Derren Brown is a unique force in the world of illusion – he can seemingly predict and control human behaviour. He doesn’t claim to be a mind-reader, instead he describes his craft as a mixture of magic, suggestion, psychology, misdirection and showmanship through his mastery of mind tricks. Whatever you choose to call it, his unparalleled performances amaze and unsettle all those who watch him.
He is best known for his big t.v specials, and letting his viewers know what really happened and how the magic tricks revealed were performed at the end of the show.
On the 5th of of October 2003 Derren Brown performed ‘Russian Roulette’ which was broadcast live on Britain’s Channel 4. This is the ultimate mind trick, because if he fails he risks his life. This took place at an undisclosed location as Britain doesn’t allow possession of firearms.
A volunteer named James was chosen out of 12,000 applicants who applied for the job. James was asked to load a revolver with a single shot into one of the 6 numbered chambers. Then Brown asked him “choose one of those numbers, keep them to yourself, choose one, it doesn’t matter which one it is, settle on a number, are you thinking of one now”.
Then Brown Proceeded to pull the trigger of chambers 3 and 4 with the gun pointed to his head. Then he appeared to have chosen chamber 5 and fired it away from himself at a bottle of water which exploded.
The show was met with a lot of controversy but But Brown defended himself by saying “It probably sounds odd. But as a magic-related performer, to have that even being asked: Was it real? Was it not real? That lifts it to a level that I’m very comfortable with. What’s left is the fact that it was a terrific piece of television”.
Another elaborate tv special done by Derren Brown was entitled “Séance”. In this tv special he enlisted the assistance of students from the Roehampton University. They were brought to Elton Hall in East London as he explained that this place was swarming with paranormal activity as 12 people killed themselves here as part of a group suicide pact. He then proceeded to carry out the first part of the séance. He showed them methods used by any normal spiritualist would employ. The students were shown pictures of the supposed 12 people who ended their life there.
All 10 students chose the picture of a girl named Jane. Brown then continued to use the ouija board which not surprisingly spelled out the name JANE. Then two of the student were asked to name of a city, and both students came up with London.
Finally the séance itself was performed with one of the students being possessed by Jane, giving details of her life, which were then confirmed by showing them a short video of Jane and her life. At the end of the program Brown explained the trickery that had ensued and how he was able to pull of a stunt like this.
Derren Brown sets himself apart from the other mentalists out there as he is not afraid to attribute his abilities to his knowledge of the human psyche, rather than that of supernatural talents. His performances are always mesmerizing to watch and you will always know how he performs them at the end of the show, which some people don’t like as they would rather be mystified than know the secret to the trick. But whatever said and done Darren Brown and his mind tricks is something that will be enjoyed by many.