Review: ECO BOX by Hand Crafted Miracles & Mark Southworth

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There has been a trend of card to box effects such as Clarity Box by David Regal, Mystery Solved by David Penn, and more recently Paragon 3d by Jon Allen. Eco-Box is based upon The Box by Mark Southworth. When I saw Eco-Box by relatively new comer, Hand Crafted Miracles, I initially cringed while eating my apple pie with vanilla ice cream. Not another card to box, I thought. Well, Eco-Box is excellent, versatile, deceptive, inexpensive and practical addition to this genre.

Unlike the other boxes mentioned, Eco-Box is totally opaque. Some may prefer a clear box, but I think an opaque box adds mystery since no one can tell what is inside. If you are doing a signed card to box routine and your audience can see a playing card already inside a clear box at the start of the routine even before the spectators signs a selected card, when that signed card is dumped out of the clear box later you do not have to be a rocket scientist to know that a switch occurred. Eco-Box solves that problem.

Eco-Box does not scream magic prop. It looks like an ordinary small, plain, jewelery box. It is only the size of a box of matches and can easily be carried in your shirt or pants pocket.

A big advantage that the Eco-Box has over the other clear boxes  ( except Paragon 3D) is that when the top lid is opened, your audience will see what appears to be a real folded playing card or billet.

The way that the card is dumped out into your hand is very visual and deceptive. You or the spectator takes off the lid while you are holding it, and everyone can see the folded card. You turn over the box and the card is now in your hand. The Box is empty. You open the folded card and it is the signed card. You can leave the box on the table for them to look into and they will not see anything. The method is undetectable. The Box cannot be thoroughly examined, but a casual inspection will show nothing. You are also left clean at the end.

You can replace the enclosed playing card gimmicks with a billet for mentalism routines like a confabulation routine. For instance, you can predict the name of a country the spectators would like to visit, the amount of money he or service would take on vacation, and the name of the person he or she would travel with. You can predict anything you want.

It takes only a few minutes to prepare the billet gimmick. Once you do, it only takes 5 seconds to change the playing card gimmick with the billet gimmick.   There are a few cons to  Eco-Box. When you take off the lid, the spectators can see the gimmicked part of the box. To solve this, simply move the box and no one will see anyting.

Another con is that when you dump the card or billet into your hand, the gimmick makes a slight noise. But in a regular setting with typical background noise or with you talking, this should not be a problem.

This is an excellent, versatile prop. I highly recommend it especially for the price.

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Ning Cai is a Singapore Literature Prize nominated author, who was also long listed for the Epigram Books Fiction Prize in 2016. A bestselling writer, she is also recognised for her illusionist/ escapologist stage character Magic Babe Ning, and recognised by Channel News Asia as South East Asia's first professional female magician.

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