Castles (PDF) by Simon Caine £9.00 / $15.00
35 pages, 46 photographs
Available at: http://www.simoncmagic.co.uk/p/castles.html
Simon Caine is back with this ebook containing eight effects and a handful of techniques. Overall, Mr. Caine’s writing is passable and he does a fair job of teaching the material. The author includes his patter for some of the effects.
His instruction is hampered by an abundance of typographical and syntactic errors. These errors aren’t merely annoying. In at least one case, the effect cannot be performed as written. Here is but one teeth-gnashing example:
“Holding the deck face up, it still appears odd-backed.”
Sweet bald-headed Buddha! Either the author didn’t bother to read this ebook before putting it on the market, or worse, he read it and thought everything looked just peachy keen!
Mr. Caine’s layout is also problematic. Instead of aligning the text on the left or justifying it, he decided to, kind of, center it. This weird aesthetic choice gives the text an unattractive appearance that results in an unpleasant reading experience.
The photographs are clear and in some cases, a godsend.
The author’s methods require an intermediate level of skill.
Castle Sleights: Mr. Caine teaches his original false cut. He then teaches an undercut, a force and a peek, all based upon the mechanics of his false cut.
His false cut doesn’t turn me on because his technique looks odd and it causes the face-down deck to turn face up for no justifiable reason. His undercut, force and peek suffer from the same problems. Superior methods exist that are more natural in appearance.
I don’t like them.
Dr Daly's Last Meal: The performer removes two cards from the deck and tables them face down. Two participants freely select cards and the performer loses them in the deck. The performer places the tabled cards face up onto the deck, displaying the two red Jacks. He removes the Jacks from the deck, squares them in his right hand and disposes of the deck.
The performer shakes the Jacks and then peels the Jack of Diamonds onto his left palm. A face-down card appears on top of the Jack of Hearts in his right hand. He peels it, outjogged, onto the Jack of Diamonds. He places the Jack of Hearts flush onto the Jack of Diamonds, leaving the face-down card outjogged.
He turns the packet face-down, revealing the first selection sandwiched face up between the Jacks. He removes the selection, turns it face down and puts it back on top of the packet. He removes the selection and tables it in front of participant #1, as his left hand turns palm down, turning the Jacks face up.
The performer re-grips the face-up Jacks with his right hand. He turns them face down and spreads them, revealing the second selection sandwiched face up between them. He outjogs the face-up selection between the face-down Jacks. He turns the packet face up, removes the (now) face-down selection, turns it face up and places it on top of the face-up Jacks.
With his palm-down right hand, the performer lifts the second selection off of the packet. He turns his right hand palm up, turning the selection face down. Simultaneously, his left hand turns palm down, turning the Jacks face down. He places the selection, outjogged, beneath the Jacks. He removes the selection and tables it in front of participant #2.
The participants turn their selections face up and discover that they have transformed into the Jacks. The performer turns the cards in his hand face up, revealing the selections.
If my obsessively detailed description of Mr. Caine’s handling makes it sound primitive and clunky, that’s because Mr. Caine’s handling is primitive and clunky.
I don’t like it.
Dark Room: The performer shuffles a blue-backed deck. He turns it face-up and holds it by its long edges with his right hand. He peels cards onto his left palm until the participant #1 tells him to stop. He places his right hand’s packet, injogged, on top of his left hand’s packet.
He turns the stepped deck face down. He pushes the injogged portion of the deck flush with the lower portion, simultaneously pushing the selected card out from the front edge of the deck. He removes the selection, turns it face up and tables it in front of participant #1. Let’s say it’s the Four of Clubs.
The performer turns the deck face up, spreads it and participant #2 freely selects a card. Let’s say it’s the Eight of Diamonds.
The performer buries the face-up Four and the face-up Eight in the center of the face-up deck. He cuts the deck and turns it face down.
He turns the deck face up and spreads it on the table. One face-down, red-backed card is seen in the center of the spread. The performer removes it and turns it face up. It is the selected Four of Clubs.
The performer turns the deck face down, shuffles it and cuts it. He hands the deck to participant #2.
He removes the card case from his pocket. He places the face-up deck into the card case and shakes the case. He removes the deck from the case and spreads it face up on the table. One face-down blue-backed card is seen. The performer removes it and turns it face up, revealing the Eight of Diamonds.
The performer squares the spread. He turns the deck face down and spreads it again. The entire deck is now red-backed.
I like it.
PolyGraph: A participant freely selects a card which is then lost in the deck. The performer says that he will show the participant four face-up packets of cards, and he will ask her if she sees her card in each packet. He instructs her to say “no” each time. The performer states that he will attempt to divine which pile contains her card.
He holds the face-up deck in his palm-down right hand. He peels about a dozen cards onto his left palm and the participant denies seeing her card. He turns the packet face down and tables it.
