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DOCUMENTARIES – FROM MAY 10TH

Posted in Derren's Posts

Posted by Derren Brown April 28, 2010 at 4:31 pm

Starting on May 10th, your blogger presents 3 documentaries on C4 under the title ‘Derren Brown Investigates’ (a title I’m slightly unconvinced by but I couldn’t think of a better one). In each, I spend time with someone making paranormal claims, observing their world, looking at the weight of evidence for and against.

There are three documentaries: one with a British psychic medium, another with a ghosthunter from the US, and a third concerns a Russian system of human development that claims to ‘cure’ blindness. Each has quite a different feel.

I have approached these documentaries quite openly: as a magician, and someone steeped in the world of the paranormal, I would love to find something that I can’t explain. I remember a friend at University showing me an apparent demonstration of ‘Chi’ that got me giggly and excited for days: he folded a five pound note so that it could stand on its side on the table, then pointed his fingers at it rapidly, ‘willing’ it to move. It skittered across the table, and it did the same when I willed it to move too. When I didn’t want it to move, it didn’t. I was astounded, and it was only when I started showing it to other people that I realised (as did they, only more quickly than I did), that the movement was caused by the rapid air propulsion that accompanied the short, quick, two-handed pointing gesture. When I didn’t do it with ‘intention’ (as I was instructed) my movement was of course slacker and the note didn’t budge. I had been fooled (innocently, by someone who had clearly believed the ‘Chi’ explanation), and had fooled myself. Interestingly, it was probably because my friends knew me as a magician that they saw through it immediately: they were on the lookout for other possible explanations, and this mindset provided the correct answer pretty quickly. My desire to believe, and my sheer excitement at finding something that seemed to be ‘real’, had stopped me from taking a step back and reconsidering.

I approached each of these situations with a balance: of a hope to be convinced, and an understanding of how easily we can be duped. It was a fascinating journey. One curious point is the way that scepticism is absolutely seen as the enemy by many of these practitioners. Possibly this is a point of confusion on their part: scepticism is only about reserving judgement until the evidence is weighed, as opposed to cynicism, which is blinkered by pre-supposing falsehood. One would like to think that paranormal practitioners would have faith in their evidence and would then welcome a ‘sceptical’ approach. I think that most well-meaning practitioners, who genuinely believe that they have real evidence, do welcome such an approach. Many see some sort of intellectual rigour as an important component of discernment. Many welcome tests, others mock them (in the same way, I imagine, that many religious believers approach the question of God with a desire to understand intellectually the theological issues at hand, whereas others would find such things largely irrelevant to the question of living in their faith). Plenty of practitioners would call themselves ‘sceptical’, for to profess no scepticism at all is to suggest that one will simply believe anything.

As the spotlight falls on the importance of evidence, many people who mock believers imply that those who work with the ‘paranormal’ are not interested in the importance of evidence, as if it were something only the ‘rational’ side of the argument is capable of understanding. I think this is patronising and unfair. We all form our beliefs based on evidence and according to some private rationale: the question is more about the type of evidence being used. The ghost-hunter with whom I spent a week had a basement full of tens of thousands of spirit photographs and EVPs (audio recordings of ghosts). He knew what to look for to pick out a real one, or a fake, and knew when to reserve judgement. His life has centered around collecting evidence. Of course, someone else may put their hand up and say ‘But isn’t it all the same kind of evidence? Just a great collection?’ Here is an important difference between the way that a scientist and a believer classically approach evidence: the ‘true’ scientist tries to disprove what he believes, whereas the ‘true’ believer tends to look for evidence that confirms it. This allows us to be comfortable that the scientist’s conclusions are based on more solid ground.

If the scientific approach seems lifeless to many, that’s because the natural human tendency is to do the opposite and look for things that confirm what we already believe: it takes discipline to test against what we think might be true. There’s a great test where two groups of people are asked to interview person X one at a time to find out if he’s introvert,or extrovert, depending on the group. People routinely ask only questions that support what they’re looking for: the group checking for introversion ask ‘Do you like sitting at home reading?’, ‘Do you enjoy being on your own?’, whereas the group looking for extroversion ask questions like, ‘Do you like going to parties?’. The result? The first group come out deciding that yes, X is an introvert. The second group come out convinced the same person is an extrovert. It’s meaningless on both counts! Everyone has looked for confirmation and found it, within the complex personality of person X (which will contain both introvert and extrovert elements). No-one thinks of asking the only useful questions: the ones that test against what they think might be true. Only when the people looking for introversion start asking questions like, ‘Do you like going to parties?’, or when the ‘extrovert’ group ask to what extent X enjoys sitting at home reading, can they really start drawing a fair conclusion regarding his personality. Otherwise it’s a given they’ll just confirm what they already suspect is true. It’s called ‘confirmation bias’ and is something we all have hard-wired into us. It’s the shortest and most reliable way to finding meaningless but comforting evidence.

There is the Wason Card Problem, which works on a similar principle. Four cards are laid out in front of you, labeled A, B, 1, 2. It is suggested that ‘every card with a vowel on one side has an even number on the other side’. You have to see if this is true by flipping over as few cards as possible. Which ones do you turn over? Have a think.

Most people would flip over the even number 2 and the vowel A to see if it’s true. This seems to make sense, surely? But turning these cards does not give you the answer. By flipping over these two cards you are only looking for what you think is already true. And you don’t learn anything. To find out if it’s true, you have to try to disprove the statement. So you have to flip the A (to see if it has an even number) but then you have to flip the 1, because if this has a vowel on the other side you’ll know the statement is wrong. This is the counter-intuitive leap that people miss. They flip the 2 instead of the 1, even though nothing has been said about an even number having to have a vowel on the back. To find out if something is true, you have to look for the existence of contrary evidence, not just look for confirmation. Helpful evidence comes in the form of events that challenge and shake us: not in the endless things we can find to support what we already believe.

To be truly open minded is the equivalent of asking person X both the introvert and extrovert questions. The trouble is, when you’re dealing with areas of belief, it’s wearying and annoying to people to ask them questions which do not support their belief. Some find it downright offensive. It can feel rather like someone asking you for evidence that your partner does NOT love you, I’d imagine. It must seem like the worst sort of negative nit-picking, and not surprisingly leads to a frustrated cry of ‘Why over-analyse? Why can’t you just accept it?’ This is a (perfectly understandable) response from someone being asked endless questions they find annoyingly pedantic. But if you step out of the immediate personal situation, it is sometimes important to ask those questions. It would be stupid and annoying to be asked that about your partner if you had no reason to suspect that he or she didn’t love you, but it might be rather useful if you had every reason to suspect the relationship was a sham. Equally, a person might deeply hold the belief that he can fly, but it would make sense to make him look at evidence to the contrary before he jumps out of his bedroom window, regardless of how annoying such ‘nit-picking’ might be to him.

