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Paranormal Review

Official Review

December 14th, 2002 6:50pm
Reviewed by Brad Henderson
Few things in magic are worth a hundred bucks. But let us be open minded and consider this offering from Ted Lesley.

For $100 you get the equipment and method to make a piece of paper move. Well, not a vanishing Lear jet; but sometimes, less is more.

However, in this case, it isn't.

First let me say that I have presented (successfully I have been told) bizarre magic and mental demonstrations for well over 10 years. I think bizarre magic is a viable genre for the working and amateur performer, and I am fully aware that with the right presentation/character/atmosphere the simplest of phenomena can become profound experiences.

I do not think, however, that a twirly piece of paper will become one of those moments. (Particularly given the movement requirements detailed below.)

Now, before anyone gets upset, let's answer a hypothetical question: Could someone with a killer presentation, a dynamic and commanding presence, and a flawless understanding of audience control turn this into a miracle? Maybe.

Do you get any of the above for your hundred bucks? Definitely not.

Yes, you receive the necessary materials (though I would have preferred a much more secure strap for the gimmick) and sufficient instructions as to how to accomplish the effect. Are these raw materials worth $100? Well, I don't know the going rate on one of the items, but as a purchaser I wouldn't think so. I know that I definitely did not receive $100 in value in the routining or handling. Being told to "mime concentration" is hardly a substitute for a substantial presentation.

Also, even though the method is clever, it is the exact kind of method an audience will suggest to themselves. Now, bright people may be paying close enough attention, or have enough experience with certain principles of physics, to realize that this method should not be the correct one. The sad truth is its subtlety will be lost on many. Further, the requirement to constantly move the performer's hands around lessens the impact of the magic. Clearly there is a connection between the performer's motions and the motion of the paper (or else the performer wouldn't be gyrating so much). All the audience must do is decide what that connection is. The ideal effect, and one perhaps worth $100 would have the performer motionless or even well away from the prop. Of course, we could change it from a twirly piece of paper into some type of meaningful object, and have it animate (not necessarily in a circular motion) with the aid of a thread. But then again why do that when we can spend 100 smackers instead?

Ted Lesley is a great thinker. His book, Paramiracles, is a treasure. Three of his ideas have made their way in one form or another into feature elements of my show. I have total respect for him as a creator.

Having said that, Paranormal is a bargain at $30-45, but a let down at $100.

Product info for Paranormal

Author: Lesley, Ted
Average Rating:  (2)
Retail Price: $100.00
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Manufacturer's Description:

A true miracle of ultimate PSI Power - telekinesis that will leave your audience spellbound.

The magician pushes a wooden toothpick into the middle of a matchbox. He then folds a small piece of paper into a pyramid shape and places it on the tip of the toothpick so that it can rotate freely. After covering everything with a glass, he begins to make magical gestures around the glass, never actually coming in contact with it. Suddenly, the paper starts to rotate, very slowly at first, and then picking up momentum. On his command, the revolving stops and the paper rotates in the opposite direction. Everything can be examined both before and after the effect. The paper can even be marked with an arrow and used to divine a selected item from objects placed around the glass. Or, perform it with your business card. Perform it anytime, anywhere - and completely surrounded. Comes complete with all the necessary props - you supply the glass.

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