Mind Control with Derren Brown 
Subverting an Individual's Sense of Control Over Their Own Thinking



Mind Control with Derren Brown
Subverting an Individual's Sense of Control Over Their Own Thinking

A variety of persuasive techniques are used to influence and manipulate peoples minds. Some people insist Derren Brown has psychic powers but he states he does not. He exposes a waitresses inner thoughts, zaps the strength of a boxer, attempts to see with his fingers and he predicts every move from a group of people.


Since the first broadcast of his Channel 4 show Derren Brown: Mind Control in 2000, Brown has become increasingly well known for his "mind-reading" act.

Brown states at the beginning of his Trick of the Mind programmes that he achieves his results using a combination of "magic, suggestion, psychology, misdirection and showmanship".

Using his knowledge and skill, he appears to be able to predict and influence people's thoughts with subtle suggestion, manipulate the decision making process and read the subtle physical signs or body language that indicate what a person is thinking.

Andy Nyman was originally intended to front the programme but he wanted to concentrate on acting so Brown was recommended to the producers by comedian and close-up magician Jerry Sadowitz.

He began his television work with three sixty-minute specials over two years which led up to the six part series Mind Control, which incorporated new footage with the best of the hour long shows. Selected highlights from the first series are available on DVD and video entitled Derren Brown — Inside Your Mind.




Derren Victor Brown

Derren Victor Brown is a British illusionist, mentalist, painter, writer, and sceptic.

He is known for his appearances in television specials, stage productions, and British television series such as Trick of the Mind and Trick or Treat.

Since the first broadcast of his show Derren Brown: Mind Control in 2000, Brown has become increasingly well known for his "mind-reading" act.


He has authored books for magicians as well as the general public. His caricature artwork has received gallery exhibition and is available in a single volume documenting his portrait collection.

Though his performances of mind-reading and other feats of mentalism may appear to be the result of psychic or paranormal practices, he claims no such abilities.

Brown states at the beginning of his Trick of the Mind programmes that he achieves his results using a combination of "magic, suggestion, psychology, misdirection and showmanship".

Using his knowledge and skill, he appears to be able to predict and influence people's thoughts with subtle suggestion, manipulate the decision making process and read the subtle physical and psychological signs or body language that indicate what a person is thinking.




Derren Brown - Illusion and Hypnosis as a Career
Brown was born in Purley, South London, educated at Whitgift School (where his father coached swimming), and studied Law and German at the University of Bristol.

While there, he attended a show by the hypnotist Martin S Taylor, which inspired him to turn to illusion and hypnosis as a career.

Whilst an undergraduate, he started working as a conjuror, performing the traditional skills of close-up magic in bars and restaurants.

In 1992, he started performing stage hypnosis shows at the University of Bristol under the stage name Derren V. Brown.

Brown began his television work with three sixty-minute specials produced over two years. In 1999 he was asked by Channel 4 to put a mind-reading programme together. The six part series Mind Control incorporated new footage with the best of his hour long shows. Selected highlights from the first series were later made available on DVD as Derren Brown — Inside Your Mind.

In an interview published in New Scientist, Brown says that he first developed many of his "psychological illusion" skills through his training in hypnotherapy before he was involved in learning close-up magic.

When asked how he was able to produce various psychological illusions such as apparent mind-reading, lie detection and hypnotic induction, Brown claimed to be able to read on subtle cues such as a micro-muscle movements that indicate to him if someone is lying or holding something back.

He also states that his participants are carefully selected based on their suggestibility and responsiveness which is common in stage hypnosis. He believes that the presence of a television camera also increases responsiveness.



Mind Control with Derren Brown

Several authors have claimed that Brown uses neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) in his act which "consists of a range of magical 'tricks', misdirection and, most intriguing, setting up audiences to provide the response that he wishes them to provide by using subtle subliminal cues in his conversation with them."

In response to the accusation that he unfairly claims to be using NLP whenever he performs, Brown writes "The truth is I have never mentioned it".

Brown does have an off-stage curiosity about the system, and discusses it in the larger context of hypnotism and suggestion.