Likewise, it is sometimes important to ask questions that are going to seem nit-picky to practitioners of the paranormal. While a psychic undoubtedly brings huge comfort to many people, the picture is not always so rosy. Many clients get quite hooked on the process, often being charged more and more for private readings, and if it was the case that the psychic was a fraud, it would be worth knowing about. A friend of mine related that he went to see a psychic for many months as a teenager, with fees increasing from £40 to £150 a time (a huge amount for him to pay), and was one day asked to jot down some questions in a pad the psychic provided. He flipped the page and saw carbon paper a couple of pages down. Heartbroken but intrigued, he continued with the session, and later watched the psychic pretend to divine the information she was secretly reading from the carbon copy. This ploy may be unusually brazen, or quite common in that world, it’s impossible to quantify. In other cases a medium may be well-meaning but self-deluded and not really in touch with your relatives, or the ghost hunter may deeply but mistakenly believe that the symptoms of a person’s schizophrenia are demonic, or that night-terrors are caused by visiting spirits. Here it is trickier: is not ‘false’ hope  still hope and ‘false’ comfort still comfort? Some take the hard line: rid the world of this rubbish and everyone will benefit. It can only ever be better to deal with the fact your loved ones are gone, than to believe false information. And what decent person decides that their lies are what people need to hear to feel better? I understand this reasoning, and I find it hard to argue against it. Perhaps it is just my indecisive nature, but something in its lack of sensitivity bothers me. I even understand where the harshness comes from: to be outspoken and sceptical is to relentlessly bang your head against a brick wall. The world will always prefer the emotional shiver of the paranormal to what seems like nit-picking from the rationalists, even though the science may point to a level of understanding of this world and each other far more fascinating than a psychic’s strange, loose pronouncements about distant realms.

The now well-known line ‘Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence’ should be a mantra for those interested in the paranormal: if I believe in Father Christmas and you do not, it is I that must come up with the evidence, not you. You do not need to prove that Father Christmas does not exist in order to fairly presume that he does not. Our beliefs are NOT equally weighted in terms of the need for evidence to back them up. The same goes for any paranormal or religious belief: if you expect your big claim to be taken seriously by the rest of the world, you will need big evidence. To provide flimsy evidence (normally based on confirmation bias) is not good enough, and to point at the non-believer and claim he’s just as ‘blinkered’ in his non-belief is nonsense: as daft as my accusation to you that you are blinkered in not believing in Father Christmas, and smugly pointing out that you can’t prove he doesn’t exist. It’s worth being clear on that: it’s up to those making the ‘supernatural’ or extraordinary claims to provide the evidence.

This, again, is balanced with my innate urge as a magician to discover real magic. I am approaching each of the subjects with a wish for it all to be true, and for my reservations to be proved ungrounded. ‘Show me the evidence, please convince me’, is my attitude: not because I am some arbiter of truth and falsehood, or that my opinion matters much in the world, but because I know how we can fake and be fooled, what level and type of evidence is needed, and because to many, these are deeply important matters.

True, I would hope that our loved ones in the Happy Summerland could be coaxed into imparting more useful insights than the fumbling non-sequiturs and platitudes they tend to offer through mediums, but how amazing if it could be, or was being, done for real. Or to really see a ghost: plenty of bright and solid people have tales of encounters, how wonderful that would be. I really don’t know what I would make of it. I imagine I would feel the excitement I felt as a student, at seeing a five pound note shoot across a table because I willed it to.

COMMENTS
April 28, 2010 at 4:51 pm
Waq says:

I love your thinking behind the difference between skepticism and cynicism. Great points and I’m looking forward to watching the shows.


April 28, 2010 at 4:59 pm
Dmaco says:

Father Christmas IS real! hes tracked by satellite on his rounds every christmas eve!

Really looking forward to these documentaries! mostly the ghost one.

x


April 28, 2010 at 5:00 pm
sfjhnoifkjn says:

Good read, I am looking forward to your documentaries. Maybe some surprises…
I myself believe in telekenises; a science behind it with my own evidence.
But maybe I should look more into aspects of trying to prove it wrong…


April 28, 2010 at 5:04 pm

Wow, what a most wonderfully worded blog posting, Derren. Brilliantly put.

Of course it’s true that evidence is always necessary to back-up any claim. Like with anything in life, you need proof.
My sister & husband lived in a haunted flat. They saw numerous sightings of the ghost of a lady who had died there previously in a fire. A lot of the time they chose not to share what they had seen apart, they waited until later in the day & ‘compared notes’ (always the same). I never liked the atmosphere in the flat myself, was cold & unwelcoming. But they have no evidence to support this. Just their word.

I saw a psychic once who said the words “to the believer no evidence is needed, to the non-believer no evidence is enough”. Not sure that’s entirely true, is it?

LC x


April 28, 2010 at 5:06 pm

Oh and btw, am VERY much looking forward to watching these documentaries, Derren. The trailer for the first one looks brilliant!! :)
I hope to try and get my Mum to watch them cos she is a complete believer in all of this. Hopefully it may open her eyes a little bit……

Take care

LC x


April 28, 2010 at 5:13 pm
Flapjack says:

Father Christmas couldn’t exist, as he could never go through that many national borders in one night with a huge sackful of undeclared toys with no export licence, passport or visa and eight unquaranteened reindeer without being busted at least 200 times over by international border control. You couldn’t do that journey in under 8 hours.
And that’s before we get to the suspect ‘snow’ residue on his collar. Either he doesn’t exist or he must’ve been arrested by now.


April 28, 2010 at 5:20 pm
Charlie says:

i can’t wait sure it will be as good as all your other shows, this kind of stuff really intrests me so i know i will love it.


April 28, 2010 at 5:38 pm
katy says:

sounds interesting (:


April 28, 2010 at 5:40 pm
Eben says:

Nicely written insightful piece. You must have read some Nassim N Taleb – Fooled by Randomness etc? If not I highly encourage you to do so :)


April 28, 2010 at 5:42 pm
Stevie says:

Fantastic post, I’m really looking forward to these documentaries.
Teehee, “Derren Brown Investigates”. A perfectly good title I think…if a little ITV….


April 28, 2010 at 5:51 pm

As ever Derren, the nail is hit on the head. I really look forward to this series – although I think people who believe in this stuff will never allow their minds to be changed, sadly. And so their hard-earned cash and/or grief may well still be squandered by charlatans.


April 28, 2010 at 6:01 pm
Beth Anderson says:

I am sure this will be amazing. Something to cheer me up after the election results, maybe? :)

P.S. Please tell me that this mysterious “British psychic medium” is Derek Acorah! Scamming recently bereaved people out of money and dignity… tut tut.


