Derren Brown: TV Specials

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DERREN BROWN: SEANCE broadcast on C4 on 31 May, 2004

  • DB provides an introduction to Spiritualism involving the Fox sisters and their later declaration that they were frauds
  • all participants think of details about someone who has died, DB then correctly tells one of them the details of the person they remembered
  • spirit cabinet demonstration: first participant in the cabinet apparently moves and then throws a tambourine from the cabinet without their knowledge (although they are then shown doing it on a video playback); a second participant is restrained, to rule out unconscious fraud, but the curtain moves, and paper is thrown out of the cabinet; the participant is then revealed to be in an agitated state having also broken the restraints
  • one girl is sent away from the group to a room chosen randomly by herself (her separation and choice will be important later)
  • a set of twelve photographs are laid out in a grid and the participants and viewers are told to pick a photograph and then follow a set of instructions to end up with an apparently randomly selected picture (it later transpires that the majority of the participants and viewers have all ended on the same photograph of Jane)
  • a demonstration of automatic writing using a local participant and the separated girl: both are told to think of the home city of their chosen student: both write 'London'
  • use of a ouija board to see whether there is a spirit present, and then to find the spirit's name which turns out to be 'Jane'. It is then revealed that Jane was from London, and her room was the one chosen randomly earlier in the programme. The girl alone in the room hears noises and starts panicking; she is then returned to the group
  • a member of the group is chosen randomly by dealing cards, one of which is marked, to be the medium for the seance; once the seance is under way objects on the table start moving to indicate that Jane's spirit is present
  • DB starts asking the medium questions and she is able to answer as Jane, firstly as a young girl, and then as a teenager
  • after the seance DB verifies with the medium that there was no preparation for her answers, and it is revealed through an old home movie and a sealed letter that the details the medium provided were all accurate
  • to conclude the programme DB introduces the viewers to Jane to prove that the story about her death, and therefore the entire basis of the seance, was a fiction

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