I Know What You’re Thinking
134 pages, printed and pdf versions
Available from www.cainemindreader.bigcartel.com
Price: £34.99 (printed) or £24.99 (pdf)
In issue 85 (March 2019) I reviewed Abstractions, a modest set of lecture notes by young mentalist Simon Caine. I liked his no nonsense approach and direct methods, and so was pleased to get the opportunity now to take a look at his latest, much bigger work, entitled I Know What You’re Thinking.
This 134 page publication is available either as a printed book or, as in the case of my review copy, an E-Book. It contains 13 routines, all of which demonstrate once more Simon’s ability to keep his plots uncluttered and his methods practical and effective.
You will require virtually nothing in the way of props, as is the way with much of modern mentalism. A deck of cards, a few card billets and some ESP cards and you’re pretty much equipped to perform any/all of his routines.
This collection centres on a small number of methods. Simon likes the One Ahead principle, which he often uses in conjunction with other methods in the same effect, he provides you with several presentations of progressive anagrams, and he has some clever ways of making ‘fishing’ seem natural and innocent.
All the effects revealed here have their merits and technically should be well within the capabilities of just about everyone. I like and admire Simon’s attention to detail in the way he structures his routines too. He tries to remove illogical actions and presentational anomalies by finding methods that get straight to the point and plots which have a logical feel to them. This makes his ideas very strong for the lay public.
So what are the contents? ‘Cardinal’ is a splendid way of revealing three cards thought of from a shuffled deck. Makes a fast and effective starter for an act. ‘Tri Hard’ sees a spectator create in his mind a playing card using some random numbers, and the performer then successfully divines the card arrived at. I felt this was somewhat contrived and one of the less effective items in the book, despite there being several variations explained.
‘Non Lethal’ uses the participant as the mindreader as she manages to name a card previously removed from the deck by the mentalist. I like this idea of using the spectator as the apparent mindreader, as it adds of layer of impossibility to the proceedings.
‘The Spyglass Effect’ is a sort of ACAAN that uses a subtle and clever opening ruse that not only gives you the chance for a miracle, but which justifies the handling for the remainder of the effect.
‘The Anything Test’, ‘Morningstar’ and ‘The Only Thing’ are all variations on the same basic plot in which you appear to reveal random and varied information provided by spectators. These are really clever and very strong no matter which of the three you decide to use.
‘Incognito’ has you revealing a name thought of by one spectator and a password created by another. Again, some clever thinking has gone into this. ‘Pyramid’ is another good example of the participant-as-mindreader, this time using simple drawings.
‘ZNNR’ is a simple three stage ESP routine. I felt this smacked of magic more than mentalism really, possibly because the ESP cards seemed more proppy compared to the rest of the material in the book.
‘The Silver Hand’ and ‘Stonefist’ are excellent variations on the Which Hand? premise, and I think make the actual effect far more interesting and intriguing as it seems far more than just a ‘lucky guess’!
The final item in the book is ‘The Algorithm Prediction’, which offers a framework which allows mentalists to use predictions without undermining their mindreading ‘powers’. Although this is a routine in its own right, the concept behind it can be adapted to many others.
This is a solid body of work from Simon that shows a consistency of plot and method that his fans and folllowers will certainly enjoy. His mentalism is conceptually strong and his methods satisfyingly accessible yet convincing, this all combining to make his material of potential interest to everyone looking for propless mentalism.
Review by Mark Leveridge. Originally published in Magicseen Magazine, issue 91