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I recently received some effects from magician/mentalist Kevin Parker. I must say that while psychological effects have never been by bread and butter (never even tried this kind of magic before), they fascinated me and I wanted to learn more about them.

You receive 2 .pdf files, one entitled "Sadistic" and the other "Superior Psyche".

"Sadistic" – the ad copy reads: “The performer ribbon spreads a deck of cards, turns his back and has a spectator select a card. The card is memorized and replaced into the deck; the deck is squared and put away by the spectator. The performer names the selected card. He doesn't even have to turn back around.” There are 2 forces that come into play that are used to produce the selection of the selected card. The first involves the way you spread the cards (nothing that would arouse suspicion, however), and the second is your manner of talk as you give instruction to the spectator. The spread required does not involve intricacy, and the required manner/speech is not difficult, but it will take a little practice to get it just right. I have not yet tried this one 'live', as I want to get everything 'just so' first (and I need a little seasoning with conveying the right things). The concept is interesting, and you have a real miracle if successful. Kevin does provide you with a couple of good 'outs' if they miss which still allow you to know what card they picked, still without looking at the deck, card, or using a swami.

"Superior Psyche", the second .pdf file, contains items:

- 3 effects, proceeded by an introduction/discussion of the basic ideas used in 2 of the effects."

- "Mixed Signals" - the copy: "A 3-digit number is written down on a piece of paper and pocketed by a spectator. The spectator then dials a completely different 3-digit number into their cell phone, and shows it to another friend. The friend, however, sees the number the spectator originally wrote down. But, when the spectator sees the phone, the numbers he keyed in are still there!"

I thought the base idea of this effect was pretty clever, however, a clever stealth method is employed to turn the spectator's friend into a sort of accomplice DURING performance, which while totally stealth and undetected, leaves the accomplice knowing how the effect worked. Kevin realizes this, but doesn't think it is a concern. It is for me, however, and this aspect along will keep me from performing this effect. Some clever thinking needs an equally clever solution. Perhaps it will be found, but I do not see it yet.

- "Spectator's Thought-Up Card to Spectator's Pocket" - this, to me, is the jewel of the group. The ad copy reads: A card is shown, say the King of Spades. The spectator places the card into his pocket. The spectator is then asked to visualize a card, and concentrate on it. Without ever having to answer a question or say what card they were thinking of, the spectator removes the card from their pocket to see that it has changed into the card they were thinking of.

Kevin is very clear that you must use the exact wording he provides in order to have the spectator 'picture' the correct card. I was so intruiged by the prospect that I did the effect for 3 people, simply reading Kevin's text that I printed out (though you are NOT supposed to do this in actual performance!). The first person got it right and was floored. The second person got the value and correct color, but not the suit. The third was ruined by my poor audience management - she looked at the card before pocketing it (can't believe I didn't see that coming - I should have known better). Polished up, and assuming it works with good frequency (which will no doubt take some trial and error) this has the potential to be a true jaw-dropper.

I am told this is not one of the build-a-card type of effects you might find in Derren Brown's material or other mentalist.

- "Remote Viewing with a Photo" - A spectator is asked to visualize a place, and it matches a photo that the magician is holding.

I am still up in the air about this. I performed it for one of the same persons I performed the "Thought of Card/Pocket" for. Perhaps that was the kiss of death, because I discussed what the basic principle was (though not the exact method). Definitely has potential, and the person I performed it for was definitely 'on the right track' with what she visualized, but it did not end up being as strong as I had hoped. The reader should know that this likely because (a) once again I was reading the presentation (on paper) while performing the effect (never the best scenario, but I had an opportunity to try it out and took it), and (b) my inexperience in this particular genre of magic. For example, I wondered that a couple of the words used by the magi might just be too easily remembered by the subject, causing a connection to be made that lessens the impact. However, Kevin does give specific instruction designed to eliminate this connection.

The reader may understandably take some of my thoughts on these effects with a grain of salt since I have never really investigated this realm of magic. The success I had with the "Thought of Card in Pocket" effect was fascinating, however, and I can definitely see myself using this material as a springboard. So - one effect I really liked, one I did not, and the other 2 need further consideration. I remember seeing Rennie Reymundo perform an effect using similar methodology, and when it works, it is a mind blower. I'm looking foward to investigating this realm of magic more.

Kevin's materials can be found at: http://kevinparkerproductions.com/chronic.html
My ex-cat was named "Muffin". "Vomit" would be a better name for her. AKA "The Evil Ball of Fur".
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