jemma announced that she required a volunteer to assist her in applying the scientific method to her hypothesis that, ‘hypnosis provides mankind with a glimpse into the power of human potential.’ Every student in Jemma’s class raised their hands simultaneously. She was a little shocked with the enthusiastic response but, after a few seconds of thinking, she chose Daniel Livingstone. The class let out a groan in unison as Daniel walked to the front of the class with a broad grin on his face. Jemma asked Daniel to take a seat and asked him if he had ever been hypnotised before. “Nope, never,” he responded.
“Wonderful!” said Jemma. “Now, today, if all goes to plan, you’ll feel as though you’ve had a deep sleep and come back to us feeling well rested, but you might not remember anything from your experience. Are you OK with that?”
“Of course,” said Daniel, eager to get started.
Jemma took her Grandfather’s watch out of her kit-bag and unravelled the chain it was attached to. “Good. Then I want you to look at this watch and feel yourself getting very sleepy.” Jemma gently rocked the watch back and forth in front of Daniel’s eyes. “Just relax and let your body fall into a deep, deep sleep.” Jemma repeated this sentence several times and, before long, Daniel’s eyes appeared to have grown very heavy and, soon, he was fast asleep.
“Now, Daniel, when I count backwards from ten, you are going to become a chicken.” The students in the class giggled. “But, if I clap my hands three times like this…” Jemma slowly and purposefully clapped her hands three times, “then you will wake up and become yourself again. Do you understand?” Daniel nodded his head in sleepy agreement. “Ten… nine… eight… seven… six… five… four… three… two… one… you are now a chicken.” Daniel sat slumped in the chair with his head resting against his chest but nothing happened. “I said, you are now a chicken!” Again, nothing but the sound of Daniel’s deep, relaxed breathing.
Embarrassed, Jemma clapped her hands three times and Daniel gradually woke up with a deep stretch and a loud yawn. The class looked at him in silence.
“How… how was it? Did I do something wrong?” he asked.
“No, it wasn’t your fault. Never mind,” Jemma said somberly. “Maybe you’re just not open to the power of suggestion. It does happen sometimes. Maybe I can try one more time again?”
Mrs Cranston nodded and all of the students in Jemma’s class threw their hands in the air, hoping to be the one chosen this time. Jemma took her time to look around the classroom and eventually pointed to Rose Buttress.
You can read part 2 by clicking here!