do you see when you look at a house?
would your answer to that question be?
windows, a door, a roof, maybe a chimney...you know...it's a house."
agree. It is a house. And when someone looks at it, that's what
they will see - a house. If I was to walk by and point to it and ask
my friend what that was, they'd say "It's a house."
way to start a blog post, right?
agree. It is kind of strange. But the point I'm trying to make is
that people will tend to look at something and see the sum of the
whole rather than its component parts. When you point out a house,
it will be called a house, rather than a bundle of neatly arranged
sticks or bricks or nails or windows or asphalt roofing shingles. They
will see a house, just as someone who looks at an egg will call it an
egg, rather than the amalgamation of shell, yolk, and white.
how is this relevant in any way to Mentalism?
answer is simple:
you perform a set, someone should be able to walk away from it
remembering the "House" that you built, rather than
recalling the individual components.
know and agree that some parts of this "House" will be more
memorable than others, and that is fine! Good houses always have an
aspect that stands out or amazes. But if someone walks away having
seen a doorframe, or the gutters and not the "House"...
Well! Then your set needs to be examined and remodeled.
that brings me to Dee Christopher's "413".
As is typical of Dee, what is offered here is solid thinking and good material - but I know that
after you've read it, you will walk away thinking something like
"Well, that was pretty good information, but I'm at a loss to
know what to do with some of it really."
point of fact, there are a LOT of books out there that will leave you
feeling this way. It is simply the nature of sharing effects. The
fact of the matter is that what works for one performer doesn't
always appeal to the character of another and so not every piece of material in a book will be considered useful.
this is the case, it is helpful to look at books like this one as
offering component materials out of which your "House" can
use Dee's "413" as an example. It contains a card effect
called "Schrödinger's Deck" which has (in my opinion) some
phenomenal patter. It is simple and easy to perform. I mark it down
as a great component.
assume that I'm building my "House", and just like other
homes can be considered "Tudor's" or "Craftsman"
or "Rambler's", I have a specific type for what I am
building - Mind Reading. Does "Schrödinger's Deck" fit
into a set of mind reading effects? Not on your life. It would be
like putting a screen door that opens out onto a pitched roof - when
your audience walked away, that's what they'd have seen and remembered.
if my house was built around "Mind Control" or
"Suggestion", then I have a place on the blueprints that
this effect is perfect for. When asked later on what they saw, they
would be able to say "I saw a House", rather than just
parts of it. And, after a set that is comprised of parts that fit
where they should, they will walk away from a show saying "I saw
a Mind Reader", or "I saw someone who controlled people's
thoughts". Whatever your greater theme was, whatever the
"house" was that you were trying to build, that is what
would successfully be conveyed.
think this analogy is slowly starting to take shape, but I'd like to
give you an example that more fully illustrates what I am talking
about with these types of "Building Block" effects.
the effects listed below:
"Ring of Truth" from Psychological Subtleties Volume 1
"Subtle Coin Multiplication" from Psychological Subtleties
Maue's "Terasabos" from Psychological Subtleties Volume 2
Carnazzo's "Salt" from Neil Scryer and Friends
Dyment's "Penney's From Heaven" from Neil Scryer and
Maven's "Positive/Negative" shared in Genii Magazine
Adam's “Lucky Man” - available as a member of Psycrets
Christopher's "Falling Coins" from 413
say what follows with all due respect to the individual creators, but
none of these effects are really show stoppers on their own. Some are very strong, and some are little more than subtle ideas. However, they each share a common theme - the involvement of coins.
If you were building a "House" that had a casual "Just
Using What Is In Your Pockets" theme, you could create a very
memorable set with this group of effects and they would form ideal
would this set look?
three people to stand and take a coin out of their pockets. They
toss them and you have correctly predicted how each coin would land.
You then invite two of them to work with you, choosing two who have
different denominations of coin. They hide one coin in their hand,
and the other in their pocket, and try to deceive you as to who has
which, yet you quickly tell them who was lying, who told the truth,
and without any questions as to the type of coin held or which hand
it was in, you are able to tell them just that. You then reunite the
original group from the start. You hand them each white boards and
black pens and ask them to write down what they think would happen if
they flipped each their coins three times. You then write your
prediction down on the same whiteboard in red ink. Each takes turns
flipping their coins, and your predicted sequence is shown to come up
before theirs in every instance. You then finish by saying that you
don't even need coins anymore to be able to make a correct
prediction, and offer one of the group an invisible selection of
coins. They take one, mime flipping and then call it, and you show
them that the prediction that you've had on display the entire time
coincided exactly with their choices.
for anyone who approaches you after the show, you can have them
correctly guess what type of coin you have in your hand, whether it is face
up or down, and THEN be able to flip that coin repeatedly and have
your spectator call it correctly EVERY time.
the above paragraphs again.
That doesn't sound too bad, does it?
that as a layman, you saw that set and were asked to describe what
you'd just witnessed in one word. More than likely, you'd choose a
word like “unbelievable” or “amazing” or break the rules
completely and say something like “I really am not sure, I just
don't know what to think”. Whatever your response would be, the word chosen
would suggest that a previously held set of beliefs had just been
most certainly would not have said “A bunch of coin tricks”, as
what you witnessed transcends the coins used and becomes something
greater than the sum of its parts. The component effects blend
together so smoothly in the performance that you have cultivated a
feeling of creating something larger than the building blocks that
were actually there.
is full of these building blocks, as are a lot of other books. If you will
take the time to figure out how they fit together, you can take a
series of minor effects and create something from them that is much
larger and majestic than they are alone, and more importantly -
you'll be a mind reader rather than someone who can just do some cool
I know that some of you will have read the above set description and
want to know how the routine comes together.
noted, this routine combines the ideas from Banachek's “Subtle Coin
Multipliation” in Psychological Subtleties Volume 1, Banachek's
“Ring of Truth” from the same volume, and an idea that was
inspired from Rick Maue's “Terasabos” in Volume 2. Of course, I
am not going to pass on the workings of these effects as they are not
mine to distribute, but I will say that if you read through them, you
will find it is easy to perceive how they blend together.
by performing "Falling Coins" from 413. Then ask two of
the spectators to help you. You'll know which by the denomination of
there, the routine continues as outlined in Banachek's “Ring of
Truth”. When you've determined who is lying and who is telling the truth, you will use the technique outlined in “Subtle
Coin Multiplication” to determine which coin was chosen.
say that you determine that a nickel was chosen.
this point, you would announce that you believe that the nickel has
been chosen, and the PERSON (not the hand) that has the coin.
you know the denomination of the coin and the person who is holding
it, you know it has to be in one of two hands. This is the part
inspired by Terasabos. You should be able to work it out from the
"reveal" portion of the text.
return to the final hand, reiterate the value of the coin chosen,
that you knew who had it, that you knew who told the truth and who
lied, and that you just conclusively showed that you knew in which
hand they held it. At that point, open their hand to reveal the
chosen coin and take your applause.
perform Doug Dyment's "Penney's From Heaven", but with
three people simultaneously and with whiteboards and different color
with Maven's Positive/Negative.
any aftershow work, use Paul Carnazzo's “Salt” and then combine
that with “Lucky Man” by Mike Adams.
hope you enjoy the routining I've outlined, but more
importantly, I hope you can see value in these little ideas and find
a way to combine them synergistically.