This programme fuses magic, suggestion, psychology, misdirection and showmanship. I achieve all the results you’ll see through a varied mixture of those techniques. At no point are actors or stooges used in the show.
— Derren Brown, Tricks of the Mind
Derren Brown is a new kind of magician and his innovative style has taken Britain by storm. He has been around for a couple of years and in this time he has managed to persuade a group of middle-class managers to rob a security van, he has played and survived russian roulette, and to fill up this round of controversy, he has hypnotized a man to live out a game of House of the Dead. All in all, Derren Brown has fucked with a lot of minds.
There are more videos on the internet that will blow you away. I saw Derren Brown live on friday and my bewilderment and respect for this charismatic and arrogant devil soared to new heights. In his live show Derren Brown nearly suffocated himself with a plastic bag, stopped his pulse and in this state walked on glass, put his face in the glass while a man from the public stood on his head. He also hammered a 30 centimetre nail through his nose into his skull, made a man figure out a 3 number combination on a lock on a suitcase through looking into his eyes and talking to him, and more. He showed a 30 second film which supposedly carried a subliminal message for 4 people in the audience of 3000 to stand up and come to the stage. They did. And he already had the numbers of their seats in an envelope.
He finished the show by making a man randomly choose a number of a page on a newspaper, a girl in the audience tore up that page into a million pieces, gave them to Derren Brown, he let the original man choose a number, and that tored up scrap of the newspaper was given to the man, who then had to choose a long word from that scrap on random. The word he chose was excitement. Derren Brown had that word in an envelope from the beginning of the show. A trick? Sure, but a clever one. Well, Derren Brown then showed a little footage from the live 2 hour performance in which we found out that throughout the show he was feeding us numbers and information that led the people who were chosen to make the decisions that lead to excitement being chosen. He repeated number 14 three times during the show (the page number of the newspaper), he would say gibberish that contained suggestive impulses but it was so fast that no one noticed while it was being done. Slowed down it was painfully obvious what he did, he would even wink at us while doing it. Spooky stuff, we were all played. The whole audience.
I will leave you with this, no philosophical gibberish this time. Just make a little bit of effort and check out the videos to find out how absurdly unreal this man actually is.
Also check the Derren Brown vs. David Blaine entry.