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Karl Miller
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Well, this manuscript has been a wonderful surprise for me. It was sent to me as a preview copy by Sean earlier this week.

Sean is a fairly unknown mentalist/card aficionado who was first introduced to me through the Online Visions website. His contribution there was a piece called "HTP", and I instantly fell in love with it. For me, it was a refreshing presentation for a "Sneak Thief" type of presentation. Its appeal was the psychological hook of using a real "HTP" test in conjunction with the "Sneak Thief" piece. I love to incorporate "pure" or "real" methods with methods like "Sneak Thief" to add some reality to what I am saying and doing. Of course, in order to sound like you know what you are talking about, you actually need to know what you are talking about (something I feel is critical in the performance of mentalism).

And Sean does know what he is talking about.

Sean and I share passions for psychology, mentalism, and card work. These passions are all evident in Sean's new manuscript, "Ponderings".

Here is a quick overview of the contents of Sean's book (taken directly from Sean's website):

This is my first compilation of effects offered to the magic community.

This 50 page PDF ebook contains six effects and two essays. Ponderings includes: new methods of suggestion with cards, a routine based upon interpretive psychology, an effect with a dollar bill and even an easy, but effective, “con” demonstration. I am confident that you will thoroughly enjoy the effects, but the astute reader will discover the real value between the lines. Most can be performed close-up or stand-up, one routine is primarily a “theatrical piece” (but could be applied to close-up). These routines demonstrate a philosophy of performing mental effects. There is also a thought-provoking essay on the use of “pure” techniques and why we should attempt them.


Red-Handed - The most direct suggestive card force in print

Washington DeCeived - A memory effect takes a left turn at Uri’s place

HTP - A design duplication with a difference

K?nt - Completely mental presentation for the K.E.N.T. method

The PC Principle – An effective use of embedded commands and an essay

Double Malt - Don’t knock it, ‘till you try it

Why Try? - An essay regarding one benefit of using “pure” methodology

Avalon – A coincidence imagined (complete with conversational hypnosis)

Price: $30.00"

Here are the effect descriptions again, with my comments below them :

Red-Handed - The most direct suggestive card force in print

-This is a psychological card force that is a combination of in print methods and Sean's own unique approaches. It is constructed very well, and it does not take as much time as many other forces of this nature, so you can move on quickly if it does fail.

Washington DeCeived - A memory effect takes a left turn at Uri’s place

-This is a memory effect with a borrowed dollar bill that has a wonderful, logical kicker that nobody will see coming. You never have to touch the bill, which makes it an almost perfect social piece to bring out when somebody asks about what you do. It is a propless (on the performer's part) demonstration that is perfect for those situations.

HTP - A design duplication with a difference

-You already know how I feel about this on.

K?nt - Completely mental presentation for the K.E.N.T. method

-Imagine doing K.E.N.T. with nothing but your mind and your guest's mind. No cards. You do need the K.E.N.T. manuscript to be able to follow this.

The PC Principle – An effective use of embedded commands and an essay

-This is an intriguing psychological principle that can be used in many ways. I will let you discover this one on your own. Very interesting ideas here.

Double Malt - Don’t knock it, ‘till you try it

-This is a very fun piece (a psychological demonstration of a con game) that will have you digging for a certain something that you probably dropped in a drawer somewhere back in the day. This may be a bit "magic-y" for some, but I thought it was a very neat idea, and it had me digging around for something I thought I would never use again. This is a fun piece that I am sure gets wonderful reactions from lay folks.

Why Try? - An essay regarding one benefit of using “pure” methodology

-A great, thought provoking essay on using "pure" methods such as psychological techniques like "Red Handed", the "PC Principle", or Patrick Redford's wonderful "Prevaricator". I agree with all points made, and this would make an interesting discussion on this forum.

Avalon – A coincidence imagined (complete with conversational hypnosis)

-An astounding reworking of Kenton's "Kollosal Killer". The thinking that has gone into this is astounding, and if you enjoy the "Killer", this is a must-read.

As you already can tell, I really enjoyed this book. It is a true contribution to the art, and I for one cannot wait to hear the kind, knowledgeable, and creative voice of Sean Waters again.

This book is scheduled to be released next week, and will be available at:

Sean has another effect, "Ode to Ekman", that will definitely be worth waiting for.


Karl Miller
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And why does he have no nameers review the work?

This is to Sean, if you seriously want people to go out and get your stuff send it to magicians that are known in this forum.
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Another hearty recommendation for Sean's book, in which I found many gems that are real workers. His propless version of KENT is stunning, and I have used it to great success over the phone. What most impressed me about this tome, was the amount of Derren Brown-like effects that didn't require one to actually BE Derren Brown to execute. Brilliant psychological forces that can be learned and mastered is a remarkably short time.

