Review: The Trojan Horse Project by MindFX

DESCRIPTION

The ‘Trojan Horse Project’ contains a collective powerhouse of routines that can be performed over the phone, in person, or over the internet.

A Brand New Approach to the Visa Cabaret/Free Will Plot:

This effect is performed with the participant’s own objects which remain in their possession throughout…

This 90-page book opens with the founding routine that kickstarted this entire project.  Created and developed by Manos Kartsakis this incredible routine introduces the reader to a minimum of two brand new techniques that are guaranteed to find a permanent home within your repertoire.

Going above and beyond a mere 50/50 chance…

The performer asks a participant to hide three different objects in their pockets and hands. Although the participant has a free choice throughout the routine where to place each item, and even switch them many times, the performer is able to divine with 100% accuracy where each object is and delivers a surprise ending.

Please consider the following –

  • Any three objects may be used (no gimmicks are required)
  • At no point do you need to see or touch any of the objects
  • The mentalist is always able to reveal the locations of each object with 100% accuracy.
  • The participant can remain silent throughout the effect (other than confirming that you are correct at the conclusion).
  • The final positions of each object can be predicted if required.
  • Deviously simple, very direct and yet extremely fooling.
  • No language restrictions.
  • No logic puzzles required.

Taking Things Further than Ever Before:

Feeling freshly inspired by Manos’ routine, Michael Murray decided to work on a variation of his own.  Working from the ground up Michael has created one of the most direct mind-reading effects that you will ever have the pleasure of learning.  Best of all, the reader of the book will get to experience this effect first hand (albeit in a simulated fashion).

Two heads are better than one…

Readers will instantly see the benefits of combining the devious principles behind each routine to create a seamless piece of impromptu mentalism that can be performed in any situation (even over the telephone).

Taking things even further, you will learn four additional handlings, each of which bringing their own unique advantages to the table.  This includes a two-person alternative where the performer simultaneously reads the minds of both participants and one which can be performed without the performer ever knowing which objects are in use (this was a personal favourite of Phedon Bileks’).

How does this compare with other published routines of this nature?

Whilst there are already several works of a similar nature that have been published and released in the past, we personally feel that none of them can compare to the directness of the work that is contained within this book.  In short, the absolute freedom of the participant’s actions is what sets this head and shoulders above the rest.

Please consider the following –

  • The participant can genuinely place any three objects in any of the three locations without restriction.
  • To keep things fair, we even offer them the opportunity to swap the positions of the items before we continue.
  • The participant never reveals to us if a switch was made or not (if a switch was made they also have a free choice here).
  • The participant is never asked to reveal a single piece of information throughout this and all actions are made sight unseen.
  • Despite the impossibility of the situation, the mentalist can instantly reveal the specific location of each item.

It simply doesn’t get any cleaner than this!

If you have ever wanted the ability to reveal the locations of three freely hidden objects without asking any questions at all then this is the book for you!

Note: Special thanks and credits go to Ian ‘Rasp Cheetham’ for helping to polish these routines into the practical and powerful effects that they have become.

REVIEW

It was twenty years ago when I first came across Bob Hummer’s Mathematical Monte concept (the very same eccentric genius who came up with the Hummer Card, performed back in the day using a long strand of hair plucked from his head). That mental magic routine involving three facedown cards quickly became my favourite Magician’s Fooler to perform since not many actually knew about it. The routine seemed so clean, felt so fair, yet quite impossible to reengineer. So you can imagine my utter delight when I realised how in a way, it’s inspired the very clever creators of The Trojan Horse Project. Well done Manos Kartsakis, Michael Murray, Ian ‘Rasp’ Cheetham!!!

It’s really wonderful when brilliant minds come together to create something beautiful, stemmed from the purity of their artistic creativity and passion. The creators took a raw diamond and transformed it into a shiny, brilliant, dazzling gem And, dare I say it, this could quite possibly be the best mentalism book of the year!

While the free will plot is not at all new, amongst the various offerings available on the market, this is now my absolute favourite. It’s diabolically smart (clearly A LOT of clever thinking has gone into it) and yet seems so direct (like good mentalism should… bad mentalism simply confuses), appearing so innocent and fair (completely their free will), The Trojan Horse Project blows its competition out of the water.

