Review: Mind Explosions

Published on Sunday, June 22, 2008 in , , , , , , , ,

Mind ExplosionsBob Cassidy is well known among magicians and mentalists, especially for his highly-regarded book, Artful Mentalism of Bob Cassidy. He has recently released an eBook will be of particular interest to Grey Matters readers, called Mind Explosions.

Mind Explosions features two routines, The Number of the Beast, which is Bob Cassidy's version of the Memory Magic Square (Found in Harry Lorayne's books, Mathematical Wizardry, and Reputation Makers), and Checkmate, which is his approach to the classic Knight's Tour.

Normally, either of these two routines requires more memory and mathematical work than many performers are willing to put in. However, in Mind Explosions, Bob Cassidy helps take the fear out of these routines. Also, for those who prefer a magical bent, both routines are taught as both the classical versions, and with surprise predictive endings.

For those not familiar with the classic version of the Memory Magic Square, a 4 by 4 grid is drawn on a blackboard, with the squares numbered from 1-16. First, the performer asks for a number from 50 to 100, which is written on the blackboard. The performer then asks for members of the audience to call out a square, and the name of any object to be written in that square (such as "12 - ball", "7 - computer", "3 - zebra", and so on). Once all 16 squares are filled, the performer is able to recall all 16 items in and out of order. The performer then asks for members of the audience to call out either the number or the object of any given square, and the performer then gives random-seeming numbers that are written in the specified square. When the board is filled with these numbers, it is shown that these numbers comprise a magic square for the number chosen at the beginning of the routine!

As a demonstration of mental and mathematical abilities, this routine packs a strong double punch. It seems incredible, yet still believable. The mental work required to perform it is simpler than one might expect, but still demanding in front of an audience. Bob Cassidy, however, teaches an ingenious way of minimizing the demands required for this routine. The formula, the numerical arrangement, and even much of the mathematics required, are all made much easier through this approach.

In the alternate psychic version, a spectator secretly choses a number that is unknown to the performer. The routine is performed as above, with the memory feat and number placement. When finished, it's shown that not only did the mentalist correctly predict the chosen number, but that the grid constitutes a magic square that adds up to that number in every direction! If you prefer your performances with a magical touch to them, you'll like this latter version.

Checkmate, Bob Cassidy's version of the Knight's Tour, is performed using the same memory-saving work that aids you in Number of the Beast. In the predictive version, there are letters on each square, and after the Knight's Tour is performed, a prediction leads an audience member to discover that part of the pattern reveals a word they secretly chose!

The best part about these works is not the memory-saving work that Bob Cassidy developed, but the attention to detail in both routines. He details not only the basics of each routine, but how to make the routine more vivid and memorable to the audience, and even what mistakes to avoid! These touches really help give each routine a more professional appearance.

Both routines are designed as closers, and will work well in that position for either the basic or predictive versions. For those looking for incredible yet believable routines to their act, I highly recommend Mind Explosions.

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