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Derren Brown - UK Channel 4 last night

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posted on Jan, 14 2009 @ 02:10 PM
Hi all,

I'm a long time lurker here but I watched the show on Channel 4 last night, and I have to say I was blown away.

I know there are other threads on here re this guy, but I wanted to address some of the specifics from the show.

The part that has freaked me is the bit where he had the bandage on his face and asked the audience to think of questions for him and fire them mentally at his chest. He then picked up on the question, and started describing the person that thought of it in the audience. The person who it matched had to stand up and was given a mic. Derren supposedly could not see anything, but as soon as each person said "hello" into the mic he stated their birth sign (Virgo etc) correctly, and then went on to describe details about them (again correctly) and finally told them what the question was they were thinking of. He got all of it 100% each time.

We were talking about this at work today and one of my colleagues has been to see one of his shows and said it was amazing. At no time was anyone asked any personal details on the way in or anything like that and the audience members he chose were 100% not planted.

I used to watch Siegfried and Roy when I was a kid and in later life found out how it was all done so I figure this is the same....but I just can't figure out how.

I'd be interested to know if anyone here saw the show or can offer any views on how this is done. I've followed this guy on TV for years and seen him do some amazing things. I know he uses suggestion and NLP etc but on this occasion he really did seem to be reading minds!

posted on Jan, 14 2009 @ 03:25 PM
yeah i saw it too another fantastic stage show

the acts were called the oracle act and appeared around the 20-30's according to what he said so time to do some real research

but first your gonna have to learn cold reading as this is like cold reading on steroids

posted on Jan, 14 2009 @ 03:32 PM
reply to post by eatme1971

The guy is a genius at reading people. He has made it his life's work. He has displayed how self proclaimed psychics like Sylvia Browne and Edwards do their shows. How they 'speak with spirits' and eventually get the information to people that they 'WANT' to hear. He showed how they virtually get these desparate people to TELL them what they need to know in order to sell the show.

Anyway, if you really want to have your mind blown, watch "Something Wicked This Way Comes". One of his best shows.

posted on Jan, 14 2009 @ 03:44 PM
reply to post by eatme1971

I once had a friend who participated in one of his TV shows. I asked and was told that sorry but it's all acting. It's set up like any other magic show.

Fascinating show though

posted on Jan, 14 2009 @ 03:46 PM
In this video, Derren Brown shows you how he can " Read " some ones mind, and im not saying this is how he did it last night on TV, but there are definitly some awnsers in this video, instead of reading someones mind, he basically brainwashes them into thinking they want to think that.... anyway, Derren Brown is amazing, and is definitly at the top of my list.. I don't know what the list is for but he's up there at the top of it


IAmD1 - Your saying theres no way anything is real? If you can't figure it out, then it must be set up with actors! Jeez that makes perfect sense.. thanks for clearing everything up for us.

[edit on 14-1-2009 by Spinsta]

posted on Jan, 14 2009 @ 04:13 PM
Derren is ok by me because he always states thats its not magic and that he's not psychic.
He does use plants/colluders on some of his more spectacular feats although that doesnt detract from the overall show.

Oracle is done by reading the cards submitted earlier by the audience.
Table tilting was a combination of plant and ideomotor effect.
Floating table is colusion by on stage participant and manipulation by a long, thin black pole from backstage lol.

posted on Jan, 14 2009 @ 04:15 PM
reply to post by eatme1971

Eatme - great post,I watched it last night and have absolutely no idea how the man does what he does.
I used to think he used cold reading techniques but after last night I'm completely bamboozled.
I'm quite sure none of the audience members are plants or stooges and unless he's able to tell the specific details of a person's life by the tone inflection/timbre of their voice I'm totaly at a loss to explain it.
I think the lady who had Blakey the cat has been freaked out for life.
Theres a good interview with Richard Dawkins on this link where he discusses fraudulent mediums and the subject of cold reading but I suspect he may have taken certain techniques to a whole new level:
More cheeky antics:
Derren gets called a c*ck:


[edit on 02/10/08 by karl 12]

posted on Jan, 14 2009 @ 05:35 PM
Thanks for the links. There's an excellent south park episode about cold reading, and it slaughters John Edward. What Derren Brown was doing was completely different.