Every mentalist must own this book. I predict "Ponderings" will be talked about for a long time to come.
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On 2007-11-09 19:01, Blindside785 wrote:
And why does he have no nameers review the work?

This is to Sean, if you seriously want people to go out and get your stuff send it to magicians that are known in this forum.

Everyone knows Sean in "Penny for your thoughts" He is a deep thinker and doesn't need any "Name Brand" magicians to endorse him.

I find he always has some subtlety that makes his effects sleeker. He is very generous about sharing his ideas and is very approachable.

I'll be buying this book because I know it will be great.
Still with the Chinese circus Smile
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I just felt the review was from a bias friend that is all Smile
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I appreciate the gracious comments, one and all.

I certainly understand your skepticism. I am sure my book is not for everyone, but I honestly have worked diligently to provide some novel (read: improved) methods, routines or ideas. I think those who love some "pure" methodology will find somthing of use; even if that is a subtlety or two that will enhance some effects you may already perform.

My thanks to all who have purchased this from this forum and others. I hope you enjoy it.

With Regards,
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I got this one and I'm happy with it.

The book is full of interesting thoughts, and it makes for an enjoyable reading.
Then you'll rise right before my eyes, on wings that fill the sky, like a phoenix rising!
Karl Miller
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My review was based on the book's contents and nothing else. I don't know Sean well, never even met him face to face. Make what you want from my review, but it was my honest opinion. As for being a no namer, I really don't care. Thanks for your input, though.

Best regards,

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I know I am not very well known here (mainly because I like to remain anonymous - for now) but all I can say is that I am actually a performer for real people, for money. I'm not a hobbyist.

Hobbyists may not appreciate this book as much as a worker would.
I have to say there is some absolutely wonderful material in Sean's book, and some of his thinking is pure genius. Here is an edit of my thoughts on the pieces in it.

Red Handed is a great idea for a (far more reliable than most) psychological card force, and I am going to try this as soon as I can (tomorrow). I can see how this will work, and I like the linguistic touches. I am very excited about this!

Washington decieved is very clever, and I am sure it plays amazingly well. I have always found serial divinations a bit pointless, but as a memory demonstration leading into the remote viewing revelation, it is wonderful. I think this is the first piece invloving paper money I have come acros that I haven't found to be quite ugly (to me, money is not an object of creativity, beauty, or love at all, even though many performers seem to think that it is...).
I am going to see if I can adapt this to Euro notes, although I have no idea if that is possible.

HTP is a very nice presentation, and I may also try this one. It is certainly a great routine. There is some very useful information there for a type of brief reading that could be done in 5 minutes or less. That could be an aside on it's own, and it's all here.

The PC Principle? I really kind of freaked out when I read the last of the 3 examples in particular, I am so impressed with this. This is worth the $30 on it's own (although only a few would appreciate that and agree with me as it is a real method, and real methods can be risky - but this isn't very risky at all! It is soooo awesome!). I am going to be really thinking and experimenting with this. Truly amazing. NOt a routine, but an amazing psychological method that you need to find ways to apply.

K?NT is very interesting, a little different to my own 'over the phone' presentation. I like Seans touches on the anagram, particualarly his justification for thinking of the letters. That is excellent!

Double malt is a great routine, and I am very likely going to play with it. Some parts of it aren't really for me, although I am thinking 'stage piece', with a few alterations to suit my style. I love scam plots, and this is a good one. Again, another great routine.

Avalon is brilliant, I am using it straight away in place of KK. The reason for the 'off by one' thing is a new premise, and it fist perfectly. It is absolutely brilliant! This is a truly essential variation of the KK idea, and I love it. I am using this today.

The two essays are also very well written and thought provoking, and hopefully you will agree with Sean's viewpoints, as I did.

For $30 this is amazing. I Told Sean I thought he could easily charge $40-$50 for it, and I am not exaggerating. There is a lot of great material here and I can't recommend it highly enough. And yes, I paid for it, and Sean has not asked me to write this, I am doing this because I think it is a brilliant book.

Great work Sean!
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Thanks so much for the comments, psychicturtle (your super-hero identity is safe with me). I wrote this not knowing if anyone would find any value in it (other than myself). I really appreciate the feedback on each of the routines and ideas. I am glad they have found a "happy home".

I am especially pleased that you see the potential in the "PC Principle". It is a very simple idea, but can really help "sell" your abilites in certain situations. It is real, but it must be used sparingly.

