Written by Rory Z Fulcher
We frequently get asked ‘how to make someone forget their name with hypnosis‘, and ‘can hypnosis can truly make somebody forget their name?‘ and the short answer is yes, you can get someone to forget their name using hypnosis! Even better, this short blog explains exactly how you can generate hypnotic name amnesia yourself – in fact, it’s super easy!
The information in this blog has been taken from my book, ‘The Stage and Street Hypnosis Handbook’ – widely regarded as the ‘go-to’ book on how to perform comedy hypnosis routines (available now on Amazon).
Amnesia is the technical name for ‘forgetting’ and it’s a type of phenomenon that can be generated on demand with hypnosis. You can suggest a subject forgets his name (and maybe even replace it with another, funnier name), a number (such as number 7, then have them count their fingers), the name of an object (like a chair), or even the name of their partner (if you want to get them in trouble).
When performing stage/street hypnosis routines, as well as ensuring your subject is nice and deep in hypnosis, you should also consider the hypnotic phenomena hierarchy:
- Sense alteration
- Positive hallucinations
- Negative hallucinations
- Post-hypnotic suggestions
Remember that most people will need to start off easily (with sense alteration and catalepsy routines) and then work up to the more complex phenomena (such as amnesia and hallucinations). However, some people (those that are really good subjects) may be able to achieve any type of phenomena right off the bat.
Individual responses to hypnotic amnesia
With the generation of hypnotic amnesia, it’s worth keeping in mind that different people have different capabilities when it comes to responding to hypnotic suggestions. You’ll find that some people will have a natural limit to which types of phenomena they can achieve and you may notice that sometimes people will just stop responding to suggestions if they are unable to do them. For example, perhaps they can achieve sense alteration and catalepsy, but anything beyond that is impossible for them. In contrast, others may respond to complex suggestions more easily than some of the less complex ones! For example, some people actually find it easier to hallucinate than to generate amnesia, even though amnesia is usually easier to achieve than hallucinations.
At the end of the day, when it comes to responding to hypnotic suggestion, everyone’s different, and the only way that you’re going to find out whether or not someone will respond to your suggestions, is to give them the suggestion and see what happens.
Hypnotic name amnesia script
Here’s a hypnotic name amnesia script, taken directly from my stage and street hypnosis book, that will make your subjects forget their names. As mentioned above, make sure the person is in a good depth of trance, and that they’re responding to other, simpler suggestions, before using a name amnesia routine.
“I’d like you to imagine seeing your name right in front of you, written in big, bold letters… and now I’d like you to imagine that name floating away, floating off into the distance… and as it does your memory of the name floats away with it… That name almost a speck in the distance now… It’s as if your name is gone, completely forgotten… You’ll remember it again later, but for now, you can completely forget that name… Find that if anyone were to ask your name, you’ll draw a blank… Perhaps like it’s on the tip of your tongue, like you almost know it, but the more you try and think about whatever that name was, the more you forget the name… When you’re sure that name is completely gone now, you can open your eyes…
Hi there, nice to meet you, I’m [hypnotist’s name] *go to shake hands* …and you are? *wait for (lack of) response*
…huh, that’s weird… Surely you know your name? I’m [hypnotist’s name] and you are… *wait for response*
…OK, well what does it begin with, do you know that, or have you forgotten that too? *wait for response*
…OK, as you can’t remember your name, let’s think of a new name for you. If you could have the most ridiculous, outrageous name ever, what would it be? *wait for response*
…fantastic, so for the rest of your life, your name will be [new name]… No, just kidding, in fact what’s going to happen in a moment is your name is going to come right back, flying from the distance right back into your memory… *point into distance* …look here it comes, it’s coming fast… *make a swoosh noise as you point from the distance to their head* …and it’s back… What’s your name?” *wait for response*
This is just one example of the many different ways to set up hypnotic name amnesia, as well as what you can do with your subject after they have forgotten their name. There are many other entertaining skits you could do with them – the limit is only your imagination!
What if name amnesia suggestions don’t work?
It’s a hypnotist’s worst nightmare. You’ve told a client they’ll forget their name, and they don’t! They remember their name and proceed to say it out loud to the audience. What happens then?
Be aware with amnesia routines, that sometimes people won’t want to forget their name, because their name may be too important to them and they don’t feel comfortable with the idea of losing it (or losing their identity). Just the same as if you ask a subject to forget a number, but it turns out they work as an accountant. They may morally object to the idea of forgetting a number, believing that it could interfere with their work. Sure, that may seem outrageous and unlikely, but it’s happened to me a couple of times, so it’s not as uncommon as you might expect.
As with any type of hypnotic suggestion, your subjects always have the choice as to whether or not they’ll respond to an amnesia suggestion. If they object to it (for whatever reason), then there’s a high chance that they may not respond (…that said, there are ways to achieve a similar ‘effect’, but without actually needing to suggest amnesia or that they forget anything at all…).
The ‘name amnesia effect’ (or how to make a poor subject forget their name)
If your name amnesia suggestion didn’t work, you might need to adapt/modify your routine so that it really is easier to accomplish. For example, you can simply re-hypnotise them and suggest that this time when they open their eyes, they will remember their name, but when you ask them to say it, it’ll be as if that name is stuck in their throat. So, you’re basically using catalepsy (of the throat) to stop them from saying their name, rather than using amnesia to make them forget it. For example:
“This time when you open your eyes, you’ll remember your name, however whenever you try and say your name, it’s like it gets caught in your throat… You know you know your name, but you just can’t get it out, it’s like it’s stuck on the tip of your tongue… 1, 2, 3, eyes open. *test*“
This is much easier for most subjects to accomplish and from an audience perspective, this workaround is pretty much going to give you the same ‘effect’, which is the most important thing you need to consider. I’d always personally go for the true amnesia version first though, because that gives you a great indication of whether they’re a good subject (generally people who accomplish name amnesia will go on to do pretty much anything you suggest).
Learn more about hypnotic amnesia and comedy hypnosis
If you’d like to learn more about hypnotic amnesia, check out my book, The Stage and Street Hypnosis Handbook. It contains a number of different hypnotic amnesia routines, and much more besides, including over 100+ comedy hypnosis scripts and routines.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this blog on name amnesia and how to make someone forget their name with hypnosis, and if you have any more questions about this topic, or anything else for that matter, do please get in touch, because we’re always happy to help!
– written by Rory Z Fulcher