JMU will not pay hypnotist after show leaves students in trance

Published: Aug. 26, 2019 at 9:54 PM EDT
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James Madison University will not pay hypnotist Jon Wayes following a show that left some new students feeling uncomfortable.

Students who were at the event, like Dausny Cruz, said the event was supposed to be fun — but as it went on, not everybody was laughing.

"We kind of just went along with it and it was pretty fun, but towards the end, it started getting a little bit anxious," Cruz said. "As a lot of people needed help when they weren't just getting out of the trance."

In a

post sent to WHSV, someone said throughout the show, the hypnotist kept having to get an abnormal amount of people out of their “trance” because they were crying or shaking.

Spokesman Bill Wyatt said at least ten students had negative reactions to the show, and now, the University says it will not pay Wayes the $2,350 hypnotist fee.

"Just looking at the situation, it didn't go as planned," Wyatt said. "Based on that, we notified the booking agency that we were not going to pay the hypnotist fee."

Wayes' management team, LMG, told WHSV in a statement that they apologized for the situation, and understood JMU's decision to withhold payment.

"In attempts to provide every willing volunteer their desired experience, after laying out psychological & physiological safety precautions, Jon Wayes took on too many students," LMG said. "After ending the show early to attend to each student individually, we understand JMU’s decision. Despite touring this show across the United States for the past 5+ years without issue, we’ve already made changes to ensure this doesn’t reoccur.”

Dr. Tim Miller, the university's Vice President of Student Affairs, said after Saturday's incident they will not hire the hypnotist again for next year and may take the show out of the week completely.

"We apologize for the students that were negatively impacted, but we do think though we've prepared our students to start school," Dr. Miller said. "Students have loved it. We're doing class day pictures out on the quad today, so it's been a great start for our students and we have to learn from this and make sure our students don't experience this in the future."