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Self Working Mental Magic Review
One book, 121 pages, 67 effects, $8 bucks and one Self Working Mental Magic Review Is it gem or is it rubble? Stay tuned to find out.
Self Working Mental Magic Review: Effect/Method
I'm sure you've guessed by now that I won't be going effect by effect on this one. However, I'll briefly discuss the category of effects and their methods to give you a sense of what you're getting. There are nine sections covered by this mini tome.
- Instant ESP
- Mind Reading With Cards
- Mind Over Matter
- Book Tests
- Psychic Secrets
- Slate Sorcery
- Miracles With Cards
The first chapter has ten effects. They use ordinary objects. Most of the time, they are things you can find in the environment (paper, pencil, spare change, book of matches, etc.). A couple effects use dice. One uses a handkerchief and one or two use a deck of cards. The final one uses large piece of cardboard or slates if you prefer. In this chapter you'll learn the proper way to use the "37 force." You'll also learn a very useful force of a playing card.
Additionally, there are two methods taught for divining which hand the spectator has placed a coin. You'll find a self-working over-the-phone card effect as well as a number effect that is more puzzle than magic. There is a number divination effect that has a simple and clever method. The ad copy mentions that the effects are foolproof. The final effect which utilizes the 37 force is not foolproof. However, the written instructions point out that the proper presentation required to prevent this from looking like you failed.
Mind Reading With Cards
Next up, nine effects with cards. They range in theme from pick-pocketing to poker (with a mental twist) to straight mind reading. As advertised, these methods are simple and foolproof. For the most part, there is no advanced preparation. Some require minimal preparation.
Mind Over Matter
In this chapter, we learn nine more effects. These are broad in range. You'll find a simple and clever method for divining (while blindfolded) which spectator holds which crumpled up bill ($1, $5 or $10) in his hand. There is a Kung-Fu grab-the-stone-esque effect that is extremely clever and simple. You'll also find a couple of compass effects which may be dated in today's world of GPS and phone compasses. There's a clever usage/handling of Magician's Choice and a few other effects including the ability to (seemingly) do lightening speed calculations.
Here we learn 7 different concepts related to book/magazine/newspaper tests. A couple of methods for page "selection" are taught. There are a couple of effects that you can do over the phone that are especially effective if you receive the call from your friend and he's not expecting you to do an effect. This does require some basic intel-gathering from a previous visit to your friend's home, but the end result is worth it.
You'll also find an effect that uses an Atlas. This may be a bit dated, again, with the modern technology. However if you have the right age group in your audience, this can work nicely. Further, in this effect you're taught a presentational premise that takes it beyond simply naming a thought of word.
Next we are treated to nine psychic secrets. As with most chapters you will find an effect that is dated. In this case it's an effect where you cause a digital watch to skip ahead in time. The type of digital watches worn by people today may not work with this method. However, I'm not 100% sure. You can give it a test run in advance. We also see a simple and clever application of a C.T. along with a very smart ESP symbol prediction.
There's also a simple and clever effect for having a "medium" divine a playing card that has been buried in the deck while she (the medium) is out of the room. You'll also will find at least one effect that is very much suited for one on one performances.
Ah . . . slates. This chapter contains 10 slate effects. Some require standard slates, while others require special slates. You'll find a couple of clever presentations for the living and dead test that take it out of the realm of the dead and into the realm of something much less macabre and much more mainstream. There are a few techniques where you'll need to work with a partner and others where you can fly solo.
Miracles With Cards
A coincidence effect, a poker routine (with a mental flair), a remote viewing presentation and others are part of the five effects you'll find in this chapter. There is a very clever handling for an Out of This World type of routine that is super clean and easy to do. Like most of the material in the book up to this point, you'll find the methods in this chapter simple and totally doable.
When it comes to confederates, the debates are heated to say the least. This is a method that can be used deceptively it done correctly. The five effects found in this chapter employ the confederate in such a sneaky and convincing way that in some cases, even if you knew a confederate was used, you would still be unclear as to how the effect is accomplished. None of these are complicated, and most of them are extremely clever and worthy of your attention.
There's an interesting sceance type of effect that uses a lit cigarette. In a dark room, a lit cigarette that is placed out of reach of anyone is seen to have (apparently) a ghost take a drag from the cigarette to answer questions. Neither you nor your helper need to be smokers for this to work.
The final chapter closes with three psychometry effects. The first effect is actually Annemann's Pseudo Psychometry. Next is a handwriting analysis routine followed by a fully detailed presentation, using ten spectators, combining psychometry, cold reading and telepathy.
Self Working Mental Magic Review: Ad Copy Integrity
The ad copy is very accurate. The only effect that I feel wasn't foolproof (as the ad copy claims) was justified in my opinion. That was discussed in the first chapter earlier in the review. The only other thing I'd point out is that the sub-title of the book says "67 Foolproof Mind-Reading Tricks." Not all of the tricks are mind-reading tricks. Some of them are predictions; others are coincidence, animation, etc.
A more accurate sub-title would be "67 Foolproof Mental Magic Tricks" or something like that. However, this is another case of mis-speaking rather than misleading. It's easy to let that slide.
Self Working Mental Magic Review: Product Quality
The product quality is superb. It's well written, well organized and easy to understand. I've owned my particular copy of the book for about a decade now, and it's still in great shape. I've read this book multiple times and have used it as a reference book on several occasions as well. It holds up just fine. Further, you can actually get the electronic version of the book (i.e., the print and electronic version) for only about a dollar more. That way, you'll have an un-tarnish-able version of the book.
Self Working Mental Magic Review: Final Thoughts
This book has a lot going for it. First, it's an excellent introduction to mentalism and mental magic. It's a little more current than the Annemann text (which is still a must-read for all mentalists). It covers a broad range of mentalism methods, tools and techniques. Also, each chapter moves at a good progression from the simplest to the most advanced. Yet even the most advanced stuff is not beyond the reach of beginner.
However, even though this is an excellent book for beginners, intermediate and advanced performers will also find value here. Whether it be a new presentational angle on an old plot, or a unique method for a classic effect, there is something for every level and every type of performer (even non-mentalists). It's also an excellent resource book. I've referred to this book many times over the years looking for method ideas that I could use to solve a particular problem with an effect I was working on.
Finally, the $8 is a ridiculously low price to pay to have this book at your disposal. Take your lunch to work/school tomorrow and use the saved money to buy this book.
Self Working Mental Magic Review: Final Verdict:
5 Stars with a Stone Status of GEM!
Available from Dover Magic