Review of INTIMATE MYSTERIES by Chris Philpott

14 Apr

intimate mysteriesReviewed by John Teo


We know that a performance will have more impact if the magic happens in the spectator’s hands.  For example, a magician can do a marvelous colour change with the face card of a deck held in his hands.  This effect will generate more “wow” if the card change takes place in a spectator’s own hand.  The methods employed can be different: a common double-lift versus a sophisticated card change – yet the former gets more reaction from the spectator.  What author Chris Philpott is now saying, in this wonderful book, is that if a reason, which should be linked to the spectator personally, can also be given as to why the card changes, this will create an even greater impact to the spectator.  For example, the spectator chooses the 10 of hearts, the performer finds the 4 of spades, but causes it to change to 10 of hearts in the spectator’s hand.  It turns out that for the past 15 years, the spectator had been running her business out of a shop front with the address No 4.  She was recently able to move to a much better location with the address No 10.  The magic appears to involve her personal life, and this makes it a powerful “intimate mystery”!    

The book is divided into 3 sections.  The first section is called Double Kokos.  This is like a psychological test of a spectator’s personality.  The spectator is taken on a visual journey in which different scenarios are presented to her.  Her choice of subsequent events not only reveals her personality, but also indicates what card she has chosen.  In “The Open Door” effect, the spectator walks past a huge house where she notices that the front door is ajar.  4 different scenarios are given as to why the door is ajar.  Her choice reveals the way she thinks, and therefore part of her personality.  She also decides how many steps she takes towards this door before someone inside the house notices her.  Again, her choice indicates another part of her personality.  As an unusual climax, all her decisions reveal clearly the identity of a card she chose right at the beginning.  Other routines are discussed, such as a ride in a roller coaster, finding a jewel in a mountain, and including surviving in a city inhabited by zombies!

The second section is called “Confessional Confabulations”.  This is akin to the mental epic effect where the spectator is asked to make several choices and the performer gets them all correct.  Usually they comprise 3 questions and they can be all related to a main theme, such as your dream vacation or a dream car, or the choices may not be related at all.  Chris simply ties in the spectator’s personality to the choices she made, and elevates this classic mentalism effect several notches higher where it touches the spectator’s emotions.

The last section is a clever presentation of equivoque which tends to cover up the rather obvious interpretation of the spectator’s choices in the force.  It is called “Visualisation Tango” where the spectator “tangos” through a series of dual choices.  There is a script for forcing a playing card onto a spectator and reading her personality at the same time.  Finally, Chris gives an ultimate application of this technique – F.A.A.A. – or how to “Force Anything, Anywhere, Anytime!”  In one routine, the performer causes a spectator to read the mind of another spectator!

If you want to know the importance of a magical presentation, or the power of a carefully scripted patter, and the effectiveness of a properly performed mental effect, read this wonderful book.  If you never had, but wanted, someone to proclaim you as a dangerous magician, you ought to try any one of the 21 effects explored in this powerful book of mentalism.  (5l5 stars rating.)


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