April 28, 2010 at 6:03 pm
Nicki says:

Verrrrrrrrrry interesting indeed, and I shall be glued to the telly for those!

Came to last Thursday’s show at Woking by the way and it was fantastic – thanks so much Derren for a brilliant evening! x


April 28, 2010 at 6:08 pm
Rhian says:

Wonderful insight as ever. I hope a lot of people who are taken in by such claims watch! x


April 28, 2010 at 6:12 pm
Stephen says:

A thorough journal entry, full of useful logic and critical thinking. If any practitioner of psychic arts was able to reliably demonstrate and repeat their demonstration under test conditions, they would be eligible for James Randi’s $1million prize. Somehow, no one quite thinks through your logical processes above thoroughly enough in order to claim it. I shall watch the documentaries with interest.


April 28, 2010 at 6:26 pm
Valda says:

A nicely long read – and very helpful for my upcoming homework (gonna do a persuasive presentation against psychics, astrologers & so on). Thank you for the thoughts shared.
And my feet are now starting to quiver excitedly, waiting for the new watchinings (the new DVD release as well!)


April 28, 2010 at 6:36 pm

I keep re-reading one sentence, and I would like it to be the case, would like it to be true:

“It’s up to those making the ’supernatural’ or extraordinary claims to provide the evidence.”

I nod, I say OF COURSE. And then I frown – and I don’t know why. I might overgeneralize, might apply this to a way to broad context… Maybe it’s BECAUSE I quote it out of context that it doesn’t apply… : if the Catholic girl next door says JESUS IS EVIDENCE… – - – My mind goes into a circle.

Yes.

Yes, it is up to those making the big claim to provide the big evidence.
What the word “evidence” actually refers to – is another story.

A very good read, Mr. Brown. Well-rounded. Thank you.


April 28, 2010 at 6:49 pm
Rajkid says:

The trailer for this looks really interesting, and I like how when you’d asked him if he was a fraud he got really defensive and angry about name calling.

The link from Philis’ twitter for anyone interested.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mqLJhW9RKiE


April 28, 2010 at 7:21 pm
Rob says:

Just watched a short vid on TED.com from James Randi about this stuff, great!
Looking forward to it Derren as I can show the kids in school it and get them while they’re young!
Convincing adults is harder!
Best of luck with it!
How about ‘Derren Brown – Godless’! :o)
Rob.


April 28, 2010 at 7:24 pm
roz says:

well, ya coulda called it “a magician among the spirits”. HAHA!


April 28, 2010 at 7:26 pm
Rebekah says:

Vary nice Mr Brown.
Do you also find it interesting that the people who believe in mediumship can’t seep to grasp the difference between the two options of ‘yes there is an afterlife and no we can’t talk to the dead’ and ‘yes there is an afterlife and yes we can talk to the dead’ the third of course being there is no afterlife. From my experience with speaking to ‘mediums’ they only see the options of ‘yes there is an afterlife and yes we can talk to the dead’ and no afterlife at all.(I will admit this is from my own anecdotal experience from specking to medium in the south bay of LA, California.)


April 28, 2010 at 7:28 pm
Rebekah says:

And also How many people go back and recheck that the original tellers of a ghost story still believe there own story. In my early teen I had a ‘demon’ experience I woke up in the night to blood red eyes at the end of my bed, in the same spot I had been playing with a home made Ouija board and pushing it to freak out this girl. We were moving to there was nothing at all on the shelves of that wall. I could not find an explanation other than a supernatural one… till about 3 months ago. I was setting up new shelves and left the room for dinner. When I came back and just before I turned on the lights I saw those red eyes…it was my cat sit on the empty shelf I discovered when I got the nirve to turn the light on. I have had cats as pets since I was 4.

(con)


April 28, 2010 at 7:28 pm
Rebekah says:

(con)

I had told my demon story for 16 years. No one one ever re-asked me if I still believed My father was the only one to ever question if the explanation was true. (His stance was he could not disprove it, but there was not enough evidence to prove it.) I will bet you my story is still being told, and with no one questing how will it be stopped.


April 28, 2010 at 7:29 pm
Mr N says:

I reckon Derren should investigate this guy who went on about ‘deep maths’ to predict the lottery numbers.

- OH YES THANK YOU VERY MUCH!!! – Phillis


April 28, 2010 at 7:46 pm
Rob says:

You echo my viewpoint almost exactly.
Most modern technology is ‘magical’. Magic is often ‘an effect I cannot understand, one I did not expect or predict’. As soon as it is normal and understood, it ceases to be magic. Just like revealing the workings of a trick. So no magic is ever possible, except as a trick. (Like D. O’Briain said about alternative medicine – when proved it becomes ‘just medicine’).
If there is an afterlife, and physicists develop a technique for communicating across the divide, it could no longer be mysterious.

“Dad, it’s the phone”
“Which one? it’s not grandma again, is it? Wish they’d never invented that bloody thing…”

You really write beautifully. Can’t express my point in 800 characters. Not as eloquent.


April 28, 2010 at 7:55 pm
jameshogg says:

You make an excellent point about how it can be seen as ‘patronizing and unfair’ when people who, self-proclaim I might add, that they are rational and therefore are the only people who can think ‘correctly’.

Imagine a high-school science teacher who bitterly points out every mistake a religious but genuinely curious student makes in class, just because he/she is raising his/her hand with what we might see as ‘stupid questions’, completely ignoring the idea that asking questions is already a big step forward. That student may indeed see science as mean and uninteresting and perhaps lose interest and cling to the comfort the faith offers. ‘New-Athiests/Skeptics’ take note: Richard Dawkins would not approve of this kind of intellectual bullying when teaching the wonders of science.


April 28, 2010 at 7:56 pm
jameshogg says:

(Sorry for double post but I really want this last point in: )

Just because you are the classroom-nerd-know-it-all doesn’t mean your knowledge will shield you from your inability to be socially and educationally appealing.


April 28, 2010 at 8:01 pm
Nicole says:

”:as daft as my accusation to you that you are blinkered in not believing in Father Christmas, and smugly pointing out that you can’t prove he doesn’t exist”…..Touché ;)

Brilliantly worded, Truly fascinating xx


April 28, 2010 at 8:03 pm
zorger says:

Wait a sec, are you forming some kind Buffy style Scooby Gang? If so where do I sign up!

There are common threads that run through all beliefs that stand in contrast to verifiable, repeatable evidence. They are easier to spot within fringe systems. What would happen if we were to bend them backward into support of rationalism?


April 28, 2010 at 8:27 pm
Peter says:

I do believe .. in the power of the mind. Imagine .. the mind’s powers .. they keep boosting the body … to the max at times .. imagine that power outside the body .. you no longer in control .. Is it only the other mind that is registratin that what shoots out of your .. let’s say .. eyes/mouth/fist via eyes, ears .. body .. or is there a faster interaction .. as some think it might be in the womb in a foetus ..

