December 13, 2008

The Amazing Brown

Gwenda Schlundt Bodien, knowing of my interest in skepticism, mentioned Derren Brown to me. This guy does illusionist trics which are really amazing and which make Uri Geller look like a beginner. Another difference between Derren Brown and Uri Geller is that, while Geller claims to have supernatural powers, Derren Brown is a self-professed skeptic regarding paranormal phenomena. This makes Derren Brown a worthy succesor of James Randi, a.k.a. The Amazing Randi. Here is a quote from the wikipediapage on Brown:
"In his book Tricks of the Mind, Brown writes, "I am often dishonest in my techniques, but always honest about my dishonesty. As I say in each show, 'I mix magic, suggestion, psychology, misdirection and showmanship'. I happily admit cheating, as it's all part of the game. I hope some of the fun for the viewer comes from not knowing what's real and what isn't. I am an entertainer first and foremost, and I am careful not to cross any moral line that would take me into manipulating people's real-life decisions or belief systems."
Below is a Youtube video on Derren Brown (here he is interviewed by Richard Dawkins). In it he explains cold reading. Do yourself a favor and look up some more of his videos after viewing this one.

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