Card Tricks, Close Up Magic, Mental Magic, Review

John Bannon – ESP By the Numbers – review

john bannon esp by the numbers - review

ESP By the Numbers is a new John Bannon release – which should be enough to get you interested! Here’s our review…

The effect – a spectator makes 5 free choices to choose some ESP cards. Not only have you predicted the order of the symbols they have chosen, but each card has a random number on it and you have predicted (in an amusing way) the total.

What do you get?

john bannon esp by the numbers - review - zener cardsYou get a link to a 27 min streaming video. Some nicely printed ESP cards in a cardboard box which declares itself an ESP Ability Test and a printed ‘prediction card.’

Our rambling thoughts…

As a long-time magician and mathematical/analytical thinker this is one of those effects which is difficult to review since it is very hard to imagine its impact for a layperson. The principle was immediately obvious to me when I watched the performance for the first time.

However, my suspicion is (and I haven’t yet had a chance to try it out on a normal person!) that this would fly past most non-magicians. Bannon has taken an old principle and given it something of a new lease of life by changing the way in which it is applied.

The wonderful thing is that the clever principle makes this entirely self-working. You simply have to follow the procedure to make it work.

It would seem best to do it as a one-off – since the best way to help to disguise the working is to mess up the ‘discard piles’ after they have made their selections. I also think (but may be overthinking – due to magician’s guilt!) – that the effect would be massively strengthened if you were able to do a convincing false-shuffle at the beginning of the effect.

john bannon esp by the numbers - reviewESP By the numbers is easy to do with a strong and clear effect and nicely printed cards. I have a couple of tiny questions about the box the cards come in. I love the way it is printed to add ‘authenticity’ to the effect, but the downside is that it is not like a standard card box. Now you may think this makes it even more convincing – but it also makes it a bit larger than is strictly necessary. It might be possible to turn this very tiny quibble into a plus – if you had a whole close up mentalism routine with very minimal props which all fitted into the box!

Although reset is simple it will take a few minutes – so as mentioned above this might be better off as a one off trick.

And there’s more

But explaining all this takes less than 15 minutes. So as if this were not enough, the rest of the download covers an additional effect called Matrix Reloaded.

This is another application of the principle in ESP By the Numbers. I was momentarily distracted at the start of this effect as I watched it and so I was actually fooled by this the first time since I thought the spectator had shuffled the whole deck at the start! This is a good sign! There’s a good chance that as the spectator tries to reconstruct this in their head the effect will get even more impossible.

The presentation given involves the performer predicting the mate of a card arrived at in an apparently incredibly fair and random manner.

The procedure is just a little on the long side – but if you keep it moving that should be ok. And the effect itself is utterly baffling. Once you’ve got your head around how these two effects work you will find that you can come up with variations on the theme – indeed Bannon mentions possible presentation idea during the course of the explanation.

All in all I think this is a great value release which packs a powerful punch. Another Bannon triumph!

ESP By the Numbers is available from for £22.99 (at the time of writing).

(With thanks to BBM who supplied the review copy.)

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1 Comment

  1. Richard Groom

    A false mix of the cards at the start is essential. First 2 times I tried it, the spectator’s “reconstruction” began with whether they were mixed or not.

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