Psychoses .. polter geists .. ghosts … What is truth? That what we cling on to to keep the world (the world we created) running the way it is. Can we live without believing? Nope, we can’t. We do believe in the world most of us have accepted as the normal world. We have no real choice. Different worlds don’t combine so well. Having two worlds inside can work ..


April 28, 2010 at 8:53 pm
amy says:

i went to see derek acorah recently and everyone there looked like they should be in jeremy kyles audience, except me obvs


April 28, 2010 at 9:01 pm
Emily says:

Great piece. It is always a problem proving something that is statistically significant at 0.05. I’m working on it with my necklace predicting babies sexes. 8/8 so far. Another 87 right out of 100 and I’ll publish. The trouble is I’m not sure these things fit with science enough of the time to ever be proven scientifically true.


April 28, 2010 at 9:03 pm
Ginger says:

Great read and oh, I do agree with you about a lack of sensitivity being quite bothering, Mr. Brown!
To clarify I do think that making people believe that you can actually connect with the person they’ve just lost so you can take their money is simply cruel but then again I can’t see the real reason (other then self-righteousness) for crushing their hope for their close ones being somehow present in their life. And I’ve seen people doing that quite a lot while the idea itself as long as it doesn’t turn to some kind of obsession seems quite harmless to me and if it makes the whole tragedy easier for them… shouldn’t we just let them have at least that?


April 28, 2010 at 9:45 pm
Rob says:

Just accept my application to be on the show, mess with my head in a darkened room and then afterwards we can chat (however briefly) about life, art and magic. Please. Go on.
Love the point about scepticism versus cynicism. Very true.
Also, confirmation bias and statistical analysis should be taught in schools.
Just the basics.


April 28, 2010 at 10:08 pm
Stephen Bannister says:

I think that the biggest question has yet to be answered.
Why are all mediums gay?
And don’t give me any of that Derek Acorah is married rubbish.
Before you all say it, I know Derren is gay too. I was just wondering and I feel it is important.

Stephen


April 28, 2010 at 10:23 pm
Lucy says:

Derren,
Easily one of the most elegant pieces of writing that I have had the pleasure in reading in some time. I myself would love some day to be convinced by some of the beliefs that fascinate me so much but until then I shall have to be content with quietly respecting, studying and questioning.Many years ago it was predicted that modernization would force the gods into retirement allowing human beings to behave rationally no longer shackled to the supernatural.I doubt this day shall come and I hope that it does not because what a sad world it would be. What has been achieved though is the ability for such beliefs to be questioned,and rightly so and therefore as always I cannot wait for the new show, guaranteed intellect, talent, wit and great suits! us lady’s are gutted Mr Brown…


April 28, 2010 at 10:30 pm
Judith Carey says:

Wow Derren I can’t wait to see these as I too am very sceptical when it comes to things like this. I do get spooked at certain things but then I always try and rationalise it. I don’t believe in ghosts but I ever saw one or evidence of it then like you I would believe it. So very much looking forward to them :) x


April 28, 2010 at 10:46 pm

This is way too intelligent for me, it hurts my brain, doh x


April 28, 2010 at 11:01 pm
Pamplemousse says:

if its half as good as ‘Father Dowling Investigates’ then I’ll be happy


April 28, 2010 at 11:45 pm
Thistooshallpass says:

Really looking forward to seeing these documentaries Derren and thank you so much for such an interesting post….you’ve got me thinking that’s for sure lol


April 28, 2010 at 11:47 pm
crae says:

Great post, many useful insights as usual. These posts are the reason I keep coming back to this web site. Thank you.


April 29, 2010 at 12:09 am
mike says:

So soon after wishing, on another thread, that you would be on tv more – you announce a new show starting soon.
I wish you would send me all your money.


April 29, 2010 at 12:12 am
Jackqueenking56 says:

Question everything. It’s how we learn. Belief is a tricky one. I was once told by a ‘Grown up’ in Sunday school that the world was created in 7 days. I sat there, listened, & couldn’t rationalise this because other ‘Grown ups’ had taught me otherwise. So I put my hand up & said ‘How is this possible?’ He couldn’t answer my question. I remember the irritated look on his face. Sufficed to say I stopped going. I then learned other ‘Grown up’ stories about Ghosts, ESP Etc Etc, although fascinated, I declared ‘I can’t believe that, till I see for myself’. I then ‘Grew Up’ & low behold, I beheld. This left me with more questions, & the thought that ‘If ‘Grown Ups’ have taught me all that I am now aware of, how can I possibly believe anything’. So the questions continued…


April 29, 2010 at 12:29 am
Jackqueenking56 says:

And the theories continued. All in all, questioning is all I have, the rest is just the thoughts, feelings, opinions, & beliefs of others. I left experience out, because anothers experience to me is exactly those things, so all I can do is question them. What I have learned is that once you begin to take on the thoughts & opinions of others, your perspective is no longer your own.

I’m looking forward to watching the thoughts, opinions, feelings & beliefs of these ‘Grown ups’ in May. I do love a good bedtime story. ;)


April 29, 2010 at 12:44 am
The Mole says:

I have thought Mr Brown before, that by being dismissive, you really are seeking some understanding of something more. One day, maybe it’ll find you if you’re open to it.


April 29, 2010 at 9:37 am
Peter says:

Mr. Brown made the extraordinary claim that he could predict the lottery. Then he provided the extraordinary evidence by actually doing it. It is hard to tell whether or not something is evidence is it not?

- Apart from when someone tells you it’s a trick in the first place? – Phillis


April 29, 2010 at 10:58 am
Josh says:

About the A B 1 2 card test, there is a flaw – which is the outcome. You’re trying to prove that cards with an even number DO have a vowel on the otherside, which is a confirmation test – which requires doing an IF X then Y test. By flipping A and 1, you’re not disproving the statement – you’re proving or disproving that odd numbers CAN have a vowel on the other side, this doesn’t prove whether or not vowels and even numbers *aways* come together – which is what the test was asking for.

What turning over 1 does is it asks the question of whether IF X then Y is an important statement, or whether a similar statement can be made about the odd numbers and the statement is generally meaningless.


April 29, 2010 at 11:02 am
Berber Anna says:

Rob: Very true on the tech magic thing. My dad has always marveled at the fact that his mom managed to drive a car without knowing — or WANTING to know — how the mechanics of it work. As a result, while I do not drive a car, I have a pretty good understanding of why it does what it does. :P
I like the way he raised me. Ask, ask, ask and FIND OUT how things work (unless keeping the mystery is preferable, as with magic — well as far as he’s concerned :P ). That way, the world makes a LOT more sense.