To each of you:
You certainly didn't have to post your thoughts, so I appreciate them all. The reception I have received so far has confirmed that I made the right decision to release some of the ideas that I have used for years.

I certainly owe a "debt of thanks" to Kenton for allowing me to publish some of my presentations based upon his work and Richard Osterlind and Lewis Jones for allowing me to use subtleties of theirs. They are all gentlemen. I hope I can meet them someday.

With Regards,
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This is my review and thoughts regarding Sean Waters’ excellent E-book PONDERINGS. This review is rather long because I want to hopefully answer any questions you might have in the process of reading this. Now understand that you may not agree with all of my comments as each performer has different ideas and goals regarding what they look for out of a trick. But hopefully this review will help you with any questions you might have about PONDERINGS, as well as help you to determine whether this is something you may or may not want to purchase. I think it is worth mentioning that I have had this book for about a month and have been waiting on typing out a review until I had a chance to thoroughly study the material, as well as work out and perform a lot of the effects.

As for my thoughts about this book, I think it is amazing! Anyone who has been around the CAFÉ has most likely come across a post or two from Sean Waters. His posts are always very genuine, positive, and enlightening. So when he told me he has an e-book available, I couldn’t wait to see it! I already liked his ideas from what I have seen on the CAFÉ so I could only imagine what marvelous-ness awaited me in the book. And I think I was most impressed with his writing style. He starts off the book by letting you know how much he cares about his art, as well as his own ideas. He lets you know that he is not publishing a book just for the sake of putting his name out on the market. He makes a point of stating how he has justified the existence of his effects. This is very comforting to me as a magic consumer. Think about it - how many of us have bought something with high hopes only to be disappointed? How many of us have purchased something that is supposed to be the best piece of mentalism we have ever come across, only to realize that the only good part of the piece was the marketing behind the product. I feel like I have been deceived more often by advertising than by the actual “illusion” itself. So when Sean lets the reader know that he cares about what he attaches his name to, it is very refreshing. He cares to let the reader know that this is not just another paperweight. This is not another working that will make you question whether or not the author has even performed magic in their life.

Other things worth mentioning – this work isn’t for the beginning mentalist. Sean assumes you have a basic understanding of different concepts in mentalism. Also, I think only an intermediate/advanced performer will be able to truly appreciate the theory and abstract concepts discussed between the lines of each effect. Anyway, here are my thoughts about each effect:


RED-HANDED is a psychological force of a playing card and in my mind it is brilliant! Why you ask? I feel it succeeds where others have failed. There are several ideas out there for psychological forces and a majority aren’t any good. Most (going out on a limb here I would say roughly 75%) are aimed at forcing the Queen of Hearts (and don’t worry, this force isn’t on that card unless you want it to be). The Queen of Hearts force is fine and dandy, except that most of the presentations I have seen are nothing but re-hashes of the same two-tired ideas with nothing new added to the presentation. To make matters worse, a lot of the explanations and reasonings for the force are very weak (“The force works because… well it just does”).

So what about the other 25% of psychological forces out there? Most psychological forces that stay away from your common cards, like Ace of Spades and Queen of Hearts, are very elaborate and pretty good. And I like the complexity and risk of those forces. When my force has a lot to do with psychology, verbal manipulation, and physical cueing I feel like I am accomplishing the type of feat others could only dream of. The rush I experience when someone is led into thinking and feeling the exact things I want them to cannot be put into words. But along with the great thinking and amazing benefits one can achieve from the small amount of non-common psy forces out there comes a very giant down fall… When you fail, it hurts. It hurts badly! Now don’t get me wrong, I think a little failure every now and again in mentalism is a good thing. In fact, being a little off sometimes can be more powerful than being dead-on. But being dead wrong in an effect that has only one possible outcome can be very difficult. You lose a lot of confidence in yourself and your entertaining abilities immediately. Your performance can be hindered greatly because the failure is constantly in the back of your mind eating at you. And why is this? It’s mainly due to the fact that a good psychological force requires a lot of build-up and performance fortitude. And it is very rough when all of the hard work you put into something falls flat and you get no return on the investment you just made. So what can you do about this? What can you do so you receive the benefit of an amazing reaction to such a risky demonstration, yet not give so much that you aren’t nearly as upset if the effect fails? The answer is simple – have a much quicker force that has less build-up. Sean makes this point very effectively and clearly in the manuscript:

“Those who are concerned about [failure] should be encouraged that my routine doesn’t invest in a very involved presentation. This means a miss won’t ‘sink your battleship’. Due to this, the ‘variance’ can be dismissed much more quickly and painlessly. My routine does not require such an elaborate psychological setting to be effective.”

