Magic Products Review

FORCE OF WILL by Dave Hooper

Written by John Teo

The classic force is supposed to be the most natural force of a playing card.  Yet, many people do not know how to do it well.  This is because it requires timing, and spectator management.  It is also a technique that you cannot practice alone – it requires a live spectator to pick a card for you.

Dave Hooper has a very deceptive classic force.  He calls this the “Force Of Will”.  He has been doing this for over 35 years.  In his hands, the classic force looks very fair and casual.  The spectator really feels she has a random choice. 

His classic force has got high praises from card and magic greats such as Doc Eason, Harry Robson, Kieron Lefever and Chris Ramsay.

So what makes Dave’s classic force so special?  This is all revealed in the 12 minutes DVD that you receive.

Dave shows you how to get ready for the force, the timing, and the required follow-up actions after the force.

He also discusses:

  • Some outs in case the spectator misses.
  • What to do when the spectator wants to shuffle the deck.
  • The use of the force on magicians and on non-magicians.
  • The use of the force on men and on ladies.

This DVD will inspire you to practise and learn the classic force.  His advice and little touches will help you make your classic force more effective.  (8/10 star rating)

RED PILL by Chris Ramsay

Written by John Teo

The red pill, and its opposite, the blue pill, are a cultural meme.  The red pill represents reality and truth, while the blue pill stands for beauty and illusion.  The red pill was featured in the movies “Matrix” starring Keanu Reeves, and “Total Recall” starring Arnold Schwarzenegger.

In this effect “Red Pill”, I believe its creator, Chris Ramsay, meant it to refer to the special feeling experienced by a spectator when she witnessed an impossible thing happening in her own hands!

In short, Red Pill is a chosen card to impossible location effect, with a de-emphasis on the word “chosen”, and a very strong emphasis on the word “impossible”.

There are 2 possible presentations.

In Red Pill, a spectator is given a new and sealed deck of red back cards.  The cellophane wrapper as well as the pull strip are shown to be intact.  The spectator guards this deck closely by placing it between her 2 palms.  A blue deck of cards is given to a second spectator.  A card, say, the Queen of Hearts, is chosen from this deck.  It is then lost back into the deck.  The performer causes the chosen card to vanish from the blue deck and to reappear inside the sealed red deck.  The blue deck is examined, and the chosen card has indeed vanished.  The red deck is examined, and the Queen of Hearts mysteriously appears trapped between the cellophane wrapper and the card box.  The wrapper is destroyed and the Queen of Hearts is found to be of red back.  This appears not to make sense.  The box seal is broken and the cards inside are taken out.  There is another Queen of Hearts in the deck, but it is found to be of blue back.  The chosen card has indeed transported from the blue deck into the red deck and displaces the red back Queen to outside the box.  This happens while the red deck is held all the time by the spectator, and the deck was checked initially and confirmed to be completely sealed so that nothing can get out or in!

The second presentation, Secret, involves only one spectator.  After confirming that the deck is completely sealed, she holds it in-between her 2 palms.  She names any one of the 52 cards, and this card appears trapped between the still intact cellophane wrapper and the outside of the card box.  In this case, this impossbile object can be kept as a souvenir for the spectator to remind her of having witnessed an impossible effect.  Or, like the first presentation, she can destroy the wrapper and open the box and finds that the named card outside is indeed missing from the deck inside in the box!

You receive a special Bicycle gimmick and a well-produced DVD.  You have to supply your own Bicycle deck(s) of cards.  In the DVD, Chris Ramsay shows you how to use the provided gimmick to construct the necessary gaff.  You will also have to prepare your own deck of cards.

The 2 presentations are equally powerful in their impact to the audience.  The name Red Pill is meant to refer to either one of these presentations.  The strong feature of Red Pill is that the magic happens in the spectator’s hands, and under impossible circumstances (the box is shown and confirmed to be completely sealed).  It is so strong that it can and should be used as a closer.

Please note that everytime you perform Red Pill, the wrapper and seal are broken and you have to prepare another new deck of Bicycle cards.  However, the gaff, once constructed, can be used over and over again.

The first version of Red Pill requires some basic knowledge of card handling.  Chris teaches the riffle force, the double undercut and how to cop a card in the DVD.

The second version, Secret, requires a verbal force of a card.  Here Chris gives a thorough and excellent discussion on the use of Equivogue of a single playing card.

Chris also teaches his “Instant Change” move, which is usually available separately as a download, and how to use this in another version of Red Pill.  Chris offers other intereating ideas with Red Pill, such as a personality read of the spectator and the use of the Bicycle’s advertisement card and the performer’s business card.