In his book "Tricks of the Mind" he mentions that he attended an NLP course with Richard Bandler, co-creator of NLP and mentor of Paul McKenna, but suggests that the rigid systems of body language interpretation employed by NLP are not as reliable as its practitioners imply.

He also mentions the NLP concept of eye accessing cues as a technique of "limited use" in his book "Pure Effect". The language patterns which he uses to suggest behaviours are very similar in style to those used by Richard Bandler and by the hypnotist from whom Bandler learned his skill, Milton H. Erickson.

Brown also mentions in his book 'Tricks of the Mind' that NLP students were given a certificate after a four-day course, certifying them to practice NLP as a therapist. 


A year after Brown attended the class, he received a number of letters saying that he would receive another certificate, not for passing a test (as he discontinued practicing NLP following the course), but for keeping in touch.

After ignoring their request, he later received the new certificate for NLP in his mailbox, unsolicited.

Brown is the Patron of the National Parrot Sanctuary, situated near Skegness. Brown publicly came out as gay in 2007 in The Independent's 'I Believe' article.

Brown told the paper: "I believe you should always come out; life is so much easier. People generally aren't as bothered by your intimate secrets as you are."

"It took me being in a relationship with a guy for a month before I told anyone I was thus inclined. If anything, I was disappointed to learn it wasn't much of a surprise. Possibly my penchant for interior decor had given the game away."

Brown was an evangelical Christian in his teens, but became an atheist in his twenties. This is discussed by Brown in the Messiah special, and in his book Tricks of the Mind.

In an interview with Professor Richard Dawkins, Brown explained he sought to strengthen his belief and provide answers to common criticisms of religion by reading the Bible and other Christian religious texts, but upon doing so found none of the answers he sought and came to the conclusion that his belief (in Christianity) had no basis.

Brown is known for being "playfully mendacious" in press interviews, and allowing mistakes to go uncorrected. Although it has been said that Brown is banned from every casino in Britain, other sources report that casinos welcome the publicity from his visits.

 


Derren Brown began his television work with three sixty-minute specials produced over two years. In 1999 he was asked by Channel 4 to put a mind-reading programme together.

The six part series Mind Control incorporated new footage with the best of his hour long shows. Selected highlights from the first series were later made available on DVD as Derren Brown — Inside Your Mind.

Andy Nyman was originally intended to front the programme but he wanted to concentrate on acting so Brown was recommended to the producers by comedian and close-up magician Jerry Sadowitz.





Derren Brown - Waking Dead

In an episode first broadcast in May 6th, Brown claimed to have created a video game called "Waking Dead" which "is able to put roughly 1/3 of the people who play it into a catatonic trance". The video game is then placed in a pub.

Brown then "kidnaps" the catatonic "victim" and places him in a real-life recreation of the video game, having him fire an air gun at actors pretending to be zombies and outfitted with explosive squibs.

The episode raised considerable controversy. Mick Grierson, credited in the episode as "Zombie Game Designer", put up a website linking to various articles about the episode.


Russian Roulette - Derren Brown

Derren uses a combination of illusion, suggestion, psychology, misdirection and showmanship.


On October 5th, 2003, Brown performed Russian roulette, live on Channel 4. The stunt was performed at an undisclosed location, supposedly in Jersey, due to laws in mainland Britain banning the possession of handguns.

The majority of the episode focused upon the nomination of the final volunteer, James, who was chosen from 12,000 who applied for the task, and whittled down to five by the day of the stunt.

As a prize, James was chosen to be the only person in the room when Derren performed the stunt.


James was required to load a single shot into a revolver with six numbered chambers.

The programme was initially condemned by senior British police officers, apparently fearful of copycat acts. Brown himself defended the programme, saying, "It probably sounds odd.
But as a magic-related performer, to have that even being asked: Was it real? Was it not real? That lifts it to a level that I'm very comfortable with. What's left is the fact that it was a terrific piece of television."

Some tabloid newspapers reported that Channel 4 had admitted that the stunt used blank ammunition without Brown's knowledge, but this was not an official statement made by Channel 4. However, blanks can be fatal at such close range, as was demonstrated in the programme.