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Hypno Pendulum

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"You are getting very sleepy... when I snap my fingers, you'll find Ash and kick him in the 'nads."

Often, a pocket watch (or another object of that sort) is swung back and forth like a pendulum in front of a victim repeatedly to hypnotize them. This is almost always accompanied by the hypnotist saying "You are getting very sleepy..." or some variation.

Truth in Television: Since these kind of motions are rather hypnotic in Real Life, this trope somewhat makes sense.

See also More Hypnotizable Than He Thinks, Hypno Fool, Hypnotic Eyes, and Trigger Phrase. Not to be confused with Hypno Trinket, which is something the subject/victim wears, or Mind-Control Device, which is a device that has the sole purpose of hypnotizing someone/controlling someone's mind. Could be used to Hypnotize the Captive, or (very rarely) for Mass Hypnosis.


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  • In this commercial for Trix, the Rabbit thinks being hypnotized will help him get over his obsession with Trix. The hypnotist uses a watch to put him under.
  • A commercial for Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3 has Wario attempting to hypnotize the viewers into becoming him. It's a variation on the famous "Obey Wario, destroy Mario!" ad for Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins.

    Anime & Manga 
  • Doraemon: One of Doraemon's gadgets, as shown in "Doraemon's Time Capsule", is a wand that acts as a hypnotic pendulum that can hypnotize even artificial intelligence such as robots.
  • Meg is hypnotized in this manner in one episode of Majokko Meg-chan. To elaborate, the pervert Chou fantasizes about using a pendulum to hypnotize Meg, and later uses a cuckoo clock.
  • In an episode of MegaMan NT Warrior Axess, Ms. Yuri hypnotizes Ms. Mari using a pair of Clackers.
  • A brief bit in Nichijou features Mio trying this on Yuuko with a yen coin. Yuuko ends up trying to eat it.
  • An episode of the Nodame Cantabile anime involves Nodame hypnotizing Chiaki in order to cure his fear of flying. She uses a watch because that's how she had seen it done in movies.
  • This is how Jango the hypnotist from One Piece hypnotizes his victims to make them sleep, or his allies to make them stronger. The problem is, he often hypnotizes himself as well as his targets.
  • Nanapon from Seven of Seven can use her crystal in this way. In one episode, she tries to teach Nana, but ends up hypnotizing herself instead.
  • In a chapter of Squid Girl, Sanae uses one to try hypnotizing the titular protagonist into loving her. It doesn't work, but since almost everyone around her is so annoyed that they decide to play along and fake being hypnotized (Even her pet dog was faking it), she buys it anyway. Only Squid Girl herself doesn't bother playing along.
  • A scene in Strawberry Marshmallow also features the girls trying hypnosis with a yen coin.

    Asian Animation 
  • Happy Heroes: In Season 5 episode 51, Big M. swings a rock on a string in order to get Little M. to go to sleep. Little M. tells the general that modern hypnotists usually tell whoever they're hypnotizing to look into their eyes, mimics the movements... and finds that he's sent Big M. to sleep.
  • In the Lamput episode "Hypnosis", Fat Doc sees a hypnotist use a swinging pocket watch to hypnotize someone in a TV show, and he and Slim Doc use this idea to hypnotize Lamput into doing their bidding.
  • Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf: Wolffy uses one, shaped like a wolf's head, in Great War in the Bizarre World episode 22 to hypnotize Jollie when he isn't able to give the location of the Luminous Ray. It works on nearby Wolnie, but not Jollie.

    Comic Books 
  • A Blake and Mortimer story uses a folding fan opening and closing to the same effect on Colonel Olrik to get him to relive his memories as Professor Septimus' guinea pig.
  • Wonder Woman (1942): One of the first tricks Paula uses on targets she needs to have do her bidding but doesn't have time to fully mentally break and condition is to strap them in and have a trinket spun or waved in front of their eyes to see if they're susceptible to hypnotism.

    Comic Strips 
  • Kerry Drake features a rare example of one of these being used on a crowd of people. Shandar hypnotizes his followers with a clock pendulum (he calls it "The Pendulum of Existence").

