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Derren Brown: 'Trick or Treat'
by Tironius, created Monday, March 12, 2007, with permalink

Master of psychology and subliminal persuasion is back


England’s incomparable master of magic, suggestion, psychology, misdirection and showmanship (using a varied mixture of those techniques) will have a new series on Channel 4 in the U.K., according to the website of Objective Productions, the company that produces Derren’s shows. It says:

“The controversial award-winning psychological illusionist Derren Brown stars in his brand new series, Trick or Treat. In each episode a member of the public must choose between a Trick or a Treat and, as ever with Derren, anything could happen.” From [Objective Productions Company Website][2]

Excellent. I have become recently a huge fan of Mr. Brown and his tricks of the mind. To the pounders unfamiliar, Derren Brown has had several shows on U.K.’s Channel 4. It started with his series of specials, “Mind Control,” and later included his series “Trick of the Mind” running for three seasons. (I know because I downloaded them.) His most complained about show in the U.K. was called “Seance,” where he indeed conducted one. (Most of the complaints happened before the show aired by religious nuts.) His most controversial special was named “Derren Brown: Russian Roulette,” even making [CNN news][3]. In that, he whittled thousands of volunteers down to just one, selected to place a single bullet in the chamber of a revolver gun, afterward Derren plays Russian Roulette. Derren’s job: to stay alive.

But, to me his most amazingly spectacular special was one called “Derren Brown: The Heist.” Good god, the man used cult-like techniques of hypnotic persuasion to convince members a Derren Brown seminar (so they thought) to rob an armed guard at a bank. These are not actors, but rather normal people like you and me, normal people who ventured into felonious robbery without Brown ever telling them what they should do or how to do it.

Luckily, he uses his powers for good (TV) and not evil.

He has also written a book. I bought Derren Brown’s book Tricks of the Mind, and it is a great read on the basics of some what he does. Some of it I had already read from sources like Digg, for instance the eye ‘tells,’ or the way a person’s eye moves when they, say, lie. But his chapter on memory retention is genius, and I plan to fully employ the techniques therein.

In it, in the first part of that chapter on memory, he gave a list of twenty random nouns and told me, the reader, to memorize them. I of course could only get three. Then, using a visualization technique where you link the list of items together into pairs, I was able to memorize all of them:

  1. Telephone
  2. Sausage
  3. Monkey
  4. Button
  5. Book
  6. Cabbage
  7. Glass
  8. Mouse
  9. Stomach
  10. Cardboard
  11. Ferry
  12. Christmas
  13. Athlete
  14. Key
  15. Wigwam
  16. Baby
  17. Kiwi
  18. Bed
  19. Paintbrush
  20. Walnut

I assure you all of these are correct, and that I just now typed them without looking in the book. And, I read that chapter two weeks ago. Amazing. Other chapters delve into why people are duped by psychics, religion, and other ferry tales, and I love to see more and more atheists coming forward as public figures. (He talks about his own de-conversion from Christianity quite candidly in the book.)

I plan to use his techniques to start stacking life in my favor. Mr. 19 is also experimenting with them, and we’ll both keep our Pounder brethren in the light as to our success. Nineteen had an interesting bit of magic in a bar, so I hope he tells the story here.

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