Derren Brown Tricks

Derren Brown Tricks

The techniques demonstrated in ‘Mind Control’ & ‘Trick of the Mind’ largley derive from traditional magic, psychology, nlp & hypnosis. Together Derren fuses these artforms to create his own blend of ‘Mentalism’ – the art of appearing to have mental powers & mindreading. This can range from a demonstration of subliminal persuasion, suggestion, mind reading, giving the impression of speaking to the dead, or just an incredible display of body language reading.

Derren has written a couple of books explaining some of his techniques: Pure Effect & Absolute Magic. Although both are a good read, neither really give away the info on the type of material he performs currently. Additionally, his video Devil’s Picturebook contains some excellent instructional material, but it is focused largely on magic with playing cards as opposed to mentalism.

This page lists a number of Derren Brown Tricks.and where possible the methods or sources to create them are revealed.

Invisible Touch

Essentially Derren asks two people to close their eyes. In the trick he asks them to concentrate on the connection between them. He touches one of the partipants on the hand yet both people distinctly feel a touch, even though it clear that Derren never came close. This effect was performed on a pair of twins as well as with a group of pole dancers at Spearmint Rhino strip club. It is based on the effect of Psychokinetic Touches by Banachek.

Think of a Name / Think of a Word
Derren asks someone to think of a name from their childhood, their past or simply a word of their choosing from anywhere. Then by looking at their eyes and reading their body language he reveals the word being thought of. It is thought that this effect requires an element of pre show work.

A person is sat in a chair with their eyes closed. They are asked to hold thier arm in the air. Derren holds his arm in the same way, when Derren drops his arm, the particpants arm drops at the same time. A 2nd volunteer is then asked to the stage and is requested to stand behind the person sat in the chair. Both participants stand with their arms in the air and at the time of the standing person’s choosing they lower their arm. At the exact instant, the person sat in the chair with their eyes closed lowers their arm as well. The effect is continued with the standing person moving their arm up and down and the seated person following through apparently telepathic means. This trick was published in the 1st edition of the Derren Brown book ‘Pure Effect’ but was later removed as it was thought the effect was too strong.

Another trick removed from ‘Pure Effect’. It has been performed in various forms in Derren’s TV shows including an occassion at the opera. It generally involves asking a spectator to recall a memory, step inside it and imagine it in vivid colours. Derren then describes the memory the person is visualising in minute detail, right down to specifics such as the music playing in the background and the people also present. It is a dual reality effect also based on the work of Doc Hilford and Kenton Knepper.

Guess Which Hand The Coin Is In
One of the best Derren Brown secrets, he asks someone hide a coin in one of their hands. He correctly guessing which hand the coin is concealed in muptiple times running. There are a variety of methods that can acheive this effect ranging from those that rely purely on body language reading, to gaffed coins and the commercially available trick “Eye 2 Eye.”

The cards are spead on the table. The participant is asked simply to look down at the spread cards at choose one. They are asked to burn the image of the card into their mind. Derren then sucessfully names the card. He performed this on Stepehen Fry in his Trick of the Mind Series where the Kind of Diamonds was picked. Later Derren lights a cigarette and reveals that there is no King of Diamonds in the deck. Derren coughs and the card is seen to be inside the cigarette he is smoking. The trick is explained in his book Pure Effect.

Be a Mind Reader Tricks
Derren stops two people in the street and gives them the chance to be a mind reader for 10p. One participant thinks of the name of a friend and the other attempts to read the persons mind by placing their fingers on the other person’s temples.

Lost Taxi Driver
Derren catches a london taxi. He makes the driver forget the location of the London Eye.

How Many Fingers amd I Holding Up?
Derren stops a girl in the street and asks her to hold her hands behind her back, holding up a number of fingers of her choice. He guesses correctly. He asks her to repeat with her hands in her pockets and guesses correctly again. Finally he holds his hands behind his back and asks the girl to guess, she guesses correctly “1?.

Playing Chess
Derren plays chess against a group of ‘Grandmasters’ and wins the majority of the games. He then asks all of the players to count the number of pieces left of their own colour left. The total number matches a number he has already written on a white board, but more impressivly, it also matches a number written in an envelope entrusted to one of the participants at the start of the competition.

Penalty Shooting
Derren asks a midfield player at Rangers to take a series of Penalties. Derren correctly guesses which area of the goal the player will aim for.

