Nicola Monaghan's news, events and general thoughts about life and writing.

Friday, 18 September 2009

Did he stick you to your seat?

For those who didn't have chance to watch it, here's what Derren Brown did on the telly tonight. But don't get too excited/worried about getting stuck to your chair if you watch it. He said right off that it wouldn't work ont tinterweb.

It didn't work for me.

I did watch the film. It made my vision go a bit milky but that's all. The music was a bit creepy but fneh. I don't believe for a second that one minute of a white flickery screen stuck anyone to their anything. What's the word I'm looking for? Misdirection.

There was no chance of me sticking to my chair. It was just never going to happen. I wasn't the 'best' at being 'talented enough at being susceptible'. Nor was I the right mix of 'creative' and 'special'. Oh, the power of suggestion.

All that said, I felt an almost overwhelming desire to ring in and say something stupid, as did my husband.

And I have to admit that I'm beginning more and more to feel that I have been manipulated somewhere along the way. I've never been a Derren Brown fan - not that I dislike him but I've never actively been very bothered about what he does - and yet, this last week, I've added him as a friend on Facebook and started following him on Twitter, as well as checking out relevant forums and blogs on the subject of Derren Brown.

There are some very interesting theories and thoughts in the comments on my previous posts and I thank all those that have taken the time to read my blog and comment. One of these theories is that 'The Events' is not about the actual events at all, but much more about us interacting with them, turning them into something bigger. One commenter points out that some of Derren's words in the first show were almost a 'call to arms' to us to join in and make these illusions into something bigger. From what I've experienced, that makes total sense.

So I wasn't stuck to my sofa today. But I was sat on it, watching. I take it all back. That's pretty impressive Derren and I must be cool, clever and talented enough to be susceptible after all. Go me!


Anonymous said...

Nope didn't work on me - but then he said it wouldn't on the Internet although I am not sure I would have been personally as I was always doubting what he was saying.

I think no matter what the outcome of all this he has got people talking about him and those who wouldn't normally bother with him like you interested.

I like his shows because I like to try to work out how the tricks are done, and with mentalists you have to think a little more about the psychology of the tricks rather the mechanical trickery of old.

Thought he would have a get out clause or two as to why it wouldn't work for some - not working on the Internet because of the resolution though?

To be honest I do not know enough about hypnosis and suggestibility to comment on if the trick was a genuine one that would work on some suggestible people.

some of the tricks can be explained by slight of hand and other magical tricks. The ones like the one in the shopping centre with the visual cues and words are interesting as well, but I always wonder if it is a bit of a cheat using stooges or other tricks as I do not know enough to know if that actually would work or is just a nice illusion to make it look like he can control people with suggestive words.

Perhaps we will all find out at the end and see that even those of us who didn't get stuck to the seat were subtly controlled somehow. I'm not holding my breath however :)

Anonymous said...

One thing I forgot to mention is that he couldn't have used hypnosis itself as it is not allowed by law to do that over the air, but that he set up the stunt to suggest hypnosis with all the safety guff such as the airline safety type instructions and helpline and the light at the end to snap those stuck out.

There are some things that suggestibility can do but am not sure what the limits are really.

Niki M said...

Hi Tricki

I don't think the film would work on the internet because I don't think it was the actual film that's responsible at all.

I think this is all to do with people wanting it to work. A lot of folks just plain old want to witness strange things and are open to this kind of manipulation in the first place. Imho Derren magnified this by having the phone line to call in - who wouldn't want to chat about a weird thing that's just happened to them, on live TV? He added further to this with the way he described what might happen. He used some very interesting words and phrases.

He said that the people who stuck would be those with 'well-balanced, bright, creative personalities' and went on to say that those with 'the best talent for responding to the film' would stick. Then he added a bit of negative reinforcement, dismissing the people who might fight it as wasting their time even watching...

Then he used a lot of sticky words, all in one go. Stuck, fused, glued, cemented, bonded, fused, welded, and described quite evocatively what it would feel like to try to stand up.

