Video Download Review: Sense-ational by Ryan Schlutz

In college, I used to get a TON of mileage out of the old key card trick where you supposedly feel the pulse of the spectator as you run their finger over a spread of cards looking for a selection. I never performed it in my professional work, but I used the effect in casual situations quite often. It never failed to recieve strong reactions. Oftentimes, I would be forced to repeat the effect as someone watching would want me to try it on them. They would swear that they would be able to control their body to prevent me from obtaining any clues.

I mention this as an introduction to this review, because Sense-ational reminds me a lot of the pulse effect. It gets its strength from the fact that spectators buy into the premise. No cards change places, vanish, or magically rise to the top of the pack. Instead the focus is on the simple impossibility of it all. Take a look at the demo HERE.

I don’t know about you, but I was fooled badly. It turns out I’m not the only one. Ryan has fooled some top magicians with this effect. Laymen won’t have a chance. The routine is nicely constructed with a sloppy, casual handling that makes the whole thing seem even more baffling. Each phase builds upon the previous one ending with a revelation of a thought-of card that is very satisfying both in effect and method.

There are many different subtleties and principles at work that allow for such a free feel to the presentation. While no individual idea is completely new, Ryan has combined them in a way that maximizes the potential of each component. There are many layers of deception between the effect and the actual method.

The explanation video runs for a little less than 10 minutes, but everything is taught clearly. There is a setup involved, but it is easily accomplished in a just a few seconds alone with the deck. Those familiar with various culling techniques could even set this up in front of the audience. The difficulty is very easy as there is virtually nothing in the way of sleight of hand. However, one will want to practice the presentation to make sure everything flows smoothly.

Overall, there’s a lot to like about the trick. The method is clever, the effect is fooling, and the presentation is compelling. If you liked what you saw in the demo, you’ll be very pleased with what you’re getting here.

– Available for $10 from Vanishing Inc. Magic

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Award: Top Entertainer in Indianapolis

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Boxed Set by John Guastaferro

John G MagicIf you’ve been a reader of this blog for any length of time, you’ll know that I’m a huge fan of the work of John Guastaferro. In fact, while I may not have written a formal review of each of his products, have no problem recommending each and every one of them. I have them all, and they’re great.

John’s latest release is an instant download produced by Penguin Magic and Vanishing Inc. Two tricks for ten bucks; both are workers. First up is a handling of Paul Harris’ Reset. I’ve spent years working on the plot, and this version is among the most elegant I’ve seen. I’ll admit that I’m a bit married to my own handling for this venerable plot, but John’s solution certainly is a crowd pleaser. The routine is within the reach of the average card man. His clever use of the card box isolates the two packets and makes the clean up look ultra… well… clean.

The second routine, Ace Case, also makes use of the card box. The four Aces are lost in the deck. One by one they are located with the box playing an active role in each revelation. Cards penetrate the box, appear mysteriously on top of it, and travel magically inside. There is no setup, and again the handling isn’t difficult. I can see a lot guys using this.

You are treated to studio performances of both effects plus full explanations. The entire download runs about 25 minutes. As usual, John’s teaching is excellent. For ten bucks, you can’t go wrong. Highly recommended.

-Available for $10 from Vanishing Inc. Magic

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