Hypnotism at ORHS

Drew Dulac needed to use the bathroom. But every time he tried, he came back with pockets stuffed full of toilet paper. 

     On September 20th, 2022, Oyster River High School (ORHS) hosted their annual hypnotist show. Along with Dulac, the other student volunteers gave the audience many laughs as hypnotist Frank Santos Jr. of Rhode Island performed his magic. Within minutes, Santos had the student volunteers completely mesmerized. Between having their arms stuck to their heads, screaming their names, smelling something funky, playing hide and go seek with the auditorium chairs, and going back and forth to the bathroom to fill their pockets with toilet paper, like Dulac, these volunteers put on quite a show. 

     As real as this looked to all of us, some volunteers who were sent back to the audience were skeptical of how real hypnotism is. Dalva Cheney (’23) returned to her seat and said, “It was fake, it just didn’t work.” 

     Siena Schaier (’24) shared an opinion like Cheney’s, saying “I don’t actually believe in hypnotism, so seeing it happen was actually a little bit trippy for me.” It seems as though Santos changed some audience members’ minds.  

     Santos addressed these common opinions and said, “Hypnosis is real. Some people try and fake it and if they’re really good actresses, I can’t tell, but everyone goes under differently. It’s all real.” Santos has been attending and conducting hypnotist shows almost his whole life. As he put it, he grew up with it. His father began performing shows in 1977, and Santos was, well, hypnotized. In 1994, he began putting on his own shows and has since travelled to high schools, colleges, and even nightclubs across New Hampshire. 

     Sabrina Golden (’23) said that “It was definitely real. I don’t usually enjoy dancing to Shake It Off in front of the entire school, and then having it posted on Mrs. Noe’s Instagram for fun.” When it came to remembering the event, Golden said it was a bit foggy. “The next day it started coming back to me a little bit, but I still don’t completely remember… Right after the fact when I saw the videos I was overwhelmed, like what the heck just happened? Then a half hour later it was on Instagram,” she said. 

     Inviting Santos would not be possible without the help of ORHS teacher Barbara Milliken and Schaier, who is Junior Class Vice President. The event is a traditional fundraiser for ORHS. Schaier said, “The show was a fundraiser for the junior class. Right now, all the money we are making [from fundraising events] is going towards prom, which is funded by the junior class.” 

     Besides assisting in the planning, Schaier attended the show as an audience member and even selected the volunteers. “I loved the show. I didn’t go last year, but I thought it was amazing. It was hilarious and the people who went up there were great,” she said.  

     As for next year, Santos will likely be back for another show to continue this tradition. 

-Ava Gruner