I think it's the suggestion of his words what did it, basically, which is what I was rather sarcastically referring to on my blog post. There were a couple of flashing images of a man stuck to his chair during this segment of the show, but I think they are just red herrings. Derren said himself that these style of subliminals are a load of nonsense. More misdirection I suspect, and it fits with some of the theories we've been chatting about on here, and a lead in to his next TV series.

Yet again, I'm rather fascinated. I suspect I will be watching again next week...

BTW, I did set up a blog with some extracts of my writing on it. There's a link on the latest post on my blog. Thanks for that advice. :D

Anonymous said...

I think that what you are saying is pretty much what I was thinking but I wanted to do a bit of research before I said any more.

Belief is a large part of it and so is compliance and rapport with the person suggesting, and I have been noticing quite a few things that are very suggestive, all the numbers, certain phrases etc that could give a clue to what his final trick could be.

Am going to borrow Derrens book today, so Ill say more if what he says about the subject confirms with what I am thinking. In the meantime you could have a look at what the channel 4 site says about the final show and have a think yourself.

I think my problem with the section in the shopping centre was that it was just suggestion and social conformity, and I wouldn't expect the level of generosity displayed.

The researcher could have been part of it but I am unsure that that level of unconscious suggestion could have that effect to the level it was displayed. Marketeers use all sort of suggestions to persuade people to part with their cash, so am not discounting it though.

Anonymous said...

I did notice the links, will have a look when I have a chance.

Bob said...

Tricki & Niki (hey that rhymes!) and Baron Big Shoes if you happen to return here. FYI my alias on the Guardian's comment system is Codifier.

I think you're on the money about the seat-sticking only working if you want it to.

Tricki - I have read DB's book Tricks of the Mind and it was one of the most compelling reads I've ever had, I recommend it. He has described hypnotism as a sort of "play acting" on his shows, and elaborates on this in his book.

From what I understand, the outcome always depends on how naturally inclined the subject would be to go along the particular thing being suggested.

I've read a few people assert that the "subliminal" portion of the show was just a bunch of rotating lines and that any effect it had on people was due to the suggestions dotted through the show and DB's induction prior to the subliminal portion playing. I'm inclined to agree.

I spotted three brief flashes of an illustration of a guy bound to a chair. I imagine this was just to cater to people's expectations of what a subliminal film would look like and reinforce the suggestion itself.

I reviewed it again to see if I could find any of the subtle language tricks as I found in the first episode and the only thing I got was just after the footage from the toy store played, DB said to the studio audience "A few you you 'telly' were getting a giraffe as well, do you know why you were thinking of giraffe too?"

Along with this almost imperceptible reference to your "telly", there were some other interesting things:
1. As with episode 1, there were more references to childhood. The footage in the toy store would obviously get us all thinking about toys and childhood things. When walking past a display of dolls, DB again put on his talking-to-kiddies voice. And, the prediction he does with Joe and the stacking of blocks bears a striking resemblance to something a child might do on their first day in kindergarten. Choose a brightly coloured chair, sit at a small table, choose a coloured pen, draw on and stack some building blocks. I am not sure whether this is going to play a specific part in the story, or is just a general technique for increasing suggestibility.
2. During the the game where the participant was invited to select a card and try to avoid the "lose" card, DB described the cards as "rather like the shape of a cinema screen or TV that you might have at home".
3. He repeatedly referred to the cards and the white rectangles on the t-shirts of his volunteers during the last round of the win/lose game as having special "subliminal technology". I suspect he was trying to link the viewer's perception of the apparent effectiveness of this supposed subliminal technology to the near-white screen featured during the subliminal video segment at the end.
4. Throughout the show we were exposed to the colour green. The lighting in the theatre, and during The Giveway, all of the props that were set up in the mall were green. The shoe presented in the shop window, the signage, the posters showing open-handed gestures, and the researcher herself was wearing a green scarf and carrying a green clipboard. This technique was used in his brilliant TV special "The Heist" to trigger certain reactions and it seems to be being used again. What to trigger and when, I am not sure. Maybe he's just taunting us by sprinkling false clues everywhere?
5. Finally, is it just me, or was the whole seat-sticking episode designed to test all of his viewers for suggestibility and then get those who were particularly responsive to CALL HIM? If they logged the phone numbers or contact details of all those who rang in - how useful would it be to identify a large population of highly suggestible individuals?

