You are getting sleepy... Former Marine demonstrates the dangers of drinking and driving through hypnosis show
by Sgt. Melvin Lopez Jr.
Marines attended a Labor Day Holiday Safe Driving Program at the Henderson Hall Theatre Sept. 1, which included an entertaining hypnosis performance.
Bryan A. McDaniel, who has done hypnosis shows for approximately five years hosted the brief to show Marines the dangers of driving under the influence, in hopes of convincing them to avoid doing so over the long weekend.
For the act, the hypnotherapist and former master sergeant, asked for volunteers from the audience to be hypnotized. Many Marines appeared reluctant but, nonetheless, there were some hard chargers willing to take the challenge.
All in all, 14 Marines approached the stage waiting for what could be a very odd experience.
McDaniel assured them they would be perfectly safe.
The act began with soft, soothing music playing in the background. The volunteers were asked to close their eyes and imagine themselves in a vast emptiness. The certified hypnotherapist spoke to them, making them feel relaxed. Slowly, their heads nodding forward, the volunteers were put in a trance. McDaniel had complete control over them.
The subjects were told to perform various acts as the audience looked on. McDaniel made five Marines wear costumes to make them appear like The Village People. With the snap of a finger, and a little help from a CD, they were singing and dancing to "Y.M.C.A."
He also made the volunteers think they lost their bets on a horse race. McDaniel asked one married Marine how much she had lost. She said she lost $1 million and she was not going to tell her husband.
One act involved the audience. The volunteers were told they were 4-year-olds. The "kids" stood up off their seats and sang their ABCs and, because they did such a great job, they were allowed to go trick-or-treating. They wore their favorite masks and scattered about the audience looking for candy.
Although McDaniel performed these acts to amuse his public, he did not forget to emphasize the purpose of his visit. In one act, he helped the Marines get "drunk". After a few "drinks", the hypnotized Marines slurred their speech, and stumbled at every step they took.
Eventually, the party was over and one of them volunteered to drive their friends home. They got in their car (which was just a group of seats on stage), and drove away. Along the way, the driver slammed on the brake and swerved to avoid an obstacle, but failed.
Because the subjects did not wear their seat belts, the hypnotized Marines were "killed" in the accident.
The driver, still under hypnosis, believed she killed her fellow Marines.
This is a scenario McDaniel did not want the audience to forget. Through this act, he hoped to get the servicemembers to realize the consequences of drinking and driving, letting them know what could happen if Marines act irresponsibly behind the wheel.
McDaniel, who retired from the Marine Corps in 2003 after 23 years of service, conducts these briefs in this manner because he wants to be able to keep the Marines' attention while still passing the message about drinking responsibly.
"I'd been to a lot of safety briefs and there are a few I can remember," said McDaniel. "I understand the intent of them, but most of them appeared to be a "check-in-the-box". I developed this presentation so the Marines can enjoy themselves but also get a powerful message."
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