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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Mentally Speaking » » Tarto sized, marked and indexed ESP Deck - James Chartier (a Magic Portal review) (1 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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619 Posts

Profile of canaday
Tarot Sized, Indexed, One Way, and Marked ESP Cards - Jim Chartier
$50.00 (pre-sale, Order by July 31 for $40.00)
Continental US only. Email for foreign shipping
Payment can be made through PayPal to:

My Take:
ESP cards have been around for a long, long time. They were developed in the early 1930's by Karl Zener (they are still known as Zener cards) and J.B. Rhine for testing a person's ESP abilities. Ninety years later, they look pretty much the same way they did then.

The deck I received is beautifully printed on nice card stock. The backs are blue with a myriad of stars that allows you to know what each is. (i.e. marked) But the marking is very subtle. I was told they were marked and looked for quite a while and didn't catch it. I am sure your audience never will either. The deck is also very subtly one way and came in a very nice little black cloth bag.

Jim has released these cards in tarot size which makes them much more visible to your audience. The one thing here that really sells it to me a major change to one of the symbols. We are all used to saying "the card with three wavy lines." Every other one of the symbols has a simple descriptive name. (Circle, Cross, Square and Star). "Three wavy lines" is just awkward. Jim has taken the advice of Linking Ring artist, Tony Dunn, and replaced the three lines with a triangle. To me, this is a no brainer. Attractive and speeds up your routine. He has also added indexes to the upper left and lower right corners so the cards can be recognized in a fan.
I am sure a lot of you are familiar with Dan Tong. He developed one of the seminal book tests called the Peek-a-Book test which was later produced in printed form by Larry Becker. In 1979, Ray Goulet of the Magic Art Studio (R.I.P. Ray) released Dan's book E.S.P., a small booklet of tricks with the Zener deck. He has contributed a couple of his effects which are included in the package. (I understand that the original book is being prepared for re-release in the near future. I have no details but Mr. Chartier should).

If you have done card tricks for more than a week, you have run into Zener based tricks. Nick Trost did several booklets on it. Howard Adams released "OICUFESP". Even Tarbell had a section in the library. If you do any routines with the deck, you should really consider this purchase. The cards are beautiful and it will add some pizzazz to your routines. Highly recommended.
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Inner circle
Gibsons, BC, Canada
2266 Posts

Profile of ddyment
I have worked with Zener symbol cards for decades. I have used them extensively for mentalism and to give readings. I have never heard anyone, ever, refer to that symbol as "three wavy lines", let alone "the card with three wavy lines". Most often, people say "wavy lines", sometimes "wiggly lines", and sometimes just "waves", which is what I would say if I felt the need to eliminate a word from my script. Which I don't.

The one movie that has been made about using the cards for readings (the 2000 film The Gift, with Cate Blanchett as a gifted reader) highlighted this particular symbol.

From a psychological perspective, Zener (the perceptual psychologist; Rhine was actually a plant biologist by training) rejected the use of the triangle, as it was not sufficiently differentiated from the square for credible ESP experiments.

And from an anthropological view, the late Angeles Arrien (who first identified the "five universal shapes") considered the triangle to be the symbolic equivalent of the star.

So no. I won't be using this deck. Those who seek to make "improvements" should first research the subject thoroughly.
"Calculated Thoughts" now available at The Deceptionary :: Elegant, Literate, Contemporary Mentalism ... and More
George Hunter
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Inner circle
1737 Posts

Profile of George Hunter
Yes. In performance, just refer to the “waves” symbol and the audience is on board immediately.

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