Honestly, I can’t agree with him more. I love the idea of psychological forces, but there are very few presentations that I like. But Red-Handed is different and I will be adding it to my repertoire. Sean does an excellent job working through the force. Why does it work? How is it effective? How can you increase your chance for success? What do you do if you fail? All of these questions are answered. The thinking behind this is brilliant. He gives credit to others when credit is due. And most importantly, the force works very well. And if it fails, you won’t be nearly as crushed because you didn’t invest nearly as much time and effort into this force as you do with others. But when this hits, the reactions are just as good, if not better, than your most elaborate forces. I was already doing a variation of this based off of ideas from Kenton Knepper and Derren Brown, but I will now be using Sean’s workings (pretty much verbatim) instead. This effect is completely impromptu (however you may want to have the playing card handy for the revelation) and is very workable. I believe he justified the existence of this effect and did an excellent job streamlining all of these ideas and concepts!


Washington DeCeived

I was somewhat intrigued about Washington DeCeived by the way the description read. I wasn’t sure how this would play and didn’t think I would honestly use it. For me, the entire effect of this trick was going to lie on the “amazing remote view” kicker-ending. If the ending of this appeared to be even slightly lack-luster I wouldn’t use this. I have great workings already of memory demonstrations that I use (Card Memory from Bob Cassidy’s MENTAL MIRACLES and a variation of AMAZING MEMORY DEMONSTRATION from Richard Osterlind’s MIND MYSTERIES TOO) and I already have great serial number divinations that I use (Paul Brook’s SERIAL KILLER and my own workings of a billet switch for other scenarios). I don’t feel like I need another effect that is so similar to these other demonstrations. But after reading this all the way through, double checking the method, and then doing a test run of this for an audience and receiving a great reaction (without even scripting this out), I can confidently say that I will be using this all the time! So what is so great about this?

I feel that again, you will need some guts to try this out. When I did my test run, I did the memory feat first. I memorized the first letter, 5 numbers, and then the last letter. I missed the last 3 numbers of the bill though. The audience actually thought this was impressive, but I wasn’t done yet! I told them I was having a hard time concentrating because I was getting an impression. I had the spectator focus on part of the bill in another room. I then did some play acting and fumbled around over all of these incoming “impressions” for a little bit and then gave out the word they were thinking of. The reactions were amazing! This worked so incredibly well I couldn’t believe it! It reminded me of the first time I did SERIAL KILLER by Paul Brook from his amazing book ON MEPHISTO’S SHOULDER. You are telling the spectator something about their bill. A bill you have never seen or touched. Like most of the effects in this book, I immediately started thinking about how I would use this in different settings. I started coming up with ideas on how to do this over the phone, I started thinking of different patter, and now I am deciding where to put this in my close-up act. I can’t stop thinking about how ingenious this is and all of the different ways I can present this. This one really has gotten me to think and I am very satisfied with this effect! So much for first impressions, huh? Anyway, Sean did an excellent job justifying the existence of this effect!

My initial reaction to this: 5/10
After using this though: 9.5/10


The HTP effect is very clever and I am working out how to do this in my performances. There are a lot of different versions of this type of effect and I believe HTP is able to keep up with the rest. The basic premise of the effect is you have three people draw something simple. You give a quick personality reading for the first two people and then hand back the drawing to the original owner (similar to a pseudo-psychometry routine). For the third participant you do something a little different – you ask this person a few questions, then you give a brief reading as you draw something you imagine they might draw based on their personality. Their drawing and your drawing match. The nice thing about this routine is that it is layered with principles from many great routines – pseudo-psychometry, psychic/psychological readings, and drawing duplications. Immediately after reading Sean’s patter and scripting I started thinking about how I would perform this. I started thinking about how I could apply other concepts, like what I have taken away from Kenton Knepper’s SAR system. This effect is another example of how Sean gets you to think about how to make something your own. I’m sure there are some that may not even tweak what is written here. Sean presents this with a psychological flair, which tends to be all the rave these days with Derren Brown’s increasing popularity, so many may use this exactly as it is written. Overall, I think this is very well thought out and I will be trying to add this to my act.

There is only one small thing some people may have a problem with. Sean doesn’t spend a lot of time detailing how to accomplish certain parts of the routine. Don’t get me wrong, he has a lot of attention to detail, especially with how to accomplish the readings and defining symbolism – but this routine is one of the few tricks in the book that expects the reader to have a decent foundation in Mentalism to understand all of the workings. This didn’t bother me at all and I doubt any intermediate-skilled mind reader would have a problem with this, but it is something to keep in mind.


