By Olivia DeSmit
Chris Jones, a professional hypnotist and viral America’s Got Talent performer, balances family life in Beverly/Morgan Park with a passion for helping people.
“I always tell people if you want to be a traveling entertainer, you’re going to miss a lot of birthdays, Christmases and weddings,” Jones said. “But, if you’re in the business long enough, you realize you can’t hug money.”
Though Jones used to perform up to 35 shows per month, he now only works a few days per week to prioritize time with his wife and toddler daughter.
Jones began pursuing his career as a traveling hypnotist in his 20s. To save money, he moved in with his father in his childhood home, near Beverly/Morgan Park. While his father questioned his decision to quit a university job with benefits, Jones knew it was the right choice.
“If something’s not a lot of fun, I don’t typically do it,” he said. “Unless you’re forced into a situation you can always say ‘no’ or ‘not right now.’”
His now very-successful work as a hypnotist ranges from shows at universities and high schools to one-on-one sessions.
“I can help put people in the mental position where they can do what they want to do,” he said. “If you want to stop a bad habit, eat better, lose weight — I can change your perspective just a bit and you’ll see the life change.”
Jones recalls helping a trio of young gymnasts get over a mental block using hypnotism.
“A mother called me to say her daughter was a tumbler but recently couldn’t even do the basics. I said I’d try to help and will never forget that experience. After one session, the girl lands a flip and I turn my head to see her mom just screaming with joy.
“I love that I can walk into any room with the skills between my ears and I don’t need anything more than a microphone. That to me is the coolest thing.”
Jones also performs post-prom shows, which are alcohol-alternative shows for high schoolers. Recently he performed in Honolulu for 250 students at a Dave and Buster’s, and watched the sun rise with the students after. “We knew every single graduate was there, and we knew they were safe,” he said.
Beyond helping kids and adults to get over mental blocks and performing post-prom shows for high schoolers, Jones also gives back to people through monetary donations to schools. He founded the “Call Your Mother” scholarship at Mt. Carmel High School in honor of his mother, who passed away of cancer while he was on the phone with her, and the Leave a Legacy scholarship at University of Wisconsin. He also donates to the Oshkosh Placement Exchange scholarship at University of Wisconsin.
“Don’t put value in money, put it in education,” Jones said.
Jones’ favorite things about Beverly/Morgan Park are its safe atmosphere and diversity, as well as the friends he and his wife have made.
“We have friends in the Beverly area that are like family now,” he said. “We’ve put down roots because we aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.”