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Psypher Review

Official Review

July 23rd, 2012 10:15pm
Reviewed by James Sanden
“Psypher” by Robert Smith is a covert way for the magician to obtain information a spectator writes down. While a number of different methods and devices have been invented to accomplish this goal, Psypher has much to commend it, starting with a counterintuitive method that eliminates obvious solutions (ie, that ink leaked through the paper or that pressure provides the performer with a carbon copy.) The gimmick is also flexible and can be hidden in a variety of different locations, including a card box, small notepad or business card wallet (the latter included with the DVD), so the performer can adapt it to his or her own specific needs.

Several routines are included on the DVD, some better than others. While it’s possible to simply use the device to divine a card the spectator is thinking of, that’s hardly the best use of this gimmick, and requires serious performance chops to make it an effective performance piece (and I don’t care if people freak out when you do it. “Freaking” the audience out does not a magician make.) The routines using names and those with multiple phases were much more effective than a simple card divination. At the same time, the style of the DVD and performances are very “street magic” and so, if you simply want to ape David Blaine and tell people what card they are thinking while acting vaguely mysterious, you can certainly do that.

At the same time, Mr. Smith does include some interesting techniques that help make the performances more dynamic, interesting, theatrical and entertaining. He shares ideas from Banachek and Kenton Knepper, among others, that begin to produce the visible experience of mind reading. These techniques are particularly applicable to the two routines that involve divining the name of a person the spectator is thinking of, and are of use in many effects, not all needing a gimmick of this type.

Unfortunately, the teaching on the video is sub-par at best, much like many “street magic” style productions. As a reviewer I’m frequently annoyed by the lack of preparation, rehearsal and thought that go into DVD instruction, but after having just watched Shawn Farquhar’s excellent teaching on his DVD “Matrix Express” I find myself particularly irritated by Mr. Smith’s instruction. It’s obvious there was little if any preparation, thought or rehearsal put into the production. The impression I had was that he gave no thought whatsoever as to how best explain his creation. He just grabbed the props and started talking. This is insulting to the purchaser. I know my reviews have little chance of changing an overall trend, but I believe it’s part of my job to draw attention to such things.

For strolling performers it’s important to note that this method does not instantly reset. While it doesn’t require a trip to your case to refill, it’s a bit difficult to reset in full view of the audience. Mr. Smith offers a couple of methods (one that has the performer rubbing the device on his or her belt buckle, which is hardly a practical, let alone appropriate, solution), but nothing he suggests is “invisible” or instant.

At the end of the day, the bottom line is that the purchaser isn’t buying routines with Psypher. What one gets is an effective, flexible, and counterintuitive way to invisibly (when done well) obtain information a spectator writes down. (As a side note, the included marker has to be adjusted before use. I “over” adjusted mine, which had a dramatic effect on my ability to read the spectator’s information. So be warned, take care when you initially adjust yours.) My wish is that the buyer recognize the device as being just one component of a performance and understand that as much thought needs to go into planning the performance as in rehearsing with the prop. The style and approach of the video is marketed toward the young, “street magic” demographic, so I’m not sure how much interest the target audience has in this process, but I remain hopeful. In any case, if you’re looking for a flexible, deceptive and effective way to get information, Psypher is an excellent choice.

Available at your favorite Murphy’s Magic dealer

Product info for Psypher

Author: Smith, Robert
Publisher: Paper Crane Productions
Average Rating:  (1)
Retail Price: $40.00
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Manufacturer's Description:

Robert Smith and Paper Crane Magic proudly present Psypher. Psypher is the highly acclaimed product, Universal Impression, but bigger, better and stronger. Imagine knowing what anyone is thinking at anytime. ANY word, picture, card, or thought is written by a spectator and you know what it is, without ever coming near them!

Here's what you get:

More material
More options, a larger gimmick for you to work with. (Twice as much as the original UI)

Stronger gimmick
Custom made to work 20% better than the original.

A business card wallet
Most peek wallets cost twice the amount of this entire package alone. You're getting one free... and guess what? This blows any peek wallet out of the water! Why? Because you never touch the business card after they write on it.

New Routines
Psypher is extremely easy to use but throw in some basic card technique and routining from B. Smith and your levels of deception and impact just went up a few notches. Of course if you want to sit back and let the gimmick do all the work go right ahead, that's what it's here for! Here are some of the routines taught on the DVD:

E-Z - This effect is one of the most pure mentalism effects conceivable with a deck of cards. Your spectator is asked to think of ANY card in the deck, write it down on a piece of paper, and put that piece of paper in their pocket. All of which is done while your back is turned; you can even be in another room! When you return, you remove the cards from the box and place one face down card on the table. Ask the spectator to name the card they are merely thinking of... the spectator turns the card over and it is the thought of card!! Card magic doesn't get any more powerful!

Time zone - Imagine a spectator thinks of a time, a second spectator removes 3 cards from the deck, when the thought of time is named the second spectator reveals her cards... you guessed it, the value of the cards match the thought of time!

Name and Card Routine - This is B. Smiths killer card routine with multiple, impossible climaxes! Imagine not only being able to know the card someone is thinking of, but also know when they THINK 'stop' while dealing through the deck. Not only do you tell them when they thought stop, you now tell them what card they are thinking of. Not only do you tell them what card they are thinking of, you have them turn over the card they mentally stopped at and it is the thought of card! Not only do you do all that, you now have them think of a person that is important in their life and without any words you reveal the name of that person! This exciting and powerful 4-5 minute routine lacks no down time and is worth way more than the price of this kit. In fact, this is what B. Smith would close his shows with all over the world. (When he's not crying tears of blood)

Business Card Wallet - You can do anything you want with this, all while handing out your business cards! This is invaluable for the working magician. Imagine impressing a potential client by having them think of anything (name, word, picture, ANYTHING!) and having them write it on your business card and put it in their pocket all while you are turned away. Now imagine the astonishment when you reveal that thought! You've just given them a story to tell for the rest of their lives, along with proof for them to keep and show others, which happens to be YOUR business card with YOUR contact information on it. Psypher pays for itself!

Plus - Three additional routines, psychology, performance tips, peeks and more!!

Let's face it, this isn't just a DVD or just a Gimmick, this is an entire MENTALISM KIT with endless possibilities. Why pay close to $100 for one peek wallet that's less impressive when you can have a business card wallet, gimmicked card box, or an impression pad, along with a DVD full of ideas and routines all of this for only $40!!

Running Time Approximately: 93min

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