The Mischievous Nerd's Guide to World Domination
Author: Stephen Oberauer

Chapter 77
More magic

The next morning I had a meeting with everyone who had come with to the show. ‘Welcome to Beyond Imagination,’ I greeted them, after all twenty had taken their seats around the large, rectangular table. Looking around the meeting room I noticed that we had managed to select a variety of people of different shapes, colours and sizes, all dressed smarter than me. It felt a little bit like the first day of school, where people were awkwardly lumped together in a class of children whom they did not know. ‘Last night you witnessed the art of deception. Magic is simply that which we do not understand. It’s a way of making one think that something amazing happened, when in reality, it was actually just a clever trick. It will be your job to know when you are being deceived, and to be able to tell the difference between the truth and a lie. Your first task today is going to be a fun ice breaker. I’m going to divide you into 5 teams and then show you a video of Derren performing some magic. Your goal will be to figure out the tricks and explain how they were done. I want you to brainstorm as many crazy ideas as you can imagine, and then try to figure out which of them are the most likely.’

I switched on the projector, switched off the lights, and started the video. Forty-two eyes were glued to the screen in the front of the room as Derren dazzled us with his ingenuity.

After the video was shown the room buzzed with excited chatter. As I walked around from group to group I heard all sorts of crazy ideas from camera tricks and video edits to stooges. A young, German man suggested that Derren might have had ghosts helping him out.

Half an hour later each team read out their best suggestions. I wrote them down on a whiteboard in my messy, but mostly legible handwriting, and then asked them to vote on which they thought were the most likely methods that Derren had used. At the end of the process we had selected a method for each trick. ‘Do you think these are the correct answers, I asked the graduates?’

The group was very unsure. ‘Believe it or not, that’s exactly the kind of response I was hoping for,’ I explained. ‘Being sure about something is not a good thing when trying to find out the truth. The more sure you are, the less likely you are going to be to open to other possibilities. What do you think Derren?’

Sure enough, Derren Brown was suddenly in the room with us, ‘That’s quite good,’ he replied.

A few whispers of shock and ‘Where did he come from?’ and ‘Was he always here?’ could be heard.

Derren continued, ‘These four are actually quite accurate. This one is a clever idea, but that’s not the way I did it,’ and he continued to explain how he had done the fifth trick. As was expected, none of the final five answers had anything about video edits, camera tricks, stooges or ghosts in them. They were all genuine illusions.

We took a break and many of the group gathered around Derren, who stayed for ten minutes to answer questions about the show and sign autographs. Surprisingly, he left through the door, instead of disappearing in a cloud of smoke.


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