Anonymous said...

Well I'm glad to say I hadn't fallen into any mind tricks or believed any myths with my understanding of hypnotism. I was being too cautious of course, but I hate having to be corrected because I haven't bothered to check that my facts are right.

I think that my initial thought about it not being hypnosis because it wouldn't be allowed was a little inaccurate, as obviously it was, albeit a light form - I was thinking of the full blown hypnosis routine and only later thought about self hypnosis and the like.

The book is a good read bob, easy to understand, and actually quite humorous as well - my friend will have to wait a while to get his book back now :-)

Wanting it to work is a part as you said Niki no matter if you are the sort of person who has magical thinking or are just curious to see just if you are able to be effected by suggestion.

I think that to clear the routine with Ofcom for broadcast Derren would have had to show:
a. that the effect was very mild and would only effect a very few people.
b. Is carefully worded so it is very specific and short lasting and with safety measures so that people would not get distressed, including only working live. (you have to make someone believe they are hypnotised for it to work, but to avoid anxiety that they may still be hypnotised afterwards you also have to convince them that they are not)

I have also seen it argued that by suggesting that watching the film will cause the effect and not saying directly that he is causing it, the effect is no different to listening to a hypnosis tape in that it is guided self-hypnosis.

Both of you are right about what suggestions he used to guide the effect, to which I would add the physical effect of sitting in the position instructed can if you are sitting right and have a bit of muscle tension for instance from excitement, cause a mild feeling of heaviness in the limbs which of course will be picked up by the mind and add to the effect. (I had a similar effect while reading the book and while Derrens good, I think sitting too long in one position is more likely than hypnosis in this case :-) )

Anonymous said...

Some very good observations bob. I didn't pick up all of them as haven't had time to re watch the show and too busy watching out for slight of hand and other tricks to take it all in.

Good catch on the strange language in the toy store - could have just been a natural slip up, but in a segment where he has already pointed out one language cue its worth it to look out for others as the crafty sod loves to hide things in plain sight.

Unless trained as to how words can be used as an aid to influence it is difficult to know how your observations of words and objects and symbolism thereof will be used, some could have a general effect like the childhood one or the numbers or home possibly for an hypnotic event later.

Some like the chair and stickiness are more likely specific to the last show - have been told that the adverts in the show seemed to have the same words and images in them. A lot of green as the chair was green and you see the colour you remember the chair possibly, although the colour no doubt has some psychological significances that can be used.

And you are defiantly not the only one to think that about the phone in bob, I guessed that hypnosis would have a place in the final show so picking out a subject that is already known susceptible without meeting them will be vital.

The final show is described as:
Derren attempts to beat the odds at roulette, but there is a twist. Someone in the UK is about to get a big surprise as, live on television, they become the unwitting accomplice in Derren's mission to take down a casino.

I had already thought that the events would tie up at the end using elements from all of them, and while we will have to wait till the remote viewing one (called spy on the website - is this also when Derren spies out his subject) to have a clearer picture of what he might be doing, hypnosis using suggestions planted through all the shows (and maybe others that only the subject is exposed to) is a definite possibility.

Having already been primed with various notions such as numbers and gambling, team work etc,confirmed a good subject to hypnotise, then whatever motifs that come up in the 3rd show, they would already have most of the thought processes in their mind for Derren to work on for hypnosis, so the final trick could be very interesting.

I read your reply in the other thread, and your theory of the double bluff does make a lot of sense, but as I said before, I think that the possible loss of confidence in the draws would make it a very risky strategy and not one that Camelot would likely cooperate with unless they were sure they could prove beyond any doubt that it wasn't rigged.

Some people would take a lot of convincing that it was false after they had seen it before their eyes, some people believe the characters in their favourite shows are real people so god knows how they could react.

Anonymous said...

More green, a woman called Green with a green shirt. Interesting choice Derren.

The fact that she is a lady with a rather obvious cleavage who bends over enough to hypnotise a good percentage of the audience that are very susceptible to that leads me to suspect other reasons to select that particular video.

