Derren Brown

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Faerie (December 20, 2010, 08:49:08 AM):
I saw a show with this guy over the weekend, and the S/O and I had a hell of a time trying to figure him out. He's an outspoken sceptic and whilst doing the same thing that popular psychics does, called them frauds, it was a refreshing show, simply because he didnt claim any "powers" but re-iterated that its tricks.

Derren Victor Brown (born 27 February 1971) is a British illusionist, mentalist, painter, writer, and sceptic. He is known for his appearances in television specials, stage productions, and British television series such as Trick of the Mind and Trick or Treat. Since the first broadcast of his show Derren Brown: Mind Control in 2000, Brown has become increasingly well known for his "mind-reading" act. He has authored books for magicians as well as the general public. His caricature artwork has received gallery exhibition and is available in a single volume documenting his portrait collection.[1]

Though his performances of mind-reading and other feats of mentalism may appear to be the result of psychic or paranormal practices, he claims no such abilities. Brown states at the beginning of his Trick of the Mind programmes that he achieves his results using a combination of "magic, suggestion, psychology, misdirection and showmanship". Using his knowledge and skill, he appears to be able to predict and influence people's thoughts with subtle suggestion, manipulate the decision making process and read the subtle physical and psychological signs or body language that indicate what a person is thinking.

Has anyone seen him live by any co-incidence?
Brian (December 20, 2010, 16:33:30 PM):
I think he's outhunked the tricksters and Marietta Theunissen's of this world...
Wandapec (December 23, 2010, 07:57:06 AM):
I would love to see him live - he is a genius. I've seen all his stuff; he is very, very good at what he does....
AcinonyxScepticus (December 23, 2010, 11:13:02 AM):
Yeah, I'm a big fan too (check the signature below) and I think that "Tricks of the Mind" is an excellent book as an introduction to scepticism for people who have enjoyed his shows (or those who enjoy magicians).

However, he isn't immune to criticism. There are a number of valid criticisms sceptics have made about his "lies by omission" and misdirections (alternative explanations of the tricks). He has cultivated an image of having superior understanding of the human mind that allows him to "read" and "plant" thoughts in his subjects when in actual fact they are centuries-old mentalist tricks that could only very loosely be described as "reading and planting" thoughts.

Take for example his show "The Events: How to win the National Lottery". Even though he promised (repeatedly) to show us how it was done, he failed to do so, instead providing some woo-like explanation that finding patterns in randomness can be achieved by group thinking (or "the wisdom of crowds"). His "guess the cow's weight" example was hopelessly misapplied and an obvious intentional lie. Fortunately, Captain Disillusion disected the broadcast and clearly explains how it was really done ( Part 4 and Part 5 deal directly with the Derren Brown Lottery show ).

I am still a huge fan, I watch everything he makes, I follow his blog and I would love to see a live show. But there are times when criticism of his sceptical style is warranted.

Brian (January 05, 2011, 08:30:01 AM):
Anybody watch Freek Robinson interviewing Marietta et al last night? Jisses, he was way too nice to her. Asks: "No wat sien jy vir SA in 2011?" She: "Niks, Ek wil nie he dat mense hulle energie kanaliseer in negatiewe dinge nie want dan gebuer die negatiewe dinge." And also about world disasters: "Die aarde is 'n lewende entiteit, en reflekteer die mense se energie: as hulle dink aan aardbewings en vuurspuwende berge dan gebeur dit." FFS! But of course she states that her visions are God-given and that she is merely the channel for these visions.


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