Derren Brown

Once again, a favourite of mine.

So, I don’t think that I’ll be posting many more since there aren’t that many routines available on youtube but I will give a couple of pointers to those who wish to find out more about Derren Brown, his shows, or his tricks.

For those of you using BitTorrent search for Trick of the Mind series 1 and 2. Series 3 to come soon. Also search for the tv specials – the Heist, the Gathering, the Messiah, the Russian Roulette and the Seance.

There is also a book coming out on the 23rd October, written by Derren Brown – it’s called Tricks of the Mind. How original.

There are 3 resources where you can find out how some of the Derren Brown effects were achieved – there is a 3 part video called the Devil’s Picturebook. To my knowledge the only tracker that has all three parts is Demonoid. There are also two books – Pure Effect (on particular tricks and style) and Absolute Magic (or some such – not sure about the name). they are available from specialist magic shops and – for the norty ones – the internet. These three sources only explain the card trickery and some basic psychological methods. Nevertheless they are amazing.

Enjoy and keep on looking.


I would most definitely rate this video as my top5 Derren Brown moment.

The techniques used are taken from Neuro-Linguistic Programming and hypnotism. The way that Derren Brown catches Simon’s hand instead of shaking it is a hypnotic induction – the confusion from not having the expected hand-shake takes Simon somewhere where he can’t think clearly. Fast speech and pacing do not allow him a second to recuperate. Also watch out for the slight shoulder touches that Derren employs – this technique is called anchoring.

This particular feat is one of the most mind-boggling feats of misdirection and manipulation I have seen to this day.

For those of you who have been following this blog for some time, you may remember that some months ago I came across a man named Derren Brown. I wrote a lovely article on this British mentalist, I also had enough time and nerve to compare him to David Blaine. This British magician caused a bit of an attention shift for me and produced some new interests in my already over-crowded mind. These included card magic, hypnosis and NLP – all masterfully used by Mr. Brown in his routines. I have been a fan of his since the first time I saw him perform on television, patiently seeking all his recorded footage. I have also looked everywhere I could for any hints as to how he actually manages to do most of his tricks. Sometimes I was successful.

In here, I’ll give you a chance to view some of Derren Brown’s magic, as found on youtube. This card trick is one of my favourites and also one of the very few where the technique is known to a select few.

I have had a magical weekend. I saw Derren Brown’s show Something Wicked This Way Comes on friday, and on saturday I saw a television programme on David Blaine drowning himself, and on some of his street tricks. It was interesting to watch two very different magicians mesmerizing their audiences with clevererly prepared routines. What was even more interesting was to watch the reactions of the people who were the victims of their magic. I was shocked by the reactions of the American public, shocked to the bone that people could be quite as simple and naive. Majority of the Americans in the show that I was watching reacted to Blaine’s magic by asking him whether he was psychic, a guru, or spiritually gifted. None of them ever thought for a second that it could be a clever trick. I for one believe that it is a massive leap of faith to explain stage or street magic as something supernatural. I do no say that because I am of a sceptical disposition, I say that because I have the ability to question and because I have researched magick and psychic powers more than well enough to have a distinct idea of what may be possible and what may not. That is why I much prefer Derren Brown, who explains his tricks as a mixture of psychology, deception, trickery and showmanship. He even gives you brief explanations at the end of the show, but keeping in spirit of the trickster, these explanations are usually false and even more misleading than the tricks themselves. I prefer a man who hides trickery behind the label of psychology (which is very smart and modern) rather than the man who hides his skill behing the label of magic (which is out-dated and ineffective).
That brings me to the comparison I wanted to make, the real reason for you reading this article. Simply put, David Blaine is too much of a redneck and show-off for me to take him seriously or give him the praise that he deserves for his amazing magic and mind-boggling feats of survival. He is very skilled and very brave and those two qualities make him praise-worthy, yet he has an air of simplicity around him, and arrogance masked by fake humility, which make him despicable. David Blaine’s cult of personality is one of the more pathetic ones, as can be seen in any one of his tv shows, and the way that he portrays himself. On the other hand Derren Brown has the air of an intellectual trickster, a devil in suit with a smile on his face, horns hidden through careful deception. He is therefore much more likable, and his very different kind of arrogance is much more endearing.

Can magic be used as a metaphor to the culture and societal development of a country? Well, taking David Blaine as an avatar of America, Derren Brown of Britain, I believe that it can. Derren Brown is the sceptical, arrogant, and skilled, high-class trickster of British society, while David Blaine represents the skilled, yet simple and naive American citizen, who treats fame as a means to an end. I believe that the best proof I can give of this is the way that these two magicians are treated outside of their countries. David Blaine has not been accepted by the British public – as a matter of fact he was bombarded by food the last time he tried one of his feats in London. Derren Brown has yet to face his test, for his is virtually unknown in America, but I somehow believe that he will be successful.

And that brings me to the conclusion. I have to start by explaining that this article is not a pre-meditated attack on America, its values or its citizens. I simply find it painful to watch Americans being stupid. If it takes mockery and contempt to educate the citizens of a country that is supposedly the last big super-power, then so be it. I myself am not British, nor do I strive to be. I have my issues with the Brits more so than any American who live outside of Britain. As a matter of fact I dislike the majority of Brits just as much as I dislike the majority of Americans. The only think that I can say is that Brits have never been guilty of being stupid without feeling ashamed of it. People in America have forgotten that shame can be a force of change, a valuable tool, and in their fake arrogance and celebration of their faults, they have given birth to a country that is never accountable to anything wrong, bad or hurtful. Repression and denial have emerged victorious on a national level. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is simply unacceptable.

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.