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Author: Rick Carruth

AM/FM Deck – Michael Breggar – A Review

AM/FM Deck – Michael Breggar – A Review

AM/FM Deck – Michael Breggar – A Review
Deck and Online Videos & PDF

This is the Ad Copy

The perfect forcing deck for working pros and a few cons.

The spectator calls a number and deals down to that card… it is the card you predicted! Or, they just start dealing until they wish to stop. It’s the predicted card. Or… well, you get the point.

Here’s the thing…. they call the number, they remove the deck from the box and they start dealing. It ends on the force card. And then, you show that any other number would have brought them to different cards.

No static at all. It’s Michael Breggar’s “AM/FM Deck”

My Thoughts:

I don’t normally preface a review with a comment about the creator. But.. I’m a fan of Michael Breggar. That doesn’t mean I’m a fan of every single effect produced by Michael.. but I’m certainly a fan of most. That said.. I’m a fan of THIS one. Brother.. that little fact makes my life so much easier..

To quote Michael…
“I cannot believe I am the first to come up with a configuration like this, though I have not seen this deck construction and general handling together. In a way, its family tree could be traced to the Svengali, Mirage, Pop-Eyed Popper, etc. gaffed decks of the golden-oldies era. Nods to one-, two-, three-way forcing decks and their ilk.”

AM/FM Deck is not a trick. It is a tool. It is an intriguing way of forcing a card or producing a card from a named location in a deck. If you watch the video, you get a good notion of just a couple of the productions you can achieve. This is much more than a.. “..deal down to a number and there’s your card..” effect. It is a series of effects made possible by being able to know, in advance, the identity of a card at a predictable location… AND… being able to convince the spectator the deck is a conventional deck, full of different cards. It’s not. But that’s the secret behind AM/FM Deck.

I don’t like to comment on reviews by fellow reviewers. It’s not nice.. and I try my best to be a nice guy. That said.. A very popular reviewer recently reviewed Michael’s deck and did his best to classify it as nothing more than a Svengali deck. It’s not. It cannot be used as a Svengali deck, as the math doesn’t gee-haw. Yes, there’s a number of the same cards in the deck, but, as Michael says, the ” deck construction and general handling ” is different from a Svengali deck.. as well as some of the other popular forcing decks. You are paying for the madness behind the method.. and there’s plenty of madness to go around. I promise…

AM/FM Deck was created using a variety of psychologically motivated moves. Michael furnishes buyers with two separate videos.. one 18 minutes long and one 30 minutes long.. detailing the why’s and what for’s. All the steps are explained and justified. Ultimately, his philosophy is..’don’t let the forcing deck become the center of attention. Bring it into play.. let it do its thing.. then take it out of the spotlight.’

Aside from forcing a card, its very basic purpose, Michael teaches a zoom show method, where a prediction card is mailed days ahead of time to the host.. for the grand reveal during the zoom meeting.

Video two, titled – More, Better, Other Tricks with the AM/FM Deck – features a variety of effects that do not rely on simply forcing a card, but expand the concept. One.. the Happy Birthday effect, begins with the spectator’s birthday serving as the numerical location. The spectator is then given a birthday card with the same card dealt to – found printed or attached to the inside of the birthday card. Another effect uses six dice to decide on a location within the AM/FM Deck. Yet another revelation uses a giant card concealed under your mat as the final reveal.

One of my very favorites is based on the classic Out For Lunch, probably by William Larsen Sr… but maybe Edward Bagshawe.. The notion is very visual and surprising.. and happens in the spectator’s hands.. always a big plus. And finally, Michael has devised a compelling use of the AM/FM Deck to reproduce an Invisible Deck effect.. except it isn’t an invisible deck effect.. much to the chagrin of the poor magician(s) who were on the edge of busting your measly carcass.

AM/FM Deck is available in Red or Blue backs.. (Bicycles) The video, although filmed in Michael’s office, I assume, is a very good production, using multiple cameras and picture-in-picture technology. The sound is ideal and everything is up to Murphy’s Magic standards.

There is also a PDF included with the videos, giving you an overview of most of the effects taught in the videos. All the basics are discussed, including the deck layout should everything become displaced.