For a gay man he always seems to pick out women that provide the best distractions :)

Bob said...

Yes - when the details of the missing bus footage were leaked and THEN Derren Brown's blog linked to it, I started to think it might have been deliberately planted to create a "myth" that may never be proven or disproven. Then I read the article about the Bulgarian lottery producing the same numbers twice in a row and thought, wow, that is to conspiracy theorists what catnip is to cats:

Maybe a triple-bluff? I'm sure which ever version of the truth we settle on, he will be one step ahead.

I would like to think he really did right the machine, that would be so much more fulfilling than a camera effect, although he's managed to sell other plausible yet amazing explanations before.

For the excellent Russian Roulette stunt he did, I am satisifed that it was a clever (and safe) illusion. DB took much delight in the fact that a lot of rational, intelligent people really seemed to believe that he would risk using a live round in a real gun.

Perhaps we're going to be used as real-life examples of True Believer Syndome? Believing, in the face of all contradictory evidence, in the original deception.

Bob said...

Bother, that should read "rig the machine" not "right the machine". Duh.

Anonymous said...

The Bulgarian lottery thing is an amazing coincidence with the timing and the similarity to Derrens stunt.

I said before its lucky for Derren, but its also unlucky because the event is all about misdirection and those trying to work out what is going on are already in a state where they will look at any event and try to read some significance into it, and when a big one like that one comes along they cannot help but to consider it, despite knowing logically that the consequences of bad publicity would make even faking a rigging problematic let alone actually rigging it.

Its a very common trap for those with a logical mindset - the brain is good at seeing patterns, but sometimes you can see something that isn't really there, and then logic can be its own worst enemy as you seek out things that confirm the diagnosis while discounting evidence or logic that would point to it being flawed.

Believe me I've been there, done that, and got the t-shirt and tin foil hat to match. So it distracted me until I realised that it was too big to have anything to do with Derren - he's just a magician after all. It did sit in that back of my mind, to the point where I had to check out if the story could have been planted, even though there's no way it could have been anything other than real. That the BBC would damage its international reputation to help some magic trick and risk loss of credibility? Lol I knew it was dumb but couldn't help myself.

So I'd suggest you do what I did, sit yourself down and look at what is impossible or would require too much cooperation with parties that would lose too much face by doing so, and try to untangle some of the threads you have woven to get a clearer picture.

Because the shows have been about misdirection from the start - the first advert said it even before you knew what he was saying with all the things going backwards and forwards, backwards writing etc - it is a little tricky to know what are the real facts and which just misdirections, especially with such a big external event intruding.

So you can try to out think him and take each piece of evidence as a misdirection and try to work out what he might be wanting us to think with that. Unfortunately, that quickly leads to logic loops where you are in tortuous bluff,double,triple, etc and If I wanted my mind to end up that mixed up, I'd speed up the process and buy a food processor and a chainsaw ;-)

So I am finding that what works for me is to treat each bit of evidence the same - I see if it fits my thinking, but at the same time realise it could be suspect and trying to lead me somewhere. So I try to keep myself neutral and try not to get too attached to my or others theories, as I know they could be based on faulty evidence.

One thing to Remember - Derrens been working on this for a year. Yes this means he can think up all sorts of distractions and dead ends for us to fall into, but it also means that he has set his own path in stone and that certain things he cannot alter, which means that if there is a way to figure out what he is up to, there will be a way, and the tv shows being more rigid will offer the best clues.

Of course I do not discount the alternative thesis - that the last show will be spectacular but not in any way related to any of the hints that have been given out, but just a side show to entertain and en-thrall the Internet, generate publicity and controversy, and get us all thinking hard about mentalism, magic, and of course Derren because of the challenge implicit from the clues given us.

Anonymous said...

Oh and it occured to me late last night what the obvious connection is with the final show and the colour green.

What colours are there on a roulette wheel? Red, Black - and the 0, the houses edge because if its landed on it will lose all other bets - which is green.

If you wanted to fake rigging the roulette which number would you choose to seem to show that it was a result of what you did and not just chance? Well 0 of course - statistically its just as likely to come up as any other number providing the initial conditions are random. But psychologically any number coming up (especially if it comes up more than one time in a row) feels rare so most bet on red or black.