Just watched it again, he's definitely a very good showman and the way he plays the audience is excellent. But unless there are stooges, and the disclaimer at the start said there were none, I just can't see how he does it.

If David Icke came out and said Derren Brown was a psychic lizard I think I'd actually be happy with that explanation

posted on Jan, 16 2009 @ 04:25 AM
i burst into hysterics when he swore on his chidrens life and god

him not having an kids and bieng an athiest

personally i agree with Karl somthing wicked this way comes is his best stage show ive seen, though i have read a bunch of NLP and was picking out his slight of mouth patterns (for the news paper trick but had no idea what he was doing with them)

Messiah was a good Series showed how all the new jazzy christian bright lights loud music junk is a tool to allow people to convince thier selves and how most new age stuff is just taken on face value and believed whole heartedly

anyone notice the 500-5000 quid trick when he made the final choice the 5000 image was larger and brighter its a simple trick your mind responds to, dam if it was me id have got the 500 i spotted it straight away

[edit on 16/1/09 by noobfun]

posted on Jan, 16 2009 @ 07:05 AM

IAmD1 - Your saying theres no way anything is real? If you can't figure it out, then it must be set up with actors! Jeez that makes perfect sense.. thanks for clearing everything up for us.

[edit on 14-1-2009 by Spinsta]

No I am saying a friend of mine was in one of his shows and later said it is all set up. Derren Brown has himself showed how most of it works.
Apart from that I never said I couldn't figure it out nor did I say everyone's an actor or that I've cleared everything out for you. I was merely reproducing the answer I got from a friend who was a participant in one show.

Love and light

posted on Jan, 16 2009 @ 07:17 AM

Originally posted by IAmD1
reply to post by eatme1971

I once had a friend who participated in one of his TV shows. I asked and was told that sorry but it's all acting. It's set up like any other magic show.

Fascinating show though

Obviously magic is not real, and nothing he does is "out of this world"... but he is extremely talented and extremely good at reading people.
That in itself is an art form.
The guy is an amazing "artist" and he is very good at what he does....

I like the one where he went to america and convinced groups of different people from alien abductees to psychics to religious spiritualists, that he was the real deal...

4 out of 5 fell for it and all recommended him to tv shows, and magazines and extremely influential people... just shows that most of those "phenomenon" are just pure BS.

Messiah Shown on 7 January 2005, Derren Brown travelled to the United States to try to convince five leading figures that he had powers in their particular field of expertise: Christian evangelism, alien abduction, psychic powers, New Age theories and contacting the dead. Using a false name each time, he succeeded in convincing four of the five "experts" that he had powers, and they openly endorsed him as a true practitioner. The fifth expert, the Christian evangelist Curt Nordheilm, whilst impressed by Brown's performance, asked to meet him again before giving an endorsement. The concept of the show was to highlight the power of suggestion with regard to beliefs and people's abilities, and failure to question them. Brown made it quite clear with each experiment that if any of the subjects accused him of trickery he would immediately come clean about the whole thing, a rule similar to one of the self-imposed rules of the perpetrators of the Project Alpha hoax. His conclusion was that people tend to hear only things that support their own ideas and ignore contradictory evidence; this is known in psychology as confirmation bias.


If you search... I'm sure you'll find all of it..

Derren is cool

posted on Jan, 16 2009 @ 07:19 AM
If I find out that there were ringers in the audience after the disclaimer at the start said there were none I'll be disappointed. That's the premise on which I watched the show, and under which my amazement was fueled.

I'll admit it's the only explanation that makes sense. I'll go back and check the wording of the disclaimer to see if there's any room for skullduggery. I think there was another one half way through too.

posted on Jan, 16 2009 @ 06:09 PM
I only tuned in when at a mates house, and spent the evening working out how he does it.
The stooges in the audience are obvious, you could tell when he pretended to of forgot who an audience member was.