Remember, when you purchase AM/FM Deck, you are purchasing a tool. You are given tutorials to seven or eight different effects, some which could easily be sold as stand-alone effects. Honestly. I am going to recommend this to my friends and readers. It is well worth the time and effort, and your magic will grow exponentially…

$29.95 ..   From Murphy’s Magic and their Associates..

https://www.murphysmagic.com/Product.aspx?id=69968

Review by Rick Carruth for The Magic Roadshow

EASY MONEY Wallett – Spencer Kennard – A Review

EASY MONEY Wallett – Spencer Kennard – A Review

Easy Money Wallet – by Spencer Kennard – A Review
(Gimmick and Online Instructions)

** Presale Note:This item is available for Pre-Order only.
Release Date:12/13/2021

This is the Ad Copy:

A classic of classic’s, Tom Burgoon’s Power Pickpocket has been a powerful piece in the arsenal of many stage performers over the past few decades.

With Tom’s blessing, Spencer Kennard now brings you the next iteration in this solid piece of visual magic – with EASY MONEY.

Not only can it recreate all the visual moments of the original, but it’s also made with the close-up magician in mind – and to your average spectator, the easy money wallet passes off as an everyday regular wallet that can create powerful moments of visual magic!

Make a wallet appear, vanish, transpose, and even be produced from the most unexpected places. It really seems like wallets are just coming out of nowhere!

The video instructions cover everything you need to know about the wallet and covers routines that will satisfy both the amateur and professional magicians.

It’s fast, easy, fun and EASY! If you like visual magic that literally packs flat and plays big then Easy Money by Spencer Kennard is for you!

Available in two colors, black and brown.

My Thoughts:

Easy Money is a very unique piece of magic. It’s not an effect, in and of itself, but more of both a prop and a utility device designed to give you the opportunity to create your own special magic.

Easy Money is a wallet. It’s a specially designed wallet which looks to be full of cards, licenses, and money.. but is actually foldable, and foldable again, to allow you to conceal it in the palm of your hand. Think of a Mercury Fold made of leather.

With its unique design, you can take it from a pocket, remove an item from it, put it back in the pocket, and then suddenly reproduce it from your seemingly empty hand. Spencer and crew have created a number of uses for the wallet.. but it’s one of those items for which you’ll find your own personal uses.

Although sold as suitable for beginners, I’d recommend you at least understand a couple of coin basics.. like a false transfer and a finger palm/classic palm.

The wallet itself is very well constructed and should last for a very long time. It contains a special foam to give it depth and add to its realism.

The video tutorial is just over one hour long, and well-taught by Javier Fuemayor. Everything is as you would expect from a Murphy’s Magic release. Both video and sound are quite good. Plus, Javier is a good teacher and learning all the effects is easy.. aside from what practice you should invest before performing in public.

Rather than write about everything included in the tutorial, I’ll list the Table of Contents and add my personal content. That way I don’t miss anything.. (As my dear mother used to say..”Ricky, you know how you are…”)

Introduction – Intro from Spencer Kennard. The creation of Easy Money is explained.

Which Hand – Good opener. introduces you to the wallet, the fold, and gives you a good beginning.

Wallet/Coin – A coin in hand changes to a wallet in hand.
Very visual. Not truly a beginners effect, but nothing more complicated than a coin false transfer.

Wallet Thru Table – Definitely one of my favorites. Uses a couple of false transfers of a coin to set up the finale with the wallet. Very visual.. and the misdirection is perfect. Also uses a classic palm and/or a finger palm.

Shar-pay – Produce your wallet from the top of a Sharpie. Multiple uses, including performing it in the real world for real cashiers. After producing the wallet from the cap, produce it again from a couple of currency notes ..

Coin Gag – Squeeze your wallet like a lemon.. and produce a stream of coins. Nice quickie..

Wallet3 – Produce a wallet from a wallet. Remove some money.. and then produce another wallet from the money. Slick three-phase routine.. “Some people like to keep their money in a wallet.. I like to keep my wallet in my money..”

Quantum Fold – Show the audience your folded wallet. Use a common method to produce credit cards from or place credit cards in your folded wallet. Seems impossible.

Hidden Pocket – Pull your wallet from a pocket that doesn’t exist. Again.. very visual, and will open more than a few eyes.

Extra Ideas – Tips to add that extra bit of realism to your performance. Social media tips. Accessing your wallet via Greg Wilson technique.

Putroduction – A Thank You from the creators to all the folks who made Easy Money possible..

Straight up.. Easy Money won’t satisfy every performer. Just as coin magic isn’t for every magician, or mentalism, or rope magic, or….. This is for the performer who enjoys quick, sudden magic… and magic that catches your audience off-guard. There’s not a big build-up or long winded stories. You don’t paint a pretty picture. Instead, you appear to be leading your audience down one path.. and suddenly there’s yet another path they totally didn’t anticipate. That’s what EASY MONEY is about…

$34.95 .. From Murphy’s Magic and their Associates

https://www.murphysmagic.com/product.aspx?id=65753

Review by Rick Carruth

A.B.See – by Spidey – A Review

A.B.See – by Spidey – A Review

A.B.See – by Spidey – A Review
Gimmick and Online Instructions

PRESALE NOTE:This item is available on 12/03/21  for Pre-Order only. The release date is 12/13/2021 at 12 noon PST

The Ad Copy:

Your spectator sees you holding a simple set of flashcards. They have no clue that it hides a brilliant secret that is about to destroy their minds!

