Time Travel Manual is a collection of 16 effects from 10 different contributors. Each effect is framed with a time travel presentation. It’s a fairly large eBook containing 100 pages. As a result, I won’t detail each routine individually. Instead, I’ll give you my thoughts on a few of the items.
Back to the Future (John Zandman)- This is a unique presentation for a very simple effect. At its core, this is a simple prediction of a selected card, but John makes this play as a little more. The spectator holds onto a blank piece of paper between her hands. She selects a card and commits it to memory.
She then imagines traveling back in time and whispering the identiy of the card to the magician. She tells you to write down the name of the card on a piece of paper and to hand it to her at some point in the future. The attention is brought back to the paper she has been holding the entire time. She lifts her hand to see that the name of her selection is now written on the paper.
There’s nothing new here in terms of method, but the presentation is quite nice. It elevates a simple card trick to a much greater experience.
Time Travel Q&A (John Zandman)- This is a confabulaion type of routine where the spectator answers three questions and then removes an envelope from under her seat. Inside the envelope is a piece of paper with all of her answers written on it. Due to the presentation, this isn’t treated as a prediction. Rather the envelope was supposedly placed there after the show once he had asked the volunteer the questions.
Most people will probably be disappointed with the method, although it has stood the test of time for generations of mentalists. If you’re new to mentalism, however, you will need to do some additional research to figure out all of the details. The author assumes that you already have access to the required gimmicks or at least knowledge of other ways of obtaining the information secretly.
A.I.R. (Don Theo III)- The performer writes something down on a slip of paper, folds it up, and tables it. He asks the volunteer to imagine she is traveling in a time machine to a specific date in the following year. She announces the date (she has a completely free choice.) The performer asks if she knows what day of the week this date falls on. He pulls out a pocket calendar and asks her to look it up. Let’s suppose her date lands on a Thursday. The slip of paper is unfolded to reveal the word ‘Thursday’ written on it.
The effect and method are both very simple, but it will take some advanced preparation. When it comes down to it, this is simply a prediction of a free choice of one out of seven. That being said, it’s probably best suited for an opener.
Paradox Card (Greg Arce)- A face down card is placed on the table. The magician claims that this card can’t really exist, because it’s a ‘paradox card.’ Another card is selected and signed. It vanishes from the deck. The card on the table is revealed to be the selection.
The magician pulls a card out of his pocket. As he replaces it, he announces that it also cannot exist. A corner is torn off of the signed selection, and it is lost in the deck. The card from the pocket is shown again. It is now missing a corner. Of course, it is the spectator’s signed card.
The idea of the effect is a good one. However, both times that the ‘paradox card’ is revealed to be the spectator’s selection, it must be brought in contact with the deck. This is the worst possible time for this to occur, and there is no motivation offered for doing so. Card guys will be able to find alternate methods for performing the same trick in a more convincing fashion, but the handling offered here leaves something to be desired.
The Time Traveler (Greg Arce)- This isn’t really a magic effect. In fact, it’s not really much of anything. The idea is to convince a cashier that they are stuck in some sort of a time loop. Unfortunately, I doubt they would really understand what was going on. To make matters worse, this involves going to a store where the same person is working the cash register on two or three separate occasions. It’s a funny thing to read, but I doubt anyone would actually ever take the time or energy to try this out, especially when there is little reward for doing so.
H.G. Wells (Sean Waters)- The performer borrows a one, five, ten, and twenty dollar bill. The bills are folded and sealed in pay envelopes by the volunteers. All but one of the envelopes are placed on the table so that no one except the performer knows which one is which. A volunteer from the audience correctly guesses the value of the bill in the final envelope.
Next, the magician steps far away as the volunteer chooses any one of the other envelopes and takes out the bill inside. The performer divines the denomination, the year it was printed, and the exact serial number.
The method is very simple, although it may take a little effort to obtain the necessary materials. One piece of the routine may come across as a little transparent, but experienced mentalists will have other methods for the required action. If you find a handling that you’re comfortable with, the effect really does pack flat and play big.
The Pendulum’s Past (Nick Belleas)- A spectator holds a pendulum over five small envelopes. The performer says that each envelope contains a picture. All but one of these pictures are of something from the present time. The last picture is of something from the past. The spectator continues to hold the pendulum until they are drawn to one envelope. All of the envelopes are opened to reveal the pictures inside. Of course, the spectator was drawn to the one picture of something from the past. The method is super simple, but I fear it would be a bit transparent. The objects cannot be examined after the trick.
While I don’t think that the spectators will really be convinced of time travel after witnessing any of these effects, the theatrical premise of altering the fabric of time is appealing. Regarding the routines, there were a few standout items. For the $50 price tag, however, many of the items fall far short of expectations.
-Available for $50 from www.Lybrary.com