Interesting discussion on the JREF today. One poster complained that Derren Brown as was “bad as Uri Geller” – not sure how bad that is meant to be! -after he talked nonsense about how he did the Lottery trick that intrigued the nation, rather than revealing how he did it. ( I think I know how he did it, but I’m not saying!) Anyway, I don’t believe a word Derren Brown offers as explanation in his book or in his TV shows for how he does his tricks. BUT I’m not sure that is a bad thing. He is an entertainer. He entertains.
His book is a cracking read, and I recommend it, but I would not take it too seriously!
I was down the pub Thursday night, and I made a shot glass pass through the solid table while people watched. (OK it was under a napkin at the time it dematerialized, but everyone will tell you it happened.) I was asked how I did it, so I whittered about Planck, atomic structures, poltergeist effects and materialization mediumship, and repeated the trick twice more while they watched. I di it again at the Two Pigs on Saturday, unfortunately knocking over my drink all over myself and soaking my friends in the process.
Yes it was a trick. Of course it was a trick. Everyone knew it was a trick, Everyone knew my patter on how I did it was complete nonsense. But it was fun.
And I never did reveal the secret. Am I bad a person for this? If anyone had started to embrace a paranormal belief system on the strength of my conjuring trick I would have immediately said “hey, this is how I did it.” (The trick is more Tommy Cooper than David Cooperfield, so no one was really going to be seriously impressed!) As it was I told those who asked where they could buy a book where they could learn many much better tricks. But was my fake parapsi patter (and being actively involved in parapsychology I like to think I do it well) really immoral? Do I not have a responsibility to protect the intellectual property of the designers of magic tricks?
I sypathise with those annoyed with Deren Brown, because he said he would reveal how he did it, and he did not, but I can’t believe anyone would take Brown’s ‘explanations’ remotely seriously?