Illusionist Derren Brown has admitted to being 'totally hoodwinked' into paying a higher price for reduced cover when he renewed his home insurance - despite never making a claim. Derren claimed the experience left him 'disorientated and embarrassed', and has nominated the trick for recognition by the Magic Circle.
"The insurance companies are incredibly deft, I'm still trying to work out how they pulled this off", exclaimed Derren, who is no longer covered for water damage or acts of hedonism. "I'm not entirely sure, but I think I'm paying somewhere in the region of £23 more a month, for a policy that only covers three rooms in my house."
Using arcane incantations in a barely recognised language, the insurance company misdirected Brown into believing that a loyalty discount would somehow decrease his premium. "It's a classic ruse", explained Brown. "By using words normally associated with positive outcomes, fond memories or adequate cover for electrical goods, the insurance industry led me to commit totally to the illusion that they had my interests at heart. But while I was distracted by a picture of Iggy Pop in purple underpants, they'd secretly taken my wallet and emptied it."
The new magic trick has been widely adopted by conjurors and charlatans, keen to draw in huge audiences who can't see it being performed in front of them. "I'm still not entirely sure how this works, but it's an incredibly adaptable ruse. The classic 'false choice' trick has been added by my electricity supplier, they phoned me and got me to pick from a full pack of 52 tariffs. I should have guessed that the one with 'value' in the name would be the most expensive, but for some reason I fell for it anyway. It's a baffling illusion, I can't see how it was done even though it was recorded for training purposes."
Brown thinks the key to the magic may lay in barely visible small print, printed in medium grey on a light grey background. "Feint isn't the word, it's almost imperceptible, especially when read out in an foreign accent. I've got a lot of admiration for the traditional fakirs, they're brilliant at levitating direct debits. When it comes to the Indian roped-in trick, I'm at a loss."
Some illusionists have already adapted the black art for television. "This is an exciting development, by hiding your choice in a baffling range of packages, hardly anyone knows exactly how much they're spending. They've even tricked millions of people into paying an extra £10 a month to use a digibox that they've already paid for once. When it comes to pushing an audience's credulity to breaking point, Sky really is the limit."
Hat-tip to JohnA