Spidey’s A.B.See Deck is not just one trick, it is a tool designed by a working mentalist with the intention of leaving your audiences speechless. Your spectator can look through a series of images and secretly choose one. With your head turned away, you’ll be able to connect with their thoughts and reveal far more about them than if they had simply chosen a playing card.

They will believe that you can peer into their memories, know details about their personality and see right into their minds, the A.B.See Deck really is that powerful.

But hidden within this innocent set of flashcards is a deviously clever secret. With this brand new method, hidden in plain sight, you will instantly know exactly what they are thinking. However, they can examine the cards forever and they will never see the secret! There are no hidden markings and they genuinely have a free choice! You will be as giddy as a child when you finally understand the underlying secret.

“Spidey has taken a classic concept, made the props as natural as possible, the method as deceptive as can be with a core principle that can be learned within minutes of understanding its brilliance.”
– Colin McLeod

No Markings
No complicated sleight of hand
Very easy to learn (Spidey teaches a layman the method and has her performing within 10 mins)
Hides a deviously clever and simple method that your spectators will NEVER-EVER find.
Nothing to hide or ditch
Professional quality cards printed by USPCC

Includes:
2 full sets of alphabet flashcards.
Multiple killer routines straight out of Spidey’s working repertoire
A “masterclass” in mentalism from Spidey to help take this to the next level
2+ hours of in-depth instructions with multiple techniques to make this your own.
An incredible “Heckler buster” routine for those extra pesky spectators. (You will silence them… bigtime!)

NOTE: Although it is not necessary for English to be your first language, a good grasp of the language is recommended.

“This is sooo good!!! The routines are jaw droppers, the cards are beautifully made and look exactly as they should, the instruction is jam-packed with fantastic info and anyone can learn it in a few minutes. The value here is insane. Kudos to Spidey. This is a home run.”
– Ben Seidman

My Thoughts:

When you read the ad copy for A.B.See, your ‘hope’ meter jumps a dozen notches, you feel a palpitation or two, and you wonder if someone has finally unlocked the door to the other side…

Maybe…

I hate to admit this.. but I review many effects that are very good, very deceptive effects.. and although I may like them and what they represent, they don’t make it into my not-so-little bag of tricks. I have eight effects sitting under a table beside me as I write.. and there’s no way I can incorporate everything into a routine. At this rate, I review about sixty different effects each year. So, for an effect to make it into my bag, it HAS to be special.

A.B.See is going in my bag….

Spidey doesn’t call this a trick.. or an effect. He calls it a Utility Device, since it’s virtually it’s own deck that can be used for a number of effects. There are effects you can perform straight out-the-box.. and there are effects that are more advanced.

A good portion of the video, which is over two hours btw, is spent with both live performances and explanations. Spidey will use a ‘real’ person and conduct a performance.. then explain in simple terms the hows and whys that make it work.

The complete deck is composed of simple symbols the spectator will readily recognize, much like traditional ‘flash cards’ used by children. Actually, the cards are make to resemble something sold in a toy store.. and not something sold in a magic store. They are very disarming on purpose. As a couple of effects involve a ‘drawing’ by the performer, he has created cards that can be duplicated easily with drawings and don’t require an art degree. This is the KISS system personified.

Horse, eggs, girl, yo-yo, finger, wand.. and twenty other similar cards, form a ‘hidden secret’ the spectator will NOT identify. Although the cards are not marked, they ARE created using a method I can’t discuss. It will allow you to see something, in plain sight, the spectator can’t see because his reality is not the same as YOUR reality. Complex sounding.. I know.. but it’s not. Early in the video Spidey actually takes someone off the street and has them ‘memorize’ the secret method in ten minutes.

Spidey performed six different presentations and explanations.. each a bit more complicated than the other. Although all involved basically the same working technique, he used more advanced card techniques as he went along.. each designed to add a little ‘something something’ to the overall effect. I’m not talking knuckle busters… but swing cuts, false shuffles and cuts, Ralph Hull’s Optical Shuffle, (..which looks great with a colorful 26 card packet) and some sharp peeks. This is not essential sleights.. but great for adding extra depth to your performance.

