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 Post subject: Mind Expiriments by Chris Rawlins
PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2011 7:58 am 
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Mind Expiriments: By Chris Rawlins (with comments and commentary by Kenton Knepper)

Where to buy: http://www.wonderwizards.com/product_in ... k0im2asku6
Price: $30.00
***** Five Stars!

I don’t know where Kenton Knepper finds these guys? First there was Luke Jermay, then I was introduced to Peter Turner, and now I have had the pleasure of reviewing the work of another young mentalist whose work Mr. Knepper has helped edit and polish. Oh yeah….and they are all English! This is yet another book chocked full of clever ideas, many of which are quite bold, but all of which are sure to baffle laymen and magicians alike. The beauty of these techniques are how clean they will all appear. For the most part, no billets, no imps, and no peeks will be needed. Most of this stuff could be performed on the spur of the moment provided there are enough spectators to appreciate it.

Using this review: This review will be long so I recommend skipping to the end of this post and reading my overall thoughts. If that strikes a cord then you may want to come back and read about individual effects. Each effect description will be color coded based on my personal favorites. ( Red) as in red hot! This is an effect that has a clever method and delivers a powerful effect. The kind of effect that most people will find a place for in their show. (Orange) Hot. This is an effect that either has a really clever method or delivers a powerful effect but perhaps not both. Most performers will be able to use at least some part of this effect and tweak it to their liking without much trouble. (Green) (this was going to be yellow but you couldn't read yellow) Warm. This is a good effect but neither the method or the presentation will likely "blow you away." It will be an effect that some people will get a lot of use out of and others will not. Most people will "like" the effect but few people will "LOVE" the effect. (Purple) Neutral. This is an effect that some folks might like and some folks wont. It will all depend on individual styles.(Blue) Cold! This is an effect that I estimate most people will not like. It either delivers an unimpressive climax or the method used is convoluted or just plain bad.


A JollyPrediction
This is basically a newspaper prediction. A news paper is selected out of three potential newspapers. The paper is then torn into bits. The spectator then calls out a random number and the performer counts out the number of bits of paper until he reaches that piece of newspaper. He hands that to the spectator and asks them to think of one of the words on that piece of the paper. Naturally it matches a prediction that has been sealed from the beginning of the effect.

Thoughts: Well…the bad is that it is a newspaper prediction. I only say that because papers are becoming a bit more of a rarity as internet becomes the news gathering mode of choice for an increasing number of people worldwide. That said the method is solid and will easily adapt to magazines, which still seem to be a quite popular mode of print media. The prediction truly can be ungimmicked and out of your control throughout the performance making this excellent for a publicity stunt. I don’t think I am revealing to much to point out that this effect relies on a series of forces. First is forcing the page, which is done with techniques familiar to most. The next is forcing which piece of the paper the spectator chooses. This particular force is a gem. It looks so clean and is so fool proof I think most of you will really appreciate it. The final is forcing the specific word on the torn piece the spectator selected. Rawlins’ method for accomplishing this one is a bit bold but absolutely fool proof. Some of you will love it and some may hate it. Kenton offers a slight variation of this force that I think really adds to the overall effect and when I use this I plan on using that subtlety. In the end what you have is an absolutely fantastic newspaper prediction. For anyone who thinks this through and rehearses this one well, you will have a newspaper prediction that will look every bit as clean as the one Derren Brown performed in his “Something Wicked This Way Comes,” show. Considering some newspaper predictions are being sold as single effects I’d say this effect is worth the price of the E-book.

Map Telepathy
Two spectators are selected and both are blind folded. One spectator is asked to think of any country(state, province, or city) and send that information to the other spectator. The other spectator blindly draws a circle on the map. You remove the blindfolds and ask the spectator what he was thinking. He says, “South Africa.” You reveal the map showing that the second spectator circled South Africa.

Thoughts: I have been looking for an effect like this for a while and I’m quite impressed. This one is a clever blend of several principles, psychological, linguistic, and mechanical, that add up to a phenomenal coincidence. One of the key methods for this effect is both bold and foolproof and the other is a bit more subtle but not as foolproof. A confident, experienced performer will be able to perform this effect as is. One who is not so confident may need to make minor adjustments. One way or the other, all the elements are there to make a very powerful effect. Most performers, regardless of skill level, will be able to do this reliably either by using its original method or making minor alterations to it.