April 29, 2010 at 11:05 am
Josh says:

I’d also like to pull the correlation != causality argument out of the bed. We have a very small sample size, just because our findings currently put there to be a correlation between WHEN EVEN = TRUE then VOWEL = TRUE, that doesn’t prove that having an even number is the cause of a vowel appearing. As you proved with the coin tossing test – you take a large enough sample and you’ll find however many vowel/even number examples in a row as you want.


April 29, 2010 at 11:10 am
Josh says:

…admittedly, regarding my first comment, if you’re testing [ IF VOWEL = TRUE then EVEN = TRUE ] AND [ IF EVEN = TRUE then VOWEL = TRUE ] so that you’re testing the reverse as well as former, then naturally turning over 1 would disprove the above statement. Also, apologies for simmering down the whole thing to a syntax that more suits a computer argument, but I find it’s much easier to express that sort of argument in those terms as it means you dont’ mince words.


April 29, 2010 at 11:31 am
chantelle says:

now that was very fascinating to read i must say!!!

i am looking forward to watching these shows of yours, I have always studied the paranormal & all that kinda thing with a bit of a scepticism, i do not believe wholly or disbelieve, i have yet to find anything that convinces me either way, but It would be good to find solid eveidence either way.

I remember as a child I was lying alone in bed & it was pretty dark, there was only a small bit of light in the room from under the door and as I was lying there I saw what seemed to be a person all green coloured floating above me, it startled me enormously and once it went away i rushed downstairs to my mother shaking and screaming.

I told mum all about it and despite this (shall we call it? ghost thing) being green, I could describe


April 29, 2010 at 11:34 am
chantelle says:

the colour of his eyes, hair and clothing and say a lot about his appearance, my mother said it sounded like my grandad (her dad) who had died some 10 years before I was born.

I had never seen a photo of my grandad as he didn’t like his photo taken & there was only one remaining photo of him that was sneakily taken but had been missing a long time which my grandma owned.

i did see the photo of him when it was found many years later but i had forgotten what this “ghost” had looked like by then.

I have always tried to dismiss this experience as a child, I have never truly believed it was more than a sensitive childs over active imagination, but there has been a little part of me that has wanted to believe it could’ve been real!!!


April 29, 2010 at 12:30 pm

My sister hadnt long died, when i came home from school one day for dinner with my friend Debbie, we were playing some records in my room before going back to school, when we came out of my room just about to go down stairs there was this sound from my mums room, we both looked at my mums room at the same time, i said did you hear that to debbie, who looked terrified and told me to hurry up down stairs, the sound was a very very sad cry of a young girl, very loud and clear, i know it was my sister crying for my mum, ive never told my mum, and i never want hear it again, ive had loads more experiences since, not cause i want to either x EXPLAIN THAT …….


April 29, 2010 at 12:41 pm
Baqueta says:

Great article, I’m looking forward to the documentaries and the 2nd book even more now!

Regarding this bit: “Some take the hard line: rid the world of this rubbish and everyone will benefit… I understand this reasoning, and I find it hard to argue against it.”

My problem with the ‘hard liners’ in this sense is the presumption that they know what’s best for everyone. If someone wants to believe in ghosts/psychic powers/etc. then as long as they’re doing no harm then where’s the problem? Of course some believers might (inadvertently or not) do ‘harm’, but there’s a lot of grey area and classifying something as harmful or not is often a subjective viewpoint. The hard liners would get rid of all the grey areas too and that seems a little callous to me. Baron Münchhausen anyone?


April 29, 2010 at 2:27 pm
cindy says:

I am Sorry,but I was under the impression that the Russian documentary was cancelled.It is very upsetting to lose a loved one so I hope you can have empathy for others.Of course one has to accept it but it,s a slow and painful process.You can see to some point why people go to others for help even if it;s false hope!Sometimes it is difficult to “just accept it”.Sorry to go on!


April 29, 2010 at 5:25 pm
Emily H says:

Just wondering what time these beautiful shows will air on our TVs? Probably after the watersheds right? :-)


April 29, 2010 at 5:40 pm
Jimmy says:

Interesting as usual Mr Brown. Am I right in thinking these so called psychic/mediums are well read in NLP?


April 29, 2010 at 6:11 pm
emma says:

tut tut derren brown,you should have been rehearsing for my show at this time :)it was spectacular by the way,when you perform events like the being glued to your seat,it doesnt work for me,and your comment just sparked a thought in my mind,even though at your show i saw the evidence of somthing similar,i still couldnt give into the belief that it might actually occur.is this because of self consciousness associated with finding something you’ll regret,or is it because of fear that you surrender to,or even losing control over yourself and as a consequence losing your private self, becoming detached from the mind,even if it is for a short while.do these types of hypnosis not work on certain people because they are sceptics or because theyre afraid?doesnt some belief also blossom from fear?


April 29, 2010 at 11:00 pm
David says:

My big beef with ‘phychic mediums’ is quite simply this : If I really genuinely could talk to the dead and relay ‘messages’ to people from their deceased relatives, I’d do it for free!

The fact that these guys are standing up there convinced of their own so called abilities, taking these poor saps’ money and lying to their faces I find very upsetting.

A good read tho DB, looking forward to the shows!


April 29, 2010 at 11:29 pm

Hi Derren

Thank you for a brilliant show the other evening at the Alexandra in Birmingham. I loved it and it was a pleasure to meet you afterward too – Nice cap by the way (Yes you remember now)

Brilliant keep up the great work and I cannot wait for the next “Fix” in fact I might even go and see the show again.

Looking forward to you “Derren Brown investigates” series too, which i have only just this second found out about

Thanks again

John


April 30, 2010 at 8:12 am
spiderabc1 says:

Best news of the year so far! Feel like I’ve been told off for my anger, insensitivity and unfairness just because I know it’s made up. No need for emotion to get in the way.


April 30, 2010 at 8:38 am
spiderabc1 says:

@Emily – Derren’s coin tossing may help you. (Also 50/50 with heads and tails).


April 30, 2010 at 8:47 am
spiderabc1 says:

@ Emily – also do boys lay higher up? It may be you are getting familiar with positioning. And they way you hold the necklace and ‘channel’ your own energy/opinions


April 30, 2010 at 10:20 am
Rob says:

Berber Anna- thank you. I try to instill the same attitude in my kids, although tbh most kids are naturally curious, unless they are encouraged or forced not to question things by their faith, culture or technology. Each faith viewpoint seems to have a ‘doubting Thomas’ story to scare questions away.


April 30, 2010 at 5:38 pm
Greg says:

Good points, well made here Derren.

I think the notions of what is ‘evidence’ and ‘extraordinary’ will still be contentious though and draw the real battle lines for this debate.

