Mind-Reading, Mentalism & Mentalists
Review of Bionik by David Penn
You've seen magicians bend forks and spoons, well, how about knives? David Penn's new "Bionik" system allows you to bend knives and the handles of spoons and forks. It's practical and workable.
Review of Shared Dreams by Marcelo Insúa
Shared Dreams is a marketed effect that allows you to apparently predict the future - random inputs from spectators. And Tru Test is a variation on a book test that works with a Newsweek or Time magazine. Both are strong.
Mind Reading - Techniques Versus Props
A discussion on relying on technique or props for "mind reading." Also, a discussion the well known "Thought Transmitter."
Review: 357 by Tom Lauten
Here's an interesting idea, it's "Russian Roulette" adapted into a harmless card trick. If you've always liked the plot but didn't want to take a chance with knives under cups and other dangerous situations, you may enjoy this one.
Review: Whitestar by Jim Critchlow
Here's a brilliant effect with a powerful and spooky theme. It's basically a take on Paul Curry's classic "Out of This World" with eerie, old-style portraits that pack an emotional wallop.
Review: Time Machine and Touches by Kenton Knepper
Instead of a prediction in the vein of an Al Koran Medallion-style effect, Kenton Knepper has turned a prediction into a theme of time travel in the spirit of H.G. Wells. It is truly inspired and brilliant work.
Review: Inside Thoughts by Haim Goldenberg
"Inside Thoughts" offers a gimmicked envelope that allows you to predict a good range of possibilities, up to nine, and with some work, 18. The predictions can be numbers, celebrities, colors or anything that you wish.
Review: My Precious by Haim Goldenberg
Four people place their finger rings into four coin purses as the magician looks away. The magician then takes out each ring and identifies its owner. This one is a bit of pseudo psychometry.
Review: Postmentalism by Alvo Stockman
Here's a prediction effect that has the potential to be very strong. A prediction that you send through the mail before an event is found to be correct when it arrives.
Review: DIVINE2 by Stathi Zaf
There are many ways to apparently read a spectator's thoughts, and Stathi Zaf offers a diabolical and clever device that you can make that effectively does the job. For close-up work where you and your spectators are standing, Zaf's DIVINE2 prop can be an excellent addition to your mentalism arsenal.
DVD Review: Into the Abyss by Oz Pearlman
This is the third Oz Pearlman DVD that I've reviewed and with this title, he's three for three with me. His Stealing Pips featured some amazing card magic while his 21st Century Phantom explained a stunning mentalism effect with an outrageous revelation. With "Into the Abyss," Pearlman offers another excellent DVD with three stunning close-up mentalism gems.
Trick Review: Secrets Of The Octopus Deck Revealed by Bill Abbott
A cool mentalism prop that has the potential for as much if not more impact than a standard tossed-out deck routine, Bill Abbott's Octopus Deck offers an intriguing gimmicked deck. This giant slayer is a complete mind reading routine with three phases. Wait until you get your tentacles on this one.
Trick Review: ESP Mind Set by James Biss
Here's a great stand-up and stage effect that offers a stunning prediction, a bit of pseudo-psychometry, lots of interaction with five audience members who join you on stage and an intriguing ESP theme. I especially like the strong two-phased ending.
Magic by Larry Becker and Lee Earle
In the world of Mentalism, Larry Becker and Lee Earle are creative developers who market a wide range of effects. Here's a collection of our reviews of Becker/Earl products.
Trick Review: Puzzle Paradox by Larry Becker and Lee Earle
This is no simple puzzle, but a strong mentalism routine that involves a jigsaw puzzle. Somehow, a spectator’s freely chosen piece from a bunch of random ones is the very piece that's missing from an almost fully assembled puzzle. It's a compelling routine for stand-up or stage that features good audience interaction.
Trick Review: Chinese Choice by John Archer
I like Chinese food and "Chinese Choice" offers a fun mentalism routine for stand-up or close-up. I agree with Archer that it's not opening or closing material, but a good mid-act routine that offers lots of audience interaction.