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animated 
  • Downplayed in Incredibles 2. In Screenslaver's lair, there is a machine that resembles a clock which has one of these along with three hypnosis spirals. It does not impact the plot, merely setting the scene.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Carry On Matron, Dr. Francis A. Goode is seen hypnotizing himself before being walked in on by his boss, Sir Bernard Cutting.
  • Variation in E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial: In an early scene, E.T. lulls Elliott to sleep in this manner. In this case, E.T. sways his own body back and forth, causing Elliott to sway with him and fall into a trance.
  • In Frankenstein 1970, Victor von Frankenstein does this with reflected light, playing it across the eyes of his victim while he talks in a low, hypnotic tone. He hypnotises Schutter with light reflected off a pair of forceps, and Mike with light reflected off a coin.
  • In A Man with a Maid, Jack swings a crystal in front of Alice and Marion in an attempt to hypnotize them. It fails, but does put Samson into a trance.
  • Our Man Flint: Flint hypnotizes Lloyd Cramden by using his watch, but not by swinging it: it generates a small light moving around on its face, and Cramden becomes hypnotized watching it.
  • Stewardess School: Larry uses a pendant while using hypnosis therapy on Kelly.
  • In Theatre of Death, Davras hypnotizes Nicole by reflecting light off his ring and moving it slowly back and forth across her eyes.
  • In Torture Garden, Dr. Diabolo tells his customers to stare at the highly reflective shears of Atropos. He talks at them in a low, monotone and reflected light from the shears plays across their eyes, putting them into a trance.

  • A stage magician holds up a watch and says that it's his grandfather's watch, and is priceless in and of itself outside of its utility in hypnotizing people. He hypnotizes the entire audience, using it as a pendulum and begins his first command. "Now, I want you to..." He drops the watch and it shatters on the ground. "Shit!" It took four weeks to clean that theatre's seats...

  • Bunnicula: Chester is implied to have been hypnotized by a clock pendulum.
  • In The Dark Tower, Roland hypnotizes people several times by having them focus on a bullet as he walks it back and forth across the backs of his fingers. Not exactly a pendulum, but thematically similar.
  • Inverted in Gordon Korman's "The Hypnotists". A stage hypnotist appears to use a pendulum to hypnotize his subject; however, it is later revealed that it was just for show, and true hypnosis works through eyes.
  • Lumbanico The Cubic Planet: The Great Guardian uses a tear-shaped piece of astrolita (a glowing blue mineral) on a string to hypnotize Vinca into revealing where her friends have gone to.
  • In Molly Moon's Incredible Book of Hypnotism, Molly buys one from an antique shop, but earlier she uses her own: a spoon (while she's stirring soup) and a piece of soap on a string.
  • The Sorcery! gamebooks have the Nap Spell, which is used together with a brass pendulum. It's capable of putting most enemies to sleep, as long as they're sentient.
  • In the SpongeBob SquarePants book "The Amazing SpongeBobini", SpongeBob tries to hypnotize Patrick into not being sick using a combination of this and Hypnotic Eyes. It doesn't work.
  • Moretti of The Stranger Times uses a coin on a string to hypnotize people, though he prefers to spin the coin rather than swing.
  • In Unseen Academicals, when Nutt attempts hypnotherapy on himself, Trev puts him in a trance by swinging his tin can back and forth on a string, saying he once saw a music hall performer do this with a pocket watch.
  • In Wayside School Gets a Little Stranger, Dr. Pickle uses a pickle-shaped pendulum to hypnotize his patients. Incidentally, his real name is Pickell.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In one episode of The Addams Family, "Fester Goes on a Diet", Morticia tries to use her necklace on Uncle Fester, to which he responds, "The only one who can hypnotize me is ME!"
  • ALF: The titular character tries to hypnotize the family cat Lucky using a pocketwatch. "You are getting sleepy. You... are no longer a cat. You are a bagel."
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
  • Doctor Who:
    • This is how the First Doctor mesmerises Dodo in "The War Machines", only instead of using a pendulum he swings his hand with the ring on it back and forth in a similar motion.
    • The villain of "The Masque of Madragora" uses drugged smoke and a dangling crystal to hypnotize Sarah Jane.
    • The Sixth Doctor uses a silver medallion on his fob chain to calm a Technically Living Zombie trying to kill Peri in "Revelation of the Daleks".
    • Played for Laughs in "The Ultimate Foe", the last episode of "The Trial of a Time Lord". The Master has a criminal named Sabalom Glitz in his grasp and is trying to hypnotize him with a pocketwatch. Glitz appears to be in a trance, but says that he's only wondering how much the pocketwatch is worth.
  • Farscape: In "Thanks for Sharing", Stark and John Crichton are trying to repair Talyn when Stark starts panicking that the Living Ship is dying. John waves a gadget back and forth in front of his face.
    Crichton: Work... now... freak... later... Work... now... freak... later...
    Stark: [following it with his single eye] Yes... that's it...
    Crichton: Good.
    Stark: How much later? [concussion missiles explode outside the hull]
  • Patrick from The Mentalist has used various objects to hypnotize people: a pen, a watch, a necklace...
  • Our Miss Brooks: In "Fargo Whiskers", Mr. Conklin and Mr. Boynton briefly attempt to use a watch to hypnotize Miss Brooks and suggest she stay home from school for a week. A misunderstanding made them think Miss Brooks was suffering from a nervous breakdown; they were afraid she would act weirdly in front of the visiting school inspector.
  • Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue: In "Olympius Unbound", Jinxer uses one of these to hypnotize Captain Mitchell into giving Olympius the Aquabase's power supply.
  • In Vega$ (1978), a lady police hypnotist tries this, but Dan Tanna's assistant is already somewhat mesmerized by her breasts.

