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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Mentally Speaking » » My Favorite ESP Card Routine--What's Yours? (5 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Deckstacker
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Is there a smoother, better thought-out method than Jan Forster's 'ESPissimo'? I haven't found one yet, and that's why I perform my version of it frequently, sometimes substituting the 'Hyper Picture Cards' (sold on eBay) for younger kids, rather than the Rhine/Zener symbols familiar to most adults.

A word about my favorite 'bulletproof' ESP cards: The only markings which my sharp-eyed 'lovely assistant' (my wife of 20+ years) has ever been unable to suss out when directly challenged to do so are those on the 'Hyper ESP Cards' by Tenyo Magic, which I find perfect for the table distances in Jan's routine. Runners-up are the 'Anglo ESP Deck' sold by Penguin (for ease of use) and the plain-backed cards by Card-Shark included in 'Beyond ESP 3 2.0' (for subtlety of markings.)

So-o-o . . . to re-phrase the original question: Have you developed a presentation + set of ESP cards that works well for you? If so, please share here or via PM--thanks!
dpe666
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Http://www.penguinmagic.com/p/S26473

I am not sure why it says that the trick is by Jorge Mena. The trick is by David Devlin. But either way here is a link.
Ray Haining
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ddyment
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Jan's routine is fine, but it is much too equivocal for my taste; I want to be able to repeat the effect and have it look exactly the same, which is not guaranteed using his approach (trade show performers have many repeat visitors, and equivocal effects are not very practical). It also requires marked cards, which are not really necessary for an effect like this, and I prefer to avoid using special cards (so it can be fully impromptu, using whatever cards are available, though of course I much prefer to do it with Zener symbols).

My own sequence, which I have used for thirteen years without finding any reason to replace it, is to begin with "Perfect ESP" (by Marc Spelmann and Peter Nardi, from their two-DVD set, Unexpected. This effect allows the entertainer to duplicate a participant's random ordering of Zener symbol cards in a very clean, no-fiddling fashion.

I follow this with my own "Bob's Your Uncle" (from my Mindsights book), which reverses the premise, allowing the participant to duplicates the order of the entertainer's cards. I generally do this twice, once with the participant being allowed to look at her cards, and again with her not doing so.

All of this provides a nice three-stage presentation, with each stage being clearly more "impossible" than the previous. And there are no marked (or otherwise prepared) or extra cards.
Doug Dyment's Deceptionary :: Elegant, Literate, Contemporary Mentalism ... and More
Deckstacker
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First off, thanks to all who have responded thus far! Also, let me state 'unequivocally' (and with a nod to Doug D.) that I deplore the occasional posting here on the Café that is couched in terms of a request for advice and then quickly turns into a springboard for the poster to disparage the proffered suggestions of others while defending his own methods as being superior. Having said that, here are my reactions to the replies thus far.

dpe666: I do not own David's ESP Trick, but the online Penguin demo video of it clearly shows the 'Anglo' cards (markers) being used, which sort of gives away the rest of the method, at least to other magicians, no? The effect does produce a 'wow moment' as decribed in the ad copy, but I think it must get points off for a presumed lack of repeatability. (Points back on for examinability, though, especially if you are adept at doing a deck switch. Owners of the Anglo ESP Deck will understand what I mean.)

Ray Haining: ESPecially Wild gets major 'wow' points for sure, but I tend to steer away from gaffs other than subtle back markings due to lack of both examinability and repeatability, as I dislike apologizing for either--just my my personal preference.

ddyment: I don't own either the Unexpected DVD set or your Mindsights book yet, but I'll certainly make plans to acquire both very soon. Seriously--I really will. Meanwhile, thanks very much for your generous help; it is sincerely appreciated.
Armando Cheung
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ESPionage by Card-shark is my favourite Esp card routine. I keep it in my wallet and do when someone asks me to show something.
Paul Richards have a really awesome Esp card routine using business cards.Very very good! It is taught at his lecture only I think.
My friend also suggest a version taught on the book of Colin Mcleod.
ddyment
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Armando Cheung wrote:
Quote:
ESPionage by Card-shark is my favourite Esp card routine. I keep it in my wallet and do when someone asks me to show something.
Paul Richards have a really awesome Esp card routine using business cards.Very very good! It is taught at his lecture only I think.
My friend also suggest a version taught on the book of Colin Mcleod.

Posts such as this don't help us very much. It would be much more useful to comment on why a particular method is a favourite. How does it improve upon the one suggested by the OP, for example? Or what particular benefits does it offer over the (dozens of) other card-matching routines?

Charlie Frye's "ESPionage" is very similar to Jan Forster's routine, and has the same limitations: it has (six) different endings, depending on the order of cards chosen, and it requires marked cards. Also, for my audiences at any rate, the handling of the reveals is not particularly deceptive, and I'm pretty sure that an astute audience would figure out at least one or two of them.

I'm unfamiliar with Paul Richards' offering, so can't comment.