Trick Review: iKnow by Jason Palter
With the popularity of iPods and MP3 players, it's a natural to perform magic with these ever present devices. With iKnow, Jason Palter has created a solid mentalism effect that allows you to determine the exact song that a spectator has selected at random and is listening to, without looking at the iPod.
Review: Szechuan Sampler 2.0 by Larry Becker and Lee Earle
A baffling bit of mentalism with a Chinese restaurant theme, Szechuan Sampler allows for completely free choices on the part of four participants and ends with a powerful prediction. The effect is self-working and straight-forward to learn and perform.
NBC's "The Phenomenon" - Final Thoughts
"Phenomenon" pitted contestants against each other "American Idol" style and had judges: Criss Angel and Uri Geller. Television audiences voted via phone or the web - losers were eliminated and the winner, Mike Super, took home $250,000. Was the show good for magic and mentalism? Who came out ahead? Does "American Idol" work for magic? Also, check out our readers' comments.
Trick Review: Houdini Book Test
This gimmicked book is a powerful tool that lets you perform a disarming and convincing book test with your choice of books. And it’s also an interesting book to read. I thoroughly like the "Houdini Book Test."
Book Test Resources
In a classic book test routine, a spectator turns to any page in a book and selects a word or sentence, and the magician can name the word or offer an impression of what's in the sentence. It's a traditional and powerful mentalism effect. If you're interested in performing a book test, here are some resources.
“Refraction” by David Penn
Here’s a demonstration of psychic power. Instead of twisting a spoon or fork into a mass of mangled metal, how about causing a delicate wine glass to bend at its stem?
Trick Review: Blightsight by Devin Knight
Blindsight is a mentalism effect that baffles spectators and relies on a strong combination of classic mentalism techniques. In lesser hands, the routine could rely on common mentalism methods. But Devin Knight’s brings together elements that shroud and support each other. And for good measure, he adds a kicker at the routine’s end. For $20, this is a powerful close-up mentalism routine.
Trick Review: Double Coincidence by Devin Knight and Al Mann
I’ve never been a big fan of book tests, but “Double Coincidence” is one that I like and want to perform. It's a strong, multi-phase routine that is baffling and not difficult to perform.
Trick Review: No Chance by Spelmann and Nardi
A powerful mentalist tool that leaves no outcome to luck, “No Chance” offers a set of gimmicked dice that work with a variety of effects. The dice also come with an indepth DVD that explains some of the many routines that you can perform with the dice.
Trick Review: Decisions by Mozique
An amazing prediction that is always under your control, “Decisions” allows you to prove to a spectator that you can anticipate his or her answers. You ask a spectator a “yes” or “no” question and when you show your prediction card, it’s always right.
Review: Collard by John Archer
In the spirit of mentalism effects where an object predicts some random input from audience members ala “Koran Medallion” and Don Wayne’s “Room Key,” “Collard” allows audience members to freely name a stuffed toy dog and later discover that its tag already has its name inscribed on it. This one is good and it’s definitely a stage effect.
Review: Red Carpet
For a society that can’t hear enough about Brittney, Lindsey and Paris, “Red Carpet” exploits our interest in celebrities. It’s a mind-reading effect that involves male and female spectators and ten cards that depict well known people. While the theme is compelling, the effect is rather lackluster and anti-climactic.
Trick Review: Postal! by Larry Becker and Lee Earle
With images of exotic and far off places, Larry Becker and Lee Earle offer a baffling bit of mentalism that involves postcards. This one is very good.
Trick Review: 37 by Marc Oberon
It’s an offbeat mentalism effect that based on an equally offbeat idea. Marc Oberon takes the statistical “37" number force trick and combines it with a prop that covers all of the possibilities. While the effect is decent, it’s the prop that’s cool.
DVD Review: No Camera Tricks by Richard Osterlind
On "No Camera Tricks," an excellent three-disc DVD set, Richard Osterlind proves that mentalism is alive and well suited for television. Here, Osterlind demonstrates powerful mentalism for television that requires no camera tricks or editing, and no stooges or pre-show work.