The PC Principle

THE PC PRINCIPLE is an amazing essay that is very thought-provoking. THE PC PRINCIPLE is something that can be used to enhance effects or actually work as the method for effects that you build from the ground up. I love this idea! Kenton Knepper explored somewhat similar ideas in his manuscript THE SECRET. So after reading this, the wheels started turning again…. What if you combine THE SECRET and THE PC PRINCIPLE with an effect like BETWEEN THE LINES by Michael Murray? How much more successful would the ending become? What if you used THE PC PRINCIPLE to enhance certain effects? Would it be worth it? I believe it would be. I am the kind of person that will spend hours tweaking my patter and physical actions to improve the success rate for a trick, even if the improvement is only a slight percentage. And this idea is something I will be using quite often now. I am already thinking about using THE PC PRINCIPLE, THE SECRET, and different presuppositions and complex generalizations to make my own effects using only psychology. Honestly, a whole book could have been devoted to this topic alone. And I agree with others – if you use the ideas in this essay it is definitely worth the price of the e-book!



This is the reason I bought the book. Let me start off by giving my impression of KENT by John Mahood and Kenton Knepper. I thought KENT was an amazing trick when I first read the booklet. I was just starting to get into more serious mentalism and this was some of my first exposure to an effect that relied heavily on linguistic deception and Neuro-Linguistic Programming ideas. So I was excited! I thought the method behind this was incredible and I spent a lot of time working out my own patter for this. So after a lot of time, I waited for the right moment to present itself. And I remember someone posed a challenge to me, almost exactly as it was written in the book! So I had the spectator thoroughly shuffle the cards, then I had them spread the cards all over a nearby table and they pulled out a random card. I named their card without fishing! No multiple guesses, no laundrey list of questions. Everything played out exactly as I have described. But I encountered one small problem… They weren’t impressed. The reaction was, “Oh, that’s kind of cool…” That didn’t make sense to me! So I tried this out one more time. This time I tried out the patter as it is presented in the book without adding any of my own flair to it. This time the reaction was equally as bad! This time the spectator said, “Yeah, that’s the card… Is that it though? What else are you going to do?” So now I was totally puzzled! In my opinion, KENT reads as a very strong effect that has the potential to be strong enough to be done as an opener or a closer, BUT the reactions I was getting contradicted that! KENT was starting to look like a piece that was good in theory… Something that impresses magicians but not lay audiences. So I stopped performing it, as I found forcing a card and revealing it to be much more impressive….

(k?nt) on the other hand claims to pick up where KENT left off. Sean said he was able to work the trick into being completely psychological in approach (using no cards whatsoever). That sounded very interesting to me. I wondered if it was possible to do this. Could this be delivered in a way where spectators can follow your instructions without getting confused, where they could mentally choose a card (free selection) and you name it? I don’t think you can get any more real than that. So I bought PONDERINGS just for this! And let me tell you, this is worth the price of the book!!! Everything about this effect is brilliant! The way this is framed, the instructions that you give and the delivery you take in naming the card have all been thoroughly thought out by Sean. He even added in different subtleties from Banachek and Richard Osterlind! But, is this just another example of an effect that reads well and plays poorly? I have gotten so tired of mediocre reactions that I would refuse to put up with that again… So I started by adding some stuff to the presentation, not that anything needs to be added but just to make this congruent with my character. Then I looked for the opportunity to try this out. The first person I did this for was actually the first spectator I performed KENT for. I didn’t even wait for the circumstance to arise; I just walked right up to him and started out with my presentation. I built everything up, used every subtlety mentioned in PONDERINGS, then I revealed the card…. All I can say is WOW! It actually played better than anything I have done for a while! I was so impressed that I started doing it for everyone I came across. On Halloween I performed this over 15 times in about a 3 hour period. I didn’t get everyone’s card correct. Some people went for something completely odd…. But I was still able to eventually guess what they were going for.

I recently did a smaller show for about 30 people. Before I went on, I decided to do some pre-show effects, rather than pre-show work. The only effect that I did was (k?nt). I remember the first person that I did it for that night too!!! Their response was, “My God!!! How did you know I would pick that card? That is amazing!!!” I don’t even get this type of response from psychological forces! So I have decided to use this all of the time. If someone asks me to do this for a second-time, I will follow-up with Sean’s RED-HANDED so as not to do the same effect twice. Now you might be wondering, Is this completely 100%? No, sometimes your spectator may try to be cute, or just wasn’t listening to what you were saying, and they will not follow your instructions. But this rarely happens. And if they pull a fast one on you with a little thinking you can still manage to name their card. This effect is top notch! Sean once again stream-lined an effect and then added subtleties and ideas from Kenton Knepper, John Mahood, Banachek, and Richard Osterlind. This is absolutely justified!!!!