E.g. Cambridge scholar Rupert Sheldrake conducted controlled experiments into telepathic phenomena and gathered supporting evidence well above the chance level. Whilst this isn’t a definitive statement that ‘telepathy is real’ it is certainly suggestive that it may be the case.

However for his programme ‘Enemies of Reason’, Richard Dawkins said to Sheldrake that ‘extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence’ in reference to his work on telepathy. Sheldrake countered this by saying:


April 30, 2010 at 5:39 pm
Greg says:

“Most people say they have experienced telepathy, especially in connection with telephone calls. In that sense, telepathy is ordinary. The claim that most people are deluded about their own experience is extraordinary. Where is the extraordinary evidence for that?” (http://www.sheldrake.org/D&C/controversies/Dawkins.html)

According to Sheldrake, Dawkins – a Professor of Public Understanding of Science- wasn’t prepared to accept his peer reviewed evidence.

To me, this suggests that the ‘reality tunnel’ that we live in will still filter out contradictory evidence about our beliefs no matter how reasoned and scientific the type of evidence is.

But I totally endorse your comments that contradictory evidence must still be sought and I look forward to your programme.


May 1, 2010 at 9:09 am
Raymond says:

I do not want to push someone to do something ilegal, but I would love it when some of you would post it on youtube, we can’t receive C4 in The Netherlands not even on digital cable (arggghh!)


May 3, 2010 at 7:16 pm
David says:

“The now well-known line ‘Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence’ should be a mantra for those interested in the paranormal”; yes, but what dopes it actually mean?

If a claim is extraordinary (outside the scope of the ordinary), then necessarily any evidence for it is also extraordinary; if the evidence is ordinary, then anything it demonstrates is logically within the scope of the ordinary. If what is being claimed lies outside ordinary physical science, then its evidence is also likely to lie outside ordinary physical science; to demand evidence of any other sort is a category error, and a nonsense.

The phrase is a simple statement of the nature of the extraordinary; to take it to mean that you need somehow more impressive ordinary evidence is simply unreasonable.


May 3, 2010 at 7:38 pm
James says:

Derren Jesus Loves you!


May 4, 2010 at 4:16 pm
Ryanimal says:

It should read:

“There is the Wason Card Problem, which works on a similar principle. Four cards are laid out in front of you, labeled A, B, 1, 2. It is suggested that every card has a number on one side and a letter on the other. Which cards should you turn over in order to test the truth of the proposition ‘every card with a vowel on one side has an even number on the other side’?

Without the predicate “It is suggested that every card has a number on one side and a letter on the other,” the participant would have to turn over A, B, and 1. (If the card B had a vowel on the other side then the proposition ‘every card with a vowel on one side has an even number on the other side’ would be false.)

Excellant article nonetheless Mr. Brown. I look forward to watching your new series.


May 4, 2010 at 4:18 pm
Ryanimal says:

@Josh

The Wason Card Problem uses the “P->Q” argument.

P = is a vowel
Q = is an even number

You are confusing “P->Q” with “(P->Q)&(Q->P)”

Remember; P->Q =/= Q->P


May 5, 2010 at 12:33 am
paul says:

with regard to the person ,mentioning the show should be called magician amongst the spirits.there is a book called this,written by the late great houdini.he did the same thing decades ago.exposed countless meduims.sadly they can get away with fraud today as long as they put in small print for psychic entertainement purposes only.there is a thing called an eyes wide shut psychic,they are good, people readers,natural cold readers.however they truely believe that there talents are of a psychic nature and not psycological i look forward to the show.your blog though ,sounds just like houdini,i truely want to believe.i approach with an open mind etc.


May 5, 2010 at 10:55 pm
Paul says:

Do you want to go out for a drink one night?


May 10, 2010 at 2:33 am
Roy says:

I cannot wait for more DVB, YAY…

Just saw Mr Brown in bournemouth, awesome show… BIG-UPS all round.


May 10, 2010 at 4:31 pm
Warren Wright says:

Maybe there should be a real and scientifc ‘Ghost Show’ that goes out purely to prove the non existence of ghosts. The problem is would anyone watch?


May 10, 2010 at 10:57 pm
P Craddock says:

Watching your show tonight Derren about extraordinary claims with Liverpool’s Joe Power… just wanted to say, Absolutely BRILLIANT!!! cant wait for the next one.. !!


May 10, 2010 at 11:15 pm
sarah says:

such a shame derren chose a very poor medium/psychic to investigate. I didnt see a shred of evidence in Joe powers readings. as a medium myself (and not one that charges) i offer sitters names, cause of passing, evidential memories, the link of who spirit is ie. mother, daughter, age of passing & description of physical self. This is all basic stuff most ‘good’ mediums will be able to pass to the sitter with the help of spirit. Derren however did not do his research properly, a psychic and a medium are two very different things. Psychic is reading the energy of a person which EVERYONE can do. Mediumship is altering your vibrational energy level to connect with a higher vibration (ie that of spirit) and then be the ‘medium’ between the spirit and us on earth plane. Shame.


May 10, 2010 at 11:28 pm
Alex Varney says:

What I noticed about Joe, both times when he went to the two house readings, he instantly went to the toilet on both occasions. Could this have been an excuse to have a peek at family photos on show, so he could get off to a quick start when he returned to the readings, or was it a genuine bowel movement?


May 11, 2010 at 12:27 am
Greg says:

Sarah are you suggesting you would willingly undertake the test Derren proposed to Joe and that he turned down? Do you believe you would pass this test and offer actual evidence to back up your claims?

Excellent show, look forward to the next two.


May 11, 2010 at 12:49 am
Dani says:

Loved the show, Hve long been called insensative and faithless by friends and family for being skeptical. After making some of these people watch I just got feeedback there that “of course HE WAS a fake, I mean yer man was outrageous” this coming from someone who lives and dies for the “opinions” and “messages” from a lady who lives in a purple house and owns a lama. skeptisism works both ways it seems


May 11, 2010 at 12:54 am
Christian says:

Mr Brown…….if you really want to scientifically test the existence of another ‘realm’ then I would suggest looking into Outer Body Experiences / Astral projection…….place objects and the likes in a locked room and someone will be able to travel on another plane and see into the room….don’t waste your time with something you can’t prove !


May 11, 2010 at 8:50 am

It is Derren Brown week this week for me. Always look forward to new series and a good sceptical review of supposed paranormal phenomena is a juicy topic. On the subject of Joe’s bowel movements, I do wonder how Derren managed to resist the temptation to put up some fake family photos on the stairs or in the loo.

