Magic Products Review


Written by John Teo

We all know what “ACAAN” stands for.  It is an abbreviation for Any Card At Any Number.

This means someone names a card, and a location (ie a number between 1 to 52).  A deck of cards is dealt to this number and the named card is found at this location.

In “Impossible ACAAN”, a deck of cards is thoroughly shuffled by a spectator.  The performer brings out a small notepad.  He shows that he has written both a random number as well as a random name of a playing card on each page.  Each page is shown to contain both a different number as well as a different playing card.  A spectator freely flips open to any page and both the number and the card written on that page are noted.  Assume they are “8” and “Ace of Spades”.  The spectator takes the shuffled deck and deals to the 8th card from the top.  The card at this location is the Ace of Spades.  The deck can be freely examined to show nothing but a deck of 52 different cards.

You get the special notepad which measures 4 inches X 3.25 inches, and a link to a video tutorial.  You need to supply your own deck of playing cards.

The notepad you receive contains some 50 pages and they are all blanks.  You have to write in the information yourself using a sharpie.  The quality of the notepad is very good.  The pages are coated with some kind of gloss so that whatever you write on them with a sharpie will not bleed through.  The paper is quite stiff and this makes flipping the pages of the notepad easy and comfortable.

However, the notepad is perfect bound along the top edge with glue, like the binding used on paperback books.  This means if you open out the pad flat often, some pages may become detached.  You do not have to open the pad out flat in order to show the written contents of each page.  You can hold the pad at the glued edge and flip the pages of the opposite end to show that each page contains a different item.  Handled with care, the notepad can last a long time.

The product is a misnomer.  The notepad you receive is actually an utility item used to force one out of 2 dozens different items written on the pad.  It is an innocent looking item ideal for mentalists.  It is for the value of this notepad that the rating is based on.  The ACAAN effect is merely the usage of this notepad.

A mentalist should invest in several of these notepads in his arsenal.  (9/10 star rating)


Written by John Teo

This is a close-up version of the poplar “Colour Pen Prediction” trick.

In effect, a small box containing 6 different colour pens is given to a spectator.  A pocket-sized black-and-white picture of a boy with shorts is shown.  While the performer turns his head away, the spectator is told to freely pick up any colour pen, and colour a certain part of the drawing, eg the boy’s shorts.  

Still with the performer’s head turned away, the spectator picks up a second colour pen and is similarly directed to colour, say, the boy’s tie.  This goes on until all 6 freely selected colour pens are used to colour 6 different parts of the black-and-white drawing.

Finally, the performer turns around and directs the audience to a prediction envelope placed conspicuously on the table right at the start of the trick.  He takes out the prediction from the envelope: it depicts the same black-and-white drawing of the boy but has 6 parts of it being coloured in with the same colours as that coloured by the spectator!  Mathematically the probability of getting this prediction correct is 1:720!

You receive everything you need to perform this effect inside a nice hinged black colour box, together with a link to a very short video tutorial.  Inside the box are the 6 colour pens inside a special gimmicked box, 4 other pens of different colours to the 6 pens that can be used interchangeably, a spare paper box, 3 small silver envelopes (one containing 3 coloured prediction papers, one containing 4 black-and-white drawings, and one containing 4 blank papers), and the necessary gimmicks to make the effect work.

When the inks of the colour pens dry up, you can simply replaced the pens with ordinary children’s crayons of the same size.  

The effect can also be used in a parlour or even stage setting if you enlarge the black-and-white drawings, as well as the final coloured prediction into at least A4 size.

Properly presented, the effect has a great impact on an audience.

“Colour Prophecy Pen” is an affordable version of the larger and more expensive colour pen prediction.  (8/10 star rating)


Written by John Teo

The meaning of a side show is that it is a minor show that is part of a larger one.  In a circus or carnival, a side show is also something that usually disracts from a main event.  You are likely to find a contortionist, a fire eater or sword swallower performing in a side show in a carnival.  

“Side Show” by Joshua Jay is an odd packet card trick.  It is a card effect where each card does not have the usual back design or face of a playing card.  This is where it will attract the attention of the spectators.

In effect, the performer shows a small packet of cards.  He claims that a card not only has a face and a back, it also has an inside and an outside.

The first card is shown to have the digit “1” printed on it.  It is turned over to show that its back has the digit “2”.  When the card is turned over one more time, instead of the digit “1”, it now shows the digit “3”.  The card is turned over to show a “4”.  This card has 4 sides!  It is placed to one side of the table.

Similarly, the next card is shown to have “1”, “2” and “3” sides.  The third card has 2 sides, which is normal.  Two cards are left.  The performer places both of them inbetween the two palms of the spectator’s hands.  He takes one card out and show that it has a “1” printed on one side and blank on the other side.  This card has 1 side!  

Everybody is now expecting how the final card, which should be a card with no sides, looks like.  The spectator opens her palms and everybody can see that the last card is a see-through transparent card!