One more note – you will need to purchase KENT to understand exactly how this works. But the purchase will definitely be worth it when you get your first reactions.

Easily 10/10! Great effect!

Double Malt

DOUBLE MALT is a magic effect with a con-theme. This is the type of effect that I could see Penn & Teller performing on Bull S***, and I wouldn’t be surprised if someone were to perform this, or a version of it, on TV. I really like the workings of the trick, as well as the idea of having this happen in the spectator’s hands. I am not the kind of person that has a problem mixing some magic with mentalism (I read an excellent essay by Luke Jermay that kind of put things into perspective for me). The effect is really good and requires a simple gimmick or two that you will most likely have lying around somewhere. Sean also gives a few options as well for using different gimmicks. This trick does not require any difficult sleight of hand and will take a minimal amount of time to master. I really don’t see myself using this though as I try to keep my pockets clear of gimmickry and props. But for a serious magician, this is something that you will probably be doing on a consistent basis.

For me: 7/10 (love the simplicity so you can focus on presentation and the multiple climaxes that happen in the spectator’s hands, but I don’t like to carry magic props)
For the “serious” mentalist who doesn’t believe in magic tricks, or even “mental magic” for that matter: 3/10
For the table-hopping magician that is looking for some fresh ideas on older tricks: easily 10/10

Why Try

WHY TRY is an essay about using more risky approaches over “tried and tested” methods. The idea of course is that the bolder and riskier your approach, the greater your chance for amazing reactions. Many have talked about such principles and theories, including Derren Brown in his amazing book PURE EFFECT. It also mentions the benefits of believing in your performances to increase the believability in your spectators.

8/10 (excellent food for thought, but much more has been mentioned on this elsewhere. I was definitely a nice refresher though)


AVALON is a take on Kenton Knepper’s KOLOSSAL KILLER. KOLOSSAL KILLER by itself is already an excellent routine. Sean has taken the idea and done something really remarkable with it! AVALON has an excellent presentation about your stay at the Avalon hotel while on a vacation in New York. And while staying there you run into a neighbor from back home, who just so happens to be staying right next door. The patter behind this is beautiful and enhances the KOLOSSAL KILLER effect tremendously! I think AVALON is better than the original as well as every version in KILLER KONCEPTIONS. Why? Well, the patter, which is excellent already, happens to be embedded with conversation hypnosis. And if one is well versed on covert hypnosis and NLP, or is a student of WONDER WORDS, they will be able to pick up on the linguistic deception and hidden meanings of the words and gestures. If you have this knowledge you will be able to add more and take this effect even further!

So after reading this, I started pondering everything immediately… How can I personalize this effect to fit my performing persona and make it seem even more impossible? What if I used a picture from HEIRLOOM instead of playing cards? And let’s take this a step further – what if I changed the scripting a little to make this a little more creepy, almost Bizarre in nature? I love the hotel idea of AVALON and immediately started toying with the idea of a haunted room, like in the movie 1408. This is yet another trick from Mr. Waters that will get you thinking. Once I personalize this I will be using this all the time as well.

I really feel this effect is also justified. There is less to carry with you when using AVALON over KOLOSSAL KILLER (hopefully owners of KOLOSSAL KILLER know what I am talking about and will appreciate this as it takes some heat off of them). The patter and scripting is amazing and is well thought-out. Excellent work again!!!

If you don’t own KOLOSSAL KILLER it is definitely worth picking up and will give you more context when performing AVALON


Final thoughts:
I really like the book!!! Now once again, I want to stress that I know that not everyone will appreciate this work as much as I have, but I also know that I am going to be using several of these effects and ideas on a regular basis now. And just so you know that I am not saying these words just to say them, understand that I really am using these ideas in my act. I have 3 close-up sets that I alternate between, especially in restaurant work, so that my audience never sees duplicate effects. Sean’s work will now be appearing in each of my sets. I am very impressed with his book and can’t wait for his next one!
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Hey... here are my thoughts on 'Ponderings' by Sean Waters

Others have gone over everything in a lot of detail, and so I'll refrain from writing another full review, and instead get straight to sharing my thoughts and feelings.

Firstly, it's clear from the start that this is something that Sean Waters cares about and has put a lot of his time and effort into, with a truly sincere and honest feeling being projected from within.

This is not some poor attempt at trying to make a name or to fleece others of there money... these are not half-finished ideas, untested principles, or randomly chucked together junk which has never seen what it's like outside of the mind let alone what an actual spectator/audience looks like...

These are from having a passion for what you do, for wanting to take things a step further, for wanting to perform feats of mentalism in it's purest form... to give our participants and spectators something more... something real...

