Friday, January 29, 2016

Video Flashback: Killing a Kitten

Remember when Derren Brown wanted a woman to kill a kitten by pushing a button?

Here it is again:

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Promo Video for Derren Brown's Ghost Train

Derren's new attraction at Thorpe Park is a Ghost Train. See for yourself:

Friday, January 22, 2016

Derren Brown's Pushed to the Edge -- the Reviews are in

For fans of Derren Brown, the recent Pushed to the Edge special was a welcome return to the type of show that made Derren famous -- shocking, provocative, and entertaining. But, like some of his past television stunts (e.g., Russian Roulette, Seance, and The Heist), it has resulted in some complaints.

The Daily Mail, for example, reports in a piece called "Viewers blast 'disgusting' Derren Brown stunt..." that Ofcom received 14 complaints and that a few random people on Twitter found the show manipulative and cruel. In a separate piece, the paper reports about the shocked reaction of participant Laura Wykes' family (Laura is one of the three who pushed the actor in the program), after watching the show; it seems, though, that Laura's sister-in-law was shocked but not opposed to the experiment.

The Guardian concludes that: "Brown’s shows are very well structured, every ad break is preceded by a whopping cliffhanger and he obviously knows how to toy with audience anticipation. But the need to top each stunt with an even more brazen set-up seems to have left him nowhere to go but high above the shark, albeit clicking his heels in mid-air as he goes."

As readers of Mind Stunts (see: free copy) already know, creating a spectacularly controversial stunt is par for the course in Derren Brown's career. He has once again exceeded our expectations.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Derren's Thorpe Park Ride is a VR Ghost Train (using Oculus Rift?)

For the past three months, we have been speculating about what Derren Brown's new attraction at Thorpe Park will be like. Now, it is being widely reported that the ride is a "ghost train" in which guests will wear VR headsets.

The ride itself takes place in an antique train car suspended in the air by chains. You can read more about it at the Telegraph and elsewhere.

The fact that the ride uses VR headsets makes us wonder -- Will this be the first theme park ride to use the Oculus Rift headset? It would be surprising if Derren chose a lesser product. If so, then the theme park attraction will be notable not just for being Derren's first, but also for being the first VR ride of its kind.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Derren mourned passing of a TV volunteer

Have you ever wondered whether Derren Brown keeps in touch with former volunteers from his shows? Over the years, we have seen several indications that he does. One tragic case was the death of Wayne Stansfield.

Wayne was the butcher whose luck changed after touching the lucky dog in one of Derren's 2011 The Experiments episodes. Stansfield gambled his life's savings and won big.

Years later, in 2015, Stansfield died tragically, apparently due to the reckless driving of two young motorists. Derren contacted Stansfield's family, and also took to Twitter to express his sadness. You can read more about DB's touching response at

Friday, January 15, 2016

Does Derren Brown use NLP?

Over the years, we have debated whether Derren Brown uses NLP (neuro-lingusitic programming) in his act. One the one hand, he clearly has been trained in NLP (on YouTube you can find an old Paul McKenna NLP training video with a young Derren in the audience). On the other, he has vehemently condemned NLP as a cult-like pseudo-science (see Derren's book, Tricks of the Mind).

NLP practitioners insist that Derren's denials are a ruse, and that his act is reliant on NLP. Professional magicians roll their eyes, point out that most of these tricks can be accomplished with conventional magic tricks, and insist that the NLP is just a convenient (and misleading) story.

The debate reages on, and here is a recent installment, in which an NLP practitioner argues that it really is NLP making Derren's act work: DerrenBrownNLP

Thursday, January 14, 2016

VIDEO FLASHBACK: Derren Brown turns an ordinary man into a Pub Quiz Champ

Remember the time when Derren used hypnosis and mind tools to teach an ordinary man to become a Pub Quiz winner overnight?