Since A.B.See is a different deck from the typical Bikes, there is also a section on Justifications. “Why am I using a funny looking deck to read minds ?” If the subject arises.. Spidey will give you a good reason.

Cold Readings? Are you simply making a prediction -or- are you reading someone’s mind? You can take A.B.See a step ahead, as you are a step ahead of the spectator, knowing what they picked if you use one of the ‘spectator makes a personal choice’ methods instead of picking a card at random. You can ‘read’ the spectator, based on their selection. Although this is not something a novice magician could do.. it IS something a mentalist/psychic reader could do easily, with the information at hand. Spidey talks for some time about the individual images and how he makes connections between the images and the spectator. Good stuff…

Everything is recorded exactly as you would expect from a professional performer. The sound is correct throughout, camera angles are helpful and offer multiple views, and the video quality is professional. In addition, a number of performances are live, giving you a chance to see the deck in use.. and other performances are in the studio. I seriously recommend following the link below and watching the demo. It gives you a ideal preview of both the cards and the video quality..

Here is the published table of content:
Introduction – The Method – What You Receive – 6 Live Performances and 6 Explanations – Reversing the Order Of The Deck – Techniques:
False Cuts and Shuffles – Peeks and Glimpses – Justifications – Cold Reading – Drawing The Images – Pro Tips – Deck Management – Troubleshooting – Heckler Management (How To Let Them Shuffle)..

Material wise… You’ll receive 2 full stacks of 26 cards each, a double-backer, a ‘safety card’ and two ‘cheat sheet’ cards… I was particularly impressed by the video instructions. There were tips here that will benefit you far beyond AB See. In all.. there were 2 hours (roughly) of tutorials. Approx. one hour was devoted to the effect itself and it’s performance.. and another hour to all the subtle nuances, false shuffles, peeks, etc..
AND.. it wasn’t boring at all. (smile).. I felt like I was learning something special throughout. (I was..)

This was one of my favorite reviews of 2021. I will recommend AB See to all my friends and readers. This is a no-brainer folks….

$34.95 .. From Murphy’s Magic and their Associates..

https://www.murphysmagic.com/Product.aspx?id=66711&t0=68f7e67564edcd8152b2d70723ce7bfa

** Please remember.. this items is NOT available to order until 12 noon PST on 12-03-21
Review by Rick Carruth

ECLIPSE – By Dee Christopher and The 1914 – A Review

ECLIPSE – By Dee Christopher and The 1914 – A Review

ECLIPSE – by Dee Christopher and The 1914 – A Review
Gimmicks and Online Instructions

This is the Ad Copy:

Every mentalist needs ESP cards in their toolkit and now you can own one of the greatest ESP decks ever devised.

Eclipse is a secretly marked deck of 25 ESP cards (+ gaffs) meaning that YOU know which card your spectator is holding at any time by secretly glimpsing the marks on the back. But these marks are like NO other.

What use are marked cards if you can’t see the marks?! This is a very real problem with the typical alternatives; Nothing looks more suspicious than a performer leaning in and closely squinting at the back of a selected card to figure out what it is. Eclipse is the answer; the marks are SO bold, you can literally identify a card a spectator is holding from the other side of the room!

Bold, yes. Obvious? HELL NO. The marks may be bold to you but remain INVISIBLE to the uninitiated. Spectators can freely handle the cards and even under close inspection will struggle to find the secret.

People will be CONVINCED you’re psychic!

Eclipse is the brainchild of Dee Christopher, star of BBC Three’s award winning Killer Magic television series. Having gone through hundreds of poor-quality ESP cards at gigs, Dee designed Eclipse to last a lifetime; The cards are printed on plastic stock to avoid degradation, so if they get grubby, simply wipe them clean. No more ordering a new pack for every gig you’re booked for!

If we supplied your brand new Eclipse deck only with written instructions, it would be GREAT value for money. But we’ve gone one better (six better, to be precise).

When you purchase an Eclipse ESP deck, you will be granted exclusive access to an in-depth online video masterclass with the creator, Dee Christopher. The video will not only entrust you with the secrets to decode the markings, you’ll be taught SIX impressive, hard-hitting effects that can be performed with your new-found knowledge.

What’s more, the effects taught can be performed individually or strung together to create a full 25 minute mentalism act, ideal for both close up performances and larger parlor settings. Some of the effects utilize the secret marks, but many don’t, equipping you with a multitude of methods to help make backtracking impossible for your audiences.

ESP cards have become synonymous with mentalism ever since they were first used in the 1930s to test for psychic phenomena. The undeniable allure of the five simple shapes have earned them a place in popular culture and now it’s your turn to do the alluring.

