Thousands of people could start the decade in a trance if an Oxfordshire hypnotist manages to carry out a mass online feat of hypnosis.

Chris Hughes, 34, hopes up to 2,000 people will take part using social networking sites Facebook and Twitter.

In a half-hour session – during which Mr Hughes claims participants will be hynotised by the power of his voice – he will test people’s susceptibility by ‘locking’ their hands together and making it impossible for them to get out of their chairs.

After the tests, he plans to hypnotise people to feel better about themselves and fire them up to achieve their goals in 2010.

Mr Hughes, who has been a hypnotist and hypnotherapist for five years, said: “We’re coming up to the new year and there are a lot of people having ideas about doing things like losing weight, so I thought it would be great if we could do something for them.

“I’m a big fan of Facebook and Twitter. The idea was to do an audio event everybody could log on and do a hypnosis session focusing on getting into the right frame of mind for the new year.

“I got a lot of interest.”

The event,called Socialtrance, is at 8.30pm on Monday and more than 1,100 people have registered to take part.

Mr Hughes said: “I want it to be fun but also to educate people. It’s not about control and getting people to do what I say, it’s about relaxing.”

Mr Hughes, who was born in Banbury and is married with two children, carries out six or seven hypnosis sessions a day, helping people to stop smoking or lose weight.

Although he hopes to set a world record, Guinness World Records spokesman Damian Field said the organisation would not recognise the attempt.

He said: “All of our records have to be measureable.

“There is no way of proving that the participants are in a state of hypnosis.”

Anyone over the age of 18 with a computer or laptop with an Internet connection, a set of speakers or headphones, a comfy chair and a quiet place can take part, provided they have not been diagnosed with a mental illness, are pregnant, or are under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. Epileptics should seek advice from their doctor before participating.

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