The Safwan Papers has been receiving rave reviews on The Magic Cafe. If you’ve visited the site for any length of time, however, you know that’s not always something you can count on. But that’s not the only place this eBook is getting good reviews. Here’s what a few top names in mentalism have to say about Bryn’s offering:
“The Safwan Papers has several very clever ideas for the serious mentalist. The emphasis is on language … not props. Your Lucky Nite could be sold as a separate routine.” – Chuck Hickock
“You know how to take an idea or effect, make it your own and add a wonderful twist to them. Wonderful thinking and inspirational. Keep up the great work; we need more original thinkers like you in our ranks. Well done.” – Banachek
“Bryn Reynolds is one of the most exciting creators I have come across in many years. Whenever he sends me something it is top notch and is usually an item I add to my repertoire. The Safwan Papers is the latest batch of material to peak my interests. Developed in Iraq, for his fellow soldiers, the material is dynamite! (Or C-4 given the situation!) There are great routines, gadgets and gimmicks that will become standard items in your act and just plain, good old straight-thinking behind powerful effects! One is already slated for my next set of DVD’s. I highly – very highly – recommend this book!” – Richard Osterlind
Well, for once, you can trust the hype. The Safwan Papers is a good collection of practical mentalism effects. For $30, I wouldn’t recommend this one for the simply curious. But, if you’re looking for strong mentalism to perform for your friends and family or at your next corporate gig, I am positive you will find something in this eBook to suit you. Here’s a quick rundown of the five effects (and bonus item) described.
Seven- This is a version Kenton Knepper’s famous Kolossal Killer. In effect, the performer writes down a prediction. The spectator pretends to hold an invisible deck of playing cards. He eliminates the cards in a seemingly very fair manner until he is left with a single playing card. This is the card the performer predicted.
While there are no multiple outs employed, it is important to note that this is not a 100% sure-fire effect. There is a chance that it could fail. However, performed in the casual circumstances in which this was intended, this won’t be much of a problem. The verbiage, by the way, will ensure that you are at least close in the cases where you miss. This may help calm the nerves of those who usually don’t like to take risks during a performance.
The techniques used in the trick can be learned rather quickly and do not require any of the “pie in the sky” psychological forces that seem to be so popular these days. Once you learn to carry out the procedure with confidence, you will have a great performance piece for impromptu situations.
Bottle Cap Koran- I like the psychology used in this effect. Again, the performer introduces a prediction. The performer borrows a dime and three bottle caps. A spectator places the coin under one of the caps while the magician’s back is turned. The performer is able to divine which cap is covering the coin a number of times and even allows another spectator to try. To finish, he shows that he predicted the exact results of the game… including the date on the borrowed coin.
This is another great impromptu effect. The methodology is smart and simple. Bryn has taken a couple of old ideas and extended them to make the effect play even bigger.
Your Lucky Nite- This is certainly the highlight of the book. The spectator is handed five envelopes and marks them with the numbers 1-5. The envelopes are mixed face down and a borrowed bill is placed inside one of them. The other envelopes contain Monopoly money. Not even the spectator knows which envelope contains the bill since the numbers are face down. The envelopes are mixed again. One by one the envelopes are held under the performer’s hand. He eliminates four out of the five by burning them or placing them through a shredder. The final envelope is opened to reveal the borrowed bill.
This is really a test conditions Bank Nite-type of effect. It is not exactly the same, since the performer is the one eliminating the envelopes, but I do not think that makes this routine any weaker. In fact, it is the only type of Bank Nite effect that I could actually see myself performing. The methodology is brilliant.
BOHT- This was by far the weakest point of the book for me. According to Bryn, this “is not a complete effect. It is a method, that when performed with complete confidence, enables the performer to appear to be able to divine in which hand a spectator has hidden an object.” If you already perform a version of the “which hand” effect that relies on psychological tells, you may find this to be a useful out. However, this technique can only be used once during a performance. For that reason, I don’t believe this will be useful to most performers who don’t already do a similar type of effect.
******string- The performer offers to play an old carnival game with the audience. A number of colored loops of string (or yarn) are displayed protruding from his fist. He announces that tied onto one of these strings is a prize for the performer. The spectators freely eliminate all but one of the strings. They are each shown to be just tied loops. He opens his hand to reveal that the final string has a solid gold ring attached to it.
If you can guess the asterisks, you’ll know the method. I think this is the only effect in the book that requires a special magic prop. It’s another Bank Nite-type of effect, but Bryn takes the sting out by announcing that the prize will be for the performer from the beginning. This is a good approach. If you present the ring as being your wedding ring, I imagine you could also milk some nice comedy bits out of the situation. “My wife hates this trick,” “I just can’t seem to get rid of this damned thing,” etc.
The $4 Billet Index- This isn’t an effect in itself; it is a way to create a cheap index to carry around in the money compartment of any wallet on the cheap. You will need to do a little arts and crafts work to get this up and running, but it is fairly simple to make. The index holds eight items, but you could create two of them if you need sixteen slots. There are no suggestions for how to use it, but most mentalists will already be familiar with its applications.
The eBook checks in at 56 pages. The routines are explained exhaustively; no details are left out. Bryn’s writing is very clear and easy to understand. He has a unique, personal style that makes reading through this a pleasure. You really get the sense that he’s just sharing these routines with you casually as friends. He even breaks off into stories about how he came up with certain ideas during the explanations. This could come off as stream of consciousness rambling, but it doesn’t. Each time he ventures off he reveals something interesting, either about the idea or himself.
- Available for $30 from www.Lybrary.com or www.Outlaw-Effects.com