My other Derren Brown highlight for the week is the show tonight at Wimbledon. Looks like they won’t be filming tonght, so I won’t put on my glad rags…


May 11, 2010 at 9:27 am
Gav says:

A very interesting show, Derren did not go into the show to put down and try to only put his side but did show that he can get the same results, if not better, from cold reading and other skills. My problem, which sarah on this board has backed up, is that people who believe in paranormal/mediumship etc.. tend to move the goal posts when questions are asked. Joe last night told derren at the end that derren couldnt understand because he did not have the powers joe had. As joe did not really do a very good job, his show full of previous people he had done readings for, his sister living next door to the first lady he gave a reading to etc sarah has decided he is not a medium. why mediums need so much information from the sitters il never know


May 11, 2010 at 10:27 am
Tim Russell says:

Loved the show last night Derren. I thought the way you approached and talked about the matters at hand were brilliant, it really showed genuine impartiality on your part. I also really enjoyed your blog, you really do have a way with words! I also loved the way your thoughts on how extraordinary beliefs require extraordinary evidence linked into the documentary from last night, but also how the beliefs and principles apply to so much else within society. Eagerly awaiting the next documentary!


May 11, 2010 at 12:58 pm
playgirl says:

Loved the show last night. Found Joe to be completely laughable as a so-called medium! He was rude during his stage show when faultering “Have A Think About It”…And, now thanks to the show, his Cold-Calling has been made quite very obvious to anyone one in that town who was thinking of going to see him…5…Jimmy….Paul…Ring a bell, anyone? What a hack!
p.s Saw Derren in Woking recently, excellent show, keep on coming back! :)


May 11, 2010 at 2:41 pm
stan says:

From the world of twitter

@RealJoePower have to admit, that for the test it would have been fairer not for her to have seen derren.

@will_frost I’m with you, braw. He messed with her Chi and stuff.

Ahem.


May 11, 2010 at 2:44 pm
stan says:

darn, can’t be his real account, what a shame


May 11, 2010 at 5:44 pm
Chris says:

Hi, loved the programme last night.

One thing that struck me was that Joe Power had to go to the toilet every time he arrived at the house.

Any chance he was scouting around for photos?

Keep up the good work


May 11, 2010 at 10:25 pm
Johnny Legs says:

Hello all,

If I was dead and wanted to pass a message to a loved one, that message would not be that I came from a family of 5 or that I knew they drove a Mini. That guy was a shameless charlatan.

My message would be more along the lines of “Don’t you even think about sending my wedding ring to Cash4Gold” and “Those questionable videos you found in my bedroom aren’t mine”.

Idiot Powers’ outrageous guess that the Hollyoaks girl’s relationship ended due to an affair bombed, then the lame inferrence that perhaps she was victim to cheating was cringeworthy.

He should be embarrassed out of work, surely.


May 12, 2010 at 9:37 am
newsbuzzy says:

wow!!|

thats picture is amazing!!!


May 12, 2010 at 9:45 am
Paul says:

Regarding Joe’s ‘nipping to the toilet’. I think it could be risky if he was to go looking for photos etc, but he may still find interesting stuff, like medicines in the bathroom, just to add colour to his readings (‘Your mum wonders how your eyes are. Does that make any sense to you?’). Then again, we only saw a very limited sample of his visits, and it may have been coincidental.


May 12, 2010 at 10:07 am
Paul says:

On the ‘where’s the harm’ question regarding this kind of stuff, it’s simply the proliferation of ‘belief’ for comfort, without evidence. Sadly the labyrinthine connections of all these ideas that some find ready ‘validation’ for, doesn’t prevent them from voting, or having an influence on my life, and the lives of others.
For the most part, it’s all about the money, and as Derren mentions in his C4 interview, a good place to start would be the taxation of all the churches/religions. Remove the money from the equation, and we may just left with quaint, comforting ideas, with less incentive for the exploitation of vulnerable peoples ‘needs’.


May 12, 2010 at 3:57 pm
Rich, Sheffield says:

Darned enjoyable show, always good to destroy such lowlives as Powers (once a conman, always a conman I guess).

My only teeny criticism would be why he wasn’t given far more grief about his vile ‘what about the affair’ comment, after Derren had shown him up entirely. An utterly disgusting thing to do. Should have decked him quite frankly.

And, since people are on about Joes weak bladder – didn’t you notice Derren had to go too, in the first house I think it was.


May 12, 2010 at 6:20 pm
alison says:

Please read the merseyside skeptics website. This makes you realise just the kind of person Joe is!!


May 13, 2010 at 6:09 pm
Luke Gray says:

Great documentary. It’s interesting to see Derren go from one side of the fence to the other. 6 months ago he was trying to get the audience to believe him, believe he predicted the lottery, believe he could do all these things…and now he’s sitting with the audience, saying ‘how can we believe them? Look their evidence is completely flawed’. I wonder if Derren was inspired by the skepticism and cynicism he received after ‘The Event’s', to skepticize (That’s a word) other artists/entertainers/paranormalites. “Well if you think my thing was fake, look at what this fella’s doing!!’

Enjoyed the show, and I much prefer totally agreeing with Derren rather than agreeing with my friends who say it was camera trickery when talking about lottery balls.


May 13, 2010 at 9:20 pm

Derren has not changed sides. He has never claimed to be a psychic. He is a clever showman and knows all the tricks ued by those who try to persuade people of their ‘powers’. The man in touch with the dead- so claimed- was such an obvious fake. I was quite embarrassed for him. Why are the dead so boring? I am one of five/ six/ maybe I mean eight!
I suggest everyone reads Attack of the unsinkable Rubber Ducks by Christopher Brookmyre, a very good story about psychic cheats.


May 13, 2010 at 10:59 pm
Alan C says:

@Luke Gray, Derren always said it was a trick and that he couldn’t really tell the results of the lottery. Anyway enjoyed the show, could tell Joe Powers was a fake, how common are the names Paul and Jimmy in Liverpool? Also there are a huge amount of families with 5 people in them it’s all about averages and the going to the toilet I am sure he was having a snoop. Can’t wait for the ghost show as I have been on a ghost hunt , being the skeptic and not sure if I believed or not found it very interesting. The guide took us around and told us to investigate, then came back into the room and asked us what we found. A lot of us all came up with similar stories and then he told us the stories behind the ‘haunting’ and considering he hadn’t told us anything beforehand we all said similar things.


May 14, 2010 at 11:22 pm
Rory says:

That Joe Power chap wasn’t very nice was he? Do you think Derren would beat him in a staring competition? ‘Cos he was awfully good at not blinking.


May 16, 2010 at 1:50 am

I’m loving the series so far.


May 17, 2010 at 2:23 pm
Lee says:

Derren Brown investigates does sound a little like a little old lady investigating mysteries though – gotta love TV titles :)
Great show btw – where do you find these people to investigate? :D


May 17, 2010 at 4:44 pm
Martin Bird says:

Fascinating!
That was a good read and a great show!
But, HOW DID you say all that stuff about that girl without knowing her or being Psychic?
Im thinking youre not telling, but if You learned this skill,
then there must be a source of information about it somewhere?…?


