Bryan Bateman wrote:
I have only seen Derren Brown a couple of times, he's interesting but I'm not a particular fan. He's an illusionist come hypnotist come magician type chap. I did happen to see the program with the instant conversion. If I remember, he went around pretending to be a faith healer to convert people. From what little I've seen he doesn't claim extraordinary powers, and often explains the logic behind his "tricks".
He seems to use a combination of verbal cues, gestures, good flowing read of people, etc. He's apparently into neuro-linguistic programming, some offshoot of Milton Method hypnosis, "mental magic", illusion, etc., all rolled into one. It's fun to watch. I certainly would never want to strike up a casual conversation with him.
But think about it for a minute. He is a master of establishing a relationship and using cues. In some place a couple of years ago, I remember reading something he said about the fact that every word, every gesture, every step of logic, etc., has been carefully thought out ahead of time so that he can do this stuff rapidly (the "stooge" has little chance). Some of the Chinese I've met are well aware of this part of human psychology and they would say that a teacher who does a lot of "no touch" controls and throws is just using "psychological power".
Now if you factor in this psychological-power stuff and you add in the ability to emit a little bit of a field (everyone can do it to some degree.... but with many people it is mostly psychological stuff)... then suddenly you have sort of a combination of psychological control augmented in the cue stages by a little bit of emission. When you get that combination, many students/stooges will swear that there is something strange there. I think it's more of the combination I just mentioned, added into the fact that students tend to open themselves up to psychological manipulation with a teacher, making it pretty easy.