Here's something that will intrigue all magicians. It's an innovative new device that allows you to levitate objects and comes in an entire new form factor. Whether Yigal Mesika's Tarantula will work for you will depend on the types of close-up levitations and telekinetic effects that you wish to accomplish. You can get an idea of the effects by watching the promo video.
What Mesika has accomplished with the Tarantula (MSRP: $75.00, Murphy’s) is to brilliantly combine several concepts into a nifty new gadget. Part Kennedy reel, part Spider Pen and part Sanada gimmick, the Tarantula is a tiny motorized reel that effectively hides in your hand and allows you to easily activate its motor. The gimmick is a well made, quality item that does exactly what it's designed to do.
With the device in your hand, you can levitate a spinning finger ring, cause dollar bills to mysteriously leap from a table into your hand and cause a deck of cards that is sitting on the floor to cut itself and kick out a spectator's selected card. There's also a telekinetic effect where a pen that’s laying on a table rolls towards you. The pen may be immediately examined, however, I find the rolling to be a bit too fast.
The hovering ring is indeed a stunner. In Mesika's hands, the ring rises and then falls and threads itself onto a spectator's finger. Keep in mind that causing the ring to rest on a spectator's finger is a risky move that may reveal the secret. On the downside, the effect will make you use up supplies.
The tricks with the dollar bills are fairly standard and the haunted pack effect looks much like those by Justin Miller and Shimshi, but the pack resides on the floor. The innovation here is distance.
As when working with conventional reels, you'll have to deal with breakage and eventually run out of supplies and need to reorder more (Mesika sells replacements). You'll also have to purchase watch style replacement batteries, which are standard. With the Tarantula, Mesika provides thorough instructions. The device takes practice to work well.
Where Does It Stand?
So how does Tarantula compare against Mesika's own Spider Pen and similar techniques? Tarantula, when used with Mesika's hook-up - an adaptation of a well known one by another artist - can cause a spinning ring to float in air, but unlike a levitation of a hummer card, it seems more independent. The Spider Pen and similar reels, on the other hand, are more for "anchoring" and levitating objects.
I'm excited about the Tarantula. While the device does offer new levitating options, keep in mind that you still have to deal with the issues of breakage, supplies and such. If you like these types of effects and are comfortable with the medium, you just might be a candidate for the Tarantula.