Because read vs black is a 50 50 chance (or very near with green on the wheel) 0 itself is known as low probability, and makes betting on it counter intuitive if you are trying to bet to win - if you have a 50% chance or thereabouts of your colour coming up, then green feels like a long shot and far less likely to come up.

I think its likely that this combination of facts and intuition in the mind of a gambler makes 0 and the colour green seem even more psychologically a long shot to pick, and thus an ideal number to aim for for a trick.

So anyone want to lay a bet that the trick will involve the number 0 or 00 coming up several times in a row?

Anonymous said...

I've thought about how the casino trick could be done to seem mysterious to the audience, and came up with an hypothesis that could fit a few of the themes shown so far. Still needs development, but it fits so far albeit with a few rough edges.

Am using he for convenience, though gender doesn't matter so much.

The accomplice will be shown live, and while has previously been tested for suggestibility he need not be actually hypnotised for it to work, just seen all the things we have seen and discussed, but not picked up on, in order that he will react in a normal way towards things but still able to be led to thinking what Derren is planning and come up with the number of his own free will.

Derren may do a recap to fix the previous shows in the mind, and then proceed to explain how he will rig the roulette wheel with the help of an audience member, who may possibly be told will receive anything he wins when they bet in order to give the desire to want to beat the odds and possibly betting with Derrens money so as to make him more likely to use the method described by Derren. Could be expensive for Derren and C4, as the casino of course will be part of it and won't want to actually lose any money, but he's done it before on the system and the viewing figures and money thereof means he is likely to get it back.

The explanation will include other known ways to cheat at roulette, the famous one where you use a computer and maths to predict the balls path getting the most attention as it shows it can be done without needing dodgy croupiers or the like, and that maths can predict such things.

Derren will explain that he has found a way to predict the balls path without the aid of the computer, and that it relies on the "wisdom of crowds" effect shown in the lottery show, and "deep maths" like in the real prediction device.

Am not sure yet what else could be told to enhance the method to the subject, although the second show gives a few pointers to think about with regards the film and the idea of subliminal images, and the use of words and images to guide and control people - maybe the third show will discuss ways you can read unconscious clues and deduct from that but will have to wait and see.

The result will be that the subject will have a new method to try on the roulette and told to pick a rare number and bet on it and of his own volition because of the suggestion he picks green and wins.

Now the big problem with this idea of course is to produce a convincing way of actually rigging the roulette wheel - and there are various ways you could do that, but it is a little weak on that front, as I'm sure that it will appear to be a live show and while camera tricks can work there has to be a way to set it up and appear live while still seeming to get results.

Like the lottery show the convincer was that they started not very accurate and got better - the same thing could be used here to reinforce the associations with the method in the lottery, but would require careful control and I haven't thought of the ways that could be achieved yet.

Any ideas you can think of? or should I wait until the third show before trying to expand my ideas?

Anonymous said...

"In 2004 it was reported that a group of two Serbs and one Hungarian in London had used a laser scanner hidden inside a mobile phone linked to a computer to predict the sector of the wheel where the ball was most likely to drop. They were arrested, but released without charge as there was no proof they had technically interfered with casino equipment."

That was the thing I was refering to, and it was a myth (or not proved)as I suspected, on wikipedia there is a section about mechanical strategies:

There are a number of roulette strategies which take a more mechanical approach to breaking the casino. The most famous is the biased wheel attack. In the biased wheel attack, the player clocks the wheel to find statistical deviations indicating some flaw to the wheel. The biased wheel attack seeks to find imperfect wheels and exploit the fact that some wheels will return numbers more often than 1 in 35, which means there is potential to have an edge over the casino. Clocking the wheel involves taking spin results in great numbers to identify any opportunities. Casinos are aware of players who try and mechanically exploit roulette wheels and take protective measures by rotating wheels, changing dealers, and switching roulette ball sizes, making mechanical strategies virtually impossible.

It doesn't matter if the first story is true or not, it and the biased wheel can be used to spin a plausible tale that someone suggestible could fall for, but using other methods.

