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Garden Of The Strange by Caleb Strange - Book
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In 2003, Caleb Strange was asked to write a book: nearly four years in the making, The Garden of the Strange is the brilliant result.

This beautifully written, deeply affecting book takes Mr. Strange's trademark blend of innovative thinking and stunning presentations to the next level. With twenty compelling and original routines, and an additional half-dozen 'from your pocket' variations, this eagerly awaited work will be of great use and interest to mentalists, bizarrists, and table-hoppers alike.

Yet beyond its fine, audience-centered effects, The Garden of the Strange contains something more, of equal value to the working performer. For tucked away within its full and thorough notes, the attentive reader will find explained a wide range of powerful yet often neglected techniques (linguistic, literary, theatrical), which can be used to maximize the impact and enhance the quality of one's work.

The Garden of the Strange, then, is a thrilling and, above all, fresh exploration of the art of the impossible: a lyrical and accomplished volume, it has been called, more than once, 'the most inspiring book of magic I have yet read'.

Contents Include:

  • Hunting Mammoths in the Rain - An ancient symbol, carved on rock, induces a rich stink of memory in a volunteer. Other members of the audience also share this powerful experience.
  • In Your Hands - A client's question is answered in stunning symbolic fashion during a tarot reading.
  • The Collector - A story about collecting.
  • I'll Take Your Hand, My Love, and We'll Remember - An elderly lady feels young again, and mistily dreams of her first sweetheart.
  • Stepping as Through a Waterfall - A borrowed coin bends and then melts visibly away, as you relate a chilling story.
  • Wishing Star - O Momma! Don't want to tip this one here. But YES! It works. Trust me.
  • Bubbles - A poignant story about bubbles, and what they contain.
  • Safe Hands - A nasty and bloody story about revenge.
  • Junior - A canine-toothed nibble of comic whimsy.
  • A Certain Charm - An embarrassing situation is resolved in a pleasing and most civilized manner.
  • The Koestler Protocol - A spectator mentally selects a target picture, which you are able to duplicate under test conditions. As well as the very clean (I'm told) drawing duplication, there are variations for Remote Viewers, Bizarrists, and elfin Enchantresses.
  • Synchronicity - A spectator shares a dream and something wonderful happens. A profound, meaningful coincidence - synchronicity.
  • Sinne Eater - An atmospheric 'period' story about eating. Bonus inclusion: Caleb's recipe for plum cake.
  • We Eat What We Are - In a communal act of courage, you and your guests resolve long-troubling memories.
  • A Rose Without Thorns - An impromptu séance ends in an unlikely and disturbing manner. (Includes a fun Fortean variation.)
  • Hidden Treasure - Magic sparkles delightfully in an unexpected place.
  • The Wrong Side of the Road - A story with a thought-provoking twist.
  • The Ten Thousand Things - A member of your audience - a stranger to you - duplicates another's drawing on stage.
  • Play the Film Backwards - A life in pictures.
  • The Vanishing - Your show ends in a truly extraordinary manner. Plus bonus magic of a scintillating nature
Pages 170 - Hardbound

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Verified buyer Pro Privacy ON (login to see reviewer names) on July 7th, 2014
If you're into mentalism with the most unique presentations to date, this is the book for you. It's got drawing duplications [two of them], it's got element manipulation [moon, stars, whatever] and the presentations in here is like reading a novel. This book is sure to do one thing: Bring meaning and relevance to your performance. It's emotional and connects with your audience. Psychics have found their relevance because they are emotional and personal, this book will accomplish just that... making your magic emotional and personal.

Even if you find the magic/mentalism in it to be too "situational" because much of it is performed outdoors, you will be inspired by the presentation so much that you will adapt it to some stuff you're already doing. Five stars for this book.
3 of 3 magicians found this helpful.
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Verified buyer Pro Privacy ON (login to see reviewer names) on April 2nd, 2010
Hello All,

This book has slipped under the radar for most people I've talked to; personally, I am thankful for that. This book is worth it's weight in gold (you figure that out with gold prices the way they are).

The Garden of the Strange is not just another mentalism book full of tricks you'll never use, it's a fantastic mentalism book full of tricks you'll never use.

By this point it's probably unclear as to why I have rated this so high if it's full of tricks I'll never use; I'll get to that in a minute but first, let me describe my first reactions to the book.

If I had not waited two months to write this review, I would have given it maybe two stars and been thoroughly unimpressed with this book. The writing style is conceited and can be construed as highly pretentious (which is a rather ironic word).

The tricks are totally impractical if you're a walk around performer or for that matter, a platform performer and by the end of the book I literally said out loud: "That's it?"

All of this however is why I thoroughly enjoyed this book. As of late magic has gone through, in my opinion, a very generic stage. Everything book seems to follow the same general pattern and all the tricks are guaranteed to be tried and tested, packs flat and plays big; but, every once and a while, we should break away from the generic tried and tested and mainstream magic and open up: The Garden of the Strange.

The tricks are not so much tricks but stories with magic added to create very powerful effects. This book is not for everyone and the tricks are not for everyone but it's worth buying this book just to read it, not for the tricks, but for the shear imagination and subtle genius of Caleb Strange.

The tricks, although tried and tested by Caleb are not guaranteed, and you will not always be successful when performing these effects; but what's the fun in performing always guaranteed effects with no risk? If you reach the point where you're performing with no risk of failure whatsoever, you might as well put down your props and give up. There's no fun in performing with no risk and if failure is an option, when the effect is completed correctly, your energy will fill your entire audience.

Inside this book are 15-20 effects, each of which can be done as described in the book. But, you must wait for the right moment to present itself or else the trick will be nothing special. They are risky effects but the payoff is well worth the effort.

So, why buy this book if I myself even say the tricks are impractical?

I would not recommend Garden of the Strange if you're just looking for easy tricks that take no practice or performance skills and are guaranteed to work every time.

However,I would recommend this book if you're willing to read between the lines of the general effects for performance subtleties.

I would recommend this book if you need inspiration; If you have lost that spark that keeps all of us performing, this book will bring it back.

Finally, I would recommend this book if you're looking to develop your presentation. Caleb's tricks work for him and are designed for him. This book makes you think about who you are as a performer and develop tricks that work for you.

Trust me, upon reading the book you will be confused, but, when you finish the book and think about the effects; then go back and read in between the lines, you will understand the sheer and utter genius that the Garden of the Strange presents.
3 of 3 magicians found this helpful.
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Real Brain Food! Report this review
Verified buyer Pro Privacy ON (login to see reviewer names) on February 21st, 2013
If you need unique ideas for your show, read this book. (You remember...that rectangular thing full of words?) This book is filled with the most unusual stories and magical ideas. A few stories are quite improbable and so outlandish that they will inspire your mind to work overtime. Get out a pen and paper or digital recorder to collect your thoughts as you read.

If you have any glimmer of a pulse you WILL come up with a plethora of original material for your show. If the idea of 'stories' bores you, remember this: "All patter is really just a storyline. Magicians have been doing storytelling ever since they added patter to go with an effect!"
2 of 2 magicians found this helpful.
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An inspiration to read again and again... Report this review
Verified buyer Pro Privacy ON (login to see reviewer names) on November 26th, 2017
My first thought upon finishing this title for the first time was what a treasure I have found... Dare I share it with my praise! With a second reading I can say that this is the kind of book that can improve a Magician or Mentalist just by reading it's message. If you were not to use a single routine (I have used a few myself) the price tag would still list label your purchase a steal.
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