Thanks Sean for sharing your discoveries...

I am so happy with the direction 'Ponderings' has gone... the material is more based in the realm of pure psychological influence, though it's not strictly just that, the material is more along those lines and has the same kinda feel as that of Derren Brown's feats.

Red Handed is the first piece of the material you'll come across... and what a piece it is.
It's a psychological card force, and one that is about as direct and effective as you can get.
Seriously... it's genius.
There are no long winded stories, no being a dancing contortionist, and it's not for the Queen of Hearts... YIPEE!!!
Of course Q of Hearts can be used if you wish.
There is always the risk of failure with this kinda thing, though I feel this limits the chances of that and increases yours of getting a hit, but if it does fail then you won't be as emotionally affected as the time invested is not as elaborately involved.
I have really put this method to the test, having literally gone out and performed it for as many people as possible over the last couple of days... the results were staggering.
The best psychological card force ive ever come across.

Washington DeCieved is the next piece you'll come across.
Part memory demonstration, part remote viewing... together they make for a fantastic impromptu effect/routine.
Now there is a problem for me in that this does not work with my currency, but I have a bunch of dollars and so have been able to muck about with the workings for myself.
I am seriously going to attempt to adapt this for UK currency as I love the thinking behind this and can see it playing very well.
Impromptu pieces such as this are always nice to have as they can be done basically anywhere, with nothing needed other than a spec and, with this, there bill.
I really can't recommend this effect/routine enough, it's so simple and clever... and down right devious lol.
Now if only I can make it work over here...

A very nice personality reading, drawing duplication routine.
This is a very nicely routined drawing dupe which manages to involve 3 participants in the action.
I really like the routine itself, though will be changing a part to make it fit me, but it's the way the routine comes across that I enjoy.
2 participants have personality readings done based on there drawings, ending in yo being able to know who drew which based on the readings... then you duplicate the third specs drawing by gathering info from the answers they give you to some random questions.
You are expected to know a couple of things, but then if your buying this I'd imagine you already know the required knowledge.
If not... well... Smile
You won't be gaining a revolutionary method of duplicating a drawing, and you won't be gaining any brand new concepts and principles... but what you will be gaining is a well thought out and put together routine that flows well and has more substance than simply replicating a drawing.

ps- Sean shares some helpful info on interpretating what is drawn.

PC Principle... YES... I... LOVE... THIS...
A principle which I feel has amazing potential to truly enchance our effects, even create new ones...
Anything which can give you a real edge is priceless to a performer, and this is one such thing.
I can't go into specifics, but let me just say that those who appreciate and recognise the brilliance of this will be greatly rewarded.
That's all I'm saying on this one... BRILLIANT!!!

K?NT... Sorry but I don't own Kentons effect/rotine this is based on an so khave not been able to learn this.
I will be picking it up though as this sounds really nice.

Double Malt...
I can see a lot of mentalist hating this routine lol, most of them wouldn't be seen with a deck of cards... a single card... let alone whats required in this lol.
I say it's there loss, as though this has more of a magical feel, it is a killer routine which I feel a lot of spectators/participants will enjoy being a part of.
It's presented as a scam... a con... and this pesentation is what turns this into a real joy.
I don't see the reasoning for dismissing magical methods, some could really enchance an effect, and by ruling them out you are limiting yourselves... but then that's just my opinion.
A fun routine.

We take a rest from principles, methods, routines etc next, as we come to an essay called 'Why Try'.
And it's exactly that... why try these riskier methods and take the risk.
I found this to be a very enjoyable read and agree a lot with Sean Waters views.
I won't say anymore, but I think many will find this section informative and interesting.
I did.

Avalon... a truly stunning routine.
I am using this 100% without doubt, it's simply brilliant.
Im not really sure what to say on this that hasn't already been said... basically this one routine is reason enough to pick up 'Ponderings'.
For more info on the actual routine you can read the review by 'jaded' as he has gone more indepth on this piece.

The writing throughout is very well done, and the layout is nice and clean.
The effects are all very well explained, with all the subtleties and nuances included... aswell as there history and other extra pieces of info.

Sean Waters has put together a really great package that I would recommend to all who are interested in this style of effect/routine/performance without hesitation.
It's full of actual usable effects and principles... there is no filler at all, everything has the same level of thought and quality put into them.

I am now eagerly awaiting whatever else Sean puts out as from 'Ponderings' I can see that he has some amazing ideas and is very knowledgable... can't wait.

Well done on this project, I hope it does well... it deserves to.
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Again, I truly appreciate your kind responses.

