“Real Artists Ship”

Colin Johnson’s blog

Do it like Derren

I have in the past been impressed with the ability of people like Derren Brown to present a losing ticket to a bookmaker and get a payout. A little while ago, I had an experience that gave be some insight into how this works. I was rushing to get a train at Charing Cross, and when I got there I discovered that the station was closed and that the train was starting from London Bridge instead. A sign said that tickets would be valid on the underground between the two stations, so I rushed to the tube station. When I got there, I tried by train ticket in the barrier and it didn’t work, and so I showed it, with some urgency, to the guard at the barrier, who looked strangely at the ticket. I said “don’t you know that the station is closed; I need to get through” and the guard opened the barrier for me.

When I looked at the ticket a few second later it was an old ticket from Nottingham to Edinburgh.

Somehow, my guileless confidence in the ticket had worked. I think the skill of someone like Derren Brown is to be able to fake this even when knowing that the ticket is irrelevant.

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