By Caroline Moore ’17
“I fell asleep.” When asked to summarize his experience of being hypnotized last year, alum James Matons ‘15 began with these three words. Every winter, a world-class hypnotist from Connecticut comes to Taft to astound Tafties with his mind-boggling ability to make people lose all of their thinking and processing abilities through his mesmerizing words.
The hypnotist begins his performance by randomly selecting a group of eager seniors to come up on stage. After attentively listening to his hypnotic speech, these students then transition into a comatose state and are made to perform actions that the students have no control over and cannot recall. Many seniors dream of being chosen since their first hypnotist experience their freshman year and many students regard it as one of the best weekends at Taft.
Another previous volunteer, Randy McHugh ‘15, said, “I don’t remember anything at all, but I kept saying how I felt really cold… as if I were naked in a blizzard.”
He recalled that he “thought that my brain had separated from my body” and later realized he had been crying on stage after watching numerous Snapchat stories of him in hysterics. Matons was also not able to give a detailed description of his experience (due to the fact that he has no recollection of the events) but describes the hypnotist as a “magician among illusionists.” Matons summed it up perfectly in one quotation:
“it’s like a chem class with Mr. Hostage. You go, you see a master of his trade perform in a sense, and you leave without the slightest grasp of what happened. You then go to the library to hopelessly put together what happened with no degree of success.” To say the least, Matons was emotionally and mentally rattled after his experience.
His advice to his soon-to-be hypnotized successors is not to worry though, because “all of the explanations are on YouTube which allows you to keep a mere shred of sanity.” Not only were a few lucky seniors victims of the hypnotists’ heresy, but also some students in the audience were so suggestible that they were hypnotized simply by watching the performance. Several students among the audience fell asleep and have no recollection of the events that conspired. This includes Michael Hennessy ‘17, the victim of the attached picture.
Photo courtesy Elizabeth Henebry ’17
When waking up on Sunday morning, if a Taft student finds themselves thinking that they too were naked in a blizzard, perhaps it is not due to the brutal weather of Watertown, but due to the alarming skill and potential witchcraft used by the renowned hypnotist. This year’s stage hypnosis will be held in Bingham on Saturday, January 9th, 2016, and is an unforgettable night (for most).