How Many Sweets
Derren teaches someone count how many sweets their are on a bar, just by glancing at them. The person guesses correctly 40. Additionally he approximates that 8 of them are blue. He later asks the person so think of an elaborate building in London, but not too obvious. Derren is blindfolded and they travel by car to the location. Derren glances at the temple for a few seconds, then with his back turned he accuratly sketches on a sheet of acetate the building. When holding the acetate up to the sky, the outline perfectly matches the building.

Wallet on the Ground
Derren leaves a wallet on the ground on Regent Street, London. Althogh there are 1000s of passers by, no one picks it up.

Silent Conducting
Derren asks a conductor to select a peiece of sheet music. He is asked to pretend there is a full orchestra and conduct them as he would if it were a real performance. Derren correctly predicts the names of the pieces he is conducting by reading his hand and facial movements. Later the conductor thinks of a tune and this time. The conductor is asked to ‘mentally conduct’ the music, he is to only use his head and eyes. The orchestra who don’t have any music in front of them sucessfully pick up on the tune being conducted and begin to play. A set of tricks.

Out of this World
This trick is described on his video ‘Devil’s Picturebook’ although it is also demonstrated on Trick of the Mind. He performs it with a corrinor. The corrinor is asked to look at a collection of photos. He is asked to sort the photos into two different piles at random. He has complete free choice of where he places the photos. Afterwards the corrinor is told that half of the people were dead, and half were alive. One pile of photos is turned over, and on the back of each is the label “Dead”, the other pile are turned over with the title “Alive”.

Reki Doll
A girl is taken to Epping Forest and supposedly controlled by a voodoo doll. She is made unable to move her arms. Later she is asked to count back from 10. Whilst this is happening Derren wraps string around the mouth of the doll and the girl slowly becomes unable to talk.

Kindergaden Painting
Derren Brown visits a nursey school. He gives the teacher a story written by his neice. She reads it to the class and asks her to have an image in her mind whilst she is reading it. Derren gets the children to paint a massive picture on the floor of the classroom. It is later revealed that the teacher was thinking of a teddy bear, that the kids have drawn a teddy bear. Additioanlly, the story is shown to have the word teddy bear written vertically and diagonally though out the lines.

Derren takes a hammer and nail. He hits the nail into he nose. Removes the nail, then prooves that it was a real nail by hitting it into a block of wood.

Word Disassociation
Derren asks a volunteer to sit with their eyes closed. He says a word and asks them to respond with a word that they do not associate with the given word in any way. Before they respond, Derren jots a word on a sheet of paper that they cannot see. Derren’s word matches that of the volunteer.

Derren asks a person to stand by there window. She is asked to select a person walking along the street and on the count of three make them stop just by closing her hand. The first attempt is unsucessful, but it works the 2nd time.

PIN Number Revelation
One of the best Derren Brown secrets, he asks someone to visualise their PIN number. He asks them to think of it one number at a time then sucessfully divulges the PIN simply by watching the subconscious movements their fingers make when they are thinking of the number.

Greyhound Dogtrack Ticket
Derren takes a visit to the dog races in this trick. He puts a bet on with one of the bookies, however his dog doesn’t win. He takes the ticket to the counter and presents it to the person serving. The person returns him the ticket saying it’s not the winning one. Derren then slaps the side of the counter and says “This is the winning ticket” – amazingly this time the person serving looks at the ticket and agrees, giving him the money.

Sensing Energy
Derren is behind a screen and senses energy eminating from a spectators hand. He is able to determine which of his own hands they are holding their hand over. Eventaully he gets it wrong but takes the participants hand and gives a reading about they family, jobs and pets.

Toothache & Anaesthetic
Derren creates a feeling of toothache with medical students, and then anaesthetises one student’s hand to allow him to pass a needle through pinched skin.

Advertising Design Prediction
Derren Brown predicts the design for advert created by advertising executives for his fictional chain of taxidermy stores offering subliminal suggestion as the reason behind their design. The amazing thing is that both designers made very similar designs due to suggestions they received during a cab ride.

Boxer Can’t Lift Girl

Derren stands with a little girl and a strong boxer. Through a process of suggestion he prevents the boxer from being able to lift the girl.

Cutting Cards
During the DVD Mindcontrol Derren Brown demonstrates an ability to quickly cut a particlar number of cards from a deck.

Body Reading
Darren manages to read the bodylanguage of people walking in the street and determine their jobs as well as their career aspriations.

Paper, Scissors, Stone
Derren visits Millwall football club and plays tic tac toe with the supporters. He gets it right every time, then he demonstrates how he can deliberatley lose as well. One of the best Derren Brown Tricks.

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