My friends c and K have been talking about getting a new house. That gave me an idea. I was chatting via Yahoo Voice with c today, while she sat in her bedroom. I asked her what she'd like a new bedroom to look like. "A sea theme," she said, "with blue walls, and yellows and greens."
OK, it looks like that right now, I said.
Long pause. "Oooooh," she said. "But the yellow's too bright." OK, tone down the yellow, I said. "That's better." And the window now looks out on the ocean. She went over to open the curtains and look out. "This is freaky," she said. "I'm in Portugal." She didn't like the view from the first floor, so I raised the bedroom to the second floor. She missed the trees she usually sees out the window, so I added a bit of palm tree in front of the blue sky.
She seemed to like the effect so far. So I changed her clothes into a swim suit and gave her flipflops. The warm sun, the now bright room, and (for some odd reason) the carpet being changed into a sand floor, suddenly gave her an urge to relax and take a little nap. She woke up a few minutes later feeling the cares of the day long gone.
It's all an example of a hypnotic effect that gets too little use: The waking illusion.
Sure, you can give someone illusionary scenes while they're in a trance, but those memories are sometimes lost when they wake up. And while subjects are awake it's common to give them "little" illusions of things like specific objects. But this is much more vivid, and lands the subject in the middle of a scene.
I'm a big fan of the full-on illusionary scene delivered to an otherwise awake person, a sort of technicolor posthypnotic effect. I love it because it means I can talk her through it, listen to her reactions moment by moment, and steer it in whatever direction I want to as it occurs.
Besides, it's a thrill to hear her gasp and say, "What a mindfuck."