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Prior it it coming up on eBay as a recommendation, I had not heard of Castle Dracula Mentalism before, but with a name like that, how could I resist? Vampires and mentalism, I am so into this idea.
Back in the early 90's I visited the real Castle Dracula, or Bran Castle to use its correct name in Transylvania. And remember thinking at the time, what a wonderful place to build a magic show around. Charles Cameron was obviously of a like mind.
So what is Castle Dracula Mentalism?
It's a eighty-seven page book about a bizarre magic show that Charles Cameron used to run from the top floor of a Wax Museum in Old Edinburgh and by all accounts became quite a success. The book is split into two sections: solo effects, and effects with a partner. So lets break the effects down first.
ESP Foretold: A prediction effect using Zener cards and an envelope, with an added kicker four times out of five.
The Book Of Demons: A pseudo voodoo effect involving a book, an effigy, and seemingly a false memory. An excellent variation of Zarkamorta ll from Corinda’s “13 Steps To Mentalism” that is likely to fool people familiar with the original (as it has no switches) and provides a nice keepsake for the participant as well.
Double Prediction: A double Zener prediction in a sealed envelope
Red and Blue: A sealed envelope, two packs of playing cards, a transposition and a prediction.
The Psychic Spectator: An ESP test where the spectator somehow selects the envelope with the chosen Zener card in it.
Thought Foretold: An ESP test using a shuffled deck of cards and a prediction.
Again – Thought Foretold: Same effect as above, but with a different, simpler method that many will prefer over the first one.
ESP Ultimate: Same effect but with a variation as ESP Foretold above
From Satan – With Love: An invocation effect with a very strong ending.
The second section of the book is called ‘With A Partner'.
Telephone Telepathy: A nice take on ‘The Stranger' telephone effect, but this one will still fool many who are familiar with the traditional effect as here the spectator is told to use their own words and talk to the person on the phone rather than the magician talking first with a set script.
Design Duplication: A drawing duplication under very strict test conditions.
Name The Name: Your partner not only divines the selected spectator, but can give them their name too.
ESP Supreme: Your partner divines a chosen Zener symbol on returning to the room. With an Emergency version if the needed requirements aren't available.
Two Think As One: Your partner is taken out of the room. A random participant is asked to mix and then select a (genuinely random) card from a normal deck. Another chooses one of five ESP symbols. The magician is removed before the partner returns and correctly divines both.
Touch Telepathy: With your partner out of the room, six participants are brought forward . One of them is selected by another member of the audience. Each prints their name on a small slip of paper, folds it, and puts it in a small white plastic pill box. The boxes are mixed. The bag is then placed on the table. Your partner on returning to the room describes the contents of a box unseen and gives it back to the owner referring to them by name.
The Ultimate Book Test: Prior to your performance, a participant has been asked to bring along six random books of their own choice. You do not, at any time, handle the books. Your partner is out of the room before the six books are revealed. The participant freely selects any book and selects a page in his chosen book. A word or line or paragraph, etc is read silently by the participant. The partner returns and divines the book, page, line and word.
Charles Cameron takes great pains to point out the methods used aren't for everybody, and I know many who would shy away from them as they would think (without even trying them out) that some of the methods are too simplistic, but this is from a show for normal people not from a show only for seasoned magic professionals. Far too much emphasis is put on ‘magician foolers' currently. It's fine to fool magicians, but not at the expense of boring non-magicians which will be 99% of the people who are paying to see you perform. But having said that there are still some effects here that will catch out, even well read, magicians.
If you perform the kind of thing this book covers, I'd highly recommend picking it up, but if you are just looking for some quick moment of magic to show school/workmates or buddies down the pub, perhaps give it a miss. There isn't actually anything in the book I intend to add to my act exactly as written, but it has given me several great ideas for variations I will be giving serious consideration to once we are allowed to venture on stage once more.