Sunday, January 03, 2010

Project 365 (3/365): The Berglas Effect, Revisited

.:3/365: The Berglas Effect:.

... proves to be a Holy Grail of sorts. I published this post a year ago, but even after all this time, I've only found several effects that approximate it, and none of them are as flat-out impressive as the basic script of the Berglas effect. Most of my comments here came from the original posts, but new things and nuances I learned show me that indeed, the Berglas effect can be achieved, but requires a lot of patience and work, and in the case of one offered solution for the puzzle, a monstrous memory, as it were.

David Berglas, known as Britains "International Man of Mystery" has pulled off the seemingly impossible with the Any Card at Any Number routine, commonly known as the "Berglas Effect".

While I was going over the Britland book, "The Mind and Magic of David Berglas", it was becoming very clear to me that this wasn't exactly a tell-all book. While I felt mildly disappointed that the information I got was woefully lacking, I realized that this was a book meant for the experienced performer, and as someone who has been into magic for sixteen years, but has had only a few years of performance under his belt, I may not yet quite be ready for the stuff in the book.

Despite that, it's 500-odd pages of incredible material, mainly dealing with psychology, performance, and showmanship. Berglas may be a bit stingy on going into full detail with some of his treasured effects, but believe me when I say that despite this, the book is an engaging read. I may feel a bit shortchanged for the amount I paid for it (After all, I bought the thing PRECISELY for the Berglas Effect, and found out that he only gave five vague pieces of a 52 x 52 - piece puzzle... 52 different cards. 52 different numbers.), but I haven't even gone into half the book yet, and already, I've found performance aids that will enhance any effect I perform in the future.

The Berglas effect, in my estimate, is the pinnacle of all the mentalist's tools coming together for the ultimate mystery: showmanship, audience management, psychology, neurolinguistic programming. What makes it even more astounding to the eyes of people is that it could very well be sleight-of-hand free, as you can see in the video above.

If there are two books I would recommend to people who want to have a wider knowledge base in mentalism, I'd recommend Corinda's Thirteen Steps as your toolbox of sorts, and the blueprints would be the Berglas book.

Unfortunately, I think the Berglas book is currently out of print. Furthermore, I strongly suggest against getting it if all you want to do is to learn how to perform the Berglas effect, as you really won't get much out of it.

What I'm happy about though is that I've learned, with much help from Cakit, an any card cut at any number routine, which pretty much is the closest thing to the ACAAN mystery as can plausibly be done with legitimate cards and no gimmicks to speak of.

I guess in the end, the Berglas Effect will continue to be a genuine Holy Grail of sorts for any card mentalist worth their salt.

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