Trick Review: Taylor Made Book Test by David Taylor
David Taylor offers a strong and easy book test effect in his “Taylor Made Book Test.” His method is easy to setup, learn and perform and allows you to use virtually any book.
Trick Review: Crystal Vision by Pieras Fitikides
An intriguing new concept that updates the classic swami writer, “Crystal Vision” allows you to make on-the-spot predictions that appear on a laminated card that’s sealed within an envelope. The technique and prop are intriguing, but the results can only be viewed under good lighting.
Trick Review: Odd Ball - Marc Oberon
It’s rare that I come across a commercial magic trick that I can’t perform (actually, this is the first time). But I find “Odd Ball” to have a secret that is far too subtle to ensure success. And unfortunately, its method is one that may not be subtle enough to escape detection on the part of spectators.
Master Billet Course Peeks & Center Tears by Allen Zingg - Vol. 1
If you want to use billets in your mentalism, Allen Zingg’s “Master Billet Course Peeks & Center Tears” offers a fantastic introduction that can get you well on your way. Zingg not only explains different techniques in detail, he presents various routines that make use of the techniques. You’re free to pick and choose the technique that will work best for you.
Between 2 Minds by Guy Bavli and Haim Goldenberg
“Between 2 Minds” is a three-disc DVD set that offers 15 powerful mentalism routines for stand up, stage and close up. While 15 effects may sound like a paltry amount given that this pricey set consists of three discs and costs $120, they’re strong ones. Another plus, Bavli and Goldenberg take lots of time to discuss each method and routine, perhaps the most insightful treatment that I’ve seen on any instructional magic DVD.
Easy Magic: The Film Prediction
You ask several people to name a movie. Each is written on a slip of paper, folded and thrown it into a bowl. You write the name of one of the films on a final slip and set the prediction in plain view. Another spectator reaches into the bowl and pulls out a movie title, which is read aloud. And your prediction turns out to be the very same film.
Easy Magic: Telephone Predictor
Here's one of those mathematical oddities that somewhat masquerades as a magic trick. Your spectator, with calculator in hand, performs a series of calculations. And surprise, at the end, he or she is looking at their telephone number. We walk you through the steps and at the end, display them all on a single page that you may print out.
Trick Review: Star Trick by Larry Becker and Lee Earle
A prediction effect that is surprising and visual, Larry Becker's and Lee Earle's "Star Trick" manages to capture our society's fascination with celebrities. This effect is based on an innovative and creative concept and is designed to be performed on stage but can also be performed close-up.
Book Review: Think Pink-Ran Pink
If you want to secretly discern a thought or message, there’s always the reliable center tear. Ran Pink offers his version of the center tear that works with an index or business card, allows you to precisely tear the card without looking at it and results in torn pieces that are seemingly too small to contain any useful information.
Trick Review: Mind Control Remastered by Bill Abbott
In “Mind Control,” Bill Abbott offers a trick that is easy to perform and can be performed in several variations for close-up or stage. Here, the spectator makes a free choice and is shown that the magician knew all along.
Interactive Magic: The Mystery Wheel
Here's a web-based magic trick. Even though you select a random number, we’re going to try and predict where you will end up. Take a magic journey.
Trick Review: Psnype by Kevin Parker
The spectator is given a deck of cards. The magician turns his back and tells him to cut the deck to any card and peek at it. After the spectator peeks at a card, the magician tells him the card he peeked at without fishing or even touching the deck.
Easy Magic: Mind Reader
A spectator shuffles a deck of cards and memorizes the card at the bottom of the deck. So you can’t see the selected card, the deck is slipped back into its box. After a bit of mumbo-jumbo, psycho-babble, you’re able to tell the spectator the exact card that he is thinking of.
Easy Trick: The Good Guess
You display a couple of cards, place them into a bag and then remove one. When you ask your spectator which one remains, he or she is always right or wrong. It’s your choice and completely under your control.