    Music & Music Videos 
  • Pointedly averted in the They Might Be Giants song "Hypnotist of Ladies":
    He's a hypnotist, hypnotist of ladies
    Never had a pocket watch, never counted backwards.
  • The video for Rainbow's song "Street of Dreams" features a man being hypnotized with a pocket watch around the time the song kicks in.

    Puppet Shows 
  • Fraggle Rock: Sidebottom, calling himself "Dr. Fun", uses his stethoscope as one of these, hypnotizing Junior into believing he's a Fraggle.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Ravenloft II: House on Gryphon Hill, the sequel to the original Ravenloft, uses this instead of the more well known Tarokka reading. While the DM plays the hypnotist, the players take turns answering the questions, choosing from a list given to them by the game.

    Video Games 
  • Willy Beamish can make an impromptu one in The Adventures of Willy Beamish by combining a length of chain with his Nintari's lock-up key. He uses it on a Tootsweet security guard to knock him out and escape his office.
  • In Alice: Madness Returns, Dr. Bumby practices hypnotherapy and uses a door key with a Venus symbol at the top to hypnotize his patients.
  • In Conker's Bad Fur Day, during a fight against a dinosaur, the context-sensitive buttons will give Conker a pocket watch, which he can use to hypnotize and tame the dinosaur.
  • Kingdom of Loathing has the ultra-rare monster Hypnotist of Hey Deze, who specifically averts this trope in a Shout-Out to the They Might Be Giants example above:
    He's never had a pocketwatch, and he's never counted backwards, but he looks like he has beaten up quite a few adventurers in his day, and it seems that you're next on his list.
  • Duster from Mother 3 has one that can used to put enemies to sleep, though with a lower success rate than PSI.
  • At the end of Nightfall Mysteries 2: Curse of the Opera, Vincent uses a pocket watch to put the player character into a trance.
  • The Psychic-type Pokémon Hypno wields a pendulum, swinging it back and forth to perform its psychic attacks, which has led to it being considered a Memetic Molester.
  • Science Girls!: The player's Hypontise skill, which stuns enemies for a time, has its animation, be taking out a gold pocket watch and swinging it once.
  • There is an item in Tomodachi Life called the "Hypnotizer". It's a coin on a chain, and it can be used to see a dream again.


