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Hello and welcome to QI.
Tonight's show is an other-worldly odyssey
through the mysterious occult.
Please offer up oblations to the Prince of Darkness - Russell Brand.
APPLAUSE AND CHEERING
The Beast of Revelations, Aisling Bea.
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
The Lord of the Flies, Noel Fielding.
LAUGHTER CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
And, hell, yes, it's Alan Davies!
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
That was a terrifying outfit. LAUGHTER
I was really hoping there'd be a new car under there, but it's just Alan.
And their buzzers are obligingly ominous. Russell goes...
And Noel goes...
And Alan goes...
OMINOUS ORGAN MUSIC PLAYS
FAIRGROUND MUSIC PLAYS ON ORGAN
Hey, right. We're going to begin with some mind-reading,
but those of you who are psychic will already know that.
We have asked some members of our front row to write some
words on cards and put them in an envelope, which I have not seen.
So if the QI minion, this is our magic minion,
can please collect them.
Then we are going to attempt some spooky mind-reading.
And what are they? Just facts, or?
It's just a word, a single word, is that right?
Each one's written a single word.
So the minion is going to give me the cards.
Do you believe in this kind of thing?
-Do you believe in mind-reading?
So in order for this to work, I need to make my mind a complete blank.
Alan, how do I do that?
Now, some of you may know I have an ear piece,
I don't want you to think that in any way that anybody can
communicate with me, so I can't use that.
What's going to happen now is that I am going to place the card
to my head, and I need to concentrate.
I am going to say potato. Who said potato?
Anybody say? You did say potato? Did you? OK.
Very, very good. Indeed.
OK, let's do the next one. LAUGHTER
Let's see. Oh, this one's difficult.
This one is very difficult.
I am going to say sin, something to do with sin...
It is, synchronicity is your word?
She's a witch, burn her!
Goodness. Oh, indeed, OK.
So, we'll just do one more and see if I can think.
Oh, this one's nice - mushroom. I think it's mushroom.
Yes. Absolutely. Well, there we go, that will do.
See I love those tricks, I think they are fantastic,
-I mean, clearly they are a trick. And...
Of genius, a trick of genius, in some way.
Are you a fan of magic shows, Russell?
I'm astounded that we're all just sat here
while you have unravelled one of the great mysteries of the universe.
Now we're going to have to work out through which necromancy
you have taken over Bake-Off.
You've managed to install Noel Fielding,
an astonishing piece of casting. What's next?
I am channelling Mrs Beaton, that's what's happening.
-You have powers beyond my comprehension.
-I know, I know.
So what I'm going to do, I'm going to take a blank card like this
and I'm going to write a word myself on it,
and I'm going to stick it in an envelope.
And then we will place that in this big book,
so that it's not possible for me to change it.
Russell can see it from where you are,
I saw your eyes looking, it's cheating.
Yeah, but I would never use that knowledge to trick the QI audience.
OK, let's put it on there, let's put it on there
so that I can't cheat with it, you can all see it, it's in,
there it is, it's in plain sight, OK.
So, there used to be a thought that some people could read
through something other than their eyes.
It's called dermo-optical perception, or cutaneous perception.
And the idea is, so I put it against my head
so that you could read through your fingers or you could read through your skin.
But in fact our mind-reading was done by a completely different trick.
There was a mentalist who used to be known as Alexander -
The Man Who Knows.
-I've got that very poster.
Do you know who he actually is, Alexander The Man Who Knows?
-He was called Alexander.
And he worked as a psychic.
His real name was Claude Conlin and he was from South Dakota.
But he was quite a guy, Alexander.
He married 8 to 14 women, many at the same time.
We don't know exactly how many, maybe 14 women.
-Yeah, it's quite a lot.
That's not that many, is it, Russell?
You are a conservative mind-bender.
I can't tell you how he read the mind of our front row,
but I can say that we have a plant in the audience.
OK, so I've got an object here for you.
-There's one for you guys to share.
-Thank you very much.
And one for you to share.
And I want you to tell me how you would use it to burgle a house.
-I have an idea.
-Yes, go on, then.
Well, I think what you'd do is, you would melt the waxen tips,
-there are waxen tips.
You would get the finger prints of the person whose house it
was on their hi-tech James Bond style fingerprint system.
-I don't know how you get in that bit,
cos if you've got that kind of access to the person,
simply charm them into allowing you in to rob the safe at your leisure.
And then you put their fingerprints on there,
then you put this very discreet garment on your other hand
and wander into Canary Wharf, or wherever it is, and say -
"I'm just one of the people who happens to live here.
"Don't judge me by that. I move among you.