Join the ever-growing list of magicians and mentalists choosing Eclipse ESP cards over traditional alternatives.

My Thoughts:

Dee Christopher, well-respected mentalist from the UK, is ready to release ECLIPSE in a matter of about 72 hours.. as I write this on Nov. 26th, 2021.

Now that you’ve read the ad copy.. how does it play out in the real world? Well.. after spending several hours ‘playing’ with my cards, and watching the videos, here’s my thoughts.

ECLIPSE is a complete 25 card set of Zener cards. I’m sure you are familiar with the design… circle, addition sign, waves, square, and star.. made popular by Dr. JB Rhine during his ESP studies at Duke University in the 1930’s and 1940’s. They are the standard for ESP cards. The difference between regular Zener cards and Dee’s cards are.. Dee’s cards are marked on the back. Also included are two double-facers and one double-backer, plus one display card will all five symbols. These cards are important for your performances.

Made of a plastic coated stock, Eclipse cards are both made for use in difficult circumstances and for a pleasant appearance. Although not made for skillful handling, they handle just fine. As you’ll see in the tutorials, these cards are designed as props for your routine.

The tutorials are designed to give you, not just several effects, but a complete routine of mentalism effects that could easily run twenty to twenty five minutes. If you don’t currently have a mentalism set, this is the ideal purchase to get you up and running.

Several different effects are taught in the tutorials. All are prediction type effects and rely on either the markings on the back or a simple multiple outs method made simple with the special cards in addition to the marked cards.. As one of those guys who has trouble spotting marks on many marked decks, I am glad to say that’s NOT the case with ECLIPSE. The possibility of a spectator spotting the marks are very, very slim. I think if someone did notice the marks they would still not be aware of what they were seeing, as the marks are not actual numbers or symbols.. but only a positioning of an insignificant line.

Some of the effects taught require multiple outs, and may make it necessary for you to create a double envelope. Unlike traditional multiple out routines that have cards in various pockets or under card cases, Eclipse is designed and taught so the spectator will NOT come to that conclusion. Everything is very compact, and your audience is left unsuspecting. Complete instructions are included, and making your own envelope is a very simple procedure. There are other work-arounds, including a peek wallet, and this DIY is not a big deal.

This is a combination of the Ad Copy effect descriptions and my thoughts.

ESP Opener
A spectator freely names any ESP symbol and you reveal that you knew exactly which symbol they would choose ahead of time. Uses the multiple out method, which is very easy when using double-facers.. Dee’s handling of the envelopes makes this so easy. This is designed to be the first effect in your performance.

Sensor
A three-phase routine allowing you to “see” with your fingertips. Each phase increases in impossibility. With multiple methods in play, this powerful routine is impenetrable and everything is completely examinable at its conclusion. The patter for this is wide open. This may be my favorite routine, and makes full use of the marks.

Gambit ESP
Five face-down ESP cards are mixed on the tabletop by the spectator. The spectator drops an unread prediction on top of ANY card. The prediction is opened and is found to match the chosen symbol! Very strong effect.. and a good one to proceed Sensor.

Serial Reveal
You predict the unique serial number on a spectator’s borrowed banknote! This effect adds impressive variety to the act and gives you a perfect excuse to naturally use props (envelopes and pens) left on the table from earlier effects. I like serial number reveals, as they seem so impossible. Every bill is different.. and this one extends that premise.

Distance
The entire deck of ESP cards are shuffled by the spectator and washed around the tabletop. At great distance, the performer can reveal each and every card the spectator selects. This effect CANNOT be replicated with any other ESP deck on the market! No argument here. The markings make it possible. I wish I could show you the markings.. but that wouldn’t be nice. I may not be able to see the marks as well as some.. but even I can see the marks from about five or six feet away.

Everything’s taught by Dee Christopher and Lewis LeVal. The video instructions are good, the sound is good, and the overall method of instruction is easy to understand. There’s nothing complicated about ECLIPSE. There are NO sleights.. although there is a move of two to learn when utilizing a double envelope. There are five different video tutorials, representing about 68 minutes of instruction… Everything is online, and there is no need to download anything…

Introduction 1:13 min.
What you get 4:30
The marks 8:48
ESP opener 19:58
Gambit 33:32

I have no doubt many of you will create your own effects. A marked deck of Zener cards is a powerful weapon. If you are a semi-creative guy, ECLIPSE is a great effect to add to your repertoire. It’s well worth the effort and the price..

$40.00 .. From Murphy’s Magic and their Associates..
https://www.murphysmagic.com/Product.aspx?id=70529

Review by Rick Carruth