Have you met Derren Brown?

October 14, 2010 - 4 minutes read

Few years ago, in some late hours up in the mountain, with few bottles of great wine and in the company of some extraordinary people that you have rare opportunity in life to meet, I found myself in a discussion about one interesting topic: mind control. Is it real or is it just a myth, who does it and why, is it legal and more importantly moral, what purpose does it serve and how the hell do they do it?! One particular name was mentioned more than everybody else’s: the name of Mr. Derren Brown.

I’ve known him for his famous show in Britan “Trick or Treat” which left me speechless the first time I watched it, but then I realized he was more than just a showman. To know what Derren Brown does, you have to prepare yourself for a sleepless night and at least a week of obsession with his videos on Youtube. I’ve been hooked up on his shows for more than two years and last night, I decided to write about him since I had a strange unexplainable event of my own.

To get you introduced to him, he says for himself that he’s a mentalist and that he is “ a performer who combines magic, suggestion, psychology, misdirection and showmanship in order to seemingly predict and control human behaviour, as well as performing mind-bending feats of mentalism.“ It might sound complicated, but to put it in simple words: he can read people’s mind and influence judgment, choice and action. Here’s an example: he persuaded a man that what he wants for Christmas is a BMX bike, even though we’re all sure it wasn’t a man’s real wish. Watch it:

Not only he persuades people by influencing their judgment, but he can also predict people’s behavior and choice before they have even done it. He makes you believe that you’ve made your choice using a free-will and that’s exactly what happened when he asked a girl to come in the toy store in London and to pick out one single toy out of the 250.000. She walked around the store for 15 minutes and she came back with a choice that she was certain to be a result of her free will. She didn’t say a word about the toy she picked up in her mind, she just imagined it. He then walked around the store with her, asking her questions that she answered in her head, he read her facial expression and concluded that she picked out a little fluffy Girrafe and that she named it „Frank“ in her mind. No, he didn’t read her mind. He only persuaded her to pick it out. How? Watch and find out:

Maybe he can influence YOU to imagine one single card out of the deck, give it a shot:

Don’t worry, it’s nothing paranormal, he uses a simple suggestion. If you watch it again, you can see that he makes a diamonds shape with his hand and that he writes a little number 3 in the air. This one is obvious and I shared it only to point out that he uses simple suggestion techniques, but sometimes they go a bit far away:

Last night I watched his show called „How to control the nation“. The name of the show is a bit overpromissing, but I was honestly blown away by the short movie at the end of it. He asked watchers to sit up in their chairs, relax and watch a short movie. It was only a minute or two: some diagonal white stripes circling around the screen with some strange music in the back. What he said could happen was that you get stuck to a chair. Yes, you read it right: STUCK TO A CHAIR. That is what nearly happened to me. I felt my feet and hands heavy as they were 3 tons, I couldn’t move it from the floor. Just by watching one minute movie on the screen. He said that it won’t work on all people, and that was right with us: I was stuck, but my loving unbeliever felt nothing. He thought I was kidding. I wasn’t.

So, if Mr. Brown can influence viewers over the screen to feel their feet heavy like stone, is there a way for someone to use this skill and knowledge to influence your choice as a consumer? The answer is yes. Stay tuned and I’ll introduce you to brief history of subliminal advertising.