I never got round to writing about Derren Brown's Seance last night (I had to comfort the slightly-freaked girlfriend), but whilst writing a Comment about it over at the Final Broadcast, I felt compelled to compose something about it on my own site. But not that compelled - its late and I'm tired, so I'll keep my thoughts minimal.
Yes I knew how it was done right from the start (being a clever old sceptic), and indeed, the Psychological Illusionist Formerly Known As Darren didn't shy away from showing his Evil Hypnotist powers over the assembled volunteers - he was very up-front about it. But despite my own knowing constant commentary throughout of "look, he's hynpnotised them to do that, and ooh, he'll have already implanted the seeds of the correct person in their heads, and right, although we're curently doing the ouija board at home, and indeed, although our own glass is moving without our concious control, this has been documented as some (mutters incoherently to cover his lack of knowledge) motor effect, now wait for that poor hypnotised girl's eager-to-please subconcious to trick her into feeling possessed, and oops, there goes the psychic ball..."
... despite all that, it was still genuinely pretty scary, and a fantastic bit of television. If he'd given away all the secrets it wouldn't have been as effective, likewise if he'd kept it all to himself. And it just goes to show how effective those pertaining to be spiritualists could be, whether they knowingly do what they do, or whether their minds have tricked them into believing. I just hope this goes some way to debunking such nonsense, at least for some of the population out there. I know what damage this stuff can cause, having been the collateral damage to an ex-girlfriends manipulation by a "fortune-teller" as a kid.
And don't get me started on astrology. I mean, its brought us Russell Grant, for faff's sake...