One thing I thought of - without actually reading any mathematics so I am thinking as a normal man and what would sound plausible on first thought - how to predict a ball - first know its initial condition, weight, velocity etc. then calculate where it is likely to go. Spin some gobbledegook and say that the velocity will change the weight (quoting einsein and the like)and base your ideas on guessing the weight through wisdom of the crowds type thing - and one thing that is easily picked up by the mind is that effect doesn't work on random numbers like the lottery, but it does work as a good measure of guessing weight. Voila you have a way of using something pseudo scientific to appear to be able to predict where the ball is going to go. How he would fit in the guesswork I am not sure.

Its so neat I wonder if Derren could have being using suggestion to make those like me think of these things - how many will be looking at wikipedia as the date of the casino show approaches? I'll try to keep my paranoia in check and just explore the idea planted or no, it gets me thinking about these things - my brain will need a rest after all this :-)

BaronBigShoes said...

hi all :)

sorry i haven't been able to post any detailed theories yet but it's been a lousy weekend. nuff said about that.

this is just a quick message (i'll be back to sound-off more tomo) but i just wanted to add 2 things to the excellent stuff on here already.

first of all, am i going crazy or did i spot a clear douglas adams ref' during the phone-in? a large 'DON'T PANIC' message floated up across my screen :) i'm sure richard dawkins (d. adam's close friend) got a huge LOL from that, as did all the anti-woo merchants who quote adams all the time.

and speaking of those guys...

have you seen the debates running on here???

esp the one marked 'derren brown is no different than uri geller'?

imo most of that thread is purely off-the-mark but it does bring focus back to my original take on the point of the events.

db's just gotta be aware that he'll be making enemies in the camp of reason from the shows (at least so far) so the kicker has to be an antidote. or does it?


best wishes,

jon (He of the Big Shoes)

btw i was not stuck to my least not any more than usual ;)

Anonymous said...

Hi again Baron (Jon is it? I'm Dave)

Lol didn't notice the Don't Panic, have read just about all of DNA and although not a fanatic fan I should have picked up on that. Of course maybe he's secretly a Dads army fan :-)

Thanks for the link yes I think some of them don't understand he is a performer first and foremost so while he champions science if it provides the right effect he will use a bit of dubious explanation to get the right effect. Its not his job to educate all the time. The fact that he is going to do so soon is a good lead that he is likely to do in this one (although strictly speaking that show announcement could be a plant as well, though I'm not going to start doubting everything lest I start doubting my own existence)

As you said you did your own mentalist routine I wonder if you could comment on all this suggestion and the like. As a complete amateur I cannot comment on it with the confidence I can with regards to other aspects of the routine, and wondered if you could clear up any misconceptions I might be having about it as I find myself only speculating on something I only half know. Doesn't have to give away any secrets, just point in the right direction for me to find the right answer on my own.

I think your point about having to bring it back to reality to silence the critics is spot on - even before I was aware of the new show I knew he wouldn't just leave it hanging there with an answer so patently false.

Kate said...


Just to add to this I watched and was quite hoping to be stuck - just because I thought it would be funny. I didn't get stuck for a second though so either I am not suggestable enough or I was too stubborn to get fooled. I can't work out if I like Derren or if he scares me. During the toy shop I did keep thinking Giraffe though

Anonymous said...

Hi Kate, that was pretty much my experience too, I wanted to see if I could be stuck, but was always watching out for language that was leading. Too stubborn to get fooled sums it up really. I watched on the internet but it would probably been the same on the telly.

I actually preferred the chimp, but my mind kept being brought back to the giraffe, perhaps because the shape looked out of place amongst the other stuffed toys with such a thin shape, but could have been the words he used as well.

He puts on a good act, but all magicians act in ways that are a bit strange, he's meant to be a little bit scary when he's doing his show, but I bet he's just a normal guy really.

I have read his book, and I bet if anybody read that and worked hard enough they could at least imitate him - he is a good actor as well which helps :)

Niki M said...

I'm loving the debate that's going on here and all the theories we're getting. Thanks all for stopping by and posting.

