Hypnosis has been popularized as a game played by con artists and scoundrels.

However, it is actually a science used by experts to reach the inner mind, although many of us are probably skeptics. Thursday night, professional hypnotist Bruce McDonald performed his craft in the UVU Ballroom.

McDonald’s previous shows in schools around the United States have surprised many students and made them believers. He begins by explaining the science of hypnosis and takes the audience through an experiment to experience for themselves the unbelievable. Volunteers are chosen and advised to avoid going to sleep as they participate — to simply let go. At this, the volunteers enter a sleep-like state and are open to suggestion — anything from singing and dancing to impersonating animals and celebrities.

“During the hypnosis, you can hear the audience laugh hysterically and clap without really understanding why,” said a young man who, without his knowledge, had conveyed a convincing Elvis Presley to an amused audience.

With his skill and soothing voice, McDonald is able to bring many surprising characters and actions out of audience members. At Dixie College, he managed to get a group of young men to mimic the attitudes of fifth grade boys when he turned around, revealing a backless jacket. The men, seeing his partially bare back, mimicked the speech, expressions and body language of 11-year-olds to a laughing audience as they teased McDonald.

The stunts performed by volunteers are as diverse as the audience itself. Members of the crowd may instead become members of an a cappella singing group, a ballet dance company or even *NSYNC.