"I love you. I'm a banker, just like you."
Then you press all the buttons, you're in there
-and that's how you rob their house.
-And that's that sorted.
-Yeah. I don't know why we didn't think of that.
It's gone rogue.
I think you could only rob a house if Freddy Krueger lived there.
Just put your hand through the letterbox and the dog lets you in.
We wanted to set fire to them,
but apparently it's a health and safety nightmare.
There's a fire there though.
Why is fire allowed there and not near Noel?
-Now I understand.
-Who wants me to try?
-Don't put it near your hair product, will you.
-Are you left or right handed?
-Well, the glove is left handed.
LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE
-OK. So hang on, is that it?
-There we go.
Light the others. I used to do this with...
-So, in answer to your question, Sandi,
while they are doing that, I go and burgle the house.
-Is that what it is?
-Hi, nice to meet you.
-Happy birthday to you.
Really rubbish pitch singing.
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
-Is it the flame that's significant?
-Kind of. Or the rubber?
So, you needed the pickled hand of a hanged man, OK?
-You then needed to make
a candle from the fat of the condemned man.
-And then, in an idea world, you would make the wick out of his hair.
It's called a Hand of Glory.
If you were holding the Hand of Glory,
and the Hand of Glory had a...
That's not the Hand of Glory, Sandi. That's the Hand of Glory.
It was a race.
It's sweet when boys are so pleased with themselves.
It's a good job this desk is here.
No, you're all right. Um...
So the idea was - if you held one of these
when you went into somebody's house, it would have a
stupefying effect upon them, and put them to sleep.
Now, the only photograph that we have of a genuine Hand of Glory is
courtesy of the Whitby Museum,
and that is probably the only one still in existence, and that was...
It's quite a wild pitch like for Dragons' Den, to go -
"I've got this idea, all we need is one hand
"of a hanged man, we stick his hair in there,
"make a candle out of his skin, the hair is going to be the wick.
"That's important. When we go into the house,
"it'll automatically send people to sleep
"and that's how we're going to burgle the house."
"I'm in, £250,000. I see nothing wrong with this idea."
-Or, just wait till they go on holiday.
Well, the Observer, in 1831,
reported on the 16th January, "Burglars entered a house
"in County Meath, armed with a dead man's hand
"with a lighted candle in it, believing in the superstitious
"notion that it would prevent those who may be asleep from awaking."
-Do you think it worked?
No, they woke instantly and raised the alarm.
-Screamed their heads off.
-He's got a burning hand!
The occult was also used against burglars.
So there used to be quite a lot of book curses,
because books were phenomenally expensive.
So in the Middle Ages they wanted to stop people from stealing books.
This is a fantastic one from a 15th century manuscript
owned by Count Jean d'Orleans.
"Whoever steals this book will hang on a gallows in Paris,
"and if he isn't hung, he'll drown, and if he doesn't drown,
"he'll roast, and if he doesn't roast, a worse end will befall him."
-He's covering a lot of bases there.
-He is really, yeah.
-He don't want that book stolen.
-No, that's not going to...
-Look after it.
Now, which horny member of royalty is immune from any
form of legal prosecution?
EVIL GIGGLE Yes?
BELLS RING AND KLAXON WAILS Oh, no.
-It's going to be something with horns?
Is it like a royal cow or something?
-No. There should be, I think.
-The Royal Cow.
-That's a snail what you're doing.
-Brian from Magic Roundabout.
-Who was it - Florence and Dougal?
And there was the one who's based on Bob Dylan, the rabbit.
Dylan. And he was stoned all the time.
Yeah, exactly, it was the '70s.
You were allowed to be stoned in a children's cartoon.
-Helen did you say?
-AUDIENCE MEMBER: Dylan.
Yes, we just said that, thanks. We said that.
That person just woke up. "Dylan, they're talking about Dylan!
"They're talking about Magic Roundabout! Dylan!"
The guy's just beginning to get the hang of mind-reading.
Come on now - horny, member of royalty.
-In the context of the occult...
-..who is a horny royal?
The Devil is exactly right.
The Devil. You can't prosecute the Devil?
No, so, 1971 there was an American called Gerald Mayo,
attempted to sue the Devil.
And there is the case.
"United States ex rel. Gerald Mayo
"vs Satan and His Staff."
And it was heard by the US District Court
for the Western District of Pennsylvania.
Mr Mayo alleged: "Satan has on numerous occasions caused
"plaintiff misery and unwarranted threats.
"Against the will of the plaintiff, Satan has placed deliberate
"obstacles in his path and has caused the plaintiff's downfall."