You receive all the necessary cards inside a neat vinyl wallet.  The instructions are in the form of a nicely printed 12-page booklet, complete with 32 hand-drawn diagrams.

The effect is easy to perform, requiring only 2 sleights: the double turnover and the Elmsley Count, both are taught in the booklet.  Several ways to end the effect are also discussed.

This trick has an interesting theme, packs very small (can be placed inside yor shirt pocket), plays big, and the ending will always cause a smile from the audience.

It has been in the performing repertoire of Johsua Jay and is always featured in his lecture.  It will be your favourite effect, too!


Highly Recommended!


Written by John Teo

“Goshi” is the Japanese word for “rub” or “scrub”.  Here is the effect.

A card, say, the seven of hearts, is selected and lost in the deck.  The performer claims he can find this card because the back of this card will have the finger print of the spectator who selected the card.  True enough, when the deck is spread, a card with a finger print on the back is found in the middle of the deck.  This is surprise No 1.

This card is turned over and it is indeed the chosen card, the seven of hearts – but its face also has the thumb print of the spectator.  This is surprise No 2.

The performer takes this card and rubs its back on the sleeve of his shirt.  The finger print on its back is now gone.  This is surprise No 3.  

The spectator takes this card and similarly rubs its face on the sleeve of his shirt.  When this card is turned over, the thumb print remains on the card but the face of the card is now smudged!  This is final surprise No 4.  

“Goshi-Goshi” is a card revelation with 4 magical moments.  It is also quite hilarious to see a smudged playing card with a thumb print on its face.   

You receive the necessary specially prepared cards, and 2 sheets of printed instructions.  You need to supply your own deck with the same colour and back design (bicycle) as the supplied cards.

This is a novel card revelation.  The appearance of the finger/thumb prints and the smudged card is sure to cause a wide smile from the audience.  (9/10 star rating)

SPELLENDAR by Phill Smith

Written by John Teo

Phill Smith is credited with coming out with incredibly strong effects yet almost completely self-working.  “Spellendar” is one such trick.

A pocket perpetual calendar contains a different word for each day of the month.  A spectator secretly chooses one of these words from any month.

A deck of cards is shuffled and a second spectator cuts it into 3 piles.  The top card of each pile is taken up and the spectator decides on any one of them.

Another deck of cards, still in its case, has been on the table in view all the time.  The cards are taken out of the case, and dealt by spelling to the suit and value of the chosen card.  The performer continues dealing the cards according to the month and date of the word that the first spectator chose from the calendar.  This process leads to one card.  When this card is turned over, not only is it a duplicate of the chosen card, it also contains a printed word that matches exactly the one chosen from the calendar.  The deck is then shown to contain a different word printed on each card.

There are no variations to dealing to the selected card, as is common in some effects.  The performer also truly does not know which word in the calendar was chosen.  Yet, the effect works everytime with the selected card that contains the selected word.

You are provided with the specially printed perpetual calendar, the customised deck of cards, and a link to a downloadable printed instructions and an instructional video.  You have to supply your own deck of cards for the selection of the playing card.

This effect is suitable for performing to a group of people or one-to-one.  It can be instantly reset for the next performance.

It is like an ACAAN effect with the addition of a selected word.  When you receive the trick, you will appreciate the great effort taken by Phill Smith to put this together.

If you are into mentalism, “Spellendar” will be the effect you will want to add to your repertoire.  (7/10 star rating)

HOTEL by Ludovic Mignon

Written by John Teo

This is a 2-phase mental effect that is very well thought out in all aspects of the trick.

In effect, you hand a spectator a small envelope containing a prediction.  You then bring out a stack of business cards from various hotels which you have collected from your travels all over the world.  While you look away, the spectator looks through the business cards one by one and decides on one and puts it in his pocket.  You turn around to face the spectator and can divine the hotel he has chosen.

In the second phase, the spectator goes through the stack of hotel cards once again, and stops at one card of his choice.  When the prediction envelope is opened, inside is the electronic room key of the hotel he selected!

The handling of the props is very well thought out.  In both phases, the spectator is able to handle the stack of business cards without much restraint, and to choose one card “freely”.  Yet, the performer is able to divine the chosen card as well as predict which card will be selected.  The handling is so “clean” that the effect appears “unexplainable” to the audience.

The entire effect is so well structured that one phase flows smoothly to the other.  This allows you to do something to the stack of business cards without needing much misdirection effort.

You receive all the necessary hotel business cards, a genuine hotel room key in an envelope, and a 20-page instruction booklet.

The designs of the various hotel business cards are well thought-out.  The cards are very well produced and they look like real business cards.

The instructions booklet is also very well produced.  It is well written and illustrated so that it is easy to read and understand.  A good patter story is included for you to use if you wish.  At the end of the booklet, the creator of the effect gives an unusual anecdote that happened to him, and it makes for interesting reading.

A well thought out 2-phase mentalism effect that uses professional looking props that is as clean in handling as it is devastating to the audience.  (9/10 star rating)