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Psi-Con Ruse Review

Official Review

December 14th, 2002 6:50pm
Rating:
Reviewed by Brad Henderson
In the interest of full disclosure, let me say that Max Maven is a friend. I do that so others do not accuse me of being in "cahoots", or in Max's case perhaps more appropriately, in "league with" the effect's creator. I nevertheless give you my word to be as objective as I can in all reviews I write as an official reviewer for My Lovely Assistant.

Psi Con Ruse is Max's minimalist handling of a popular Dr. Jaks' premise. While this concept has received many different treatments over the years, Max removes all foreign looking props and presents a handling so economical in motion that to see it performed, even when one is familiar with the original, one could easily be side swiped by a principle they already know.

And that really is what sets this effect apart, the handling. Max explains every move required to present a streamlined, intelligent piece of mind reading without any awkward stumbling or juggling of the props.

Max's instructions are terse but clear. The illustrations are fine, but I do encourage those not having seen this demonstrated by Max to take pains in studying the removal and reinsertion sequence. This needs to be extremely clean, and can be.

The only point of confusion may come in reference to which corner to pinch the selected card. The instructions have you position the selected card so that it is "forward" but the illustration seems to have the card positioned more "to the left." If indeed the card is pointing out to the left, then it is the "outer" corner which is pinched and the instructions and subsequent illustration are fine.

If however you position the selected card so that it is "forward," as in pointing away from the performer and out toward the audience, the card must be removed by the outer RIGHT corner. If you do this, the illustrations and text match perfectly and you will not have to "juggle" the card into proper position for the reinsertion sequence.

The instructions simply refer to the outer corner, and though the illustrations show the proper grip, when the card is in the "forward - toward audience" position it is very natural to want to remove the card by the outer LEFT corner.

Personally, I remove the card by pinching the left long side. I then rotate the wrist slightly clockwise to reinsert the card. Whatever your choice, avoid regripping the card or spinning it around with your fingers.

The cards are real Bicycle cards, have that distinctive feel and heft, and the gaffs are perfectly printed. Please note you will have to supply your own book, though any hard back text will suffice. Max has even gone through the trouble of crafting for you a well written prediction that tells your helper much more than just which card they would come to select.

All in all, this is probably the most performable handling of this principle/effect that I have seen. It packs terribly small and, with the right charisma, can play tremendously big. It is thought out to the Nth degree and presented in a tidy package ready for your personal use.

Do I get my 50 bucks now, Max?

Product info for Psi-Con Ruse

Author: Phil Goldstein
Publisher: Murphy's Magic Supplies
Average Rating:  (1)
Retail Price: $13.50
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Manufacturer's Description:

A spectator is asked to freely shuffle a deck of cards. The mentalist displays a book on divination, explaining that he has been studying Cartomancy-the ancient system of telling fortunes with playing cards.
An envelope is then given to the participant to hold and the performer says, "Even though we've never met before, inside this envelope is a Cartomantic reading that I've prepared just for you. Let's see if the system works!"

The top five cards of the shuffled pack are taken and displayed by being inserted into the edge of the book. The spectator is told to choose any of the five cards. The selected card is, for example, the four of clubs. The four unchosen cards are shown to be all different. When the fortune message is removed from the envelope, it reads:

"You have a compassionate nature and strong leadership potential. Your sense of humor is admired by others. Your lucky card is the four of clubs!"

Includes detailed, 8-page booklet written by Phil Goldstein and fully-illustrated by Tony Dunn and the five specially-printed cards on Bicycle stock that make this effect possible.


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