Derren Brown is a man who has appeared to play Russian Roulette on live television, using a revolver filled with genuine ammunition. It lasted just six-and-a-half minutes, and the first thing one notices is that for almost five minutes, Brown never stops talking. Derren Brown may not call himself a magician, he may insist he doesn't do tricks, and that his ability to predict the winning Lottery numbers is down to nothing but a combination of mind-blowing calculation and genuine psychic skill.
First off, it is likely that some of Derren's 'facts' at the start of the show were more to heighten the illusion.
EXPRESSHave you checked your ticket?The winning Lotto numbers are 11, 13, 18, 25, 29, and 47. On the stage of the studio from which Brown was broadcasting stood a television, to show the BBC draw.
Newspapers, TV and radio programmes and websites have competed to come up with theories to explain the magic and illusion behind Brown's stunt.
He jabbers, non-stop at high speed, the words tumbling out, breathlessly, as if to convey the excitement of the moment.
On Wednesday at 10.35pm, having boasted for days that he would predict the six main ball numbers in the midweek National Lottery draw, Brown went on-air, live across all Channel 4's terrestrial and satellite channels. Jack Delvin, president of the Magic Circle said: 'Our first rule is we don't discuss secrets of tricks. Perhaps you'll watch again tonight expecting to hear his formula for picking the right numbers every time.


Brown claimed the winning numbers, as predicted by him, had already been written on the balls. So it is no good talking about how it is done.' The Mail, however, is under no such constraints So let's start by looking closely at Brown's broadcast. What I saw was a trick, pulled off with aplomb, and it took me just a moment to think of two-and-a-half decent ways to get it done. The six main numbers drawn by the lottery machine were, in numerical order, 2, 11, 23, 28, 35, 39.
But just as I would never dream of telling an audience my secrets, I would never tell Derren's either.
I can't know for sure which of the myriad methods he might have used, so there is no point speculating.
But what I can say with certainty is that, what he did on Wednesday night, magicians have been doing for ever - for as long as psychics, mind-readers and 'mentalists' like Derren have been claiming to have special powers. That's a pity, because if he really did predict the right numbers he would have been the only person to do so.
Mentalism - the form of magic that has become his stock-in-trade - is just one part of the magician's art. I have book upon book on ways to 'predict the future', and I have used them to magical effect in the past, predicting everything from newspaper headlines to bingo numbers.
Using certain methods (which I have no intention of divulging) it's possible to predict pretty much anything you like.


But anyone with half a brain knows that the number of psychics and performers with Derren's apparent talent for foresight who have actually won the Lottery or picked the Grand National winner tells you all you need to know about their real capabilities.
It's an aside, but did you know that if you buy a Lottery ticket on Monday morning for the following Saturday's draw, you have more chance of dying that week than collecting the top prize?
We wish we could pluck money out of thin air and make beautiful girls appear with a click of fingers. He pretended to be nervous when, in fact, the result of the draw had no bearing on whether his trick would work. I love to be deceived - we all do - which is why magicians should never reveal their methods. Although it is possible to execute 'future-prediction' tricks without the aid of technology, there's no doubt in my mind that, to present it in the way he did, he used some technological trickery on this occasion - and to admit that would spoil the fun. So, I hope when he is asked how it was done, he answers with just two words: 'Absolutely brilliantly.' How did he do it?



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