Derren Brown, "Miracles for Sale"

From Derren Brown’s site:

With the cameras in hot pursuit, Derren faces his toughest project yet, going in search of an unsuspecting member of the British public prepared to adopt the guise of a pastor and miracle worker.

His chosen one then has six months to learn the trade and flourish across the pond as a convincing pastor.

The final phase of the volunteer’s extraordinary challenge sees them attempt to perform faith healing miracles live in Texas, but will Derren’s new recruit be accepted as a faith healer or cast away as fake healer?

(via Faith Palm)

Hitler Can't Help You
Everybody's a Christian
The Church of LDS May Get Its Day in Court
  • Paul Adams

    Not to be picky but I’m pretty sure his name’s Derren, not Darren :-)

    And I can’t wait to see this one, my friends back home tell me it’s good and I love most of his older stuff. The only misfire he had was the Russian Roulette one (see what I did? ‘Misfire’? Oh, never mind), when the Irish TV channel who filmed it basically admitted it was rigged because they couldn’t let him do that kind of thing on TV.

    • Michael

      That is not the only stunt he has pulled that has been “rigged.” Most of his tricks seem to be done through traditional magic, but he then claims he uses a variety of questionably effective cold reading techniques, etc. Magic is cool, but lying about it to give yourself a name is not.

      And the worst of all seriously had to be the lottery one.

  • Juha L

    Wrong name on the title. It’s Derren.

  • FO

    Quite an interesting stunt, if ethically ambiguous.

    • Avicenna

      Why ambiguous? Darren Brown’s stuff is incredible but it’s not magic. He never claims that it is.

      Doing something like this increases skepticism. Showing people how easy it is to be conned by faith healers may not do much in the UK but it would do wonders in the USA where yearly thousands of people are duped by charlatans.

      • Paul Adams

        Yeah, ethically it’s rather straightforward. Faith healers are ethically despicable so exposing their trade for what it is – despite doing so through what could be seen as deception – is a Good Thing. And I reckon the problem does exist in the UK but in a slightly different form – have you any idea how many people there believe in homeopathy? Makes me embarrassed to come from that sinkhole of an island, although now I’m in Taiwan so surrounded by TCM at every turn :p

        • Avicenna

          I am from there as well and in India. I am surrounded by Siddha and a delightful little alternative medicine called Unani.

          Unani is the “father of medicine”. And that is nothing but the complete and utter truth….

          It’s Ancient Greek medicine. Aesculapius would have treated people with this stuff. It is “the predecessor on which medicine is built” only filled with industrial grade bullshit. Seriously who the hell worries about balancing the humours (Yes… Blood letting).

          Oh India and China both have the same issue in letting alt. med in the form of Siddha/Ayurvedha/Unani/TCM have equal rights as real medicine. They can call themselves Doctor.

          I actually had a case treated by a Siddha. Strep Infection leading to Rheumatic fever. Treatment? Dose of antibiotics and some analgesics. Siddha treatment? Steroids to reduce symptoms and magic herbs. End result? 13 year old girl who was regarded as “a time waster” at school and was kept back for three years and who now needs a heart valve transplant because some douchebag wanted to play doctor.

          The worst bit is that arsehole showed up in a mercedes benz while I as a student commute for nearly 4 hours a day on a crowded bus while standing up. The man is a goddamn oxygen thief.

        • Hamish Milne

          Sinkhole of an island?! Bah, expats!

      • FO

        My bad.
        I have no doubt this is a good thing.

        It still involves deceiving people on the long term, and likely getting money from them.
        I am not at ease with this.

        I wager that people so gullible won’t be swayed even once the preacher reveals himself as a fraud… Ted Haggard anyone?

        • Mark the Pilgrim

          My intial reaction was along your line of thinking, FO. It does sit a bit uneasy with me, but as Avicenna and Paul Adams pointed out, there is a greater good to all of this. If it helps expose some fraudsters, then I’m down with it.

          Plus Derren Brown’s stuff is always mind blowing and interesting, so I will definitely catch it.

        • Ebon Badger

          Derren is in the habit of “deprogramming” the people he fools with this kind of thing- he did something similar where he claimed to be able to make atheists believe in god, and “succeeded”, and I remember he stated after that that he made sure to reassure and deprogram the participants, same deal with his mediumship stuff. I doubt this will be any different, and if it’s being shown then they’ll have acquired the permission of the participants to do so. It’ll work in the UK, but in the US where faith healers are really common there will be a lot of special pleading- he might be faking, but MY special magic man is legit! That sort of thing.

        • Hamish Milne

          “It still involves deceiving people on the long term, and likely getting money from them.”

          Have you watched the film? No one takes a dime from anybody apart from the ‘healers’ (who take $100s from their audiences) who they are exposing!

          Agreed, they did have to deceive people, but that is the whole nature of the project. The deceptees were only hearing what they wanted to hear, the same kind of stuff they are told regularly anyway.

          Anyway, excellent, amazing film!

  • Batcic

    Best episode! Derren Brown is perfect in what he does and has debunked many false beliefs using undeniable proof. Congrats for your blog.

  • After the Pulpit

    Faith stealers–ur–”healers” Felt uncomfortable about the stunt initially but i think it served a noble purpose ultimately. My heart goes out to the victims of this kind of horsecrap.

    • John C

      The pulpit is not where He is to be found friend, never was.

      • Morpheus91

        Perhaps more luck in the opium dens?

        • John C

          No, right where He said He could be found Morphy.