TITLE and Creator: Cataclysm by Brian Caswell and Alakazam
Effect: You show a standard deck
of Bicycle playing cards. On the back of each card you have written a number. You have your
spectators name 3 different cards, and those cards are placed face up on the table in plain view.
You then pull a photograph out of your pocket. On the photo are the backs of three playing cards,
each with a number written on it. Amazingly enough, as you flip over the cards that the spectator
has named, the numbers on the back of them match exactly what is on the photo that is still on the
Teaching: The teaching of this effect is entirely on
DVD. There are no written instructions at all, so if you are a person that really likes learning
from written instructions, be prepared to have to watch a video. However, I don't think that the
lack of written instructions is any kind of problem. The DVD is well put together and professionally
made. The menu is nice, the audio quality is good, and the video is good. The DVD starts out by
giving you the same demo that you can watch on Penguin on the product page. It then goes into the
history of the trick and why it's being re-released. Next it shows you how to make and set up your
deck. After showing how to make the deck you are then shown several different things you can do with
the included photographs. Finally, there is a section where you learn a few different ways to deal
with complications that could arise while doing the trick. Overall I really enjoyed the DVD and
thought it did an excellent job of teaching the effect. There is no Penguin's Only forum for this
effect, but I think it would be a really good effect to have one for. I have sent a message to the
administration of the forums requesting one, so hopefully there will be one soon.
of materials: The quality of the photographs included with the package is very good. They are clear
and on very nice photo quality paper. The other materials needed to do the effect must be provided
by the magician...however, they consist solely of a red backed deck of Bicycles and a sharpie.
Basically, if you can write numbers you can make the deck...it's that easy.
I have to note
for a moment, that although the quality of the photographs is very good, I found that my handwriting
was WAY too different from the handwriting on the photographs. No big deal...I simply took the deck
that I had made and made my own photographs with a digital camera and got them printed at
Walgreen's. I think this might be the way to go for many people because then you don't have to worry
about trying to make your deck look like the cards on the photos, and you will be 100% certain the
the photos are a match to your handwriting.
However, the photographs supplied have a few
other things on them that can be used with an optional effect that is described on the
DVD...but...to do that effect you need to have some other things that aren't included with the
effect. You may or may not have these items already, but I didn't and I don't think that the trick
really would gain much by doing the additional routine, so I found that it was best to make my own
photos. If you have the other items required to do the optional routine, you may want to think about
working on getting your deck to match the photos.
Difficulty: Simple, simple, simple.
There are no sleights of hand required at all. If you can find three cards in a deck that is face
up, then you can do this trick. I was up and running quite literally as soon as I was done putting
numbers on my deck. The hardest part about this effect is going to be working out where you want to
keep the reveal...and that's saying something about how easy it is to do, because you can keep the
reveal pretty much anywhere.
Again, I can't stress how easy this trick is to perform. I
like doing tricks that are more or less self working because it fits my comfort zone as a relatively
new magician. This effect fits that bill perfectly.
Not only is it easy to perform, it's
also instantly reset. And when I say that it's instantly reset, I mean that literally. You put the
three cards back in the deck and you're ready to go for your next table or your next group. No
rearranging or anything.
Applications: Being it's a card trick, it's going to be best done
in close up situations. You could probably do it on the street, but you would want the spectators to
hold the cards in a specific way. Restaurants would be perfect for an effect like this. You don't
absolutely need a table for the effect to work, but I find it best if you have one. I like to take
the three cards and have them face up on the table then put the photograph underneath them in an
order so that not only do the cards match the numbers on the photo, but so that they are actually in
the same order that they are in the photo. The table helps you to accomplish this with ease.
Some Other Things to Note: First off, the deck is not examinable, so you may want to work this
effect sometime after you've already done an effect where you let a deck be examined. I find that if
you do that then people are less likely to want to check out the other things that you do, because
they are already "trusting" you.
Second, I really think the effect is more solid when you
have taken your own photographs. You could even go so far as to make sure that something in the
photograph is something that they will quickly see is yours...for instance, if you were a certain
type of hat while performing, have that hat sitting off to the side of the cards. This way the
spectators will know 100% that you have taken the photo of the cards yourself. Also, if you take the
photos yourself you can keep the copies on your PC (if digital) or keep the negatives (if film) so
that you can make more copies of the photos when yours eventually start to wear out. You can't use a
line of "I took this photo earlier this afternoon" if the photo has clearly been in your pocket for
months. You can avoid that by just going and making a new copy of your photo every now and then.
Third, there are several situations that you need to avoid when doing the trick. These will
become readily apparent when you build your deck. HOWEVER, I have performed this trick about 30
times in the last few days, and NOT ONCE did I actually run into one of these situations. With the
correct wording, you should not have to worry at all about running into these types of situations.
Even if you do, they are easily avoided with just a few statements.
In Closing: This
effect, in my opinion, is fantastic. I've performed it for quite a few coworkers and everyone was
left completely baffled, and not only baffled but thoroughly entertained. When I do effects for my
coworkers I usually get good reactions with a few "How did you do that?" type comments sprinkled in,
but this one had everyone commenting on the impossibility of what just happened, and everyone really
wanted to know how it was done.
The simplicity of the trick allows you to focus all of
your energy on your actual presentation, which we all know is the most important part of
entertaining. You can really focus on your spectators and work on providing good patter and
conversation because you literally don't have to worry at all about what's going to happen.
I really enjoy performing it.
4 of 4 magicians found this helpful.
For an "impromptu" prediction routine using playing cards, this is one incredible little effect. I
would venture to say any laymen you perform this for would be completely blown away (though
magicians might figure it out in a few minutes). This effect is versatile in that it allows you to
play it either as a light-hearted routine, or a deeper Derrin Brown type mental effect.
Showing a perfectly shuffled deck, you show how each card has a different number on it. Ask
three spectators to each choose a different card (or one spectator can choose all three, of course).
As they choose the cards--no force on your part at all...they really are randomly and fairly
chosen--you pull them out of the deck and lay them face up on the table. When you're finished, you
show them a photograph from your pocket showing three facedown cards with numbers on them. As you
flip the cards the spectators chose over, they show to be the same three numbers.
routine is incredibly easy to perform with zero sleight of hand on your part. It resets in two
seconds. It comes with the photographs and a DVD teaching you how to do everything. It also includes
two other kickers if you already own a B.I.P. Book. The only thing you have to do is supply your own
red-back Bicycle deck and number the cards with a Sharpie.
The only thing that keeps this
from being the perfect effect is that you can't let them examine the deck afterward. I don't think
anyone would think to though since you show the different numbered cards so freely.
two minutes of practice, you are ready to perform this wonderful little miracle. It's a nice way for
a card performer to introduce a little mentalism, or vice versa.
2 of 2 magicians found this helpful.
I like this effect, but to be honest, my first reaction was that it couldn't possibly fool anyone,
because the method is too obvious. It's one of those effects in which the punch line is "too
perfect". If you present something that's too perfect, it tends to lead an easy path back to the
However, much to my surprise, this really does fool people and get good reactions.
The only suggestion I would make is, don't use the supplied photo. To me, it looks too much like a
prop. It looks much more natural if you take your own photo, preferably with you in it.
Negatives: you can't let the deck be examined... however, if you do an effect like Trilogy
earlier, in which many card backs have been seen, there'd likely be less heat on the deck (yes, even
though the backs are different). You also can't repeat it. Not a huge deal, but in a strolling
situation, if you're repeating it for different groups, which you'll be tempted to do, since reset
is so easy, you need to be careful you don't have any "repeat customers".
1 of 1 magicians found this helpful.