Those of you that have watched Derren Brown work his specific brand of magic on his recent Netflix special Miracle will know that he truly has the Midas touch.
In fact, as Brown admitted during our recent discussion ahead of its release, the illusionist admitted that, at times, he couldn’t tell if we was parodying or actually became a faith-healer.
During our chat I asked Brown about the most extraordinary injury that he healed during his tour of “Miracle,” and, of course, he cured someone’s partial paralysis.
“I remember quite early on there was someone who came up to me that was in floods of tears who had been paralyzed down one side of her body since she was an infant.”
“And now she was a lady in her 30s, and she was able to feel the left hand side of her body for the first time ever.”
“Which was amazing, because what I was imagining was, because you create a certain amount of adrenaline, and adrenaline is a pain killer, and that is the sort of thing that these performers generally rely on to do the things that they do.”
“So I was imagining that somebody might come up and say, ‘My back feels better.’ This was really early on before I saw the effect that it was going to have.”
“Things like that really threw me. The other part was that I didn’t expect the effects to last beyond the 10 minutes or so that they were involved in the show. Which of course is another part of it.”
“There’s one thing to come up on stage and be a bit bamboozled and be full of adrenaline and say that you feel better. It is another thing to be made to jump around on arthritic legs that really genuinely can’t support you, even if you think that they can.”
“And it is another thing to throw your pills away and never take them again and think you are better. Obviously what those people are doing are creating an effect in the moment and then saying that it is the same as healing.”
“Which is dangerous and irresponsible thing to do. So I didn’t expect things to last beyond that.”
Brown’s faith-healing even managed to impact those watching on television, too. But he still remains skeptical.
“I have since had several emails from people that have insisted that their changes have lasted. I even heard from a guy that was the husband of a friend that was very skeptical about it and had watched it on TV.”
“He had a golfing injury for like six years that just disappeared. It even took him a year to tell his wife because he was so embarrassed by the fact he had responded in that way.”
“It is amazing. It is amazing to me. Because on the one hand I hold some skepticism towards any supernatural claims. And part of this job is debunking those. But at the same time there is clearly a grey area.”
“Certainly evangelical faith healers are not the ones to go to to rely on that grey area, to rely on the tiny percentages on the actual effects it can have.”
“I have done a lot of work with a lot of these people, and studied them a lot and there has certainly never been a single case where you could compare one x-ray to another and prove that something has changed. Nothing ever changes.”
“All that changes is that people’s psychological story or situation. And sometimes that is what is enough. And that is what I was taping into. It was a challenging and interesting and surprising area.”
“Some nights it was different to others. There was never any control over what sort of level of ailments were going to be present. It was very different from night to night.”
“We never advertised as anything to do with healing. We kept that secret. So that people didn’t come expecting to be healing, because then the responsibility changes enormously.”