    Web Original 
  • FreedomToons: Marianne Williamson attempts to hypnotize the other Democrats and the studio audience to vote for her.
  • Referenced by Retsupurae at the beginning of episode 10 of Ambition:
    Courtroom official: She was seen leaving around 9:30pm.
    [a giant pocketwatch swings back and forth]
    slowbeef: I feel like I've been hypnotized watching this.
    [the watch disappears]
    Diabetus: "You want to play better game" — oh.
  • SCP Foundation: The Log of Anomalous Items has an inversion: a pocket watch that induces a mild trance state in anyone looking at it only when it isn't being swung back and forth like a pendulum.

    Western Animation 
  • 101 Dalmatians: The Series: Cadpig attempts to use this on Leitunant Pug in "Howl Noon" to get him to face his fears and stand up to his childhood bully, Persian Pete. In the end, Pug uses Cadpig (Who has been strapped to him with handcuffs) as a pendulum to hypnotize and defeat Persian Pete.
  • Parodied in Almost Naked Animals where Octo tries to do this for a hotel attraction with a digital alarm clock on a string, and his subject agreed to pretend to be hypnotised.
  • The Amazing World of Gumball: In "The Refund", Gumball and Darwin hypnotize a store manager into giving them a refund on a game. They use a watch in order to do this.
  • Arthur:
    • One Imagine Spot of the titular character has a new friend of Buster hypnotizing him in this manner.
    • Buster himself has used this twice: once on Arthur and once on Arthur's neighbor Vicita.
    • In the episode "What Is That Thing?", Francine uses one of these on her cat, Nemo, in hope of curing his fear of water.
  • Back at the Barnyard: In "Hypno-a-Go-Go", Otis orders a hypno watch in order to have fun hypnotizing the farm folk. Unfortunately, he ends up hypnotizing himself while watching a boxing movie, resulting in him attempting to destroy the farmer whenever he heard a bell.
  • Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers: Dale tries to use one in the episode "The Pied Piper Power Play", but it rarely works.
  • In one Donald Duck cartoon, Donald goes to Ludwig Von Drake for anger issues. Ludwig tries a watch, saying "Vatch de vatch!". It doesn't work, so he simply hits Donald over the head with a mallet.
  • In one episode of Ed, Edd n Eddy, Double D receives a psychology book, which includes a hypnosis wheel. Eddy decides to use it on the kids in the neighborhood, and has a ball making them all do silly things. Unfortunately, the Kankers show up and get their hands on the wheel, using it to turn the Eds into dogs.
  • The Fairly OddParents!: In "Crocker Shocker", Dr. Fancyfree hypnotizes Mr. Crocker with a pocket watch so he doesn't believe in fairies.
  • One episode of The Flintstones has Fred trying to hypnotize Wilma using a rock on a string. He hypnotizes Barney instead.
  • In Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, Madam Foster's bowling rival is able to hypnotize Bloo by swinging the ball from a paddle-ball in front of his face to coax him into bowling for her team.
  • The Garfield and Friends episode "Wade, You're Afraid" has Orson hypnotize Wade into not being afraid by using a turnip on a string.
  • One episode of Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi has Ami using a pocket watch as one of these to hypnotize a bull that they were forced to fight. It worked... until the bull broke out of its trance and ate the pocketwatch.
  • In Holly Hobbie and Friends: Secret Adventures, Holly tries to hypnotize Carrie with a locket to cure her fear of the dark. She ends up hypnotizing Amy instead.
  • Johnny Bravo: In the episode "Bearly Enough Time", Johnny tries this to hypnotize a bear into sleeping, but ends up following the swinging pendulum with his own eyes and falling asleep himself.
  • In the Jonny Quest episode "Pirates from Below", Hadji hypnotizes a guard with a flashing ruby.
  • The Loud House:
    • In "Fed Up", Lincoln uses a quarter on a string in an attempt to hypnotize himself into believing his dad's wienerschnitzel tastes like ice cream. Unfortunately, Lola wants to try it too and ruins the hypnosis.
    • In "Saved by the Spell", Zach uses a pocket watch on Lincoln to convince him to dance instead of do magic for the talent show. Lincoln isn't affected, but Meryl ends up getting hypnotized instead.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • In "Secret of My Excess", Zecora uses this on Spike when examining his greed-induced growth.