Dunnenger Reads a Spectators Mind
Performer asks everyone in the audience to think of a word and selects one at random to come up on the stage. Another spectator is randomly selected to try to come up and read the first spectators mind. The second spectator correctly guesses the first spectators mind.

Thoughts: I wish he hadn’t named it as he did. Makes it tough to review it as anyone who reads the title and the effect description, and is familiar with Dunnenger’s work will peg the method right off the bat! None the less there are some great subtleties and thoughts discussed in this effect that will make it a valuable read.

Lucky Lottery
Six different people each think of a number between 1 and 49. The performer writes those numbers down and then from a pocket he pulls out an envelope. Inside the envelope is a lottery ticket with the exact numbers the spectators selected.

Thoughts: I LOVE this effect and the method. This will be a great effect for closeup. It has the WOW factor that would be good enough for stage but a lottery card just won’t show up well enough without projection. Anyways, this is practical, clever, fool proof, and a strong effect. Not much more to say about it…

Oxford Comma
An audience member is brought up on stage and blindfolded. Then an envelope is opened containing a picture. The audience is asked to telepathically send the image to the spectator. The spectator describes the picture drawn.

Thoughts: This is a really neat effect that gives your spectator a chance to play mind reader. One of my favorite aspects of this effect is the mistery inherent in the presentation. You can have that sealed envelope standing on stage for all to see and wonder what is inside. Then to call a spectator on stage, blind fold them, and have them accurately describe the picture, is pretty powerful. Some may not care for one of the components of the methodology as it eliminates it from the close-up arena but for stage and parlor performers this should be no sweat. Overall this is a fantastic effect that could easily find a place in most performers repertoires.

Drop Card
You bring two spectators up on stage. One selects a card and buries it in the deck. The other is hypnotically induced. The first spectator spreads the pack of cards face up on the table and is asked to send the image of the card to the spectator who has been induced. The hypnotized spectator, without looking at the face up cards, drops his finger onto the card the first spectator selected.

Thoughts: A good effect for closeup and parlor but will obviously need projection for stage. You won’t need to be a hypnotist to perform this and make it look like hypnotism, though a little knowledge on that subject will add to the performance. Card guys could really dress this one up to make it look as fair as can be, depending on your skill with peeks and forces. As for getting your hypnotized subject to select the right card…..well that’s where this effect get really clever! Personally I won’t use this one but that’s because I try to keep cards out of my mentalism(I love flashy card magic too much to convince my spectators that my card work is anything other than sleight of hand;) but for those who do blend the to this is an excellent effect. For the most part the cards are handled by the spectators and not the performer.

Spectator to Spectator Drawing Duplication
Two spectators are brought up on stage. One draws an image on the clipboard, the other successfully recreates that image.

Thoughts: Hrmmm….I guess I just have to say that this one is just a bit to bold for me. I like bold stuff, and the method certainly is clever, but this one left me flat. Certainly the effect concept is great, and as I said before it is very clever, but this one makes compromises that I am just not willing to take. Definitly worth a read though, as I am sure that it will generate some ideas, but I doubt this will go into many repertoires. Think of this one as a concept worth exploring.

It’s All Lies
A spectator thinks of a number between one and five. He then thinks of a something he enjoys, like cars(music, movies, etc.) He thinks of his favorite type of car, say Ferarri, and he writes that next to the number. Then he writes four different numbers down and four different cars. He finally reaveals all that has been written down. The performer then performs a lie detecting demonstration to determine which of the numbers and which of the cars is the spectators favorite.

Thoughts: This is BRILLIANT! Lie detector tests are very popular plots in mentalism and there are people who have created single trick DVDs and $100 magnetic detectors just to figure out which hand somebody hides a coin. This test gives you five different choices and best of all this can be done completely impromptu with no billet switches, no peeks, no imps, no actual body language reading skills required. This will have a good impact for stage, parlor, or close-up. Best of all, though the original effect is strong but the underlying principle can be applied to many different presentations. Basically if you have any effect in which a spectator is given a free choice of up to 5 different choices you could use this method to determine the spectators choice. Now there might be a few performance environments in which this wouldn’t be an appropriate method, though I can’t get into detail without tipping the method. Overall an outstanding method and effect.