Before I delve into the specifics, here’s a little introduction of its three creators: Manos is a mentalist who hails from beautiful Greece, Michael is the all round Mr Nice Guy who’s the genius behind MindFX, and Ian aka Rasp, is a very talented painter and photographer. I am a big fan of his work. He took inspiration from this UK magazine cover of yours truly as my mystery performer alter ego Mind Magic Mistress (this was pre-Covid 19 when I headlined the South Tyneside International Magic Festival) and turned it into a gorgeous portrait!

TADAH! This painting is winging its way over from the UK to Switzerland right now.

A close up to appreciate Ian’s fine brush work and detail…

Now, as you know, every superhero has an origin story. This is how The Trojan Horse Project came into being: Michael was mighty inspired by a clever routine Manos came up with and showed his buddy his own original version of the three object routine. It stumped Manos, who loved how Michael completely made it his own. One idea quickly multiplied into many (because, that’s just the way Michael’s genius brain works) and with Ian’s hand in it (just like how James Bond has the indispensable Q), four very polished routines were birthed. The Trojan Horse Project is essentially an impressive collection of those ideas (Guess Work, Chain Reaction,Remote Control, In Two Minds) with the original method operandi and presentation by Manos included in the first ⅓ of this well-written manuscript.

Here comes the beautiful part of their story… Manos urged Michael to publish his ideas, giving him permission to include his original concept (The Stealth Switch) as a bonus. But Michael insisted that Manos deserved proper acknowledgement, and he recognised Ian’s invaluable contributions too… so that’s why the book is credited to all three gentlemen. Oftentimes we hear plenty of negativity (bickering and thievery mostly) in our niche little industry. So this certainly is a breath of fresh air. Don’t you love it when good people with good ethics respect one another?

Back to the review. The marketing copy above, taken verbatim from the MindFX website, is as honest and true without divulging too much. But just in case you’re wondering; there are no gaffs to build or sleight of hand required, no need for expensive gimmicks even. What’s required of you is to study the book (they even have well illustrated diagrams to help facilitate your understanding), check out their videos on Vimeo, and understand the various concepts. You can have your participant(s) come up with the three objects themselves. You can perform this on stage, in an intimate setting, over the phone, and of course with the current global pandemic, in your very own Zoom show.

I mean it when I say this book is well written. The manuscript has obviously gone through a stringent editing process to prevent spelling mistakes and misinformation. This is especially critical because scripting, psychology, pacing, and tempo are so important. IMHO mentalism is the most challenging genre of magic, and to pull it off well (i.e. making it believable) it takes much experience, maturity, and audience management amongst other things. In the hands of a strong performer, The Trojan Horse Project will have people sold that you have some pretty incredible powers. It’s a reputation maker because you can easily repeat it again, and again, and again… and always nail it.

Of course, you can frame the presentation to suit your performing character accordingly. Are you a mindreader? Body language expert? Psychic who already saw the future? And with the five different routines presented in the book, you can pick and choose which one serves you best (e.g. if you suffer from a bad memory, you’ll love Chain Reaction because you won’t need to memorise anything on the fly). All the routines in The Trojan Horse Project are tightly structured and any student of mentalism will surely appreciate the motivation and subtleties in every step of the way. I also love Manos and Michael’s memory aid suggestions to help you keep track of the moment. This is something I also do in my shows, and I’m pleased they’ve made it a point to include these useful nuggets in the book.

The price tag for The Trojan Horse Project is more than reasonable. Besides the physical book that gets shipped to you, you also get a PDF to read right away. The creators have also offered helpful “after sales service” in the form of a specially dedicated Facebook support group. When you purchase the book directly from MindFX, you’ll receive the invite via email. I’d encourage you to be a part of the Trojan Horse Owners Group, as we discuss how to translate principles from The Trojan Horse Project for other presentational concepts like Rock Paper Scissors, Three Cup Monte, Three Object Psychometry (my personal favourite) and more. These ideas are briefly covered in the book, but it’s lovely when you see how a fellow mentalist spins their own in the videos shared.

I have nothing but praise for The Trojan Horse Project and can’t recommend it enough. Once you’ve read it cover to cover, you’ll undoubtedly agree that this book is not something churned out by flakey folks who only care to make a quick buck (sadly just way too many of those these days). It’s a high quality product clearly made by passionate creators whose work speaks for themselves. You will use this.

Full deserving of 10 stars, The Trojan Horse Project may just be your favourite book purchase of 2020. You can get this directly from the creators here.

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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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