Teen mentalist continues to up his game

By Dwight Collins | Jul 06, 2016
Photo by: Dwight Collins Mentalist Nat Lawson has completed an experiment in neuroplasticity in the visual cortex that will allow him to perform parts of his show blindfolded.

Rockport — Living in complete darkness for nine days, teenage mentalist Nat Lawson has completed an experiment in neuroplasticity in the visual cortex that will allow him to perform parts of his show blindfolded.

Lawson blindfolded himself June 22 to July 1 and for 216 hours deprived his brain of any light, which causes a structural reorganization in the brain and causes the visual cortex to be re-assigned to his other senses. In the process Lawson was able to train himself to do mind reading using the senses of hearing and touch through muscle contact and voice recognition mind reading.

“Instead of looking for the ideal motor response, I can feel it,” Lawson said. “When I touch the subject and ask questions I can feel that subconscious resistance of their muscles, same with the sound of their voice, it changes.”

Lawson said it would have taken about a year to learn what it takes to perform blindfolded, however because of the experiment, he was able to build an 85 percent success rate. On July 1, Lawson performed live on a local radio show and it was a complete success.

“This morning I did an interview on 97.9, the Q Morning Show, and did a reading and was successful, so I guess the experiment worked,” he said.

By depriving his sight, Lawson was able to increase his other senses to allow for them to be combined and make up for his loss of sight.

“It was a little hard to get used to at first,” he said. “Being outside was the hardest because you lose all sense of direction.”

Lawson said he also lost track of time and that on several occasions a time check left him scratching his head.

“The last couple of nights of the experiment were kind of strange, I ask Siri what time it was throughout the day and the night before last when I woke up it seemed like a regular day, I rolled out of bed, started getting ready and asked what time it was,” he said. ”It was 2:15 a.m., I went back to bed and the next thing I knew it was 10 in the morning.”

Lawson said although he had no sight he was in the light because even though no light was getting in, he saw different colors swirling around and at one time almost felt like he was hallucinating.

“It is strange what the mind will do when it is trying to compensate, I saw all kinds of bright colors just swirling around,” he said. “I could see in my mind's eye things in my proximity without details, for example, when I was close to my bed in my head it looked like a rectangular block, not a bed.”

Over the nine days Lawson used double-blindfolds and a pair of blackened swim goggles to make sure no light reached his brain. A temporary “dark room” was constructed in his basement where he performed blindfold changes.

“I did go out and perform mentalism blindfolded for a group of about 20 people and was pretty successful,” he said. “I look forward to going back and looking at the video and see who was there and who witnessed the performance because I have no idea who was there because I was blindfolded.”

According to Lawson, a recent study at UCLA has also found that loss of vision may help with development of memory as well.

“The increase in senses and memory should help me tremendously with my mentalism in the future,” he said.

Lawson, a recent graduate from Camden Hills Regional High School, has plans this summer to perform in Martha's Vineyard at a benefit show and looks to add more shows throughout the summer

Anyone interested in following Lawson and his metalist shows go to natlawson.com.

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