Hypnotist George Wood
A Harthill stage hypnotist is hopeful of ending the year on a high – by performing his biggest show to date.
George Wood (26) is Scotland’s youngest hypnotist and building up quite a reputation despite taking up performing just last year.
But what makes George’s remarkable strides in the industry even more mesmerising is the fact that he is 90 per cent deaf and has to lip read to understand what’s being said.
George explained: “I had mumps as a toddler and that brought about my deafness, although it wasn’t diagnosed until I was six-years-old. Teachers thought I was disruptive in class but I wasn’t – I just couldn’t hear them.”
An unhappy educational career – including a stint at a deaf school in Edinburgh, which he hated – was then followed by an astonishing 30 jobs in 10 years.
George admitted: “I couldn’t really find anything I particularly enjoyed and often when I revealed to employers and colleagues that I was highly deaf in both ears they treated me as intellectually dumb.”
It wasn’t until a persistent back injury led George to study hypnosis in an attempt to alleviate the pain, that he suddenly uncovered a talent and career he could focus on.
He continued: “It was a couple of years ago and I was attempting various massage techniques for my back. My then girlfriend Michelle, who’s now my wife, was my guinea pig and as I performed some massages on her I noticed she was becoming very drowsy, until finally I couldn’t wake her.
“I then did what anyone else would do – rushed upstairs and Googled how to bring someone out of a hypnotic trance. But before that, I did I got her to do some Harry Hill impressions!”
George’s interest in hypnosis steadily increased and although he developed a real thirst for knowledge, performing wasn’t something he even remotely considered. Until he was on his honeymoon last summer.
He went on: “We were in Turkey and had met up with several other couples from around the UK. The evening entertainment provided by the hotel was pretty dire and one night Michelle told the people we’d met that I could do hypnosis.
“Well that was it. They all wanted hypnotised and it was great fun. I found I really enjoyed the performance aspect of it. Towards the end of the holiday I think people thought I’d been brought in by the hotel as I had a bigger audience than the singers and dancers!”
Emboldened by his natural talent for performance and the enthusiastic reception his spellbinding act received, George set about organising shows in and around Harthill, having at last found something he’s happy doing.
During the last 15 months George has honed his routine, enthralling audiences across the area and is now delighted to be in a position to book a venue as large as the Bathgate Regal Theatre, where he’s performing on Saturday, December 29.
George explained: “I set myself a target of working in front of 200 people before the end of the year and I’ve already achieved that. So the Regal seemed like a natural progression and it’s a real thrill to be playing such a prestigious venue. I can’t wait and aim to ensure that everyone who comes along will have a great night.”
Audience members wary of being hypnotised and forced to perform cruel acts such as eating onions can relax – public humiliation isn’t what George is about.
He added: “It’s all good fun and a real laugh. Some hypnotists go way too far in my opinion. For me it’s more about laughing with people than at them and some of the things we do are hilarious.”
Tickets for George’s Transfixed Comedy Hypnosis show, priced £12, are available from www.bathgateregal.org or on 01506 632558.