For all the clever 'effects' that I tried out on LG a few weeks ago, I think her favorite one was outwardly the least impressive. I held my hands apart, and then brought them slowly together, telling her to watch them, instructing her consciousness to evaporate as my hands got closer and closer. By the time my hands were an inch apart, she could no longer speak. By the time they touched, she was staring utterly blankly at them, all expression erased.
"Think of a camera iris," she said later. "A circle that sort of twisted as it got smaller, and then winked out."
During the several minutes that she was absent, she looked to me like a frozen statue, staring at the wall, completely unresponsive. Inside, she said, the only sensation that came through was the sound of my voice maintaining a thread of contact, although there was no meaning in the sounds.
She loved it. "No need to be, do, anything. Total lack of responsibility."
She loved it so much that she asked me to install a trigger. Now, whenever she is feeling tense, she can use her magic word to instantly induce a complete relaxation that eventually blends into a nap or sleep.
I love the effect, too. There's something so completely powerful in just switching someone's brain off with a word, leaving them as a blank statue or puppet. And yet it's so different from the usual hypnotic effect, which is all about dramatic behavior or sensations.
It turns out we have a lot of company. When you're done here, visit my colleagues Lex and Mirehn and see what they've been up to. They and their subjects also have discovered the pleasures of blanking.
In my case, I can think of three or four subjects who've responded well to going blank, whether it was over the phone or in person. All seemed to have tensions in their lives, and turmoil in their minds, that they just couldn't switch off otherwise. One begged me to keep her blank for much longer, and moaned at the pain of returning thoughts as they flooded back afterward. I still can't forget the look on the face of Deborah, one of my more intense subjects, who last summer craved nothing more than long stretches of blankness. I secretly gave her a little present; she would go blank whenever she sat on the toilet and peed. I confess it may have started a new obsession for her.
Then there was Shelly. After a few in-person demonstrations, she asked for a trigger to use at home, and chose her own trigger word: "bliss." I haven't heard from her since.