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Fire Lantern

reviewed by Chet Cox (confirmed purchase)
Rating: ★★★★ (Date Added: Wednesday 14 April, 2021)

Fire LanternYour own acting ability + presentation will be what makes this work. The description is meticulously accurate: You burn a paper, the flame & ash float up to the ceiling - if you have any draft, it looks pretty eerie. No message can effectively be written on the paper - it wouldn't survive anyway. You will have to use a special type of paper, which Brick tells you under what name it's sold - and I've seen it in most supermarkets. (Does anyone know of a "grocery" anymore?) You'll want to throw away the guts and keep the wrappers. At least I shall, because I don't touch the stuff.

It's not much of an effect for a ten-spot, but the nugget of a plot for your presentation is well worth the $10.


Sleight of Hand Rope Trick

reviewed by alan sands (confirmed purchase)
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Tuesday 13 April, 2021)

Sleight of Hand Rope TrickThis was easy to download from a computer - but difficult to navigate from a phone. I am looking forward to reading this as it was one of the only two routines ever published before my father, George Sands, published his two routines, "SandSational Rope" and "RopeSational." The other routine that is older is The Professor's Nightmare, or "three rope routine."


Entropy Dropping

reviewed by Richard Burbage (confirmed purchase)
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Thursday 25 March, 2021)

Entropy DroppingI have been a fan of magic based on mathematical principles for years, especially those that can be easily concealed so there is no obvious connection to math for the spectator to grasp. For that reason, I thoroughly enjoyed learning from "Entropy Dropping". The author has taken a well-worn principle and twisted it into a new direction, or at least is looking at it from a perspective I have not come across before. Although one could certainly perform the effects described as written, it is a breeze for even a slightly creative person to make them their own by changing theme or props. I have had hours of fun dreaming up versions of "Entropy Dropping" effects. They are easy to perform and pack a good punch.

I have been interested in magic as a hobby for over 50 years, and spent a good number of years performing, and have dabbled in running a brick-and-mortar magic shop. I enjoy all styles of magic but have focused on closeup and parlor magic for the most part.


Numbered

reviewed by Phillip Dennis (confirmed purchase)
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Friday 05 March, 2021)

NumberedI've had this for awhile. It passed the Mrs. test with flying colors. Finally performed it at our magic fellowship to applause! Bravo Cameron! I recommend this!


Miraculous Numbers

reviewed by Michael Lyth
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Thursday 04 March, 2021)

Miraculous NumbersI have an original booklet still in its signed envelope by Peter Wilker 1994. So just reread it after digging it out of my collection of Magic and related books. I purchased mine probably after reading an Abracadabra Issue. It was good to once again read. So many good card effects work well based on mathematical methods. My interest as a youth was inspired by a copy of 1953 MATHeMAGIC by Bearnard M. L. Ernest, with an effect that I well used after making ''The Magic Block'' which was in the 1932 issue of Ripleys Believe it or not. Back to the notes chapter one starts with an effect devised by David Berglas called AD INFINITUM sourced from an early addition of Pabular Magazine which can be performed close up or stage.


Gaukelwerk with Cards

reviewed by Larry Travis (confirmed purchase)
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Monday 01 March, 2021)

Gaukelwerk with CardsThis is an excellent ebook. It would be an understatement to say that it's easily worth the price! Gaukelwerk with Playing Cards is aptly subtitled, “Clocking the Deck and Other Gems.” Let's talk about clocking the deck, and then the other gems.

As a relative newcomer to card magic, I learned only fairly recently about clocking when I read Tap A Lack by Paul Cummins and Diplopia by Paul Vigil. Later I read another method in Power Plays by Mike Powers. There are, of course, other sources and methods, and Dr. Solka provides a brief history and helpful list of resources in Gaukelwerk. At the time of this review, I have not yet investigated those other sources.

For those with ears to hear (eyes to read?), a common method of clocking involves casting out 10s in your first pass through the deck to determine the missing card's value, and then often dealing with ambiguous results in your second pass through the deck to determine the suit. The method in Power Plays eliminates the ambiguities, and seems excellent to me. But my brain does not want to cooperate! I'm sure with plenty of practice I could get accustomed to it.

However, the Mingau Location in Gaukelwerk is the one I will focus on learning. It also eliminates ambiguous results on the first pass, and it comes more naturally to me. I am very happy to have learned it!

The other main method of clocking the deck in this ebook is Dr. Solka's own Solka Location. This is truly excellent. Rather than seeking to eliminate ambiguity in the results of the first pass in order to speed up the second, the Solka Location takes the opposite approach. It accepts greater ambiguity to resolve in the second pass, in exchange for what should be, with practice and experience, a lightning-fast first pass. For those with eyes to read, the first pass involves no casting out, only modifying your running total by 1 or 2 at a time, and being able to ignore a larger number of cards.

