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Derren Brown - Mind control

Aug 30, 2008
Derren Brown's Mind Control was a big television hit on the UK's Channel 4. His national tour sold out of tickets weeks ahead of time. He received an award from the Montreux TV Festival and the he went on to conquer the United States.

The appeal that draws the audience in, is his amazing ability to control and predict the behavior of another person. He claims to be capable of detecting lies, suggesting ideas and altering the subconscious. Derren gives credit for such feats to his great understanding of psychology. However, some people are skeptical, saying these are nothing but simple magic tricks, illusions.

What Derren Brown does is more of a trick of the mind than it is a magic trick. He plays off people's gullibility, a natural response. It is kind of like the old joke that goes "spell most" "m-o-s-t", "spell host", "h-o-s-t" and then when asked, "what do you put in a toaster" the natural response is "toast". The joke is you actually put bread in a toaster, toast is what comes out. However, with the rhythm of "most", "host" and "toaster" a person is tricked into the natural response of "toast". This is the natural response technique that Derren uses to manipulate the minds of others into given him the results he desires.

Another way that Derren Brown pulls off his tricks of the mind is with careful planning and skillful deceit. In one of Derren Brown's demonstrations, he challenges a room full of master chess players to play chess with him simultaneously. In the beginning, Derren tells the volunteers that not only will he play all nine of these master players at the same time, but he will also defeat them as a group as well.

Prior to the chess game, Derren has come up with a plan. He mentally pairs off eight of the chess players so that they will in fact be competing against one another without knowledge. He ensures that the ninth player with whom he has a similar level of skill for the game, guaranteeing at least a Draw.

He then lets the first player make his move and Derren remembers it. He continues to do the same thing for the next three tables. When he gets to table five, he plays the move that he has remembered from table one. At table six, he plays the move from table two. For his move at table seven he uses table three's move and four's move on eight. As his opponent makes his move on tables five, six, seven and eight, Derren is remembering each move and uses them on tables one, two, three and four. He continues with this charade until all games are complete. In the end, Derren had seemingly defeated the group.

Derren Brown is not so much of an illusionist, making you see what he wants you to, as he is a mentalist who plays on natural human response.
About the Author
Donna Mathews
http://www.watchderrenbrown.com
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