I agree with you Baron that Derren is making enemies in the 'camp of reason' and, when you think about it, that's strange really, because he's a logical, bright bloke. He knows as well as anyone else that a lot of the stuff he's telling us is nonsense. It has to be deliberate and I think you're right that the kicker will be a an antidote to the conman act he's been playing these few weeks.

Tricki - yes I know about some of these methods of cheating. As I said, the hubby is a casino king and so we go quite a bit. I like to write and have a glass of wine, but am not allowed to use my laptop. Electronic devices are pretty much banned because of stuff like this that goes on.

I liked the touch with the 'DON'T PANIC' but didn't get the Dad's Army connection. It made me think of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and, in fact, flashed like that did. Which is interesting. Douglas Adams, who wrote Hitchhiker's, was a good mate of Richard Dawkins, the author of the God delusion, and doesn't Richard have something to do with Derren's next series? But maybe I'm stretching things too far again - it's easily done with illusions this complex lol.

Kate - nice to meet you on the blog. I half wanted it to work because it would have been cool, and half was scared it might, but definitely too stubborn to be fooled. I did think giraffe in the Hamley's section. You know, I even noticed the giraffe prints all over the place and thought 'ooh, giraffe prints' but still didn't spot that I was being influenced. Lmao.

Anonymous said...

You know Niki I totally didn't realise your husband was anything to do with the casinos. There are certain things that I have only just started to realise that point to my naive manner in this - its only a day or so after I made my first post that I actually started to wonder what blog I had ended up on - I followed on from a link from another blog and only later followed up on that and explored your site.

I was totally focused on the puzzle of the events and anything else was secondary. I'm glad in the end that I decided to explore a little more because I quite enjoyed your writing.

You probably have had to have been brought up in the right household to get the dads army joke. Needless to say that was a catchphrase long before DNA picked it up, but it was valid no matter who said it.

Hopefully its just another coincidence that I have ended up on your site and began to discuss methods that would cheat your husbands business - If you read what I have said so far it is just supposition and theory as to what Derren will do.

I have only seen things after they have been pointed out to me with a little speculation on the side - the Douglas Adams don't panic link - it was staring me in the face and I missed it probably because I wasn't looking at it at the time because I didn't think much of it.

So if anything I have said your husband would not approve of because it could encourage cheaters please say - I am only in this because of a spirit of inquiry, not to step on anyone toes :)

Niki M said...

Lol - sorry Tricki I don't think I was clear. I called my hubby the Casino King cos he likes to go and play the games there. He doesn't own or run one. My fault. You'd think I'd be more precise with my words as a writer, wouldn't you? Glad you've enjoyed some of the writing you've found thru the blog, anyway.

Anonymous said...

Ah I see Niki I think I read a little too much into your words and jumped to the wrong conclusion.

That I was on my third pint at that point probably didn't help...

BaronBigShoes said...


hi mate :)

some of the suggestion is real imo—it’s not just a trick dressed-up. a few nlp techniques really do work (despite the anti-woo guys saying none of it works) and there are ways to manipulate language to attempt to force an image or an idea into a specs mind. however the caveat there is ‘attempt’ as it only increases the probability that they will make that choice. for example, you always get one awkward bugger who will still say "2 of spades” when you were forcing the queen of hearts :(

NB: which is why i only use forces to support illusions that already have a strong pay-off. so the force will only be there as a sweetener and it doesn’t really matter if it fails. sometimes it’s stronger if it does fail, actually.

there are a few magicians who use this kind of stuff at the foreground of their acts, although it gives me stage-fright just thinking about it. one of them is luke jermay who takes huge risks and genuinely manipulates the hell out of his audience. jermay is a big fan of kenton knepper who’s another risk-taker. it’s not my bag but hats off to them both.

to throw something your way, i checked around for a book that wasn’t hidden on some magicians-only forum and found this sitting in plain sight on PLEASE DON’T BUY IT AT THE RIDICULOUS LISTED PRICE:

it’s good but it’s not that good and neither is the sequel written by the same guys. you should maybe hit ebay and try to get it for less money if you’re interested in some of these techniques.