Red Pill allows the spectator ot experience impossibility and magic first-hand in her own real everyday world!  (9/10 star rating)

AMAZEBOX KRAFT by Mark Shortland

Written by John Teo

Mark Shortland’s AmazeBox, which it was first available, quickly became a classic utility device for mental magic.  If you do not know what it is, it is a box for switching billets or folded pieces of paper.

It is a paper box constructed out of cardboard, very much like the mailing box you purchase from your Post Office for mailing parcels.  It has a slot on the top for audience members to drop in their folded billets.  Later on, an audience member can open the box, and the original billets would have disappeared into a secret compatment.  What the person sees inside the box is a new (switched) set of billets.  The switch of the billets is quite indetectable.  The box looks ordinary and innocent.

This AmazeBox Kraft is the third generation, having gone through 2 stages of change and “improvements”.  The changes are:

This Box is larger than the first model, so that it can contain more billets.

It is made of stronger materials so that it will not buckle and last longer.

It has a magnetic locking system so that it is easier and quicker to assemble. 

It packs flat and smaller than previous models.

It comes with a nice and sturdy envelope useful for transportation.

It is made of kraft paper – perhaps, this is more natural looking than the previous completely white and completely black models.

Although it is stated that the box can switch up to 200 small billets, it is more practical to use for up to 60 or 100 billets.  This will ensure that the secret compartment will be able to close up nicely and not get jammed.  You will have to experient yourself with your type of folded paper.

You receive the AmazeBox Kraft in its flatten form inside a sturdy tranpostation envelope.  You are also given a password to download a 17 minutes video instructions. 

The video gives you instructions on how to properly assemble the box, and how to use it.

The best use for AmazeBox Kraft is for stage or parlour performances where there is a large crowd of people.  This switching device can be used for prediction, mind reading or forcing.  If you perform mental magic, you need to own an AmazeBox.  (9/10 star rating)

Mind Math

Written by John Teo

As indicated in the title of the effect itself, this is a mental mathematics trick.

4 small rectangular sticks are displayed.  Each stick has 4 faces and there are 4 different numbers on each face.  Therefore, there are a total of 16 different sets of numbers on the 4 sticks.

The 4 sticks can be arranged together in many ways.  If you put 4 of them side by side, you get an array of 4 rows of 4 different numbers.  For example, if the 4 sticks were to be placed together side by side as depicted in this picture, you will get these 4 numbers reading from the top downwards: 7943, 8357, 6739 and 3698.  How long would it take for someone to add up these numbers?  A spectator takes out her smart phone and turns on the calculator function of the phone.  Before she could even complete punching out the first number 7,943, you write something on a piece of paper and fold it up.  It will take awhile for the spectator to reach the total of 26,737.  She opens up your folded paper, it contains the exact total of 26,737!  You have just demonstrated lightning calculation.

The 4 sticks can be arranged in different locations relative to one another.  Each stick can also display one of its 4 sides.  Mathematically, you get a total of 6,144 different arrangements of 4 rows of 4 numbers.  You can mention this in your patter to show the audience the complexity of the effect.

The method is extrememly simple.  The secret is actually hidden in plain sight on the sticks.  Although it is a mathematicl effect, there is nothing for you to momrise or mentally calculate.  You can also tell the total of 4, 3 or 2 sticks placed together.  This will give you different phases to the routine.

There is one more interesting fact.  Any stick can be turned upside down.  When you read the top row of numbers, it will include the bottom number of this stick instead of the top number.  This will change the number on each of the 4 rows.  Yet, you will still be able to divine the total.

This effect provides much interactions with your audience.  Redifine Magic Outlet has a stage version.  Each “stick” or block is 8.25 inches high and 2.45 inches wide.  The props are visible even in a large stage.

The props are nicely printed on cardboard, with white bold numbers against a blue background.  You are also supplied with a special tray for the blocks to stand on.  Magnets are provided to hold the blocks firmly onto the tray so that the 4 blocks can be displayed confidently without the possibility of any of them toppling over.

There is an advantage of using cardboard to construct the blocks.  The props are light, and it makes for easier transportation.  Each block can be folded flat so that they occupy minimal space in storage.  You are provided with a nice carrier to carry the props.  This stage version is the cheapest in the market.  The other dealers are selling a stage version for more than US$100. 

As mentioned earlier, MIND MATH is a demonstration of lightning calculation rather than a magic effect.  In this stage/jumbo version, you can also show that you are a magician by predicting the total of the 4 rows of numbers hidden on the backs of the 4 blocks!

For either version, you get to learn the effects through Jeremy Pei’s Personal Magic Coach tutorials.

If you are deciding which version to purchase, you should invest in both of them.  You will not regret your choice!

Very highly recommended!

JEWEL BOX PREDICTION / PREDICTION DICE

Written by John Teo

There are 2 effects here that are related to one another.  And they are both available from the same supplier.

