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Hole In The Head Review

Official Review

April 29th, 2007 6:49pm
Reviewed by Gordon Meyer
Hole in the Head was one of the most controversial tricks of 2006. Its ubiquitous advertising campaign, accompanied by glowing endorsements from the elite, set expectations very high. So high, in my opinion, that anything short of a method that actually created a hole in the head was going to be a disappointment.

And that’s what happened. Many people who purchased this trick felt ripped-off, and the online magic forums buzzed with the call for Ben Harris’ head; on a platter. I received Hole in the Head from a friend who bought it, and gave it away, not wanting it to sully his studio ever again.

Now that the angry mobs have retreated I think its worth re-visitng this trick to see if, perhaps, it is worthwhile after all.

As a product, Hole in the Head has a couple of properties that are somewhat unique. Not only is it slickly packaged and nicely produced, it uses both a DVD and a printed manuscript to teach the trick. These two articles work together and each are used to their advantage. But this means that you have to study both of them, and having read some of the online furor over this trick, I’m convinced that some people only watched the DVD. There are details in the booklet that are critical to the success of the trick, and they are either omitted or glossed-over on the video portion. The secret seems very simple, but if you rush outdoors to immediately try it, you will likely fail.

This trick demands a serious and thoughtful performance, as Harris urges on the video, but it is also extremely temperamental in terms of conditions and equipment. Unfortunately, the advertising copy is deceptive about this point and calls it a “100% practical” and “do anywhere illusion.” These claims are not true, and any ire directed at the product for these reasons is well-deserved.

Another falsehood on the packaging is that the DVD includes a performance demonstration. While you do get to see Harris showing you the results of the correctly set-up trick, it is never performed in front of an audience. This is a terrible oversight and contributes to the feeling that this must be nothing but a pipe dream.

The last straw for many is that Hole in the Head absolutely requires that you innocuously use a certain type of accessory. I can’t reveal what it is, but for many people this won’t present a problem; it is something they already carry with them. But, pay attention to the part of the booklet that discusses certain important characteristics. The accessory you already have might not be suitable. I had to purchase an inexpensive substitute to get the basic effect to work.

The problem here is that if you’re not already a person who normally carries this accessory, you can’t easily get away with performing this trick for friends. It’s as if you suddenly took to carrying a cane; your friends would be suspicious of why you need it and figure out it is related to the trick. (It’s not really a cane that Hole in the Head requires, but that’s an analogy I can use without giving away the secret.)

Finally, note the effect is that you’re “popping a hole” in your shadow. This means that you must have sunlight and it must be at the proper intensity and angle to produce a crisp shadow of the correct size. Here in Chicago, I wouldn’t count on being able to perform this trick for several months out of the year. And since time of day is also a factor, the window is even narrower. So much for the “do anywhere” claim.

In the end, Hole in the Head is not a mass-market item for every magician. Unfortunately it was deceptively marketed as such. However, at its core, the idea is quite interesting and in the right hands, perhaps only the hands of a forceful personality who lives in a sunny climate, it could be a remarkable effect.

Available at your favorite Murphy’s Magic dealer

Product info for Hole In The Head

Author: Ben Harris
Average Rating:  (1)
Retail Price: $20.00
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Manufacturer's Description:

For centuries rumors have blossomed: tales of gurus, shamans, mystics and the secret powers of the mysterious "Third Eye" have fascinated the populous. But, can the myth's reality actually be demonstrated? Now, Ben Harris brings this fantastic mystery to life - creating a unique, freaky and visually-arresting effect - one slick enough for even the most savvy of today's street-wise performers.

HOLE IN THE HEAD has been one of the art's most closely guarded secrets of recent times - it has fooled, amused and delighted some of magic's biggest names. Using no mirrors or reflective devices and no stooges, HOLE IN THE HEAD is a radical and visual NEW PLOT - an exciting piece of street-theatre that simply MUST be experienced live! What's more, it's 100% practical! This is a one person - do anywhere - illusion.

In effect, the performer gathers a crowd around himself in a brightly lit, sunny spot. Discussing the amazing legend, he offers to open his own "Third Eye" allowing the sun to shine right through his head. As this would be too dangerous to observe directly, he suggests that everyone focus attention on his shadow. After some concerted effort, a small blob of light appears in the centre of his shadow head. Amazingly, this blob of light then grows larger at his command. To prove that it is no mere optical illusion and that the light does indeed pass through his head, a spectator is asked to wave her hand behind the performer's cranium. Incredibly, when she does this, the actions are reciprocated in the shadow head - her fingers are clearly visible in the shadow hole! THE CONCLUSION IS INESCAPABLE - THE SUN IS INDEED SHINING STRAIGHT THROUGH A HOLE IN THE PERFORMER'S HEAD! The process is now reversed and the hole slowly closed. YOU CAN PERFORM THIS STUNNER VIRTUALLY ANYWHERE THE SUN SHINES. Complete with bonus handlings and clever ideas by Paul Harris and Michael Weber. YOU CAN EVEN OPEN A SPECTATOR'S OWN "THIRD EYE"!

"Bravo! Mind expanding magic, in every sense of the word!"

"The rumors are true: Ben Harris does have a hole in his head. And it's surrounded by a brain filled with clever ideas, of which this one is delight."
- Max Maven

"Truly a wonderful thing... a totally original breakthrough plot."

"...situational, astonishing and a devilishly clever piece of magic - the best effect I've seen in a long time!"

"Something that's never been done before using a method that's never been used before - very cool!"

"Fooled me... you could probably start a religion with this!"

"Just remarkable, I love it!"

Open your "Third Eye" and let the sun shine through!

Comes complete with 12 page booklet, DVD, and Optional Performance Prop.

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