Monday, September 10, 2012

Derren Brown Trial: Alleged Housekeeper Crimes

This week, Judge Alistair McCreath will be hearing the trial of Rocio Pavon-Navarrete, former London housekeeper of Derren Brown who is accused of stealing thousands of pounds from the illusionist using his blank checks.

Derren will be testifying, and is certain to mesmerize the jury...

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Derren Brown's new run of Svengali starts in London today

Derren Brown's summer 2012 Svengali run starts in London today. Here is the trailer:

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Derren Brown Has Psychic Powers (?!)

Here at AboutDerrenBrown, we assume that all longtime Derren Brown fans know that DB does not believe in psychics. It appears, however, that a certain segment of the fan base insists that Derren actually has psychic powers.

Here's an interesting passage from the book The Psychic Tourist (affiliate link), which includes excerpts from an interview with Derren. The author, William Little, writes:

I was having a chat with a friend who believes in mystics, and he told me he believes that Derren Brown is psychic.... 'He may not know it, but Derren Brown is psychic,' my friend said adamantly. ...

'It's a tricky one,' Derren tells me, comparing the profile of his viewers to a bell curve with believers at one end and sceptics at the other. He reckons that even if he revealed his tricks, true believers wouldn't be swayed.

If Derren's viewers are a bell curve, where do you fall? And if believers are at one end with sceptics at the other, who fills out the huge bump in the middle?

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Watch Derren Brown on Hulu NOW

Today is the day -- the new Derren Brown series, "Derren Brown: Inside Your Mind" is now available to U.S. viewers at So head on over to Hulu and watch the four 60-minute episodes.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Cartoon Derren Brown

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

How Did Derren Brown Levitate the Table? (Special Report)

For years, readers of AboutDerrenBrown have asked me to speculate about how Derren performs certain tricks, but I have resisted because I am not a magician and it takes a lot of research for me to figure out how his tricks can be done.

As an experiment, though, I have created a special report about how Derren Brown levitated the table in his Evening of Wonders act:

     Amazon UK:   How Did Derren Brown Levitate the Table in Evening of Wonders?

     Amazon US:   How Did Derren Brown Levitate the Table in Evening of Wonders?

Obviously, Derren has never explained how he performs this trick, so all I can do is suggest methods that would work for him. Because my conclusions are based on the techniques of other illusionists, though, I believe you will find them quite compelling. Enjoy!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Preview of Derren Brown Hulu Series has posted a clip of the Derren Brown series that will be available starting July 7, 2012, and which is called "Derren Brown: Inside Your Mind."

The clip is simply a segment of the Simon Pegg BMX trick, and would not make much sense if you had not already seen the full trick. Unfortunately, I do not believe this trailer will entice many people to watch the series -- hopefully news of the series will spread by word of mouth.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Derren Brown Interview at Edinburgh International Science Festival (April 2012)

Richard Wiseman's site reports on his April 2012 interview of Derren Brown at the Edinburgh International Science Festival. Although there is no recording of the interview and Wiseman provides little content, the comment section on the post includes some interesting information from those who attended.

"Anonymous" writes:

I stuck my hand up and asked a question about how he makes those quick decisions about choosing people to take part or not when doing the street thing or the shows....

It was a full but fairly straightforward answer and came down mostly to knowing from experience – how someone walks, how they answer a question, their general manner. All can add up to a picture of how they may react to Derren and whether they will be maleable or not to the requirements of the trick. He also said that sometimes he won’t choose someone just for effect.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Derren Brown still not a fan of Derek Acorah

Over the weekend, Derren Brown tweeted the following link to a Derek Acorah parody, demonstrating that Derren is still feeling a bit adversarial toward "psychic" Derek Acorah: Newsthump.

As you may recall, a few years ago Acorah reportedly tackled Derren in the lobby of a Ramada.

Svengali Poster by Photographer Seamus Ryan

If you have not seen this summer's poster for Svengali, check out the automaton Derren Brown at Morgan Lockyer's blog, courtesy of photographer Seamus Ryan.

You can see the original Svengali poster at the official DB website. I like the new one better.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Fast Company falls for Derren Brown ad agency trick

I just encountered the following article from Fast Company (a magazine to which I subscribe). The intro recaps Derren Brown's ad agency trick and accepts it at face value:

How Whole Foods "Primes" You to Shop

I don't know whether to be impressed that the folks at Fast Company are Derren Brown fans, or disappointed that they failed to employ any skepticism about DB's claimed methods in this particular trick.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Derren Brown in "Paranormal Media"

I ran across an interesting discussion of Derren Brown in the 2011 book "Paranormal Media" (affiliate link). While the brief discussion of DB does not merit a reading of the entire book -- unless you are interested in it for its own sake -- the following comment about DB was insightful:

[Derren Brown's] style of entertainment highlights the framing of popular psychology as both a rational explanation for human behaviour and the mysteries of the mind.... In the same way that nineteenth-century magicians used a myth of the East to suggest ambiguous associations with magic and mysticism, so too does Brown use the myth of psychology as all powerful to great effect.

