Title and Creator
: Ghost-Tag by Peter Eggink Effect
: A card is chosen by a spectator. A picture of the magician's grandfather is shown sealed inside a hard plastic key ring. Upon a closer look it is noticed that in the pocket of the man in the photo is the back of a card. With a quick wave of the hand, the card in the pocket in the photo magically changes so it is face up...and it's the spectators chosen card!Price
: List is $50, but it's been on sale for $37.50 ever since I added it to my Wish List. Teaching
: Ghost-Tag comes with a DVD as it's teaching method. There isn't any written material in the package, so if you don't like learning via video, you'll be out of luck.
The teaching on the DVD, however, is pretty good. The DVD is divided into several sections. They are comprised of an introduction, an explanation of the key-tag, a section on how to customize your key-tag, a section that shows a few different card forces, and the final section is the entire routine.
The introduction is very basic. It's basically just like a commercial. It doesn't really teach you anything, just basically gets you ready for the overall DVD.
The explanation of the key-tag is pretty solid. This is where Peter explains the ins and outs of the gimmick. He shows you how to use it, explains the different parts of it, and explains some of the background on the design of the gimmick. This section is very well put together and gives you some great information. However, this section to me was the least useful simply because as soon as you get the gimmick you will probably instantly know how the effect is done. As soon as I opened mine, it was obvious how the effect worked and I was actually working it before even taking the DVD out of the case. Even with that said, I still enjoyed watching this part of the DVD, even if it didn't really teach me anything about how to do the effect.
The section on how to customize the key-tag is fairly important. Not only are you shown how you can change the card reveal and the text on the back of the key tag in this section, you are also shown how to "reset" your gimmick should it somehow manage to get stuck. I won't really go into how it could get stuck, because that could tip the method a bit, but I can see how it would happen and it's nice to be able to easily find how to take care of that issue on the DVD. I have a few effects where things like reset and repair are kind of tucked away at the back end of one effect or another and are hard to find, so it was good to have that in there right up front and center. A quick note on the gimmick getting stuck. I have read on other sites that some people have had problems with their gimmick getting stuck before they even received it. This is mentioned in the teaching that the gimmick may have gotten stuck during shipping. I, however, did not have this issue. My gimmick worked perfectly right out of the package. I don't really know how common the issue of having it get stuck is. Mine has gotten stuck once, but only because I was "testing" it to see how far I could push the envelope. As soon as I got it stuck, the instructions given in the teaching were spot on to get it un-stuck. Overall I felt that this section was probably the most important on the DVD. I feel it is well explained and easy to follow, and the information given here can really help you make this gimmick "yours." The customization, especially for the back of the key-tag, could be really useful to many people.
The section on card forces offers a few basic card forces. The forces taught are very basic, but as someone that is fairly new to magic I can say that I like seeing these sections on DVDs. I would be especially grateful for a section like this if I were getting this effect as a very early effect in my collection. Again, they are three fairly basic forces that pretty much every magician probably already knows, but it's nice that they are there just in case someone doesn't know how to go about forcing a card.
The last section focuses on actually performing the effect from start to end. Peter starts by showing you how you should carry the key-tag so that it doesn't get tangled up with the actual keys on your key ring, how to operate the gimmick after the card force, then how to go through the clean-up, and finally how to reset for the next performance. He gives you suggestions for how to carry the gimmick if you are wearing a jacket or if you perform in just a shirt and pants. Again, this section is well constructed and a great conclusion to the teaching of the effect.
Overall, I was pretty impressed with the teaching that was on the DVD. Peter goes over just about anything that you would have questions about and teaches the nuances of the effect very well. On top of that, the DVD is very well put together. Visually it looks nice and is easy to see. The audio is also pretty solid. There wasn't any point where I found myself needing to adjust the volume in order to hear Peter speaking. The DVD is very professionally put together, and I like it when the teaching is like that. Quality of the Gimmick
: I feel that the gimmick is made extremely well. The tag itself is solidly built and the work of the actual gimmick is exceptional. Peter makes each one of these by hand, and that definitely shines through. I can tell that he takes pride in making the effect. The picture itself is very high quality. It really does look like an old photograph!! The way that the change works is also very high quality. Again, I have read on other forums about people having some issues with the device getting stuck...but again, I have NOT had that problem yet other than when I forced the problem myself to see what was necessary to get it stuck. I have practiced this effect many, many times and have performed it for about 30 people and not yet have I had any issues with the change working. I think the gimmick is of exceptional quality, and is definitely a high point in this effect. Difficulty
: I am relatively new to magic, as many of you know. I tend to gravitate towards effects that use gimmicks because they don't require sleight of hand which I may not really be comfortable with. Ghost-Tag fits that bill perfectly. This is an effect that ANY skill level magician would easily be able to perform. It's self working, instantly resets, and requires no sleight of hand at all to actually work it. I actually feel that this heading for this effect shouldn't be "Difficulty," but rather "Easiness." Yes, the effect is that easy to perform. It's so easy that the workings are basically effortless, which allows you to really focus on your presentation. Applications
: Due to the size of the effect, obviously it's going to be set up for close up work of some kind. I perform mainly for co-workers so I'm generally just walking around doing effects. I feel that this effect would work very well in virtually any close-up situation. Strolling would be excellent for it, as I feel that even though I don't get paid what I am doing is strolling magic, and it's been working for me in that aspect.
The instant reset would make it great for table hopping if you were working a restaurant gig, as well. The reset can be done in literally about one second and can be done very covertly, so you wouldn't have to worry about going to a different area to reset the effect...you could just finish up at one table, reset in that one second, and move on to the next table. Angles and Clean Up
: There really aren't any front angles that the effect won't work from, however, you would not want spectators seeing the back of the key-tag before you have performed the effect. You could be surrounded, but you would want to keep the back of the key-tag towards the ground until after you have actually done the change. With that said, there is a slight issue that can come into play in brightly lit areas. Once you have the effect you will understand what I mean by this, but I can't really go into it without revealing some parts of the working of the gimmick. It is fairly minor and really only noticeable when the gimmick is in DIRECT LIGHT. It is easily taken care of with a little bit of control of how you are holding the effect. If you absolutely can't get it held so that the issue isn't resolved, simply making sure that you are holding it a couple of feet from a spectator should take care of the issue also. I find that even when I am performing in light that doesn't cause an issue, I still tend to hold it a few feet away from the spectators anyways, just in case. Once you have done the change, clean up is a snap. I actually do clean up a little differently than what is taught in the DVD, but it works just as well and is completely undetectable. Once clean up is taken care of, you can feel free to hold the key-tag out and let the spectators examine it. I have handed mine out to everyone that I've performed it for, and not once has anyone noticed anything odd about the key-tag. Many people have started rubbing the card, thinking it's heat sensitive or something. Others have examined both sides to see if I was just somehow turning the tag around at the last second. The examinability of the gimmick is a nice feature, as it really completes the fact that your spectators just saw something impossible happen...and it appears that there isn't any way that you could have actually done anything!!In Closing
: I really like Ghost-Tag. It's a fun effect to perform and a VERY high quality gimmick. It's nice because it's so easy to do that I can really focus on my presentation of the effect. Even though I sometimes have trouble choosing a presentation style, generally I tend to do my magic with a bit of humor thrown in, so I present it with some impressions of my relatives, some jokes, and a crazy story about why my great-grandfather always had cards with him. It goes over pretty well and I've been getting really good reactions from it. I especially like that it can be handed out at the end and examined thoroughly. I keep just a single key on the tag, but it's an effect that I have with me all the time now. It's fun to perform and gets good reactions...what more could you ask for??