How to Accurately Predict the Lottery on Live TV

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Most Americans aren’t familiar with Derren Brown, the mentalist-cum-magician-cum-con man, but in the UK, he’s been boggling the minds of  TV watchers for years, with his oft-unexplained feats of psychological tomfoolery, such as reading minds, performing live séances, and predicting horse races. In the first of series of live specials for UK’s Channel 4, he upped his game by claiming to be able to predict the outcome of the British National Lottery on live television, a feat he apparently successfully achieved. Here is that broadcast:

Now, Derren Brown himself calls this a “highly complex event of misdirection”, so you know things aren’t exactly as they appear. His own explanation involved 24 volunteers, long division, and a heart free from avarice– basically bullshit.

Discarding that explanation, several enterprising viewers claim to have figured out how he did it, and the results seem to fall in line with what was broadcast.

The Solution: the 30-second version
Mutated Monty applies Occam’s Razor to the task: the simplest solution being the best. He demonstrates how some phony camera shake and a split screen gave Brown enough time to jigger with his balls.

The Breakdown
Noiseache gives us a play-by-play of exactly what’s going on during the broadcast:

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The Evidence
And DerrenExposed corroborates this explanation, exposing a technical glitch in a close-up of the balls:

And Just For Laughs
And finally Holy Moly takes the piss out of Derren Brown with this send-up:

Despite what Derren Brown claims is the “official” explanation, he has maintained that it’s just a trick after all. This doesn’t detract from the fact that he’s a master of misdirection and manipulation by suggestion as one of my favorite clips below demonstrates:

Derren Brown Uses Subliminal Ads to Influence PeopleWatch a funny movie here