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The Stroop Test demonstrates a fascinating oddity of the human mind. David Jonathan and Nikolas Mavresis took that concept and made a magic effect out of it, then Andrew Neiner took the idea and ran with it.
The Stroop Test is something that has fascinated me for a very long time, I have Aphantasia and although it’s not clear why, us aphants seem to have far less trouble with it than most. If you don’t know what it is, you are shown a series of words in one colour that spell the name of another colour. I’m not going to explain more than that, as there are plenty of sites that would do a far better job than I could manage, but that will give you the rough idea.
What David and Nikolas (I’ll get to Andrew in a bit) have done is taken a fairly standard mentalism method and applied it to the test. Most people with a reasonable amount of magic knowledge will probably work out the method on watching a single performance, but fortunately the vast majority of people you’ll be performing this to will not have that insider knowledge and will be blown away by the reveal.
I think the most important part of this release is the advice given, which makes it ideal for beginners. I’m talking about Dan Harlan explaining what pockets are, how they work and also how to gut a weasel. Although Dan does actually explain all of this (seriously, he does), that isn’t what I mean. I’m talking about the performance advice, the most important of which being: Listen to your audience. This is so important in all magic, not just here, but so many people completely ignore it.
Although not part of the main script, one thing David mentions in the advice section that I would caution about though, is when he talks about picking a number between x and y. In the United States most people will take that mean pick a number excluding both x and y, however in many other countries, The United Kingdom included, most people will take that to mean inclusive of both x and y, so err with a little caution when using this in your magic (again, all magic not just here).
As with all David Jonathan releases, you can have fun playing the stubble drinking game where you take a drink every time David’s stubble changes length. To be fair, this isn’t as bad as most, but it’s still there.
Phase Two is a post release add on, that frankly is much better than the main release. This was dreamt up by Andrew Neiner (or Rocket_AFN, as you may know him). Full disclosure, Andrew is a good friend of mine, but that doesn’t mean he’s going to get special treatment. I hope you all know me well enough to say something is crap if I think it is no matter who was involved with it. When he told me he was in Stroop Test, I thought he was meaning the trailer (the boy has a knack for getting in magic trailers, this may turn into another drinking game soon), but when I watched the explanation videos, he was actually heavily involved.
Phase two moves from a prediction/display of influence to mind reading/divination. The explanation has all three David, Nikolas & Andrew discussing the new addition and ways to perform it. Personally I’m not a fan of the fishing/peek they talk about, but with a small scripting change you can easily eliminate that (if you own this and want to know what this change is, feel free to DM me).
Part way through the explanation it crossed my mind that this phase could tip the method to the main release, but that clever little tinker Andrew has this covered too (again I’d change the scripting a little myself, it’s not really needed though).
One thing I am concerned about is Andrew’s mathematical ability. He says he has a three word memory aid that is actually five words, but I suppose some people can’t be good at everything.
If this was just the original release, I’d recommend it to beginners as it’s an easy to do effect, but mainly for the advice section, but not really to anybody else. With Phase Two added, it’s a far more impressive thing to perform. I wouldn’t do the main release on its own, but would be happy doing Phase Two as a standalone. I’m not recommending you do that. Putting them together strengthens both. I’m just talking about how they compare. Phase Two takes it from a good but not great effect to something much better.
Although we, as magicians, know this is just a dressed up card trick, but most punters will see it as something different from cards, so it’s ideal if you want to do some mentalism without touching a deck of cards or something. If you think this will fit your style, definitely pick it up.