The first point that was raised by the judge,
a man called Gerald J Weber, was that he wasn't sure that they
could prosecute Satan, as Satan was technically a foreign prince
and if sued he might be able to claim immunity.
Surely it's a typo, he meant "Stan."
And in the end they refused his request,
because nobody could find an address to serve the Satan the papers.
You actually have to put it in their hand, don't you?
-Otherwise it doesn't count.
-But do you know about the Devil's Advocate?
-Do you know about that?
-As in being one?
Well, it's a Roman Catholic thing, the Devil's Advocate.
Yeah, as in to play Devil's Advocate?
Well, that's where the phrase comes from,
but it used to be a proper job.
It was the job of the Devil's Advocate
to argue the case against proposed sainthoods.
So his job was to say -
this person is going to come up to be a saint,
I don't think it's a good idea.
It was got rid of by Pope John Paul II, in 1983,
and the number of saints just shot through the roof.
But anybody know the correct way to greet the Devil?
-I reckon there's got to be some deference in it,
you go down on one knee, little bit of a hornpipe, sticking
AN elbow out, two thumbs up, come on,
take us on a wild, giddy journey.
OK, yeah. Down on one knee is a good place to start.
-Like, no, not a blowy.
It's the kiss of shame, you have to kiss the Devil's...
-You kiss his ring?
-His arse, you have to kiss his arse. There it is.
-Kiss his bum.
The Osculum Infame, the Kiss of Shame. Kissing the Devil's arse.
Do you think he lifts his own tail, or do you have to lift his tail?
Flick that tail right up, reveal the anus, a little wink.
Give us a kiss.
I'd like it if it was like a Pez dispenser,
so like when it lifts up, you get a little Devil sweet.
You're like, yum-yum, thank you.
You've crossed, you've crossed the line, did you hear that noise?
-Sweets from the Devil's arse? No.
-Not on the BBC.
The rest of that chat's fine, but we're drawing the line there.
We like Pez and you've ruined it for us!
Alan actually knows the parameters.
We think of you as a sort of a shambling, lovable figure,
but you actually are sensing stuff like a shaman.
-You're reading their minds, Alan.
No, they just made a funny noise.
Now, time for mind-reading number two.
OK, so for this I'm going to ask Aisling please to channel
Carol Vorderman for me, if you don't mind.
-So here is a pen.
So you've got to hold it up so that everybody can see.
-So maybe Alan can help you with that.
Well, I think I'm all right.
No, no, I mean hold it up so that the audience can see
what you're writing.
-Oh, I see what you mean. Yes.
Thank God I got this big strong man with me
to help with this heavy old board.
There's a gentleman wearing a T-shirt
that says "Love Is" something.
Any random number please.
-Just single-digit number.
-It wasn't a difficult question.
-He's gone eight.
-Write that down please.
Just to warn you, you're going to write a three-digit number
and there's going to be quite a lot of numbers.
-Oh, dear God. LAUGHTER
Could you just start again? OK.
That was just me having a gentle laugh with you, Sandi
I love it. There is, let's go right up the back there,
first row at the very back.
-The blue shirt at the end?
-Two, number two.
-OK, there we go.
-Shut up, Debbie McGee, go back again.
And let's go over here, lady with a patterned top?
Seven. 827. OK.
-So what I want you to do now is reverse the digits underneath.
Oh, yes. Oh...
..but that's always going to be two in the middle.
Yeah, that's fine, keep going.
-Put it upside down.
It's not really complicated, what I'm asking you to do.
-Yes, yes, yes.
Could you now subtract the smaller
number from the larger?
Right, yeah. OK,
so we're going to do this now.
So we take eight from seven, just not possible,
I think we all know that.
OK. Yes, so we're going to do...
-I mean, I'm in the arts, you see, so...
-Nine, nine, nine!
-Stop saying "no" at me in German
-and tell me what this is.
-Yeah, and then it's going to be nine again.
-And then this one comes down here...
-It's going to be nine again.
So it's three from nine, God!
So I need to have three numbers, so put a zero now please.
So you have three numbers.
Now reverse those digits, please. Zero...
And please could you add them together?
-So nine and zero, start again.
Nine and zero is nine. Nine and nine is eight, carry one.
-So the answer is?
OK, so we've come to 1089. OK, thank you very much.
AISLING SIGHS Wow, that was painful.
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE Really painful.
So what was the number that we had? We had 1089.
So, Noel, I'm going to pass you a copy of 1,342 QI Facts
To Leave You Flabbergasted. LAUGHTER
-Could you, let's see, 1089,
take the tenth word on page 89
-and tell me what it is.
-What is it?