    • In the short "Starlight the Hypnotist", Starlight uses a star-shaped pendent on a chain to hypnotize Twilight into curing her fear of ladybugs.
  • In the Phineas and Ferb episode "A Real Boy", Candace has Stacy hypnotize her with a pocket watch into ignoring the need to bust her brothers so that she can spend the entire afternoon relaxing with Jeremy.
  • Pound Puppies (2010): Strudel attempts to use a swinging walnut to hypnotize a squirrel into acting more like a squirrel in the episode "Call of the Squirreldog". It is effective... on the wrong target.
  • The Powerpuff Girls (1998): In "Abra-cadaver", the title villain hypnotizes Blossom with a watch. He doesn't really make her do anything; he just entrances her so he can get his revenge on her more easily.
  • One episode of Recess has the hypnotist using a pen, with the obligatory More Hypnotizable Than He Thinks Hypno Fool being Principal Prickly. Hilariously, this is implied to be why he fell for it.
    Prickly: What a goofball. Nice pen, though...
  • Rugrats:
    • In "Chuckie's First Haircut", Susie hypnotizes Chuckie with a yo-yo in an attempt to help him get over his fear of haircuts.
    • In the special "All Growed Up", Tommy uses the fake Scorpio medallion as one on Dil to help him get to sleep.
  • In one episode of Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!, the Ghost Clown used a golden coin on a string like this. It turns out the ghost is actually a disgruntled hypnotist in disguise.
    Ghost Clown: Watch the pretty coin of gold
    And you will do as you are told!
  • The Simpsons: In "Homer at the Bat", to inspire the company softball team, Mr. Burns brings in a hypnotist who uses a swinging watch for his Mass Hypnosis.
    Hypnotist: You are all very good players.
    Team: [speaking in unison] We are all very good players.
    Hypnotist: You will beat Shelbyville.
    Team: We will beat Shelbyville.
    Hypnotist: You will give 110 percent.
    Team: That's impossible. No one can give more than 100 percent. By definition, that's the most anyone can give.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
  • Star vs. the Forces of Evil:
    • In "Deep Dive", when Star continuously wakes up from her sleep-portaling right before she finds where the mysterious voice she hears is coming from, Janna Ordonia uses Marco's wristwatch to hypnotize her into staying asleep so they can help her find it.
    • Another example is shown in "Total Eclipsa the Moon" when Star's mother, Queen Moon Butterfly, is stuck in a hole and a spider takes the opportunity to use himself as a pendulum to make the Queen drowsy and rob her of her crown.
  • In one Sylvester the Cat and Tweety Bird cartoon, Sylvester goes to a psychiatrist to try and cure his problem chasing Tweety. Similar to the Donald Duck cartoon mentioned above, the psychiatrist first tries swinging a watch in front of his face, but it doesn't work, so he instead hits Sylvester on the head with a hammer.
  • One episode of Taz-Mania features this in an attempt by Bull to hypnotize Axle. When it backfires, Axle attempts to snap Bull out of it using the same watch hanging from a fishing rod.
  • In the Totally Spies! episode "Totally Switched", an evil shrink uses a variant of this device to swap the personalities of his patients.
  • In the Wacky Races episode "Real Gone Ape", Dick Dastardly does this to a circus ape.

    Real Life 
  • It's very common to use this in stage hypnosis. It is often referred to as "eye-fixation" or "fixed-gaze", which can also refer to a completely different and unrelated induction technique in hypnotherapy.
    • Alternate foci for this method can be anything from a candle flame to a dot on the wall.
  • It was once widely used in therapy too, but not anymore. Since one element of a successful induction is the expectation of entering trance, the familiarity of the trope can actually work to a hypnotist's advantage, but it's not really done since it's considered rather naff these days.


Hypnotising Sarah

Hieronymous hypnotises Sarah with instructions to kill the Doctor.

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Example of:

Main / HypnotizeTheCaptive

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