Colin's "Make the ESP Cards Match" (which is on his DVD, not in his book) is a "plays big" stage effect, using four participants, and completely different from the other routines discussed here. It uses a simple mathematical principle, and can't be repeated for the same audience (on the same day, anyway). It also employs multiple outs, so you need something that will provide that as well.
Doug Dyment's Deceptionary :: Elegant, Literate, Contemporary Mentalism ... and More
Deckstacker
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Ddyment: I had almost pulled the trigger on a re-post pointing out the essential similarities between the Forster and Frye methods when you beat me to it! I then went on to express my preference for Jan's table layout, since I think having the cards held in the performer's hands may suggest a sleight-of-hand method being used, whereas having the tabled cards moved deliberately one at a time somehow has a more 'above-board,' honest look of an ESP demonstration rather than a card trick. In the same vein, I prefer the Tenyo card backs (dots) that mimic the original Zener cards (stars) to Bicycle Rider or Phoenix backs for suggesting more of a mental experiment rather than a card trick. These may all represent small psychological subtleties, but I'd still rather have them working on my side.

Actually, there is another routine called Rhine's Revenge that closely mimics those mentioned above, mixing up the order of the reveals somewhat but otherwise essentially the same. All three methods utilize marked cards, unlike that of Spellman/Nardi's Perfect ESP (which I did check out and must now see if I can master). So much magic, so little time, eh?
Armando Cheung
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Quote:
On Sep 2, 2019, ddyment wrote:
Armando Cheung wrote:
Quote:
ESPionage by Card-shark is my favourite Esp card routine. I keep it in my wallet and do when someone asks me to show something.
Paul Richards have a really awesome Esp card routine using business cards.Very very good! It is taught at his lecture only I think.
My friend also suggest a version taught on the book of Colin Mcleod.

Posts such as this don't help us very much. It would be much more useful to comment on why a particular method is a favourite. How does it improve upon the one suggested by the OP, for example? Or what particular benefits does it offer over the (dozens of) other card-matching routines?

Charlie Frye's "ESPionage" is very similar to Jan Forster's routine, and has the same limitations: it has (six) different endings, depending on the order of cards chosen, and it requires marked cards. Also, for my audiences at any rate, the handling of the reveals is not particularly deceptive, and I'm pretty sure that an astute audience would figure out at least one or two of them.

I'm unfamiliar with Paul Richards' offering, so can't comment.

Colin's "Make the ESP Cards Match" (which is on his DVD, not in his book) is a "plays big" stage effect, using four participants, and completely different from the other routines discussed here. It uses a simple mathematical principle, and can't be repeated for the same audience (on the same day, anyway). It also employs multiple outs, so you need something that will provide that as well.


Since I haven’t seen Jan version, I can’t comment as well.
But when talking about ESPionage, I don’t think using special card makes a problem.I present it as a exercise of verbal influence.
And always emphases I put card first. I think the question in spectator’s mind is probably think of how I influence them.
I use this because everything is straightforward and the cards can be handled and shuffled.
And there is no reset needed.

And I never get caught since I have used ESPionage
ddyment
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I'm always amused when performers claim that they have "never been caught". How would they know? The great majority of people are far too polite to disturb a presentation with claims of "Gotcha!", especially with mentalism, where they may not have worked out the exact method, but know that something's wrong.

I have eavesdropped on the post-performance chatter of the audiences of several quite well-known mentalists, and heard people work out EXACTLY how something was done. And yet I suspect that many of those entertainers believe that they've "never been caught".
Doug Dyment's Deceptionary :: Elegant, Literate, Contemporary Mentalism ... and More
Stunninger
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Quote:
On Sep 3, 2019, ddyment wrote:
I have eavesdropped on the post-performance chatter of the audiences of several quite well-known mentalists, and heard people work out EXACTLY how something was done. And yet I suspect that many of those entertainers believe that they've "never been caught".


+ 1
Oscar999
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On topic: My favorite ESP card routine boils down to a showdown between Osterlind's Open ESP prediction ... and Ben Blau's ESP routine in Asymptotes.

Slightly off-topic: On the subject of overhearing people at a magic show suss out how a trick was accomplished... I overheard some post show chatter at a magic show a little more than a year ago. The magician/mentalist (whom I won't name) did an excellent job and performed many stunning sequences with cards, antique pictures, aged props and old books. But, what EVERYBODY was talking about was a simple routine involving two volunteers and PK Touches.

Nobody was offering any plausible explanations - that one got 'em!

~Oscar
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Oscar999: Is Osterlind's Open ESP Prediction (to which you refer) the same as his Viewed ESP Prediction as described in his book Dynamic Mysteries? If not, could you perhaps point me to a source for it? Thanks in advance.
ddyment
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Another vote here for Osterlind's "Viewed ESP Prediction". It's not my favourite routine with Zener symbols (I've already described that above), but it's one of the few that I definitely use. Enough so, in fact, that my "Zenith Stack" for ESP cards (from my Idiopraxis book) incorporates, as an additional feature, a setup for same.

