Ormond McGill was born in Palo Alto, California, in1913, the son of the city's telephone manager. At a young age, McGill became interested in magic, and eventually took a correspondence course through the Tarbell Music School in Chicago while still in high school.
After graduating from high school in 1931, he attended San Jose State, studying psychology, commercial art and advertising. He relates how his love affair with hypnosis was triggered as a university student when he saw a performance of a stage hypnotist named De Walzoa. Fascinated, McGill began reading books on the subject, and gradually started to incorporate a little bit of hypnosis into his magic shows. Eventually he began performing hypnosis shows as well. In the early days, he recalls, Palo Alto had a clause in its laws that prohibited gypsies from coming to Palo Alto, along with fortune tellers and hypnotists.
He remained interested in magic, and soon began traveling as an assistant to "Mandu the Magician.” Continuing his interest in stage hypnotism, in which volunteers from the audience are willingly hypnotized in the course of the performance, he continued to travel to wherever his jobs would take him.
After one Canadian performance, McGill was awakened late at night by an officer of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police at his door. He explained that a woman at his performance had failed to come out of her hypnotic trance for nearly three days, was at a local hospital and could he please come to help. By the time McGill showed up, she was out of the trance. The incident was picked up by news radio commentator Paul Harvey.
From 1947 to 1954, McGill performed hypnotism and magic under the stage name of Dr. Zomb. His "Séance of Wonders" show featured horror-themed routines and costumed assistants typical of the midnight "Spook Shows" which were popular during that era.
In addition to his career as a world-traveling magician and stage hypnotist, McGill was also a skilled hypnotherapist and a student of Eastern mysticism. He wrote somewhere between twenty-five and forty books (sources disagree on the total), including such titles as “Grieve No More Beloved” (about his afterlife contact with his deceased wife), “Hypnotism and Mysticism in India”, and his autobiography, “The Amazing Life of Ormond McGill”, "The Encyclopedia of Genuine Stage Hypnotism” and a number of books with Hypnotist Tom Silver, two of which are “The How To Book of Hypnotism” and “Hypnotism Training & Techniques Manual.”
Ormond McGill made many of his greatest insights in recent years. He has combined his profound mastery of many hypnotic techniques; his deep personal understanding of Eastern systems of meditation, mysticism, wisdom and healing; and his creativity, vision, compassion, humor and life experience.
Known as “The Dean of American Hypnotism”, Ormond McGill continued to teach courses and lecture right up until a few days before his death. He passed away on October 19, 2005 in town where he was born – Palo Alto.
His best piece of advice: "Make life your playground,
not your battlefield."