I am honestly proud to offer these "mental" ideas. Many of them are real forms of suggestion and influence (and all of them feel real). That's why I enjoy these routines so much.

The truth is, once you read through these a few times, really everyone can have great results with these. As Gabe and others mentioned, you can almost immediately start to have results with very powerful "suggestion" forces and techniques. In fact, I am almost ashamed at how easy and simple they are to use. I am so glad to hear that so many of you are having the quick results that you are....great!

Regarding "Avalon": I am really excited that you all like this presentation. I have used this for a number of years now and it really is (partially) based upon real events, see here:

I am glad you all have found value in this "script and routine". I really enjoy it. I think it adds a nice "hook" for the routine. Although, I think the most clever methodology is definately Greg Arce's "Scorch", which is absolutely brilliant.

I feel that (as a writer) I may have failed to communicate my purpose for the "Why Try?" essay. It is not so much that we should replace other methodology with "pure" methods, but rather a reason to try them at all (even in intimate peformances). Yes, these methods can be more powerful, but what I was trying to convey was not the impact they have on others, but rather the changes that occur in us. I hope that makes sense.

The comment I am most proud of is Y2John's "honest" comment. That means a lot to me. Any person who has "artistic" ideas would certainly like creative validation. This is true of me as well. However, I truly get the greatest joy by hearing performers like yourselves amazing people with these methods. I obsessively check my messages to hear stories like those from each of you. I love to hear that some of these ideas are breathing "new life" in some performances for you. I could not be more pleased. To each of you that has shared your experiences, I thank you.

With regards,

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This is a great e-book bottom line. Sean put soooo much thought and work into these routines!
Absolutely wonderful "worker" material here.

Thank you Sean!

2015 ECSS Alumnus


Gerry Hennessey
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Excellent. If you are serious about mentalism, get it !

"Every discipline effects every other discipline. You can't straighten out the corporation if your closet is a mess" Jim Rohn
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Profile of Waters
Thanks Rick and Gerry! I am glad you are pleased.

I realized I have neglected to mention the following information:

1. The book is not an automatic download, it is a PDF file that I will email as soon as I check messages (I try to keep this within a few hours, I guarantee within 24 hours). Thanks for understanding.

2. Some purchasers have had a problem with the "payment link". Apparently the payment "button" works best with the "internet explorer" browser. If you have any problems, you can simply paypal to:

A comment on "The PC Principle" (that wasn't included in the book):
Please consider this idea. If you have 3, 50/50 choices that you have to "guess". The odds are 50% on each of the items, correct? Yes

If just one of the those "guesses" could be influenced in your favor, you are now in a MUCH BETTER position. 1/3 is not so impressive, 2/3 starts to appear more than just coincidence (while you are trying to get in sync with their mind).

I devised this principle to affect one of the those 50/50 choices, so now you are really just dealing with 2, 50/50 "Choices". Thus, statistics bear in your favor that you will get 2/3 (or better) every time. Although this is simple in method, it can yield a very impressive result. I hope that helps "apply" the method I described.

Thanks, one and all.

Alexander Marsh
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Just thought I would add my name to the list of happy customers.

After reading Sean's work it has re-ignited my interest in using Kenton's Kollosal Killer and especially K.E.N.T. This combined with the techniques of Sean's Red Handed (a brilliant, simple and direct Mental Force of almost any card) you could even name the colour and suit of the card that the participant is just thinking of.

Washington DeCeived is a great effect that does require some mental work on your part during performance but is worth it. I am currently researching and working on a version for UK currency, as a part of this effect requires the use of something "intrinsic" to U.S. currency.

But don't let the above put off you UK buyers, everything else in the PDF is great. HTP is wonderful, I have always performed a Sneak Thief style routine without ever really giving much of a 'reading', I would simply do a lie detection style presentation but the info given by Sean has again spurred me on to include the readings element without fear.

I would also like to add that the PC Principle is a fiendishly clever method of forcing a participant in to making a choice that you want them too. Before detailing the principle itself, Sean explains his philosophy of using psychological/suggestive forces as an opener in to a routine, and I couldn't agree more.

All in all, this is one of my purchases this year!
Alexander Marsh
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Just to make it clear, I meant to say "...this is one of my BEST purchases this year!"
John C
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Just bought it.

The ULTIMATE Routine Series: rebirth soon!
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Interesting tidbit for anyone wanting to buy this - if you use Mozilla Firefox as your browser, there's a problem with the "Buy Now" button. Use Internet Explorer if you want to purchase (I hate IE, but there's some times you just have to sacrifice for our art ;-)


What's the difference between a magician and a deck of cards? A deck of cards has FOUR suits...
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