First.. I am a reviewer and editor who's frequently asked to review the work of others. My standard policy is... I review what I like, and I will not review items I don't like. I know... folks like to read a hatchet job sometimes, but I don't like to write 'em. Paul asked me to give his latest ebook a read.. I did.. and I'm glad to review it.
I am a big fan of mentalism and mental magic. Actually, it is probably my favorite form of magic. Mental magic with cards is not easy, as the lines between mental magic and card magic are often blurred. Much is dependent on the presentation, as the way you approach the reveal and the patter up to that point is, in my opinion, the key.
UNSEEN is a collection of four effects with cards. The first effect, and my favorite, uses a partial stack to help you know the identity of a selected card without looking through the cards. This is idea mental magic with cards. Paul provides a video of his false shuffle to make the handling more convincing. This is Paul's description.. and an accurate description..
"A card is noted by the spectator in a completely fair manner from a shuffled deck that has been displayed as ordinary. The packet is shuffled and the performer reads the mind of the spectator and names her thought-of card…the mentalist having never once even looked at any of the cards.."
The LADY FINDS IT! is the second effect, and is the test of a woman's ESP power. Paul describes it like this...
EFFECT: "The cards are shuffled and a Peek is performed and the spectator memorizes it. The deck is then shuffled. A male spectator makes a guess of 5 to 25 to locate her selection – but, naturally, he fails. However after the female concentrates on the selection, she then takes the deck and counts the same bank of cards out for herself - and the last card she has counted is her selection.."
I might be more inclined to describe this one as a card effect, but it can go either way. Easy to perform, using only a Peek and an undercut, the average guy can perform this one with a minimum of preparation..
The third effect is THE POWER OF WOMAN. Paul likes to select women to assist with his effects.. and he offers his reasoning throughout the PDF..
EFFECT: "A card is peeked and remembered. Deck is shuffled and a male spectator cuts the deck into two piles. The performer displays the top four cards of the bottom half, but none are the selection. These four cards are placed into the deck, face-up, and the other half of the deck is placed on top. The female “wills” her selection to move to the middle of the face-up packet…and when she spreads the deck, the selection has teleported there!"
This effect uses one of simplest principles in all card magic. But, like many effects, the simplicity can be a total fooler with the right handling and patter. Paul stresses the mental factor throughout and makes it work. Beginners can perform this, although there are a number of ways to perform it, depending on your skill level. Make it as complicated or a simple as you want..
REPEATER is the last effect in the PDF.. and definitely the most bold. Paul says he used to make up decks to use in this effect when he demo'd in magic shops. You will have to set up a deck using a bank of cards, but it's not a complicated setup. From there, Paul describes the effect as:
EFFECT: A deck of cards is shuffled, and then the performer deals out cards, face-up, at a fairly rapid pace, until the spectator says “Stop!” The very next card is given to the spectator, still face-down, and the performer then uses his ESP to announce the name of that card!"
After reading the instructions, you might realize you could perform this effect with a deck set up in Si Stebbens, or something similar. But, if your hope is to fool other magicians, as is often the case, use Paul's method. I like the boldness of this effect..
Overall, I think the average magician will enjoy performing the effects in UNSEEN. There's nothing that's a stretch for the average performer, and you will likely learn a new move or two going forward. I appreciate that Paul never overcharges for his work. Everything is priced to be affordable and magicians appreciate it ! If you want to stick your foot in the mental magic pool, without having to spend hundreds for specialized props and equipment, this is the ideal place to start.