May 18, 2010 at 12:42 pm
Mike says:

I watched both DB Investigates shows and the common theme is that not particularly well-off people are being fleeced and given false hopes by these cynical charlatans. The man from Liverpool came across as a thoroughly nasty piece of work, the Russian guy just made my flesh crawl.

Religion is a whole nother realm – a well known sect who come knocking on people’s doors befriended my mum in the last few months of her life. Some people would say this is just a show of kindness (and they came across as friendly and caring) but I just think it’s a cynical way to recruit followers when their defences are down. It’s heart-breaking that a vulnerable person could be targeted in this manner when I know she would have had no truck with anything of the sort when she was fit and healthy


May 18, 2010 at 3:59 pm
James Raw says:

I love it. I love your show. I wish it were on every day. I love this new direction. BUT WHY DIDN’T YOU DERREN BROWN THEM AT THE END AND MAKE THEM TELL THE TRUTH?? Though I guess it would be hard with a Russian translator. Seriously though, what a TV personality if you don’t need the skills+performance you’ve built up to still be successful. It’s actually a more satisfying watch than your last batch of great tricks. I WANT ANOTHER SERIES.


May 19, 2010 at 6:03 pm
Conrad says:

Hello,
Enjoyed both shows, I was looking forward to the Ghost Hunter investigation, however I’ve noticed that next weeks show isn’t on and a new game show has started. Will it be on any time soon?


May 19, 2010 at 10:20 pm
Sharleen says:

Very interesting and thought provoking read. Have loved the ‘Derren Brown investigates’ shows so far and always follow you’re tv shows. Am really looking forward to the ghost hunter one. I myself used to be a solid believer in ghosts etc but now hang on you’re every word Derren and am begining to doubt paranormal phenomena. The way you explain things is so convincing and I think you are an inspiration to so many! Really loving you’re work and think you’re just amazing. Oh saw you’re show in Edinburgh and it was the best thing I’ve seen in my whole live, loving it!!


May 24, 2010 at 12:54 am
Andrea louise says:

Derren you facinate me!

I would consider myself half skeptic and half beliver in certain things, depending on where I am in my life. Watching the documentary you did on the psychic really changed the way I perceive Psychic mediums. I think anyone who has lost a loved one wants to belive that they can be contacted beyond the grave, but I also believe there are a few people out there that will use that vulnerability to fool people and get money from them. Of course not all are fake.

But watching the show it really made me aware of how someone could fool you cleverly. At the end of the show I wasn’t sure if the guy was for real or not. Only he knows that.

I have had reading before and so much wanted to believe, but I never give anything away and sadly am very skeptic.


May 25, 2010 at 12:50 am

This is awesome…im pretty wasted right now which is probably making it more awesome…but its still pretty awesome….right…. im gonna go and tell someone or something…spread the word people…this dude knows his stuff!
Much love derren, and damn it, make more TV shows – everybody else’s TV show’s suck and they dont replay you on Bravo yet! x


May 25, 2010 at 1:26 am
Abe says:

I seem to have missed one :(

Did the schedule change, or did I just miss it?
It’s not on 4od or indexed anywhere!

Msg from Abeo: There’s 3 episodes. Next one is Monday 31st. The previous 2 are on 4OD.


May 31, 2010 at 9:17 pm
William says:

Very interesting and will definitley make me think more about things.


May 31, 2010 at 10:57 pm
Charlie Thomas says:

I would love to see Derren do an episode like this on Aliens…as there is vast evidence for it and would love to see him investigate the subject.
This series has been brilliant, great work.


June 1, 2010 at 12:05 am
Greg says:

Was quite sad to hear about the Ghost Hunter fella passing away – and out of all of the people who made these very ‘big’ claims, he was the only one to me who seemed genuine. Even though I think Derrens investigation made me more inclined to to be skeptical of what the guy was using as ‘evidance’ and ‘proof’ – I dont think he was using it to take advantage of people or earn profit or fame, beliving what he was doing was real and effective.
Its intresting how when Joe and Bronnikov, when faced with the oppotunity to sit down and prove their claims to the world on TV, which would validate everything they do – they chose not to do it.
Another great Tv Series!


June 1, 2010 at 7:11 pm
Andy Hughes says:

I enjoyed this series, but sometimes I felt you weren’t hard enough on these belief systems. So much so that it felt almost as if you were acknowledging their authenticity, and that only the people you personally investigated were the frauds/delusional.

I realise that you couldn’t have said large swathes of the populace are gullible fools foold on national television, but I believe if you would’ve been a little more forthright in your denounciations, you could’ve swayed more fence sitters and those with weaker beliefs to be more logical in their thinking.

I know you think that if people find comfort in these systems, there is nothing wrong with them, but I think that the less people believing in rubbish, the more people there are to figure out the actual way the universe works.


June 2, 2010 at 6:26 am
Dave says:

Just watching the Ghosthunter programme; in the photo of the “face in the mist”, there was also clearly a cat’s face to the left of the red circle used to highlight the human face…


June 2, 2010 at 7:24 am

Derren, your insights provided throught this show are very intresting however the subjects of your show seem to me, are some of the more obvious frauds that dont leave a person guessing, i could see in your eyes on each of the cases from the moment you began your investigations, you had sumerized how they were faking and why, i presume that the entirety of the show is nothing more than a display for our, the viewers benafit, to slowly be courerced into understaning the insurmoutnable evadance that prooves a conclusion that you used your deeper level instinct, not only to predict, but this is infact the very reason you choose these subjects,
what im saying is, as impartial as you make this seem, you knew from the start they were fakes, thats why you investigated, in the end Derren, bogus.

- Hi Vincent – good point – however is there a ranking or rating of people who are better or more skilled at this or is it just via opinion? If there is a list we are open to seeing it and how people are rated as better or more skilled as opposed to individual testimonials (all we have to go on at the moment). So many people have email suggesting we try hundreds of different mediums and that they are “better” than Jo. Who’s opinion would we follow in choosing valid subjects? – please let us know you thoughts – thanks – Phillis


June 29, 2010 at 9:15 am
noelle says:

watching this series is just like watching 60 minutes — eye-opening & educational; and very appreciate your dare to explore those subjects, really looking forward for more ep. like this.


July 14, 2010 at 12:39 pm
Buzz says:

I thought this series was hugely entertaining and insightful. It’s frightening how many intelligent people that I know believe in such delusional and magical thinking, and just accept it as part of reality without further investigation. Please do another series with more episodes. There must be loads of stuff out there that could do with this treatment – conspiracy theories, alien abduction, magical martial arts, homeopathy, crystal healing, faith etc etc.

I thought the Messiah TV special you did was great too. Please do more stuff like this, you can make such a difference.


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