ESP BY THE NUMBERS –  John Bannon & Big Blind Media  

ESP BY THE NUMBERS is a new self working prediction effect by John Bannon. John is currently on of the more popular purveyors of magic effects around, well known for his card magic and congenial style.

This is an extremely easy-to-perform effect that comes with everything you need to perform it … after a short while watching the instructional video. The video link is provided with the effect and is actually a password protected location on Vimeo. Although the instructions imply downloading the video, you can watch the video online.

ESP BY THE NUMBERS comes complete with the necessary Zener cards, and not the inexpensive cards one often receives with ESP effects. Rather than try to explain the working, I encourage you to go to the link at the end of the review and watch the performance video on Murphy’s Magic website. To quote the creators ad copy:

You display your ESP ability testing deck to your spectator, explaining that the symbols and random numbers featured on the cards are used to gauge the extrasensory abilities of members of the public.
For the initial test the spectator freely selects five cards from the pack. Despite the hands off, uber clean selection process you clearly demonstrate that you predicted not only which five cards they would select… but in which order too!

So far, so incredible, however that is just phase one. The true moment of astonishment is about to land!!!  You draw attention back to the random numbers printed on each ESP card and ask the spectator to look at the five cards they selected and add their numbers together. The spectator has now created a totally random number. Indeed you clearly show the remaining ESP cards and highlight the fact that had they picked ANY other card, the total would have been different.

ESP By The Numbers is totally self-working. No sleight of hand. No gimmicks. No sticky stuff. Just a brain frying piece of magic that you’ll want to perform again and again and again!

I appreciate that everything needed is included. No DIY stuff here. The effect itself is so simple you’ll have a thorough understanding of its working in a matter of minutes. The learning curve is very small.. and very quick.

Actually, it’s based on a mathematical principle familiar to many magicians. Some magicians will recognize the ‘method’ during the performance. I did.. but I don’t consider that a negative..  unless you’re buying ESP to perform solely for fellow magicians.

This is a two phase routine, and the second phase is perhaps the kicker.. as it should be. I have to admit, I recognized the mathematical principle in the second phase as well, but I’m a big fan of Martin Gardner and I’d be more surprised if I didn’t recognize it. I will say I’ve never seen the first phase and the second combined in this manner. The public will NOT grasp ESP. That’s the one disadvantage of being a magician.. we sometimes fail to experience new effects like our audience.

The video teaches a second effect.. MATRIX RELOADED, that uses a regular deck of cards. You furnish the cards and Bannon furnishes the magic. I liked this.. and I’ll use it.. as it plays well for several spectators, much like you’d encounter table hopping and during walk-around. It’s a prediction effect where a card pre-selected by you matches up with a card freely selected by the spectators.. after a very fair series of cuts and eliminations.

The only negative I’ve heard is that the ESP cards don’t come with a case.. but they DO come with a solid cardboard box that keeps everything contained and secure.

Reset? It will take a minute or two. All the cards are in a particular order, and rearranging the cards to that order will take a brief time. There’s nothing to remember about the order, as each cards markings will tell you where it goes.

One quick suggestion.. the second phase involves a prediction of sorts. The predicted number comes on a pre-printed card. Perhaps you’ll agree after receiving your set the predicted number would be more effective if you write the prediction on a slip of paper and have one of the spectators hold it until reveal time. Just a thought.

ESP BY THE NUMBERS will work for you. It’s simple, easy to set up, easy to remember, and very easy to perform. The overall success WILL depend on your patter and selling ability. You can leave your audience shrugging their shoulders.. or scratching their heads in awe.
I recommend the second…  And I recommend ESP BY THE NUMBERS…
Run time 28 minutes..  $25.00

Available through dealers who carry the Murphy’s Magic line of quality magic…. 

Reviewed by Rick Carruth


HOLE IN ONE – A Review

Hole In One – (DVD and Gimmicks) by SansMinds Creative Labs

HOLE IN ONE is one of the latest releases from SansMinds. I own several of the SansMinds effects and I can fairly say this is definitely one of the more visual of all their effects. You show a dollar bill, allow it to be examined, and state you are going to ‘change’ the bill… from a dollar to a quarter. Now, you don’t actually change it to a quarter.. but you DO give it a slight shake and watch as a hole suddenly appears in the center of the bill.. leaving a fully visible hole through the bill and a quarter in the hand of a spectator holding their hand below the bill.
Here is the sales copy…

” We honestly feel that good magic is magic that solves a problem. Modern magic is visual — people can not only see the magic happen, but it also visually puzzles them in a way where their minds simply can’t process the logic. Hole in One does all of this. It’s super easy to do, and waits in your wallet until you’re ready to blow their minds. A beautiful piece of visual magic that serves a purpose and answers an everyday question:
How do you break a bill?
With a Hole in One.”