I really think the Solka Location should be extremely powerful, if you already know the colour of the missing card (as you often do in clocking scenarios, e.g., Tap A Lack and Diplopia). But the number of ambiguities would become, it seems to me, prohibitively cumbersome if clocking a whole deck to identify a missing card of unknown colour. This is the main reason I have opted to learn Mingau instead. Nevertheless, both methods are great and I enjoyed learning about the Solka Method and the thinking behind it. If your intention is to clock only for a known colour, or if you are willing and able to learn more than one method of clocking, then I strongly recommend the Solka Location.

There is a third clocking method in the ebook, the Wasshuber Method, and also some variations and extra hints for the two main methods. You might say there is a fourth method in the section entitled “Cues for the Professional.”

What “Other Gems” are there in Gaukelwerk? There are two culls and two false shuffles. The Mingau Cull and Landmark Cull are not versatile culls, but have the specific goal of ordering the deck in alternating colours. Personally, I enjoyed toying with these but probably will not be adopting them. I could be wrong, but I think even with lots of practice to build up speed and fluidity, these culls might not withstand much “heat.” This is absolutely no problem if your performance context and style permits, and Dr. Solka briefly lists some tactics for disguising the culls. That is to say, I don't believe these culls are bad; they're just not ideal for my personal style and performance context.

The two false shuffles are really given as a single shuffle, the Hans False Shuffle, and a variation on it, the Barry Ray alternative handling. I don't think it gives away too much to say that the Hans utilises a Hindu grip, and the Ray a Biddle grip.

Initially, I thought I would not use either. However, the more I play with the Barry Ray variant, the more I like it, and I've added it to my toolkit. The Hans False Shuffle (either version) is not what might be called an “explicit” false shuffle. If, hypothetically, you called attention to the shuffle in performance by saying, “Behold, I shall now mix the deck thoroughly!”, then you will have cued the spectator to watch and he might well notice that the cards aren't truly mixed.

It's debatable whether you should do such a thing with any false shuffle! However, the beauty of the Hans False Shuffle is that it is an “implicit” shuffle. You in fact seem to be cutting through the deck only to display a few card faces, showing they are random. In the process, you give the impression that you are mixing the deck even further as you go. Done smoothly and casually, it's quite a convincer. And if a spectator did notice the cards weren't being mixed, there's no harm done, because you haven't even claimed you were mixing them.

I have not had much opportunity yet to test it on live spectators. However, the ones to whom I have shown it are my usual guinea pigs for new tricks and techniques. They are very sharp, very observant, and have come to learn a fair bit about the things I get up to with a deck of cards. In other words, I have grown confident that anything that fools them will fool the average spectator. I found that for all of them, just showing the top card, executing the Ray version of Hans without comment, and doing nothing else, left them surprised when I showed the same card still on top (let alone the entire deck still in the same order).

Gaukelwerk with Playing Cards by Hans-Christian Solka is an excellent ebook and one of my favourite magic purchases. I have two techniques, the Hans False Shuffle (Barry Ray handling) and the Mingau Location, which are going straight into my toolkit for card magic. I think other readers might benefit enormously from the Solka Location and the other gems in the book. Regardless of what I've chosen to use, I found all the content of the ebook interesting and enjoyable to read.

On a personal note, Dr. Solka has also succeeded in giving this reader a fondness for his teacher, “Schorsch.” A young Hans-Christian bribed Herr Mingau with cigars to learn card techniques, and now the experienced Hans-Christian honours him in Gaukelwerk with Playing Cards. On another personal note, Dr. Solka encourages readers to contact him with feedback, and when I did he replied promptly and thoughtfully, which I appreciate dearly.

It's too late to make a long review short. But you would do well to add this ebook to your library!


The Jastrow Illusion in Magic

reviewed by Horst Paffen
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Sunday 28 February, 2021)

The Jastrow Illusion in MagicAn interesting overview of an equally interesting topic. However, Johann Joseph Oppel (1815-1894), mentioned on page 4, was not a psychologist, but a versatile man. He was mainly a pedagogue, physicist, and dialect researcher. He is considered the founder of scientific research into the Frankfurt (Main) dialect in Germany.


Thrilling Magic

reviewed by Will Tingle
Rating: ★★★★ (Date Added: Friday 26 February, 2021)

Thrilling MagicMany of the methods in this book are wrong; some of which are outright dangerous.


Real Linked

reviewed by Bobby George (confirmed purchase)
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Thursday 11 February, 2021)

Real LinkedI am interested in linking card effect and try to learn it whenever possible so I have some basic idea of how things are done because I used to perform linking card effect like Paul Harris immaculate connection and One card link by Sixten Beme both are good effects. So when I came to this effect I was a little skeptical about this I thought what more this person could do but I was wrong this man is a genius.

