From Inquirer.net:

A pair of con artists sweet-talked a nursing student into parting with her tuition money Sunday morning while she was waiting for a passenger jeepney in Pasig City, the police said.

Joyce Ann Sanchez, 17, lost P10,000 in cash and two mobile phones to a man and a woman, in what the police described as a “budol budol” (hypnotism) scam, a report in the Pasig Police Station blotter said.

I feel sorry for all the people who have been victimized by crimes. However, I’m skeptical about this whole “hypnosis” business.

I don’t even know where to begin. Let’s start with what hypnosis is and what it isn’t. I myself haven’t experienced or witnessed anyone being hypnotized, but from what nearly all reliable sources say, a person cannot be hypnotized against his/her will. And the hypnotist cannot make the patient do anything he or she doesn’t want to.

So how did the criminals get the victim to hand over the money? They used cons, pure and simple. In fact, the scenario the victim described in the news item above is similar to a short con in one of the episodes of Hustle, one of my favorite British television shows. And, no, the perps didn’t necessarily copy from that show, because the writers of Hustle actually consulted with real-life con artists when writing the scripts. The con artists in Hustle have a motto: “You can’t cheat an honest man.” Most cons work because they target the victim’s greed. In this con, the perps relied on the fact that the victim would willingly hand over his property because they were giving him their property, which appeared to be worth a lot more than what the victim had in his possession. And the cons are designed to make the victim appear so foolish that he would be reluctant to report the crime to the police.

“I told her: let this be a lesson to you. She should have asked why they would leave them their bag with cash and take hers. It didn’t make sense,” the officer said.

Well said, sir.

Which brings us to why the victims are crying “hypnosis”. I think that sometime in the past, a victim decided to claim being hypnotized in order to cover up the fact that he did get genuinely outwitted by the con artists because of stupidity on his part. Then it got reported in the news and other subsequent victims decided to claim the same thing. I think some of them really could not believe they acted so stupidly, and so believe they must have been mesmerized in some way. Add to the fact that we Pinoys love the bizarre and supernatural, so most of us immediately believed the victims’ stories, instead of really looking into the truth of the claims. Of course, a lay person has the right to believe anything he or she wants, but police officers and news reporters ought to know better than to just take any suspicious claims at face value.

Because I’m feeling generous tonight, let’s take a huge, gigantic leap and say, for the sake of argument, that I’m wrong. That there are two people out there who can do what no other hypnotists in history has ever done — hypnotize unwilling persons AND force them to do things against their will. And that for some reason these individuals are reading this blog. I say to them, dudes, forget your small-time crimes. You could make millions — yes, you read that right, millions — of dollars just going around the world demonstrating your skills. The book deals alone will keep you in Armani and Christian Louboutin’s till your old age. Plus, it’s all perfectly legal. Until of course, the CIA hires you as operatives in the war on terror, and then you’re practically above the law. You could hypnotize the captured terrorists to give up Bin Laden’s whereabouts. Heck, the billionaire Republicans can probably buy you away from the CIA so you can hypnotize people into voting for whatever douchebag they’re fielding against Obama in 2012.

You could leave your life of crime AND become filthy rich. Whadya say?

ETA: Budjette thinks there could’ve been drugs involved.

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