It’s a warm spring afternoon. The sun is shining in through the open window and a very old and battered looking paperback book sits unnoticed on a coffee table, as two friends chat, setting the world to rights.
Ormond McGill’s Book of Genuine Stage Hypnosis just happens to be the latest in a long line of curious and largely unknown books Benjamin (the owner of said coffee table) has acquired from one of an ever-diminishing pool of second-hand bookshops, still occasionally found languidly decaying, like the books they sell, down the side streets away from the busier parts of town.
This hobby of buying and reading strange books from dusty old shops stretches all the way back to Benjamin’s childhood, and has included many classic volumes on the psychology, the art, and the principles of magic and mentalism.
These books by their nature cover suggestion and misdirection, but until this point, the exploration has never included anything specifically about hypnosis. It’s a welcome addition to the collection.
Over a cup of coffee, the guest notices the old book with surprised delight and asks if the host could hypnotise her so she wasn’t afraid of flying. A trip to Gothenburg is planned for just a few days time, and the guest is already feeling nervous.
The book really isn’t about that kind of thing, and the host is only really reading it as an aside of his lifelong interest in magic. He explains why he doesn’t really have the skills for such a job, and that he’s not really interested in the therapy side of things anyway, but she persuades him to give it a go to see if it could help her out.
Fast forward a few days and an incoming call from a very happy friend in Gothenburg set the wheels in motion for an unexpected new career in hypnotherapy.
Subsequent training from several world-renowned hypnotists followed and the Benjamin began helping people with all sorts of issues, but the one he always really enjoyed helping with was stopping smoking.
As a lifelong fan of magic, and a former smoker of fifteen years, Benjamin Ryan (a.k.a The Stop Smoking Man) had a grand realisation in doing this work, that there is a very real parallel between how a magician fools and audience and how cigarettes fool a smoker!
What now seems like an inevitable hypothesis quickly arose:
“With smoking as with magic, when you know how the trick is done it loses its power to fool you.”
And so an obsessive quest began to explore and get to the bottom of this idea, to test the hypothesis and to see if the same principle could really be applied to helping people stop smoking.
Benjamin read everything he could on the subject, bought and analysed every hypnosis recording he found, watched every DVD (there were no downloads for such things at that time!), spoke to as many other people working in this field as he could, and most importantly began helping as many people as he could with their smoking problem.
By initially focusing on breaking the illusions for each client, and then using a combination of hypnosis and other psychological techniques to ratify this new perspective, Benjamin developed a very effective method for helping people to stop smoking in a single session. Many clients have even reported it to be a surprisingly easy and painless process.
All this has made Benjamin somewhat of an expert on the topic of helping people to stop smoking, and he has developed a solid reputation in the local area as THE person to see if you’re serious about stopping.
With many people colloquially referring to him as “the stop smoking man” already, Benjamin decided to adopt the moniker officially.