Easy Magic: The Calendar Trick
Here’s a quirky trick that relies on a little known fact. You show a spectator a piece of paper and ask them to name a month. After naming the month you refer to a yearly calendar, find the month’s page and select a column. You ask the spectator to add the numbers in that column. When the spectator opens the piece of paper, they find that their total matches the number that you have predicted.
Interactive Web Magic: "The Clock"
Here’s an interactive magic trick that works across the web and you can have fun showing your friends. The secret is based on a simple mathematical principle.
Trick Review: Far Sight by Devin Knight
In "Far Sight," a card-based mentalism effect, a performer can stand away from a set of cards so he can’t see them and allow a spectator to freely choose one card and cover the others. In the end, the performer correctly predicts the selected card. This one is good and will fry magicians who may be the best spectators for it.
Trick Review: “Gobsmacked” - Costas Damianou & Simon Lovell
“Free Will Has Left the Building.” So goes the tagline for “Gobsmacked,” an effect where a spectator freely deals cards until he or she wants to stop. When the spectator stops, the magician shows that the rest of the cards are blue backed cards and the spectator’s freely chosen card has a red back with a message written on the back. The power in this effect lies in its perceived free choice.
Trick Review: Daryl’s Group Session
If you’ve always wanted to perform the “Tossed Out Deck,” but wanted to maintain control over the cards, Daryl’s “Group Session” offers a great alternative method. “Group Session” comes with the necessary props, paper instructions and a DVD and is a fantastic system that provides all of the tools that you need to learn and perform the effect.
Trick Review: Divine Time - Jason Palter
A first rate mentalism effect, Jason Palter’s Divine Time offers an entertaining routine that’s built on a time theme and serves a solid revelation. A spectator randomly selects a watch from several that display different times, and the performer is able to somehow determine the time.
Trick Review: Fate-Rick Maue
This incredible bit of mentalism involves five spectators and six poker chips and serves two powerful revelations. I successfully performed the routine at three shows this past weekend and it got a great response. I can’t say enough great things about Rick Maue’s “Fate.”
My Magic Junk Drawer: “Watch & Wear”
Every magician owns magic tricks that he purchased with the highest expectations, but for whatever reason, never made it into his act. In this regular new feature, I discuss effects that I bought and now sit on a shelf. This week, it’s the “Watch & Wear” wristwatch, a mentalism effect where a spectator names a time of the day and the magician shows that his watch was previously set to that time.
Trick Review: Mindreading 101
A collection of mind-reading gags that can be used on their own for laughs, or to lead up to a major prediction or revelation, Mindreading 101 offers a set of high-quality cards that you can use right away in your act. The gags are proven ones that will be a hit with almost any lay audience.
DVD Review: 100% Commercial Mentalism-Andrew Normansell
As the title implies, Andrew Normansell’s 100% Commercial Mentalism DVD offers the magician’s favorite mentalism effects. Normansell offers mentalism that works on stage and in close-up situations. All are easy to learn and perform. While some rely on playing cards, none require any sleight-of-hand.
Review: CRISS ANGEL MINDFREAK - Prediction
With excellent ratings in his wake, Criss Angel continues to successfully innovate, explore and present television-based magic in our internet age. More midland material than powerful season opener or closer, his latest MINDFREAK, entitled “Prediction,” which aired on Wednesday, October 12, 2005, offers Angel’s entertaining angle on mentalism.
TV Review-Keith Barry: Extraordinary
“This is Extraordinary!” So promised Keith Barry’s magic special on CBS. The show, which showcased mentalism, was most noteworthy for its many Hollywood stars. While the show presented lots of effects that probably left viewers wondering how they were accomplished, the show played somewhat flat.
Easy Trick: Dark Magic
Here’s a great trick to perform at a party. You ask someone to select an item while you’re out of the room, tell everyone else which item was selected and leave it in place. When you return, another person goes from object to object touching them in a random order. When the person touches the chosen object, you’re able to tell everyone that this...
Review of Magnum by Mark Zust
Magnum offers a powerful gimmicked page that allows you to apparently read the mind of a spectator or look through his eyes. You not only can divulge a freely chosen word, you can draw a picture, identify a celebrity and more. I like this one.