Veteran performer has been hypnotizing Sac State students for 25 years

Tom DeLuca said he enjoys the creativity of a college audience


Photo illustration. Hypnotist Tom DeLuca was set to perform at Sacramento State on March 12, 2020 but his show was canceled due to the coronavirus outbreak. Deluca has been performing at Sac State for over 25 years.

Luis Platero

Tom DeLuca has been performing his comedy hypnosis show for businesses and on college campuses throughout the United States for over 30 years.

DeLuca was set to perform in the University Union at Sacramento State on March 12 before all in-person campus events were canceled amid concerns of the coronavirus.

Related: Sac State cancels all in-person events amid coronavirus concerns

DeLuca has been performing at Sac State for over 25 years, according to Ajamu Lamumba, UNIQUE Programs Advisor.

DeLuca said he enjoys performing at Sac State due to the crowd’s strong energy.

Named “Campus Entertainer of the Year” four times by the National Association for Campus Activities, DeLuca enjoys the “freshness” and creativity of a college audience because it keeps shows exciting.

“They’re at a very creative phase in their lives so I can do routines that, when I give a suggestion, I don’t really know what is going to happen,” DeLuca said.

DeLuca said that things happen at college shows that don’t normally happen at his other events, such as corporate events. DeLuca described a recent show where he played music and made volunteers think they were at a party when all of a sudden two girls started doing splits on stage.

“I see the beauty of people’s creativity at college events more so than anywhere else that I do it,” DeLuca said.

It was during his college years that DeLuca began his career path in hypnosis. While he earned his masters degree in psychology from the University of Illinois, one of his psychology professors trained him to hypnotize people to help them lose weight and quit smoking and DeLuca realized he was good at it.

“When you’re good at something, you stick with it,” DeLuca said.

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DeLuca said he found his interest in performing hypnosis as entertainment after attending a hypnotist show on campus and realizing how different it was from his clinical work. He said that experience gave him the confidence to take on an offer from a former client, who was an owner of a local Sheridan Inn, to perform for the first time.

“He said, ‘Hey would you ever think about doing a show with this kind of stuff?’, and I said ‘well, sure,’” DeLuca said.

DeLuca has now been featured on “Good Morning America” and in magazines like Rolling Stone.

DeLuca said he keeps his shows family friendly and only works with volunteers from the audience who want to participate. He said that he tries to put himself in their position and make it fun without asking any personal questions or suggesting anything outrageous.

“See the show or be the show, it’s your choice,” said DeLuca.

DeLuca said even though not all volunteers work out, when he does find people who work well, it’s magic.

“There is kind of a bonding experiencing where the people on stage who have really good imaginations just titillate everybody else’s imagination,” DeLuca said.

DeLuca said that people who are hypnotized at a deeper level come out of the hypnosis feeling rested and relaxed. He said there is no muscle tension and their conscious minds rest while he gives suggestions directly to the subconscious.

“They feel like they’ve just woken up from a really good nap,” DeLuca said. “Sometimes they feel like they just woke up like they slept for seven or eight hours.”

He said that afterwards, some people tell him they remember nothing or only part of when they were hypnotized, while others tell him they remember everything.

“It’s different for different people,” said DeLuca.