I think any long-time fan of Derren Brown ultimately comes to these conclusions. Technically, his illusions are of the same type as all performance magic, but his brilliance comes in creating a false explanation for illusions that is believable to modern audiences (i.e., pop psychology), analogous to the explanations that were believable to audiences two hundred years ago (i.e., the mysterious East).

Saturday, June 2, 2012

YouTube video that Derren Brown calls "Awesome"

16-year-old amateur magician Leon Thomas posted the following illusion on YouTube, prompting Derren Brown to tweet that the illusion was "awesome." Judge for yourself:

My favorite part is when he kicks the ping pong ball away before walking through the door -- makes the scene not look staged. Overall, a great trick!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Why Does Derren Brown Reject Certain Audience Volunteers?

In a review of 2012's Edinburgh Science Festival, the Fortean Times reported on a 90-minute Q&A with Derren Brown, in which DB discussed how he decides which audience volunteers to use in his live show, and which to reject.

Reportedly, some of the rejections are "purely for theatrics" -- i.e., it's not that the volunteer is a bad subject, it just makes a more entertaining show for the audience to believe that some of the subjects are unsuitable.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

New U.S. Series from Derren Brown -- Free on Hulu

Starting July 7, 2012, you can see a new Derren Brown series called "Derren Brown: Inside Your Mind" in the U.S. This will be the first time since 2007's SyFy series that Derren has been available to Americans.

The series will be available at and will consist of four 60-minute episodes. Each will be a collection of clips that have formerly aired in the U.K. and elsewhere. For example, the Simon Pegg BMX trick will be included (as you will recall, that one was also in the SyFy series). There will reportedly be some new introductory material.

American viewers: Please make this series wildly successful for Derren and Hulu so they will both provide more content in the U.S.! Note that this series will be on both the free and subscription versions of Hulu - so it costs nothing to watch.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

List of Derren Brown Books (UK)

For your reference, here is the complete list of Derren Brown books written by Derren himself. Some of them are hard to get outside of the UK, but if you look you can find them. The following affiliate links are for the UK:

1. Absolute Magic - A Model for Powerful Close-Up Performance (2001 -- out of print and expensive)

2. Pure Effect: Direct Mindreading and Magical Artistry (2002 -- out of print and expensive)

3. Tricks Of The Mind (2007)

4. Portraits (2009)

5. Confessions of a Conjuror (2011)

What book will Derren Brown write next? I don't know, but if he follows his pattern we can expect another book in 2013 or so.

CRIME REPORT: Paying with Derren Brown's Blank Checks

It might be a mistake to steal from a mind reader. That is what housekeeper Rocio Pavon-Navarrete must be thinking if, as is alleged, she stole money from Derren Brown in 2010.

According to the Daily Mail, the housekeeper is charged with using Derren Brown's blank checks to steal "thousands of pounds". Ms. Pavon-Navarrete's two-day trial will start the week of September 10, 2012, and Derren is expected to appear as a witness.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

And the BAFTA goes to... Derren Brown: The Experiments

Derren Brown won yet another BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts award) this weekend in the category of "best Entertainment Programme" for last year's special "The Experiments."

As you will recall, the four-part Experiments series consisted of:

1. The Assassin;
2. Gameshow;
3. Guilt Trip; and
4. The Secret of Luck.

You can see some "unseen" footage here. It was one of Derren's best series, and well deserving of the win.

Monday, May 14, 2012

When Will Derren Brown Be In New York?

Soon. According to the official Derren blog (see: USA Mailing List), Derren will perform in New York City "towards the end of 2012." For years, I have speculated about when DB will conquer the U.S. market, but so far all we have had was his 2007 Sci Fi series. Now, finally, he is performing in the U.S.

We assume he will be doing his Svengali show, but there is no definite indication yet. Looks like I might be making a trip to NYC...

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Be Like Derren Brown - the Best Reference Materials

In the past 4 years, I have read every book I could find that seemed to reveal Derren Brown's unique skills. There have been a few immensely useful books, which I will reveal below. Follow the affiliate links if you are interested in learning more:

1.  The Power of Conversational Hypnosis by Igor Ledochowski
This audio course is a resource I have found that genuinely teaches how to use conversational hypnosis. It is downloadable so you can order it on-line. Just look past the cheesy promotional language on Ledochowski's webpage: Conversational Hypnosis.

2. Rules of the Game by Neil Strauss
Although designed for men who want to pick up women, this book works for anyone who wants to be more likeable and engaging with other people. It is essentially a 30-day course in improving your ability to approach and connect with others. You will see traces of  Derren's techniques in the skills discussed.
You can buy it at Amazon UK or Amazon US.

3. Never be Lied to Again by David J. Lieberman
I have read all of Lieberman's books and have found most of them to be useful. This one is the most directly related to what Derren does because it teaches how to detect whether others are lying. Most of the techniques involve scripted conversations you can have with people you suspect to be lying.
You can buy it at Amazon UK or Amazon US.

These are the three most practical be-like-Derren sources I have found. I might add more to the list from time to time.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Unseen Footage from Derren Brown: The Experiments

In case you missed it when The Experiments aired last fall, here is a bit of footage that was cut from the series (and is worth watching). Thanks to LadyClaire for the link, and sorry for the delay in posting: