By Joel Hall
When Bermuda-native and clinical hypnotherapist, Ramon Smith, discovered that he could make people laugh, his job became a lot more interesting.
After spending 20 years in the British Army, Smith said, and completing a doctorate degree in London, he moved to Ellenwood to jump-start his career as "The Dreamcatcher," a comic hypnotist.
"If I had stayed in Bermuda, they would only have one or two flights that leave a day," said Smith. "I came here for my shows, because of the proximity of the major hub," of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.
Upon his arrival, however, Smith found himself a rarity in a very narrow field. One of two actively performing black comic hypnotists in the country, Smith has found himself very busy, he said.
He has performed across North America, in places such as Ontario, California, North and South Carolina, and Virginia. Locally, he has headlined at events at Spelman College, Oglethorpe University, and Emory University.
On Feb. 29, 5-8 p.m., Smith will perform a Vegas-style showcase, complete with music, magic, and hypnotism at Image Factor Studios in College Park, in honor of Black History Month.
Performing in the South, Smith said he has come across many people with misunderstandings about hypnosis. He said that with an open mind, hypnosis can be used effectively to relieve pain, stress, depression, anxiety, phobias, and can even promote healing in cancer patients.
"A lot of people are very religious around here and they think [hypnotism] is evil," said Smith. "I just want to explain it to them. Between 70 and 75 percent of pain is mental. If you reverse your state of mind in anything, it will be better."
Smith said through hypnosis, he is able to help people manage pain and other chronic problems. More than that, however, he said he enjoys making people laugh.
"What I like is to see people laugh, because we don't take time to do that everyday," he said. Smith added that in his shows, he can often convince people to sing and act like their favorite musical idol, or perform a dance number with a broomstick.
"My shows are very family friendly," he said. "I don't make people bark like dogs or cluck like chickens, but if they want to pretend they are their favorite singer, I can do that,
"We don't control your mind," Smith continued. "You have to be open-minded."
Smith said that this year, he would be performing comedic showcases throughout Clayton County to encourage and inspire local children to become more interested in hypnotherapy. For more information on shows, go to www.dreamcatchershow.com.