Relive it now, thanks to DB's YouTube Channel:

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Lessons from Derren Brown's Miracle

After attending Derren Brown's Miracle stage show, one fan took to her blog and wrote up 10 life lessons she derived from the show. Check it out at: AngelIntheNorth

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

LAST REMINDER: Watch Pushed to the Edge on Channel 4 at 9 pm

OK, this is the last reminder. Derren Brown's Pushed to the Edge premiers tonight on Channel 4, 9 pm. Here's the trailer:

REMEMBER to watch Derren Brown's "Pushed to the Edge" TONIGHT

The day has finally arrived, and Derren Brown's new TV special, "Pushed to the Edge," will air tonight. Tune in at 9 pm on Channel 4, to see Derren try to convince someone ordinary to commit a horrible act.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Derren Brown's Miracle Dentistry

We have heard all along that Derren Brown's stage show, Miracle, includes "healing" effects. Here is one concrete example you can read about.

Zoe Aldcroft says her dental problem was cured by Derren: "I had horrific pain in my wisdom teeth before and then when I opened my eyes it had gone."

Read the whole story at: Derren Brown cured my toothache!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

How is Pushed to the Edge different from Derren Brown's The Heist?

We are all looking forward to Tuesday night's "Pushed to the Edge," in which Derren Brown will attempt to influence an ordinary person to push a another human to his/her death. But how will this special differ from Derren's previous work?

The concept sounds a lot like Derren's 2006 special, The Heist. In that program, we saw Derren testing whether he could influence people to rob an armored truck using various hypnotic suggestion techniques (he could).

Pushed to the Edge sounds the same, but I am hoping Derren will put a twist on the concept. Here are some possible twists:

1. The person may decide not to comply (anti-climactic, but fresh),
2. Derren may use a new, even tricker form of persuasion to achieve his result, or
3. It could be a repeat of The Heist, but with better, more dramatic execution.

To that last point, the new special does remind me of a particular movie -- the Michael Douglas film, The Game -- except that Derren is trying to get the person to push someone off a building (as opposed to getting Michael Douglas to jump off a building). Critics complained that The Game was implausible, and I'm guessing they'll feel the same about Pushed to the Edge. But I, for one, plan to enjoy it.

What do you think? How will Pushed to the Edge differ from The Heist? Leave your theories in the comments below -

Saturday, January 9, 2016

VIDEO FLASHBACK: Derren Brown makes a man more Confident

Remember the time someone pulled the good card on Trick-or-Treat, so Derren helped him be more confident?

Relive it now, thanks to DB's YouTube channel:

Friday, January 8, 2016

Derren Brown "Pushed to the Edge" - Summary

The promotion for Derren Brown's upcoming special, "Pushed to the Edge," has begun, ahead of the show's January 12, 2016 air date (9 pm on Channel 4). So what is it all about?

In Channel 4's press materials, Derren summarizes it thusly:

What the show asks is whether the mechanics of social compliance can be manipulated to push someone off a building to their death. Could it be taken that far? The plan to get there is through slowly turning up the heat. Here’s a person that finds themselves in a situation, not realising that it’s all an enormous fabrication for their benefit, and that every person they meet is an actor.... And it was a genuine experiment, in that sense – there was no guaranteed ending for us at all.

And here is the trailer:

Thursday, January 7, 2016

The Mirror notes Derren Brown's Lottery Prediction Prowess

Today the Mirror is running an article about the National Lottery hitting a record level of £60 million, and -- fortunately for  Derren Brown fans -- they focused the article on discussion of Derren's famous lottery prediction.

It is hard to believe that the prediction was way back in 2009, but it was. Read all about it at: The Mirror.

What is Derren Brown's Miracle Stage Show really about?

As usual, Derren Brown is asking his stage show audiences to keep the contents of the show a secret, so as to avoid ruining the show for future guests. I am always amazed at how thoroughly online commentators (even journalists) comply with this request. Surely some mind control must be involved?