The phone call to the guys father, his muck up there was obv. again to trick the audience, distract them and lower their guard and make them more gullible.

Same for the amount of times he crossed bracelets out on the huge sheet of paper, cos who is really going to believe that? So he has to make a bit of a mess up.

And the OK sign trick, andother distraction technique, same as the gorilla. Your eyes are always drawn to the hands and off the stage, not on his face most of the time incase he lets anything slip, cos he's only human.

posted on Jan, 17 2009 @ 06:35 AM
As an amatuer mentalist I recognised some of the methods but it was still bloody amazing.
He uses variations of effects by Banachek,Luke Jermey,Max Maven etc and used very old,mixed with brand new methods.
There are no stooges (how can there be? he selects members of the audience by them throwing a frisby about)

posted on Jan, 17 2009 @ 07:20 AM
I love the guy.

A friend of mine was once part of the final act of his stage show, so I know that the guy doesn't use stooges - if he did use actors etc. and was found out, then it'd be the death of his career.

I've read a few of his books such as 'Pure Effect'. I really don't recommend doing that. A lot of his very impressive stunts are actually quite simple, such as adaptions of simple card tricks - and knowing how they work completely ruins it. It does go to show that the man really is a genius at showmanship, though.

posted on Jan, 17 2009 @ 09:00 AM

So any clue how he did the mind reading thing when he was bandaged up at the end?

To play devil's advocate for the moment; if they weren't stooges how the hell did he do it? He got 100% hits



posted on Jan, 18 2009 @ 04:16 AM

Originally posted by eatme1971
So any clue how he did the mind reading thing when he was bandaged up at the end?

To play devil's advocate for the moment; if they weren't stooges how the hell did he do it? He got 100% hits

I think I know how he did part of the oracle act.

He is an expert at memorising things, using such techniques as the method of loci. When people booked their tickets, they could've been asked their date of birth (maybe the show was adults only, so this would be required). Knowing this, he then knows what their star sign is. Now he memorised the list of names, seat numbers and star signs and simply chooses a person who he knows will be in a particular seat (there's a woman in seat XYZ in the dress circle who's an Aries) and calls out a name and a seat number, then gives out the star sign.

If I remember he was vague with the seat and name - this allows for people who might've exchanged seats or who didn't come to the show.

So in essence part of it is simply an excellently dressed up memory trick. He wouldn't even have to remember details for everyone in the audience.

NO idea how he did the question guessing, other than the fact he's a psychic lizard.

[edit on 18-1-2009 by StarsDownToEarth]

posted on Jan, 18 2009 @ 07:05 AM
Derren Brown is fascinating.

One of the things I find most interesting about him is that he's a fundamentalist. In one of his books he describes his younger self as an annoying Christian fundamentalist. When he started getting into hypnosis, his church chums started accusing him of consorting with devils and he eventually moved from being a Christian fundamentalist to a scientific fundamentalist. He's totally convinced that because he can do what he does by what he thinks of as trickery, there can't be enything real in any paranormal claim. Coming back to that.

The sister of a friend of mine went to see him and was blown away by the show. She actually waited to get his autograph and as he was writing, he said he was sorry about the recent death of her dog. Now when you buy tickets, if you're paying by credit card, so I'm sure that someone with DB's slightly OTT research and memory skills is more than capable of doing facebook searches for those involved. Still amazing, though.

Oh btw - none of the video links seem to work, one even said "this video is not available in your country", which is the UK. WTF?

The problem I have is that I've been doing t'ai chi long enough to be pretty damn sure that there are people out there who do amazing stuff without suggestion or trickery. For example, I spent a week on a course with Bruce Frantzis (check out and there were specific things he did that could not have been explained by suggestion. Part of the course involved "direct transmission" in which he used his chi to affect that of everyone in the room. If Bruce were interested solely in making money, he could have a similar profile to Derren Brown, but his avowed intent is to teach as much as possible. Certain of his students can also transmit, though nowhere near as strongly or precisely.

