Hi everyone !
I was also a student of Shawn's for about 2 years back in the mid 80s. ~'83 to '85 I think. I got to know him because of my mother, Emmy Lou, who was the director of education at Northside Hospital in Atlanta back then, and she got to know Shawn when he was involved with the hospital and was working with the terminally ill patients and using hypnosis to help reduce their pain.
I started attending his Atlanta classes with my mom at first, then when he started another class up in Greenville South Carolina, I went to those too, as I was going to a University there. He helped me raise my grade point average from a D to a B. I also remember the time when I had to have my wisdom teeth out, and he video taped the anesthesia-free procedure. The wisdom teeth were impacted, and I had all four out at once. The oral surgeon was named Dr. Black, who my mother knew very well (she was also an RN) and the Dr.'s office was located across the street from Northside at the Johnson Ferry Rd. and Peachtree Dunwoody intersection. Anyway, the surgery went really well, and I felt good enough to eat a heaping plate of spaghetti that night, just a few hours after surgery. And then the next night we had Shawn's hypnosis class, and afterwards we all went to dinner afterwards. (remember how Shawn liked to eat and never missed a meal?) I had several crunchy tacos that evening and had no problem eating. During dinner I remember Shawn had me give a little speech to everybody and tell them all about it. I had zero pain, very little bleeding, and no "chipmunk cheek" swelling of my face that always occurs after that kind of surgery. Skeptics can say Shawn was just a con-man and claim that I didn't feel any pain because it was "all in my head", but I challenge them to explain how in the hell I had absolutely no swelling of my face whatsoever after that surgery where the Dr had to slice away at my gums and then rip four 3/4" of an inch long teeth, half of which had multiple live roots, out of my jaw bone using nothing more than a tool that looked like a pair of pliers. The trauma to tissue and jaw bone was extensive. So how in the world did I have no swelling, huh ? Shawn gave me the suggestion, under a very deep trance state, that there would be no swelling. That's how, Mr Smarty skeptic man.
One very memorable thing I remember about the procedure was that all the nurses at Dr. Black's office were captivated by my anesthesia-free wisdom tooth extraction, and after my procedure they all wanted to be hypnotized too. I think Shawn ended up hypnotizing every nurse in Dr. Black's office that day.
There was also another patient who was in the next room to mine, and she was having a root canal or something, and that lady patient was absolutely going bananas and climbing the walls. She was having a panic attack/ meltdown, and was literally fighting off the Dr. whenever he tried put his fingers in her mouth. Shawn saw this and offered to help Dr. Black, he really had no choice but to let Shawn try... and sure enough, he put her "under" in short order, and she totally relaxed. Dr. Black was then finally able to work on her. He was very impressed, and between the Dr and the 5 or 6 nurses there, Shawn had quite a few converts and believers in hypnosis after that.
I also remember seeing him do countless hypnotic regressions in class, and I know he DID help a lot of people who had some very serious issues. One that stands out in my mind was a heavy lady who was a regular at class, and she had an over-eating issue that ended up being tied to low self esteem, and while under regression, it turned out the cause was that she had been molested when she was a little girl. Does anyone else remember the class that night? She lost a lot of weight and was happy as a clam following that.
As far as these comments here regarding alleged immoral and unethical behavior by Shawn, I really don't know anything about that, and this is the first I've heard such awful things about him. I never knew much about his personal life, but a couple of years after Shawn stopped holding his Greenville classes, I do remember hearing from my mother that he had left his wife and "ran off" I guess you could say, with a young lady who was one of his assistants from that 80's Atlanta era. I forget her name, but she had a very weak chin, and he helped her get surgery to correct that. It was drastic surgery and involved breaking the chin bone and resetting it. They had to wire her jaw in place for quite a while, and I remember seeing her in class all wired-up like that.
As far as all of his boasting and wild claims, like holding the World's record for the most held-over shows and knocking Phyllis Diller out of that spot, I do remember thinking at the time that he was either telling the truth or full of a lot of hot air, but it didn't really matter to me because he WAS really that good of a hypnotist, and after being around him for 2 years, I did witness a lot of incredible stuff, and I saw him help a lot of people. Sure, the "standing on the stomach of a woman who was laid across the backs of 2 chairs" is an old stage trick, but I saw a LOT of other stuff that can't be easily debunked. Who else remembers the needles through the arm ? Then there was the "gluing" a person to the floor and unable to be lifted (which is a well known phenomena to practitioners of a martial art called "Aikido", of which I am one), then there was the fake "hot coin" on the skin causing a burn, ...and so many more. Of course there are my own personal experiences too.
I still use the skills that he taught me, pretty much on a weekly basis, and I hypnotize others on occasion. I still continue to practice my hypnosis induction scripts, and a few years ago I even had a website up with some free inductions people could listen to.
For what it is worth, I'm glad I got to know him on a professional level and learn from him. He gave me some valuable skills and charged very little money... I think it was about $50 a week or something like that back in the 80's....
All I know is that Shawn made my life better, and I saw him with my own eyes help a lot of other people too. And he never tried to "con" me, or anybody else I knew. As far as allegations of him being a, um well, a pervert, I do not know -I know very little about his personal life. But the old adage "believe half of what you see and none of what you hear" has served me pretty well so far.
It's nice to know other people are out there who still think about him and remember those days... going to those classes and meeting so many nice people is a fondly remembered time in my life too... remember "zoo sleep"? (he would always make any suggestion trigger phrase with 2 words that would never be used together in normal conversation) - And remember that suggestion against "highway hypnosis" he always gave us ? It has been over 30 years and my eyes STILL don't go drowsy on me when I'm behind the wheel!
- It's nice to hear from (most) of you all,.. Take care everybody !!
TIM FABER, ATLANTA