Pros:

Spectator could take any card No force Can sign card Can inspect before linking and after unlink Can be given out as a souvenir after unlinking the card.

You have to prepare the gimmick ahead of time but I don't consider this a negative it is only 5 to 10 minutes of preparation and easy to make.

Cons:

The only negative I found is sometimes the hand goes out of frame but not always this might be because he is using a fixed cam and nobody is assisting him in taking the video. In my opinion, this is a really good purchase.


Celebrity Poker

reviewed by Jon Dabach (confirmed purchase)
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Tuesday 19 January, 2021)

Celebrity PokerGreat routine! Very easy and some good comedic bits in there. In truth it's more akin to mental epic than confabulation. Nothing really new here just good techniques and methods from other put together in quite a commercial routine.


Virtual Add a Number

reviewed by David Burmeister
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Sunday 17 January, 2021)

Virtual Add a NumberThis was gifted to me from UNME. It is an easy routine that is designed for entertaining the BELIEVERS and NON BELIEVERS. The nice thing is that you have an add a number effect that can be done under ANY situations. VIRTUAL SITUATIONS or REAL PROGRAM SITUATIONS. Well done UNKNOWN MENTALIST. I recommend this very highly.


Lifecraft

reviewed by David Burmeister
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Sunday 17 January, 2021)

LifecraftThis Ebook was gifted to me from UNME. It is a lighthearted mentalism effect that will bring joy to the spectator in spite of all the COVID VIRUS in this world. It is not hard to do and is worth the cost. Well done UNKNOWN MENTALIST.


Ezorb

reviewed by David Burmeister
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Sunday 17 January, 2021)

EzorbThis was given to me as a gift from UNME. There is a LOT in this book that you can use. Especially if you do Zodiac / Star signs and is well worth your money. It sounds like you have cold reading skills. All you have to do is memorize some of the material in this book and use it with your favorite Zodiac sign divination. There is even suggestions on how to learn the order of the Star Signs. Well done UNKNOWN MENTALIST.


Straphanger

reviewed by David Burmeister
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Sunday 10 January, 2021)

StraphangerThe UNKNOWN MENTALIST has done it again. This is worth the price if you want a DYNAMITE EFFECT. Imagine the spectators reaction when you tell them a country they are thinking of. It is well worth your money. If you like this you may like THE DARK CORNERS RESEARCH PROJECT, WORLDS WITHIN WORDS, and THE GROW DEVILS PRINCIPLE also by THE UNKNOWN MENTALIST. I am very familiar with all of them. I recommend this very highly. Well done UNKNOWN MENTALIST.


Know Stack

reviewed by David Burmeister
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Sunday 10 January, 2021)

Know StackThis is another Card Stack that is priceless to the performer. If you like Fun Stack, SLOKA DECK, KALEN DECK, you will love this stack too.

I liked it so much that I stayed up until 2:30 AM last night working on my own personal Number Stack and SOS 3 out of the KARMA DECK PRO for the SUIT STACK. It takes a bit of work to personalize it as your own but is well worth it. This and the SLOKA deck will be a couple of a few favorites. This is worth the money in my opinion and they will be yours also. Great job UNKNOWN MENTALIST.


Propless Pin Pricks

reviewed by David Burmeister (confirmed purchase)
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Sunday 10 January, 2021)

Propless Pin PricksThis is another nice propless effect from THE UNKNOWN MENTALIST. I believe that you need to have a commanding personality to pull this off. The idea for this has been around in various forms for many years. This is a somewhat updated version. I need to think about how I'm going to present this before I use it myself. Having said all this I recommend that you buy this. The material gives you a LOT of ways to present the various effects so the price is very little for what you get. Well done UNKNOWN MENTALIST.


15 Exciting Minutes with a Borrowed Deck

reviewed by David Martin (confirmed purchase)
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Saturday 09 January, 2021)

15 Exciting Minutes with a Borrowed DeckOne thing I've learned studying our craft for the last 33 years is that if you wish to discover something "new" to study, one must look to the past.

I just purchased this gem of a book yesterday and already I am compelled to shout as loud as I can that the title of this book does not lie. I have already slightly tweaked the methods used in a few of these gems and I will also develop my own presentations for these until I'm ready to perform this act from start to finish for family and friends.

I know doing so will provide my audiences with a sense that perhaps there are some things in this universe and life that we aren't meant to comprehend or understand and that's great and very beautiful. All of this with a pack of cards that may be borrowed.

Highly recommended!


Gozinta Boxes Revisited

reviewed by Kim Lee
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Tuesday 29 December, 2020)

Gozinta Boxes RevisitedYour boxes have important distinctive features for misdirection. The lettering "Big", "Medium", and "Small" was nice in your triple box video. But your solid black looks solid and "ordinary" too.

The medium box adds misdirection as you place it on the table, so the audience does not notice how the small box comes out.

