In Apocalypse, Derren Brown picks a person from the public: Steven Brosnan. Steven has some problems in getting his life together.
Sounds great, doesn't it? The only problem: Derren will try to do this by convincing Steven that a zombie apocalypse happened and he is one of the few survivors. Quite an unusual kind of psychotherapy, don't you think? But then again, Derren isn't exactly fond of doing things the normal way. When you need something to motivate you a bit and make you remember how precious life is – Derren's first thought is to send some zombies at you. You can't say he's not creative!
But was the whole thing real? Or was all just a fake act?
First, here is the show to refresh your memory. Then, we will explain what was actually going on.
True or fake?
Many people wondered whether Steven really believed he was in the middle of a zombie apocalypse, or was he just acting? Maybe he was simply an actor and the whole thing was completely fake?
First thing you need to know is that Steven was very susceptible to hypnosis. It is still not very clear what exactly this means – even the hypnotists themselves aren't sure? It is very hard to figure out how much people can really be hypnotized and how much they are just playing along. You can read more about this question in our article on hypnosis.
Most likely, hypnotized people are acting along to a large degree. So Steven probably at least subconsciously knew that the zombie apocalypse wasn't really happening, that it was an illusion by Derren Brown and that he will be safe if he just plays along. Think about it, if you volunteered for Derren, got 'rejected' and a few months later found yourself in a zombie apocalypse – would you really believe it? Or would you immediately suspect Derren? I know I would.
But one important thing about hypnosis is that it messes with memories too. If you are susceptible to hypnosis, a hypnotist can make you forget certain things. Similarily, Derren probably hypnotically suggested Steven to forget certain things and Steven obeyed. Therefore, even if he now says he didn't suspect anything, we cannot really be sure how true that is.
So, Steven probably knew everything was staged, or at least suspected it strongly.