Now DB would dismiss all of that as superstitious nonsense. I have to say that I was an agnostic about the reality of chi until I myself inadvertently transmitted - I "zapped" someone without even actually intending to. Therefore there was no suggestion involved. I had no idea what was going to happen, I felt something specific happen to me and it appeared to cause a reaction in someone else. I struggled for a long time with what happened but couldn't escape the conclusion that there is something real about this chi business.

Now what I find annoying about people like DB and, worst of all, the appallying Randy, is their certainty about dismissing any possibility that what one might laughingly call "psychic powers" have any basis in reality. When discussing what happened to me with skeptics, they always say it's suggestion or that I simply am deluded or lying. There's usually an attempt to either ignore or dismiss a peice of data to weaken the case I'm trying to make.

Just because there are a lot of frauds doesn't mean the entire field is fraudulent.

Intriguingly, there's a video of DB producing what appears to be a genuine martial arts effect on someone. Due to laziness and the poor luck I've had playing any of the vids in this thread so far I'll have to leave the interested reader to look it up, but last time I saw it it was on YouTube under the heading "Derren Brown one inch punch".

This label is incorrect, btw. As I understand it, the one inch punch is created by pumping synovial fluid through the joints of one's body all the way from one's feet through one's arm and fist, producing an effect like a hydraulic ram or pneumatic drill but without having to take a swing.

What DB is recreating is known as a "condensation punch" in which you don't connect with the, er, punchee, but condense your chi outside your own body so you can produce an effect without having to make contact. In the video DB goes into a martial arts class and fells one of the students (not the master, he's too canny psychologically for that) by a punch to the solar plexus that stops about an inch short of actual contact. From what I remember he doesn't just make the guy flinch - he knocks him right down.

Now I was going to try to find a link showing Chris Crudelli on Mind, Body and Kick-Ass Moves, a programme I heartily recommend. In the clip I'm thinking of, CC pulls someone backwards from about 15 feet away using, so he says, his chi. (I think he IS using his chi, I'm just putting it that way to satisfy the more skeptical.) As the subject is facing away from him, accusations of "suggestion" are a lot harder to maintain.

I didn't find it but instead stumbled upon quite a rich YouTube vein of t'ai chi related stuff and I thought I'd post this YouTube link instead.

Now most of you might not know what you're looking at. Before you post "it's just some old dude with some stooges", you might want to look at some of the other related videos.

To explain: push hands is the way fighting is taught in t'ai chi. It starts with simple circular movements in which you try to feel your opponent's centre of gravity and push through it to destabilise them, ideally pushing them off balance and off their feet.

There are extremely subtle and clever physical techniques involved, and if you look at some of the other videos posted on the subject, you'll begin to get an idea that there's quite a lot to it. Actually practsing this stuff - particularly with someone who knows what they're doing - really drives this home.

But in the link I posted, you can see that the grandmaster concerned has gone beyond the physical techniques and is doing things that don't make sense unless you factor in his ability to control his, and others', chi.

I doubt very much that DB could do anything like this.

What interests me is the possibility that DB could have actually developed his intuitive powers through simple techniques to a point that he's started operating on that kind of level without really understanding it, perhaps even being in a state of denial about the reality of what he accomplishes.

Unfortunately he's such a showman that I doubt you'd get a straight answer - and possibly such a fundamentalist that he might not even be being completely honest with himself even when he thinks he's being at his most brutally candid.

posted on Jan, 18 2009 @ 07:19 AM
I would be reluctant to tell you all about Richard Bandler and his claim to be able to see the pictures that people make internally.. but I would be reluctant to say anything like that, if you were or were not to venture further and find out for yourself.. but I would be reluctant to tell you that.

posted on Jan, 18 2009 @ 07:25 AM

Originally posted by PuRe EnErGy
I would be reluctant to tell you all about Richard Bandler and his claim to be able to see the pictures that people make internally.. but I would be reluctant to say anything like that, if you were or were not to venture further and find out for yourself.. but I would be reluctant to tell you that.

Cocaine - it's a hell of a drug.

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