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Burn Witch Burn Review

Official Review

June 11th, 2004 12:08pm
Reviewed by Bryce Kuhlman
I'm a big fan of Docc Hilford's performances. However, I'm not a fan of all of his products (we all have our opinions, right?).

Burn Witch Burn really has that "Docc" feel to it that I love. Not only that, the effect is pretty interesting. And there's a great challenge in character-building, if you dare to accept it (see below).

The booklet begins with a nice history of the "Bank Note" effect. It's not comprehensive, but then this isn't a history book. The intent is to provide a few reasons why the original "Bank Note" premise doesn't make much sense to modern audiences. If only we applied this logic to more of the effects magicians are still doing!

The description of the effect pretty-much tells it all. I was personally deceived by the "without the sigil to protect it the money starts burning" line. The bill does not spontaneously combust (more on this in a moment). The line really means that the money will burn if you hold the lighter to it.

The effect packs small and plays very big (five people on stage with fire). The method should be easy enough for almost any performer (plus there is an Alternate Handlings section). You can even pick up all of your props at local shops, so no need to pack for those out-of-town gigs.

I would make one suggestion to anyone who buys this: make sure you commit to a presentational strategy and stick with it! The routine provided talks briefly about the magical sigil used, but doesn't go very far with the concept. If you want to use sigils, you're playing in the realm of the Bizarre (or Weerd in Docc's terms). Figure out a way to actually make the bill go up in flames on its own at the end! I think simply introducing the sigil idea in an offhand manner and not really "playing" this angle is theatrically weak.

If you don't want to commit to the Weerd angle, there are a million other options. Draw a smiley face. Stick a Barney sticker on the bill. Use your imagination! Ask yourself, "what would make the most sense for my character?"

Available at your favorite Murphy’s Magic dealer

Product info for Burn Witch Burn

Author: Docc Hilford
Average Rating:  (1)
Retail Price: $14.95
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Manufacturer's Description:

A mysterious twist on a classic effect. A borrowed $100 bill is marked with a sigil of protection. It is put in one of 3 envelopes. The other envelopes hold slips of newspaper.

Three lighters are proven to operate and are randomly selected by 3 spectators. The envelopes are mixed by the spectators and handed, in order, to each spectator.

You claim the sigil will protect the money through the powers of nature. The first spectator ignites his lighter and burns his envelope. The second spectator does the same. The final spectator cannot light his lighter! The remaining envelope is unharmed! When the envelope is opened, it contains the borrowed money. Whew!

Finally, the sigil is erased from the $100 bill, and without the sigil to protect it the money starts burning. You quickly extinguish it and take your bows.

With a very few props, this is big theatre that packs a punch! Add real meaning to your performance:

  • It's direct!
  • It's fun!
  • The sigil protects the money, even when its location in unknown!
  • In this act the spectators NEVER fail; in fact, they succeed!
  • It's fair!
  • It's spectacular!
  • There's a completely free choice of envelopes AND lighters.
  • Three spectators, money, suspense, and FIRE! That's theatrical!
  • It's safe!
  • It's simple!
  • There is no chance of the lighter burning the money or even igniting.

This really "packs small and plays big!" You'll be performing this piece right after reading the instructions.

What people are saying:

"This is a truly wonderful piece. I'm adding it to my show!" - Ted Lesley, International Mentalist

"At last some real meaning to the Banknight effect. None of the spectators fail in this marvelous demonstration." - Kenton Knepper, Author of Wonder Words

"Here is the way to wager your paycheck without fear. Burn, Witch, Burn is extremely underpriced!" - Richard Webster, Author and performer

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