Extraordinary Moment Diver Hypnotizes A Shark And Makes It Roll Over Like A Dog

Sep 18 | 51 sharesMichelle Hambiliki

Ask anyone to name the animals that terrify them the most - and I mean really put the fear of God into them - and sharks will most likely be in at least the top three. Yep, sharks have a reputation for being vicious, bloodthirsty creatures with little to no capacity of being pacified or persuaded against their predatory instincts. And Hollywood blockbusters such as Jaws have reinforced this widely-held belief about these animals.

But how true is this perception we have of sharks? Yes, there's no denying they are predators with an instinct to kill, but does that mean we are always unsafe in their presence? Well, one very fearless diver would argue that's not the case. She was the subject of a video which captured the spectacular moment she put an infamously deadly tiger shark into a trance by essentially hypnotizing it.

Watch the fascinating footage here:

This sort of hypnosis is called "tonic immobility" and was performed by 38-year-old Leigh Cobb at Tiger Beach in the Bahamas. Tonic immobility is a state of paralysis in animals, sort of like hypnosis. In sharks, it is triggered when the little sensory pores on their noses are stimulated, according to The Shark Trust.

Researchers often take advantage of this trance-like state as a means of reducing the prospect of injury when handling them.

alt Credit: Christian Torres / Caters

In the video, the 16ft shark, known as Emma, approaches the diver after being fed a fish. Cobb then starts to stroke the predator on her side before coaxing her into rolling onto her back as though she were a dog.

The diver puts one hand on the shark's side and the other on her head as she continues to move. Smaller sharks are also seen in the video and start swimming around the diver's knees while she conducts her hypnosis. The sealife enthusiast even manages to stroke the typically vicious creature's belly before it swims off.

Forty-one-year-old Christian Torres, a photographer, and divemaster from Equador captured the extraordinary footage. "Diving with these majestic creatures always brings new sensations," Torres said.

alt Credit: Christian Torres / Caters

"In the video, my friend and mentor Leigh Cobb, is feeding and rolling the most famous Tiger shark from Tiger Beach, the Bahamas named 'Emma' who is 16ft long," he added. "I usually like photographing big animals like sharks, mantas, whales or dolphins."

As if you couldn't already tell from the video, Leigh is very clued up on sharks and, in fact, runs Shark Diver Travel which was set up to teach people more about these misunderstood creatures.

"I would dive with sharks as often as I eat if I could. Their bad reputation is simply not true," she said. "I want to show the world how these animals can interact with us on a different level."

alt Credit: Christian Torres / Caters

Of course, Leigh knows the importance of keeping safe when in the presence of animals with ravenous instincts. "Although I'm an experienced diver, I still need to keep my wits about me as these are wild animals and there are no cages for us and no training involved," she said.

"I dive with sharks most days, all over the world. I think of myself as incredibly lucky to share their world. They really are not the Jaws that so many people associate with sharks."

Well, in any case, we wish Leigh Cobb the best of luck with her mission to re-educate people on the sort of animals sharks really are and not the kind Hollywood has portrayed them to be.