French. Here is the envelope that I did earlier.
-And there is the word French.
-APPLAUSE AND CHEERING
-Isn't that fab?
-That's a very good trick.
-I mean, that's nuts.
Sandi, you clearly are Satan born again, show me
-the correct greeting once more.
And the powers it will surely imbue.
Anyway, thank you very much to our audience,
and very well done to Carol there. Very good.
-Does anybody want to know how I did it?
Nah, I'm not telling.
Can you tell me the final title in Shakespeare's oeuvre?
-He was very cranial, wasn't he?
Really you'd like to hit him with a teaspoon.
Dip a soldier in him.
It would come out with sonnets on it.
-Last work authored by Shakespeare?
-Tempest, ain't it?
-BELLS RING, KLAXON HOOTS
You've been in that?
Is it definitely a play or could it have been a poem?
It's not a play, it is a work authored by Shakespeare.
Did he have a diary or something?
I can tell you it was written in 1920.
-Yeah. And we're doing the occult.
-Did someone channel him?
-That's exactly right.
That's what they used to do, didn't they? According to a wonderful book called
Essential Cataloguing: The Basics, it's the guide
followed by the British Library and the US Library of Congress.
Books written by authors after their death are still catalogued
under their own name.
So his last work, published in 1920,
The Book For Him I Name For Jesus' Sake,
by William Shakespeare (spirit)...
-..is in fact the last listed work by William Shakespeare
in the British Library.
So the royalties of that go to his family?
Sadly not, I think they go to Sarah Taylor Shatford, who wrote it.
She deserves some cash.
Mark Twain wrote a book seven years after his death entitled
Jap Herron: A Novel Written From the Ouija Board.
And noted spiritualist and dead person, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
got in touch in 1983 to write The Great Mystery of Life Beyond Death.
Are these all by a Ouija board, or are some of them
with automatic writing? That was a thing, wasn't it?
Some of them are automatic writing, so they're a kind of a mix.
That is a weird Ouija board scenario,
that's a gingham shirt and they're clearly on public transport.
First we summons the dead, then a hoedown.
Anyway, William Shakespeare's last work was written through
the medium of a medium.
What's the worst omen you can see on a football pitch?
-Yeah. Are footballers superstitious?
-Is it a young woman with a list of allegations?
LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE
But is there something about the markings on the field
that are significant to occultists?
It's to do with the many superstitions
that are associated with football. 1990 World Cup...
-..there was an Argentine goal keeper called Sergio Goycochea.
Did he have a body part of an animal or something in the goal net?
No, what happened to him was, Argentina's quarterfinal
was against Yugoslavia, and it ended in a draw, which meant?
-They had to do a penalty shoot-out.
He needed to wee, but he wasn't allowed to leave the field.
So his team-mates surrounded him
and he had a wee and he then blocked two penalty shots.
So, the coach thought this was a marvellous thing, took it as an
omen, and he went on to urinate on the field again, with his team-mates
around him, before the semifinal penalty shoot-out against Italy.
He blocked two shots and then went on into the finals,
but they lost the finals against West Germany, because?
-He didn't urinate.
-He didn't wee, because?
-It didn't go to a shoot-out.
-It didn't go to a shoot-out.
But, wasn't Germany's winning goal a penalty?
It was a late penalty and it was in the main body of the game,
-so he didn't have time to wee.
-Didn't have time for a wee.
When they stood around him, did they look in or out, do you know?
Do you know, I always think I've got all the information
I need for this show.
Do you think he was a bit self-conscious?
-His team-mates around him.
-Well, because he might have been wearing somebody else's underpants,
apparently that's a very common footballer thing,
is that they swap underpants. Some of them wear them inside out.
-They do not!
Was it Barry Fry who weed in all four corners of the ground?
-Do you remember that?
-Yes, I believe that is a fact,
that Barry Fry, whilst manager of Birmingham,
perhaps, weed in every corner of the ground.
I thought you said Barry Cryer!
No, not Barry Cryer.
He's weed in all four corners of the Just A Minute studio.
Yeah, just for that.
Now, it's time for the ritual sacrifice of rationality
that we call General Ignorance.
Fingers on buzzers, please. Take a look at this.
This is Tommaso, the world's richest cat.
According to legend, how many lives does he have?
-Well, now usually they have...
-One less than ten.
BELLS RING KLAXON WAILS
That isn't fair! I was being so clever.
So, I can tell you that he is Italian, and that has a bearing.
-He's Italian? That cat?
-Where's his mouth?
So why would it matter that he's Italian?
Why would that make a difference?
Because he has got so many past-a lives.