This procedure is repeated until four face-down packets are in a row on the table.
The performer isolates packet #3, stating that it contains the participant’s card. The participant agrees. The performer assembles the other packets.
The performer displays the cards in packet #3, revealing that the participant’s card has vanished. He places the packet on the bottom of the deck.
The performer says that he will deal the cards, one at a time, into a tabled pile. For each card dealt, the participant is to silently spell one letter of her card. When she finishes spelling her card, she is to silently think “stop.”
The performer deals the cards and stops dealing when the participant thinks “stop.” He turns over the top card of the deck and it is her selection.
Mr. Caine’s inspiration for this effect came from Derren Brown’s “'Smoke” and John Bannon’s “Dead Reckoning.”
I like it.
Resolution: Three participants freely select cards. The performer loses them in the deck and then cuts the deck, turning it face up in the process. He cuts the deck, turns half of it face down and shuffles the face-up and face-down halves together.
To emphasize the mixed condition of the deck, the performer draws back the top face-down card and displays a face-up indifferent card underneath it. He pushes the top card square with the deck, simultaneously pushing the indifferent card out the front of the deck. He removes the card, turns his deck-holding left hand palm down, and buries the card in the deck. The performer cuts the deck and turns it face down.
He spreads the deck on the table. All of the cards are face down except for two face-up selections. A face-down card is sandwiched between the two selections. He removes it and turns it face up, revealing the third selection.
The author’s inspiration for this effect came from John Bannon’s “Last Man Standing Triumph.”
I like it.
Black Out: The performer removes a packet of eight cards from the deck, keeping them face down. He says that he will use them to play a round of Blackjack with the participant.
He deals the top two cards to the table, face down. The participant freely chooses one of the cards for her hand. The performer places the packet on top of the card that she didn’t choose.
This procedure is repeated three times as the participant freely chooses her remaining card and two cards for the performer. The performer shuffles the remaining packet.
The participant looks at her hand. Neither the performer nor the participant looks at the performer’s hand. The performer invites the participant to hit her hand; the performer’s hand; both of their hands; or neither of their hands. Regardless of her choice, the performer turns his hand face up to reveal that he wins.
Mr. Caine’s method is based upon John Bannon's “Power of Poker.”
I like it.
Weightlifter: The performer removes two marker cards from the deck and tables them face down. He turns the deck face up and tables it.
The participant cuts off less than half of the deck. She places one of the markers face down on top of the cut-off portion and completes the cut, leaving the marker outjogged.
The participant cuts off a portion of the deck above the outjogged marker. She places the other marker face down onto the cut-off portion and completes the cut. The performer pushes the markers square with the deck.
The performer quickly riffles the corner of the deck and announces that there are 19 cards between the markers. The participant spreads the face-up deck on the table and counts the cards between the two face-down markers. There are 19 cards. She removes the marker cards and turns them face up. They are a Nine and a 10, totaling 19.
I like it.
Box Cutter: Participant #1 freely selects and signs a card and the performer loses it in the deck. He cuts the deck, turning it face up in the process.
The performer spreads the face-up deck and participant #2 freely chooses any card that she sees. She removes the card and signs its face. The performer turns the card face down and places it on the bottom of the face-up deck.
He turns the deck face down, bringing the face-up second selection to the top. He turns the selection face down onto the deck, removes it and inserts it in the card case. He hands the card case to participant #2.
The performer cuts the deck, turning it face up in the process. He correctly divines the identity of the first selection.
He spreads the deck face up on the table. A lone face-down card is seen in the spread. The performer removes it and turns it face up. It is the second selection. Participant #2 opens the card case and removes the first selection.
I like it.
Mimic: The performer hands face-down packets of 13 red-backed cards to two participants. He instructs them to think of a number between 1 and 13.
The participants place their packets behind their backs and turn them face up. They push over the number of cards equal to their secret number. They turn those cards face down onto their packets.
Next, the participants push over one less number of cards than their secret number. They turn those cards face up onto their packets. The participants bring their packets out from behind their backs, turn them face down and table them.
The participants announce their secret numbers. Sometimes they match, sometimes they don’t.
The participants spread their packets face down. Participant #1 discovers the face-up Queen of Hearts in her face-down spread. Participant #2 finds the face-up Queen of Spades in her face-down spread.
Participant #1 turns the other cards in her packet face up. They are all Spades. Participant #2 turns the remaining cards in her packet face up. They are all Hearts.
The participants turn their Queens face down and discover that they have blue backs.
This effect was inspired by John Bannon's “Twisted Sisters.”
I like it.
Despite being repulsed by the ugly layout and mortified by the lack of proper editing, I enjoyed most of the effects in Castles. The magic is strong and the price is right.
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