But your asymmetry is especially interesting, because the big black box goes completely inside the small transparent box in identical orientation! The big black box is literally strictly smaller in every dimension!

Obviously, you cannot fit each box symmetrically into the other. There must be something fishy. You cleverly designed the boxes so that a small discrepancy appears at the beginning, when the audience is not suspicious. They just see an ordinary box! The only "dirty work" is unpacking the box. At the end, you cleanly and symmetrically nest the large box inside, fully closed. It is a nice touch.


Cathy Shadows: Doing It For Real

reviewed by David Martin (confirmed purchase)
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Sunday 27 December, 2020)

Cathy Shadows: Doing It For RealFor a small sum of money you are getting a short and quickly read PDF. Even though it's a quick read, the advice that "Cathy Shadows" gives is really great if one wants to learn some mental exercises to do some classic plots in mentalism for real. My only advice to a student of the esotric arts before purchasing this is to keep a very open mind while studying these exercises. At the very least you'll learn how to make a mentalism routine or single effect more theatrically compelling through simple means.


Ellisdons Catalog

reviewed by Derek Millward (confirmed purchase)
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Sunday 13 December, 2020)

Ellisdons CatalogExcellent item and very fast download. I've been trying to locate a copy of Ellisdons catalogue for years as I remember how much fun and excitement I had when I was a young boy reading their adds on the backs of comics. This catalogue download is very clear and will print out well and I'm really looking forward to seeing it in print form. The price of $4.00 is great value and I received the download within a couple of minutes of paying for it in the UK. Thank you very much for offering this service, I really appreciate it and all the best from the UK.


Spirit Slate

reviewed by Joe Libby (confirmed purchase)
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Sunday 29 November, 2020)

Spirit SlateThis is an unusual and startling slate effect. It's a natural for seances, but it can also be effective for all kinds of performances. You can find everything you need for a few dollars at your craft store and grocery store. Recommended!


Hypno-Trix

reviewed by Jean-Baptiste Prevost (confirmed purchase)
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Tuesday 17 November, 2020)

Hypno-TrixNothing new for those who already know the subject, some things that today are ridiculous and for the flower...it's cute.


Mental Foursome

reviewed by Michael Cook
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Saturday 31 October, 2020)

Mental FoursomeI bought this pdf just for the first effect. It states that when the cards are spread face up that the spectator selects a card. Not true! The performer selects the face up card. Had I known that I wouldn’t have purchased this. Having said that the other three effects are pretty good.


Scripted #33: Ring and Rope

reviewed by Karsten Meyerhoff (confirmed purchase)
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Monday 26 October, 2020)

Scripted #33: Ring and RopeI have fiddled with the Ring&Rope-concept for quite a while, but it never made it into my repertoire as I couldn't find a story that I thought was interesting enough for the audience and that fit my style. So, I was pleasantly surprised to find a routine that comes with 'a killer script' by the author of 'How to write a script' - or so the ad goes. Ordinary, examinable props, nothing to bring in or out, simple, clear moves: That ticked all the boxes for me.

I will have to say that personally I am rather disappointed. Without giving too much away, I will say that the script is of the type: 'I once saw a magician do this ... and then this ... and then this ...'. Sure, it comes with: 'That's what got me hooked on magic as a child.' and that does add an emotional layer, but I am sorry: That's not a 'killer script' in my book. The story doesn't justify the props at all: The ring is a ring and the rope is a rope. It doesn't give meaning to the threading and unthreading of the rope: It just happens. Yes, it is interesting to read in the script where the author got the moves and the other inspirations from and how he made them 'his own', but that still doesn't make for a killer script. I am stressing all this, since the scripting is presented as the unique selling point of the routine.

Having said that: It is a nice routine that does everything else it claims to do and to be. The props are simple and examinable (at any time), no additional gimmicks are necessary, nothing has to be rung in or out and the moves are simple and clear for both, the magician and the audience. There is no endless fiddling with the rope or the ring, no handing stuff from one hand to the other and back again. The moves flow nicely into one another giving the routine a good flow and a clear structure and the angles are really good on this one. The routine is short and sweet, too: Many Ring&Rope-routines are too long for my taste, so that's another plus.

I wish I could give this two marks: For the script and for the routine as such, because that way I could say that I like the handling and the 'technical' aspects of the routine, but don't care much for the script - which is emphasized so much in the ad.


Echo Force

reviewed by Garry Darby (confirmed purchase)
Rating: ★★★★ (Date Added: Wednesday 14 October, 2020)

Echo ForceHi, I have just downloaded “Echo Force”. I am disappointed. This seems an incredibly complex and complicated system for any force. I can’t see it having any use for me. I have been more than happy with all the other downloads I have purchased.

Displaying 1 to 25 (of 1400 reviews) 12345678910...>
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