You can read one of the more forthright accounts at The author explains that the show's second half involves faith-healing, which seems to be Derren imitating the techniques of bogus religious faith-healers. If that is what the show is about, it is a pretty good idea, and consistent with DB's prior work.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Derren Brown tells Miracle visitors to Dance

For a firsthand account (without spoilers) of what it is like to attend Miracle, check out this post on OctobersGirlBlog. She quotes Derren's introductory remarks as:

“We are so busy setting goals for ourselves that we forget that life is like a piece of music, and we are supposed to be dancing.”

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Colin Fry almost took Sally Morgan role in The Secret of Luck (Derren Brown's The Experiments)

In an episode of The Experiments, Derren Brown set up a fake "lucky dog" statue in an English village that was supposed to make the locals lucky. As you would expect, many of the local residents immediately began relying on the dog for luck (in gambling, etc.) -- even though it was all a ruse to show that luck is just a matter of belief.

Sally Morgan, a self-proclaimed psychic, came on the show and claimed to feel the energy of the dog. Now, we know, though, that Morgan was only the 2nd pick for the show. Originally, the psychic was supposed to be Colin Fry.

A post on Bad Psychics quotes Fry explaining that when asked about the lucky dog by Channel 4 personnel:

I burst out laughing and said if there was any luck it was only because people had convinced themselves their good fortune was down to the bronze dog and it was bullshit, but harmless if it gave them the feel good factor, the researcher said she was surprised and I had not given her the respounce she had expected. ... and if they wanted someone they should call Sally Morgan, which is what they did.

Monday, January 4, 2016

A break from the stage for Derren Brown?

You might have noticed that Derren took a break from his television work in 2015 -- a rare year in which he did not have a new televised special. Fortunately, that will end this month (Jan. 2016) with "The Push."

Derren has announced now, though, that he will take a break from his stage work after the 2016 run of Miracle. He says he is due a break after 14 years on stage. In the past, he has noted that stage work is his favorite, and audiences seem to prefer it as well -- so you might want to hurry to see Miracle before he takes an indefinite leave.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Derren Brown's Secret Underground Lair

If I ever build a house, I hope to include a secret passageway of some sort. Derren Brown is way ahead of me, because his home includes a secret chamber. As reported at

“Over there, pull that lamp…” [Derren] points to a wall-mounted light beside a big bookshelf. We do as we’re told and the bookshelf swings open to reveal a secret staircase to an underground lair. “That’s my steam room,” he says at the bottom of the stairs before turning along a short corridor, “and this is my cinema. Nice, isn’t it?” Its red velvet carpet, six large seats and 10ft screen speak for themselves.

The rest of the article is worth reading, too, but of course nothing is more impressive than a secret underground lair.

There's another famous Brown with a secret passageway -- Da Vinci Code author Dan Brown has built some secrets into his house, too, as have a few other notable people: Secret Passageways.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

VIDEO FLASHBACK: Creepy Episode where Derren Brown turns man into Puppet

Remember the creepy episode of Trick-or-Treat where Derren convinced a man that he was a puppet?

Relive it now, thanks to DB's YouTube channel:

Friday, January 1, 2016

What is Derren Brown's "The Push" (aka "Pushed to the Edge") about?

Derren Brown will be back on Channel 4 this month (January 2016) with a brand new special called "The Push" (later changed to "Pushed to the Edge").

The show is about how people comply with authority. The topic sounds like a tribute to Derren's fascination with the Milgram prison experiment. Given the title, I am speculating that volunteers are encouraged by authority figures to harm other humans by either (a) pushing those humans (e.g., onto railroad tracks) or (b) pushing a button that hurts those humans (a la the Milgram experiment). I am guessing the volunteers will comply.

But Derren always finds a way to surprise us. I can't wait to find out what The Push is all about!

Derren was quoted saying: “The world of social compliance is a deeply fascinating one and hopefully we will take the viewer on a journey that will be disturbing and entertaining in equal measure."