Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Derren Brown, Messiah

Dunno if any of you have ever seen this guy, but he's a really talented British magician, and in one show, he goes around the US trying to convince 5 influential members of various kooky communities (including an evangelican preacher) that he's a legitimate practitioner of whatever they're pushing. In it, he claims to be psychic, be able to convert people to Christianity with a single touch (this one got me the most), can read dreams with a magical crystal-powered box, was abducted by aliens and can read people's medical history, and talk to the dead.

Brown's an adept magician, he uses these skills to manipulate people and situations to maneuver them into believing him. The first segment, on remote viewing, provided the most "WTF!? how did he do that?" moment, but the Christianity conversion was the most interesting. I for one, find it pleasurable to have someone touch me, or be near me, but it's nothing religious, I just enjoy human contact. One of my most memorable moments was watching a friend of mine -- Christina, I think -- draw a picture in a cafe in Spain. It was just that feeling of closeness to someone else, nothing more.

He may be a skilled entertainer, but I doubt everything he did was merely psychology. Here's a good video of him reading someone's mind whilst ballroom dancing. Cold reading is a skill I'd love to have, though I don't know that I could only use it for good. Here's a criticism of Derren Brown as well, decrying his claims (on another show) that he didn't use magic. The Youtube video is eight parts, so just look for the next one in the related videos section.

No comments: