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Intimate Mysteries Review

August 12th, 2014 1:17pm
Reviewed by Doc Johnson

RATING: 5 of 5 stars


Chris has an amazing magic mind. As a screenwriter, he is very good at understanding how to draw people into a plot and what motivates emotions in audience members. Magic is really about entertaining and eliciting emotions. I highly recommend this book. In the bonus section, I am going to focus on one routine in the book. This is possibly the best impromptu card magic effect you can do. Steve Valentine said that this is the only time he has performed a magic trick and the participant broke down and gave him a hug at the end.


The book has many effects and routines, suitable for walk-around, close up, parlor, and stage.


One routine that just stands out is “All Tied Up”. In this routine, the participant is asked to play along in a game of visualization. They visualize themselves in a strange setting and they answer three questions about that setting. Their answers to those three questions lays the groundwork for a mini “reading” regarding something in their lives that has held them back. The three answers also lead to a card revelation and the magician explains that the card represents the thing that is holding them back. The card is torn up by the participant as a cathartic experience.

Here is my twist on the plot: As I observed one presentation of the routine (Chris and Steve have a video of presentations and discussion of the effect), one of the participants tore up the card and then I observed she collected the pieces. All the participants were deeply moved by the experience, but she seemed to want to hold on to something from the performance. As I performed the effect I got similar reactions, and in talking to the participants about the experience, I learned they were motivated to do something about overcoming their obstacle and wanted to keep the torn up card as a reminder to accomplish their goal.

So, the twist is this: Instead of having the card represent the thing that is holding them back, the card could be used to represent the goal they are to reach to get them beyond what is holding them back. Every obstacle is overcome by working toward a goal. For example, if weight is the obstacle, then getting healthy and fit is a goal. If a bad relationship is the obstacle, then getting out and associating with better people could be the goal. As I explain to them that this card represents their goal to overcome their obstacle, I write the current date on top. I then write a short note, such as “You can do it.”, and I sign the card. I do this in a small space on top of the face of the card, leaving plenty of room for them to write on the card. I invite them to take the card home and to write a very short positive note related to the accomplishment of their goal on the card and keep it with them as a daily reminder to take small steps toward it’s accomplishment. Once their goal is accomplished, they can place the card in a memory box, tear it up, or do whatever they wish.

You could also give them your business card and tell them that you are available to do private shows for anyone they know who might also enjoy this routine. Another alternative would be to write your email address, phone number, or website address on the back of the playing card. I would suggest just writing one piece of contact information. Don’t make a big deal about this part. Make this a side note and return the focus on them and their goal. One more note: As you will learn from the book, don’t get into the specifics of their obstacle or goal unless they do. You want to make sure they are comfortable with the experience.

When magic actually changes a person, then it is magic at its most powerful.

Happy magic trails to you.

Product info for Intimate Mysteries

Author: Philpott, Chris
Publisher: Chris Philpott
Average Rating:  (1)
Retail Price: $60.00
Buy Now
Manufacturer's Description:

"Fascinating!" -John Bannon

21 killer effects exploring three new techniques by award-winning writer, director and magician Chris Philpott. Intimate Mysteries explores magic done not just in the spectator's hands and minds, but with their lives. These effects are fun, fascinating and often moving to experience while being entertaining and dramatic to witness - some have nearly as many plot twists and revealed secrets as a Dan Brown novel!

Includes routines based on these principles by John Bannon, Steve Valentine, Raj Madhok and others.


The Roller Coaster

You guide the spectator through a visualization that uncovers aspects of their personality - but then the twist: they've also been unknowingly choosing a card the whole time - and you have correctly predicted every choice they made!

"My fave routine is The Roller Coaster. First of all it's a great way to get into a card trick, without stating it's a card trick. The routine is so brilliantly structured as to at first, intrigue, psychologically unsettle and then blow away your audience. An extra bonus is that it will hopefully create a welcome respite from bloody invisible deck routines. Worth the price of the book."
- Steve Valentine, Two-time Magic Castle Close-Up Magician of the Year

The Open Door

A simple story leads to a profound revelation about your spectator.

"I would love to include The Open Door in Scripting Magic 2. What a great example of the power of scripting. The kind of experience that it creates is tremendously powerful."
- Pete McCabe

FAAA (Force Anything, Anytime, Anywhere)

An incredibly powerful new technique with virtually unlimited possibilities! One spectator secretly thinks of anything and another spectator reveals what it is! No pre-show, no confederates, no instant-stooges - can be done impromptu for just two people and they will both be amazed.

"This is where magic stops being just tricks and starts freaking people out!"
-Den Shewman, Former Editor-in-Chief, Creative Screenwriting Magazine

Cold Equivoque

The way a spectator chooses a card becomes an incredibly revealing experience - and you predict not only the card, but the spectator's personality traits!

"It's excellent! Thanks for sharing such a well thought out, practical routine."
-Richard Webster

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