One of them is called “Jewel Box Prediction” and the other is known as “Prediction Dice”.  We shall discuss the Jewel Box Prediction first.

This is a polished wooden box measuring 5” long X 3.5” wide X 2.5” high when closed.  Inside the box are 6 compartments.  Each compartment contains a different coloured precious gem stones.  They are: ruby (red colour), diamond (white colour), yellow sapphire (yellow colour), blue sapphire (blue colour), emerald (green colour) and amethyst (purple colour).  There is a sliding drawer near the bottom of the box.  The entire prop looks interesting and rather mysterious.

Here is the basic effect.  The lid is lifted up to show the 6 colour jewels.  A spectator chooses one by taking the gem stone out of the box.  Let us assume she chooses the ruby (red colour stone).  At this point, the performer can say something about the properties of ruby that was chosen and what this gem stone means to the spectator.  The jewel is replaced back into the box.  The performer says he already knows, from the personality of the spectator, that she will choose that particular gem stone.  To prove this, the performer slides out the drawer and it contains a miniaturised red ruby stone. 

Prediction Dice has a similar effect.  Instead of the 6 gem stones, the box contains 6 dice, each with a different number side facing upwards.  The prediction in the drawer is a chip with the selected number printed on it.

You receive the appropriate box (that contains the jewels or the dice), and a sheet of written instructions.  You will be able to perform the effect immediately after reading the instructions.

The effect is easy to perform and there is no angle problem.  There are no moves and it can be performed surrounded.  The reset is also very fast.  The secret is self-contained in the box.  The actions carried out by the spectator actually operates the effect.

This clever idea belongs to T.A.Waters.  It was mentioned in his monumental book called “Mind, Myth & Magick”.  It is the first effect desribed in the book and it appears on page 5.  The effect is called “Box Office”.  In this case, the box contains 12 different amulets instead of the 6 gem stones or dice.  The prediction is a folded piece of paper.  You can also adopt this method of revelation instead of the chip and miniaturised gem stone once you understand how the effect works.

You can watch a video performance by Jeremy Pei himself in this link:

https://www.facebook.com/715278983/videos/10156979401993984/

If you like mentalism with colourful props, you will love the Jewel Box Prediction or Prediction Dice.  After the effect, the 6 gem stones or the 6 dice can be used in other magical effects. 

Highly recommended!

LIGHTPAINT by Mathieu Bich

Written by John Teo

LightPaint is a novel way of revealing a chosen card.  Here is the full effect:

A semi-transparent card, the same size as a playing card, is shown to a spectator.  She holds onto this card while the performer takes a picture of her using her own mobile phone.

The performer introduces a deck of card and the spectator selects one.  The card is then returned and lost in the deck.  The spectator holds the semi-transparent card in-between her 2 palms.  The performer claims to transfer the identity of her chosen card onto the semi-transparent card, but he fails.  The semi-transparent card held by the spectator remains the same.  The performer then realises that her card has transformed into the identity of her chosen card about 2 minutes ago.  To prove this, the spectator looks at the photograph taken by the performer on her mobile phone.  It indeed has her holding the semi-transparent card that now has the identity of her chosen card imprinted on it.  The spectator can now take pictures of the semi-transparent card and nothing will show on it in the photograph.

This special magical moment is captured in her personal cell phone as a souvenir of having seen the performer’s magical power!  She can post this in her social media for all her friends to see.  A great promotion for the performer.

These are 2 great benefits for the performer.  Other benefits are:

  • It is a novel way of revealing a chosen card.
  • It uses the latest technology – a cell phone.
  • It uses the spectator’s phone, a borrowed phone – therefore, it does not depend on any app.
  • It is easy to do.

You receive 3 special semi-transparent cards.  2 are gimmicked to reveal the “Ace of Clubs” and the “Seven of Hearts” respectively.  One is non-gimmicked for you to switch with the gimmicked ones.  You are also given a link and password to access a video instruction from the internet.  The video features the creator Mathieu Bich.

Here are some points of concern, all of which are addressed by Mathieu Bich:

  • The revelation depends on the lighting of the environment – you need to experiment with different ambient lightings to determine how far away from the spectator you need to take the photograph.
  • The special ink can be rubbed away. Mathieu teaches you how to properly maintain the cards so that they will last a long time.

Mathieu also discusses:

  • How to adhere the special card to a reward type card so as not to make it looks like a magician’s card.
  • How to reveal not one but 2 selected cards, so that the effect becomes like a routine.

You may want to know that prior to releasing LightPaint, Mathieu has used this principle to create an effect known as “Ghost Camera” for the Japanese magic company Tenyo.  In this product, a handkerchief, instead of a special semi-transparent card is used for the revelation, using a borrowed cell phone.

If you like all the benefits for LightPaint as mentioned here, you will love this product.  (7/10 star rating)