I agree that modern magic is very visual. There is considerably less emphasis on sleight of hand and more on gimmicks and technology. HOLE IN ONE uses some of both. The dollar bill initially shown to the spectator is a normal bill, but not the one used to perform the magic. The DVD demonstrates a simple method for switching the bills.. one that beginners should master in short order. The performance of the effect is also something beginners should find very easy to perform as well. To get a good idea of the effect itself, I suggest clicking on the Murphy’s Magic link at the end of this review and watching the video. It will save me much explaining…

HOLE IN ONE comes ‘partially’ complete with everything you need.. including a gimmick and a 30 minute DVD of the performance and the secret. It does NOT come with the bills needed to construct the gimmick.. in this case, two $1 bills and a small portion of a third. It also does not come with the coin.. which could be a bit of a problem for some folks as the coin needs to be magnetic. I wish I could say the effect comes ready to perform.. but I can’t. It will be left to the user to construct the gimmick. I can guess one primary reason is so the purchaser can use any denomination and bills from any country. The directions are good and you ‘should’ be able to construct the gimmick without major problems, although it will require a little time and effort to get everything exact. Like most projects, some of you will breeze through the construction.. and some will take a little longer. I don’t consider this a deal breaker.. but I do want you to be aware the gimmick is a DIY.

The effect works much as it’s shown on the video. The hole appears very suddenly, the quarter is clean, and your audience will be quite surprised. You can perform it again after a very brief setup. You cannot allow close examination of the bill after the effect, but you can place the gimmicked bill in your pocket or wallet, and show an ungimmicked bill, with a hole, if the spectator asks..

Personally, I don’t shop at IKEA. I’m lazy. I don’t like putting furniture together. I like for my bed or dresser or whatever to be delivered to my home fully assembled.. or close to it. Then again, there are those who love to put together their essentials. If you don’t mind a little work, HOLE IN ONE will suit your purpose and give you an effect probably unlike anything else you’re currently performing.

Available at dealers selling the Murphy’s Magic line of products. $29.99

Reviewed by Rick Carruth

SNAG – by Ben Howard

SNAG – By Ben Howard

SNAG is Ben Howard’s take on the classic Ring to Necklace. Although ‘Northbound’ by Sean Field and ‘Closure’ by Robert Smith, Peter Eggink and Paul Harris are similar effects.. they require somewhat more extensive set-up. SNAG can go from performance mode to standby status, ready for your next performance, in less than a minute. Ben says he can do it in seconds.. with a little practice.

The performance is this… You asks to borrow a ring, and it should go without saying that a ring with a diamond or other valuable stone should never be used, and after a small amount of patter the ring vanishes from your closed hand. Next, you slowly produce the ring from inside your shirt.. attached to your necklace. You can actually allow the spectator to gently pull the ring and chain through the buttons of your shirt.. and remove the ring from the clain once you’ve ‘unfastened’ it.

Ben Howard has created a gimmick that allows the spectator’s ring to find its way onto a necklace with a very minimal amount of effort. The gimmick makes it possible. The guys at Sansmind Magic provide the video production and demonstrations.. both professional quality. The video runs about 20 minutes, and although I wish for a longer video, there is actually no reason to record a longer video. Everything you need to know is included, the video instructions are detailed, and the gimmick is dependable. As with any magic effect, you should definitely practice the simple moves to get your timing and positioning down pat before your first performance.

I will tell you this.. it is assumed you know how to perform a French Drop. The FD is both shown and discussed, but it is the only method used.. and there are a number of methods around. This is NOT the fault of Sansmind… There are many different ways to perform a false transfer of a ring from one hand to another and there are many different sources available to teach you anything to need to know if you don’t want to use the French Drop. Actually, off the top of my head, you could easily sew a wedding band type ring into a silk, hold the ring in your left hand, cover it with the silk while palming the spectator’s ring, allow the spectator to ‘hold’ his/her ring through the silk.. and at the right moment, you pull on the silk.. shaking it in the air to show the ring has vanished.. and then producing it on your necklace. Yes, this method is probably 300 years old.. but who cares! It works perfectly if you aren’t comfortable performing a false transfer in front of multiple spectators.

Everything you need to perform SNAG comes with the DVD.. including the gimmick and the necklace.

Note this.. you will need to wear a button up shirt to perform this effect. It’s just the nature of the beast. I don’t see any way it can be performed in a tee shirt, although you might be able to perform in a polo style shirt.. ( a pullover shirt with a couple of buttons at the top ). When it’s time for the moment of reveal, you have to have a second of ‘privacy’ to give the gimmick a chance to do its thing. It appears as if you simply reached inside your shirt to grasp your chain. Here is a short video of Ben Howard performing SNAG in a quick demonstration mode… just to give you an idea of how it looks..

Also, there are performance angles. You probably won’t want anyone to your far right. Since the gimmick is located just inside your buttons, there is a possibility it can be seen. Anyone to your left and straight on will not see anything out of the norm. I don’t see this as a problem.. unless you perform surrounded.

Depending on your comfort level performing a false transfer, I would put SNAG somewhere between beginner and intermediate. The gimmick does the work.. but YOU have make it look good. Performed proficiently, you can certainly make it look as good as real. I would recommend SNAG for anyone who performs walk around or table hopping and wants a good, quick, effect with an impossible quality.

$24.95 from magic dealers who carry the Murphy’s Magic line of professional products.

Reviewed by Rick Carruth

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