Look, that is actually professional comedy you just witnessed.
Are they superstitious, Italians, about cats?
Yeah, but the number of lives that a cat has in superstition
varies from culture to culture.
So the Italians believe it is seven.
In Turkish and Arabic tradition it's six.
Germany, Greece, Brazil,
a few Spanish-speaking places it's seven as well. We have nine.
Tommaso is possibly just one of the world's richest cats.
He was a stray adopted by an elderly Italian woman named
Maria Assunta, and when she died in 2011, she bequeathed him
13,000,000, to make sure he would be loved and cuddled.
I would totally do it and I don't like cats. I'm...
I'd sit at the bottom of an old man's bed
and drink milk naked for 13,000,000.
-For probably 20 quid.
-Just for 20...
Why do so many cultures have an idea that cats always come back?
It's more they're cheating death, isn't that the thing?
Yeah, they cheat death. They fall off a roof and they walk away.
Lots of people think that they...
But, if you put them in a tumble dryer, they will die. They will.
On the ninth time. "He's still alive!
-This is the eighth cycle!
"I can't even touch him, he's so hot!
"Meow, bang, meow, bang."
-Can you put my socks in with it?
Now, what should you use to make a traditional Jack-o-Lantern?
BELL RINGS KLAXON BLARES
No, it's not a pumpkin. Yes?
A turnip is exactly right. Yes, very good.
Yeah. So turnips there on the left, and if you can't get a turnip,
something called a mangelwurzel, which is on the right.
Do you know where the tradition of Halloween comes from?
-I'm looking at Aisling.
-Best country in the world, Sandi.
Ireland, it came from Ireland, from Samhain, S-A-M-H-A-I-N,
which is Halloween, All Hallows Eve, we celebrate our dead.
How do you say it? Because it looks like Sam Hain.
-Just haven't got time to say the whole thing properly.
-Yeah. Very busy people.
Now, I've got each of you some magic sticks,
but I want you to tell me which of these sticks is a wand.
So I'm going to give this one to Aisling, there we go.
I am going to give this one to Noel.
-There we go.
I'm going to give this one to Russell.
Oh, they're getting bigger and bigger. There we go.
And ah... LAUGHTER
That's for Alan.
-Actually, I've got two for you.
You can have that one as well.
-Anybody know what a wand used to be?
-A walking stick?
It's a unit of length.
This was originally equivalent to a modern metre.
So in fact Aisling has the original wand.
No, they're all old lengths.
So, Noel, you've got something, it's called an "ars."
It's an old Turkish unit meaning forearm.
So you know in the Bible it says, Noah builds the ark using cubits?
-Yes, by cubits.
-That's that measure. That's the one you've got there.
-And the one you've got, Russell, is Mongolian, it's an "ald",
so it's the width of a man's arms outstretched.
It was used in the time of Genghis Khan.
I don't know if your arms would be the same as that span?
There's nothing wrong with Genghis and his army,
out there on the plains, fighting on horseback, bows and arrows,
up against the Chinese, why the hell not?
What else are you going to do, just sit quietly?
To hell with it, we've got me wand, I'm off out there.
-Alan, your little one is actually a measure.
It's a pyramid inch, which briefly in the 19th century
they believed was the measure that had been used by the Egyptians
to build their pyramids.
The other one you've got, Alan, is a Scandinavian measure,
and do you know what it's called? It's 60cm long.
A, er, no.
-It's called an "alen."
-None of them are in fact magic wands.
Does anybody know what you have to say in order to get a magic wand?
-She's a witch! Witch!
-That was genuinely alarming.
Which brings us to the hell fire and damnation of the scores,
and, oh, my. Last place, with minus 17 -
Noel Fielding. APPLAUSE AND CHEERING
In a very creditable third place -
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
In second place, with minus two -
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
And that means...
SHE GASPS Oh, my God!
This week I've won. No, it means...
with no points at all, this week's winner is Aisling.
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
And that means that Aisling is the winner of tonight's
This is the skull of one of the QI researchers, as a matter of fact.
So there you are, Aisling, there is your object to take home.
Oh, goodness me. Is it a real skull?
-Yes, of course darling, look at the size of it.
Just, your biology as good as your maths.
Thank you to Russell, Noel, Aisling and Alan, I leave you with this,
the great French zoologist Georges Cuvier was irritatingly logical.
One day, to teach him a lesson,
a colleague broke into his bedroom dressed as a devil with
horns on his head, and shouted: "Mr Cuvier, I'm going to eat you!"
To which he replied:
"All animals with horns and hooves are herbivorous."
And he went back to sleep. Thank you and good night.