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Jewish World Review March 12, 2001 / 17 Adar, 5761

Karen Hucks

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Consumer Reports

Hypnotist sued by man who saw him as space alien -- TACOMA, Wash. -- To thousands who see his act at a fair each year, hypnotist Travis Fox is pure fun - a chance to watch friends under a spell bark like dogs, prance around like supermodels or impersonate Elvis.

But during one of Fox's shows last September, fairgoer Joshua Harris felt such a threat from a space alien mask that he broke his hand trying to ward off the extra-terrestrial.

And now he's suing.

The Tacoma man, who works in construction, filed a personal injury lawsuit alleging negligence by Fox, Fox's manager, the Western Washington Fair Association and the company that booked Fox's act.

"If people get up there and participate, you have to make sure it's safe," said Harris' attorney, George Christnacht.

Harris is seeking unspecified damages for pain and suffering, missed wages and lost earning capacity. Christnacht declined to detail Harris' medical bills but said they are continuing.

A trial date has been set for February 2002.

Jim Beecher, a Seattle attorney representing Fox, said the hypnotist is willing to pay Harris' medical bills if he got hurt during the show, but would dispute other damages.

According to the lawsuit, Harris went to the fair with friends Sept. 17 and with several others was recruited to join Fox on stage.

After hypnotizing the group, Fox announced he was invisible and then made threatening gestures toward Harris with a large alien mask and then threw it at him, the suit states.

"The space creature attacked my guy," Christnacht said.

Harris swung wildly at the mask and hit the floor with his fist, breaking a bone in his hand, according to court documents.

Fox has a doctorate from the American Institute of Hypnosis in Irvine, Calif., and is certified by the American Board of Hypnotherapy.

Karen Hucks writes for the Tacoma News Tribune. Comment by clicking here.


© 2001, SHNS