Touching on Mental Reprogramming
Two spectators are brought up on stage and sat on either side of the performer. He induces both spectators and then has them close their eyes. He then touches one spectator on the shoulder and instructs him to think of the color red. He touches the other spectator on the shoulder and tells him to think of green. To reinforce this he hands each of them a colored card that coincides with the color they are to think of. He then asks for each of them to name the color they are thinking of out loud. The one holding the red card who was instructed to think of red says green and the one holding the green card and told to think of green says red.

Thoughts: This is a very commercial effect and Rawlins offers up several ideas about different presentational ideas. There is no need to stick with the color motif, indeed he mentions that corperate performers might use it to demonstrate their ideas winning out over their competition. You can use this to demonstrate a spy motif, with brainwashing as the key method. It really is a pretty open ended concept. If Luke Jermay’s “touching on hoy” was the natural progression of Banechek’s PK touches, then this could be seen as a natural progression from “Touching on Hoy.” Naturally the specifics of Rawlins’ effect is a bit different than the aforementioned inspiration but the basic methodological concept should be familiar to students of Jermay and Banechek. Anyone with the stones to perform either PK Touches or Touching on Hoy should find a place in their act for this effect, or at least a variation of it.

Find Your Money
A spectator loans a $20 dollar bill to the mentalist. The mentalist puts the note in an envelope and then mixes that envelope in with four more. The spectator is asked to pick which envelope he thinks his money is in. He selects one, then the performer shrugs and says, “Hope your right,” and then immediately tears up all the other envelopes. He opens the envelope that the spectator selected and reveals that the $20 dollar not is inside and unharmed.

Thoughts: This is the second reverse bank night that I have come across recently (The other being in one of Peter Turners books.) Although the concept is nice I have been a little displeased with both Turners’ method and this one. I frankly think that this one is both bold and a bit compromising. The boldness is fine, the compromising….not so good. Will it work? Yes. But I’ll personally stick with John Archer’s “Blank Knight” for this sort of effect(which can also be done as a reverse bank night BTW)

Two Digit Telepathy
Two spectators are brought up on stage and each is given a pad and a marker. They are told to look straight at the center of the pad and think of a number. When they see that number in their head they are to write it on the pad. When each has finished their task they turn their pads around. Each has written the same number down.

Thoughts: This one has some similar drawbacks to the previous effect (Find your Money) but because it is operating with two spectators there is more room to fully employ Kenton Knepper’s dual reality principle. Furthermore, a good discussion of how to properly script this routine helps sell the concept a little bit more. It is one that will probably be too blatantly bold for most performers but there is also more room to play around with ideas with this one. This may be one of my least favorite effects in the book but there is enough in here to give me some things to think about.

Overall thoughts:
This book is a bargain! Most of the effects in this book I really like. Some of the effects in this book could be slapped on a DVD and sold as a single effect DVD for the price of this whole E-book. He has a newspaper prediction which, if performed well, could look as clean and as amazing as the newspaper prediction Derren Brown closed a stage show with. I’ve seen less impressive Newspaper tears that sell as a stand alone effect for more than the price of this book. Speaking of Derren, we have all seen what he can do with the old, “which hand is it in” lie detector plot. Chris Rawlins has a lie detector plot in here (Its All Lies) which could completely redefine the common methods for that plot and expand the plots utility as well. His “Touching on Mental Reprogramming,” has helped further develop the PK Touch concept (always a good thing to do IMO.) And he has a great Map telepathy routine which uses a novel concept that could be applied to many other telepathy plots. Sure there was some stuff I didn’t like, but to be fair, two of the three effects I didn’t care for were written in as “Bonus Items” anyways.
Most of this stuff is bold but there is a mixture of solid, method based, mentalism in here as well. Presentation, as with most mentalism, will be important for most of this stuff but learning these concepts should serve you well. The biggest drawback with some of this material is also its biggest strength. Dual reality is used in a lot of these effects. Dual reality often, though not always, requires a bit of boldness to perform. Dual reality also, though not always, works better the larger the size group. So because of that much of this material is not suited for the intimate gatherings such as a restaurant magician who approaches a table of 2 to 4 friends enjoying a quiet meal together. Buit for those of you performing for larger groups I estimate that most of you will find a place for most of this material.


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