anyway, i don’t use this kind of thing much but i think derren does, along with lots of hypnosis that gets chopped out of the edit. i’ve also heard rumours that db uses stooges from time to time but i hasten to add these are only rumours. if he has then i’m not that bothered as i stick with the line that all’s fair when you’re out to fool people. personally i think he hasn’t and further i’d like to believe he hasn’t, simply because he’s a better performer than that.

final thought. as the system here doesn’t seem to allow for pm’s i’ve been searching for an email i can use which i don’t mind putting out in public. i found this one and i’d be happy to share some handling tips for mentalism stuff and some reviews/thoughts on material that’s out there. drop me a line if you like and we’ll trade some ideas.

best wishes,


BaronBigShoes said...

@Nikki - and many thanks for hosting this little debate :)

i’m extremely suspicious of the anti-woo brigade with pretty good reason.

having chatted on forums with some of these people about atheism, psychic phenomena and such the topic of personal anomalous experiences came up. being very foolish i mentioned that i’d experienced something strange—i.e., i’d seen a ‘flying triangle’ performing bizarre aeronautical manoeuvres one night over a city in the midlands.

i was careful to note:

the fact that it moved from one location to another over the entire city (covering at least a mile each time) allowed for a fair estimate of scale. the triangle was BIG.

the thing was not on wires, somehow controlled from the ground, as it shifted at uncanny speed from point-to-point and stopped dead without any inertia..along with the fact that it hovered and span like a gyroscope before accelerating away so quickly you could hardly track it by eye.

i saw this thing in the presence of witnesses.

i was not drunk or stoned.

i’d done a fair amount of research about it afterwards, including swapping emails with the acclaimed JANE'S aerospace journo nick cook, and it was generally thought to be an advanced, black world spy-plane and not a rocket ship from mars. nick details this in his book ‘the hunt for zero point’.

there had been multiple thousands of other sightings of the same kind of object in the UK alone, from people of all stripes, and they’d all reported the same details.

now that shouldn’t have prompted a ‘woo alert’ response from anybody (at least so i thought). yet when i failed to accept any pat theory about what it might have been—such as an ordinary aircraft that i’d misapprehended or perhaps venus reflecting off a cloud—i soon found myself condescended to, insulted or ignored. not one of these people replied with “christ that sounds interesting...i think i might check all the evidence out for myself” when it was far easier to just caricature me as some secret roswell worshipper or say that i was nuts. basically it was like talking to born-again christians about evolution and i had about the same chance of making a fair point.

consequently so much for the rational community :(

and i’ve found it even worse with the recent flood of storm trooper atheists....and i say that as an atheist myself!

in my experience talking to the dawkins crowd is precisely that—a whole bunch of little dawkins clones repeating lines from his books as if they dreamt them up themselves. the same goes for the j. randi crowd or the c. hitchens crowd or the d. dennett crowd or (worst of all) the p.z.myers crowd. it truly makes me wonder if these people ever have any original thoughts of their own.

the whole experience of anti-woo eventually pushed me to read this, which was a refreshing change from lock-stepping morons who i think sound like the borg on amphetamines:

it’s a great read imo, the guy has his head fully screwed on and i'm not at all saying he’s right but only damnably refreshing.

personally i just like to be challenged and the cluster-f**k of anti-wooites don’t provide that kind of thing. it’s a challenge free zone. you’re either in agreement or you’re a heretic.

so if derren pisses them off then...woot! it’s fine by me :)



Niki M said...

Hey Jon. So many comments on here and I've just realised that I missed completely your earlier mention of the Hitchhiker's Guide thing before I posted my previous remark. I picked up on that too - it was even flashing. It made me laugh - I love THGTTG.

I also don't completely fall in with the anti-woo brigade. "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy." and that's kind of my philosophy. I think it would be naive to believe that the human experience is so all inclusive.

I also find the march of the atheists pretty scary, despite being one myself. It's the lack of tolerance that I have a problem with. God/belief/spirituality is so personal. No one should try to force their opinions on anyone in this area. Dawkins claims religion is evil and causes most of the problems in the world. I can see why he'd come to this conclusion but I disagree. It's fundamentalism that causes the problem, which kinda puts him way up there with some of the most extreme prophets imho.