So the crowds all over the world gathered over the past few weeks, for the mass online hypnosis event that was billed to break records…

UK based hypnotist Chris Hughes planned to put users of Facebook and Twitter into a state of hypnosis live online had to abandon his attempt because of legal worries. You can’t have escaped the mass marketing of it on facebook and twitter if you are related to this field in any way at all.

Chris Hughes had planned to use a live web-stream to simultaneously hypnotise over 10,000 people who had signed up on the social networks.

Then just before the event – which promised to leave people stuck to their chairs and unable to open their eyes – was due to begin, Chris announced it had been called off. Much to the dismay of many twitterers it would appear….

He said legal warnings meant he couldn’t go ahead with the web broadcast and offered a MP3 download instead, meaning he couldn’t set a new world record.

Speaking before the event 34-year-old Hughes said: “Those taking part in Socialtrance will find themselves at times having their hands and eyes stuck together and experience relaxation like you never have before.

“At all times during the experience you will perfectly safe and will be able to leave the hypnosis session at anytime.”

This hypnosis article at the Metro sstates:

Chris Hughes said he would go for a world record by hypnotising all 6,300 who signed up to his Social-Trance site.

But, instead of a promised half-hour webcast, visitors to the site found a pre-recorded MP3 file instead offering hypnotherapy tips.

Hughes, 34, explained legal advice had prevented him from going ahead with the original plan.

Twitter was bombarded with angry messages.

One person tweeted: “I feel cheated, I lost 30 minutes of my life listening.” Another wrote: “Chris you are either brilliant at marketing or you have goofed I feel cheated.”

I have been surprised at the amount of ensuing cynicism appearing on twitter in the aftermath of the cancellation to be honest. I thought the idea of taking part in hypnotist Chris Hughes’ world record attempt sounded like fun and a brilliant marketing event for Chris and publicising the field of hypnosis in general…

It getting called off at the last minute is disappointing I suppose, but claims that Chris Hughes’ SocialTrance was all a con are rather over the top I think. Maybe it was because the highly antiquated Hypnotism Act 1952 prohibits the act of live hypnotism without a proper license from the local authorities when it came to practising in set venues… Though, does that extend to other countries?

Ofcom does have rules and regulations about broadcasting live hypnosis on television as we have seen when Uri Geller has not been allowed to do stuff and I wrote here about the chap in Australia getting into all sorts of trouble last year for doing hypnosis whilst on air… Is there anyone, anywhere that categorically states that the law forbids hypnosis from being carried out on social media websites? And of so, what is the reasoning behind it?

So Chris Hughes – some may think, very wisely – compromised and was cautious and decided not to do the thing live. Some might well think he was a bit naive by marketing it so heavily before he had done any due diligence and really ought to have checked the legalities before hand, heck we all make simple mistakes here and there, don’t we?

Interestingly, I read this article about the event over at webuser site and they rightly state the following:

It also highlights the problems of legislation drawn up before the dawn of the web. The Hypnotism Act, written 58 years ago, was reviewed in 1995 but even that was four years before broadband really took off in the UK. As more and more events like these take place on the web, the problem with such vagueness will doubtless rear up again.

Regular readers here will know what I think about the current statutes in the UK and the US about how hypnosis is regarded in its legal status, it is highly antiquated, does not regard empirical evidence and as such is rather out of touch. So maybe this event raised other, more poignant issues that someone might choose to champion, eh?

Shame it all seems to have left a bitter taste in the mouth of so many. At least prior to cancellation, the event got a few people excited at the prospect of hypnosis and perhaps chose to look at the subject in a tiny bit more depth….