I am less enamoured of Ben's "ESPilon". It is far too procedural for my tastes (I don't want my participants to be counting cards to see which card lies at a chosen number, for example ... much too magic-trick-like). It is also equivocal in nature, with different outcomes, and you already know my feelings on that topic).

Again, though, it would be most useful if people would not simply suggest their favourite routine, but tell us why they think the nominated routine is the one to beat.
Doug Dyment's Deceptionary :: Elegant, Literate, Contemporary Mentalism ... and More
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Ancient History
If I remember correctly--and I may not--I first ran across J.B. Rhine's book 'New World of the Mind' in the mid-1950's, wherein he described the use of the now-familiar Zener symbol cards in a setup reminiscent of a Turing test, in which a Sender viewed the symbols behind an opaque partition with the Receiver never laying eyes on either the Sender or the symbol cards. Multiple test runs would be performed and the results meticulously tallied to discover whether an individual subject had a gift for discerning the mentally sent symbols at a higher rate than pure chance would be expected to produce. It is hard to imagine such an arrangement's being utilized in an entertaining way by a magician today, although I'd very much like to hear of any attempt to do so.

Why I Like ESPissimo
I probably was attracted to Forster's presentation due to its faint (albeit very faint) resemblance to the simple, one-on-one Rhine setup across a tabletop. Granted, both participants are visible to each other using Jan's method, but his very deliberate, uncomplicated, one-handed handling of the cards appealed to me, and I now carry this even a bit further by employing a one-finger push or lift as much as possible to stress the absence of any sleight of hand. Again, as I and others have observed above, the less it looks like 'something funny' is going on with the handling of the cards, the better.


Footnote About the Cards
Admittedly, marked cards have always held a fascination for me, as my ever-growing collection of them would attest. As far as regular 52-card decks go, I think that the well-known Brooklyn decks would likely be my all-time favorites were it not for one problem: I can't read the backs of either the red or blue version at all! My 'lovely assistant' (my wife) can read them easily however--how frustrating is THAT? I have a suspicion that having trained my eyes for years to shoot at small targets with a .22 match rifle may have made it impossible for me to un-focus my eyes sufficiently to read the Brooklyn markings. (???) However, the Tenyo ESP cards that I have mentioned previously appear to use an essentially similar marking principle and are my faves for use for ESPissimo, as I consider them virtually impossible for me to get 'caught' using. Some may chuckle over my naivete here, but hopefully they'll be too polite to tell me. (wink)

-30-
JanForster
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Quote:
On Sep 6, 2019, Deckstacker wrote:
Why I Like ESPissimo
I probably was attracted to Forster's presentation due to its faint (albeit very faint) resemblance to the simple, one-on-one Rhine setup across a tabletop. Granted, both participants are visible to each other using Jan's method, but his very deliberate, uncomplicated, one-handed handling of the cards appealed to me, and I now carry this even a bit further by employing a one-finger push or lift as much as possible to stress the absence of any sleight of hand. Again, as I and others have observed above, the less it looks like 'something funny' is going on with the handling of the cards, the better.


This is why I came up with my handling and presentation. While I totally understand that it is not everybody´s cup of tea Smile it is definitely my one and my first choice. I know a lot of other and different routines/handling options and some I really like as well. But - also because I personally love all sorts of "jazzing"... still I enjoy my own handling tremendously. And as somebody who does "table hopping" very seldom, if at all (can't stand it...), I don't care about different endings. After all, it is a "test" which therefore can take different routes anyway. In most cases I will run through it anyway more than one time in one performance Smile Jan
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Oscar999
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@Deckstacker: Yes, I had the wrong name. It is the viewed prediction. But I keep the cards face down with a face down "target" in the center (so it's not really open or viewed). First I reveal the target, then progressively reveal the matches.

@ddyment: ESPilon is somewhat procedural, but is far less so, than say, Unfazed. And the routine plays well for me. I like the "picture" of showing the prediction with the card - and then showing the matching card at the conclusion. Going back to Unfazed for a sec, I've discovered a good use for the first phase of that routine that I use after Michael Weber's Single Hand Poker routine. At the conclusion of the poker routine you are left with ten cards - half cards actually, because the five that make up the initial hand have been torn in half (or in my case, biz cards with cards written on the ends, 6c ... that sort of thing). I say, "But was that magic? No, it was Poker, this is magic ..." And I do the first phase of Unfazed with a chosen card from the ten half-cards.

~Oscar
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I can't believe no one is mentioning Michael Murray's Beyond ESP 3 or any of the routines he describes.
The marking system is quite clever.

My two favorites have to be

1. You do as I do with Spectator as Mindreader (you and spectator pick Zener cards. you predict theirs and they predict yours)
2. Pendulum reveal (using a force to know in advance, the mentalist incorporates a pendulum in spectator's hand to reveal the choice)
3. Banachek's routine with three pockets (spectator mixes the cards, takes three and puts each one in a different pocket. mentalist, of course, tells which is which)

Peter Turner also has some great work on the subject...

Best,
-a
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