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  • Robert Farago

How to Hypnotize Someone With a Pocket Watch

Step-by-step instructions

Back in the day, I hypnotized thousands of people. While I tended to favor rapid and violent(ish) hypnotic induction techniques, people love the old time drama of a swinging watch. To use a pocket watch to hypnotize someone, first…

Practice swinging your watch

You need to establish a regular, slow and steady rhythm, creating an arc of around six to eight inches.

WAIT! Not everyone can be hypnotized

Some people are genetically predisposed to hypnosis, some aren’t. If you swing a pocket watch in front of someone who isn’t hypnotic, nothing will happen and, well, that’s awkward.

The easiest way to establish an individual’s level of hypnotizability is to test them first. If they pass, watch out! (My song sung by my daughter above, just ‘cause.)

Metal > < Magnet Test

Before you start swinging your watch, test to see if your potential subject is hypnotic. If they pass, go for it. If not, forget it.

Stand directly in front of your subject. Hold your arms straight out, palms facing each other, about a foot apart. Tell the subject to do the same. Close your eyes, then tell them to close their eyes. Put your hands down, open your eyes and read/recite this script.

Imagine that your right hand is a powerful magnet and your left hand is a piece of metal. There’s a strong force flowing between them, pulling them together. Metal and magnet moving closer…. The closer they get, the stronger the force. The stronger the force, the closer they get. Metal and magnet moving closer. Closer and closer. Closer. Closer and closer.

Try using a stern and commanding “father voice” and a soft and soothing “mother voice” (explained in the postThe Hypnotic Voice). Mentally note which voice works better. Assuming either does.

If you get zero response, your subject isn’t hypnotic (again, it’s a genetic variable). Tell your subject to keep their eyes closed and put their hands down. Then instruct them to open their eyes. “Sorry, but you’re not hypnotic.” Do not try again. You’re done.

Howard pocket watch

If their hands move closer, even a little bit, keep at it. Before they touch say “when your hands touch, leave them there.” (You can also stop saying the word “closer.”) When their hands make contact, tell your subject to open their eyes and look at their hands. Tell them to put their hands down.

Hands touched? Go Time!

Prepare you subject by telling them to get comfortable. Give them time to do so. Get out your pocket watch – slowly. Hold the watch up at chest level. Run your free hand down the chain to steady it until it’s stock still.

Why swing a pocket watch?

  1. Swinging a pocket watch is weird. Weirdness increases anxiety. That’s a good thing, not a bad thing.

  2. People have an internal “script” for hypnosis: swinging pocket watch = hypnosis. You’re exploiting expectations.

  3. A swinging pocket watch is a “point of eye fixation.” People pay closer attention to your words when they’re staring at something.

  4. A swinging pocket watch tires out their eyes. So when you say “your eyes are getting tired” you darn tootin’ they are.

Swinging pocket watch

Swing the pocket watch, read this script, using whatever voice worked best for the test – “father” or “mother.”

Feel free to switch between them. Relax and take your time.

Follow the watch with your eyes. Back and forth. Back and forth. That’s good. Just follow the watch with your eyes and listen to the sound of my voice. Breathe easy and let yourself begin to feel sleepy. Heavy. As you follow the watch, your eyes are getting heavier and heavier. Heavier and heavier. Your eyelids are heavy, like lead weights. So heavy and tired they just want to close. So you can drift off into a deep relaxing sleep. Let go of your eyes. Let them do what they want to do. Let your eyes close. Sleep now. Sleep.

If that doesn’t work, say “Go on, close your eyes. No seriously. Close your eyes.” That’s following a command – not hypnosis per se – but we don’t want one of those awkward moments do we?

If it works, they’re in hypnosis. The clearest indication: rapid eye movement under their eyelids. Don’t worry if you don’t see it, but if you do, good for you! And them, I hope.

Now what?

Farago book

A little trance deepening wouldn’t go amiss and then . . .”From this moment on, you will stop smoking/eat healthy/speak confidently in public, wash that man right out of your hair.” Whatever.


After you’ve given the therapeutic command, it’s a good idea to get them to imagine themselves in a situation where they used to have the problem, going through it without the problem. All positive suggestions please.

When you’re done, say “I’m going to count to five. On the number five, open your eyes.” Count slowly to five, throwing in some positive suggestions between the numbers.

If their eyes don’t open on five, don’t sweat it. Worst case, they’re asleep or just too happy to come back to reality. “No really, open your eyes.” Or let them snooze a bit. They can’t get “stuck” in hypnosis.

Don’t Be Evil

Stage hypnotists tell the audience “you can’t be hypnotized to do something against your will.” Bullshit. That’s the whole point of hypnosis. Do you really think all those subjects want to be humiliated in front of their peers and strangers “all in good fun”? I don’t think so.

Not to go all Uncle Ben on you (Spiderman’s uncle not the cancelled rice guy), with great power comes great responsibility. Don’t use hypnosis to get laid, steal money or otherwise instruct your subject to do something amoral.


If you want a session – in person or on the phone – hit me up on Same goes if you want to learn how to hypnotize someone and/or make a living at it.

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