Attic Salt by Henry E. Lyon
Peter Turner has just released a brand new limited edition hardback book full of all new material. Peter's thoughts have gotten much more practical over the years and this book is full of practical routines you can actually use. The book looks stunning and the layout is clean and elegant.
But enough about that, let's get to what you really want to know... the contents!
Forward by Paul Brook
Introduction - A brief look at who the author is and the Crocodile Paradox is introduced.
Interesting Openers/Ice Breakers - Three guidelines to follow when looking for or creating an opening piece
A Bird in the Hand is Worth Two in the Busch - A spectator thinks of literally anything and you can reveal it.
This is a clever bit of billet work where the spectator does the billet switch for you. Literally. It’s very clever and it’s practically self-working. I really enjoy this one. It makes a nice opener, and it cleans up very nicely.
I Believe - A test of intuition is given to a skeptic, a believer, and someone “on the fence.” The skeptic fails miserably, the person “on the fence” gets very close, and the believer nails it.
This is very clever. The routine has a really great structure with a perfect hook to get people intrigued. Once again, it is almost self-working; the impact far outweighs the work you must put into it. This uses a well known method, but the presentation eliminates the typical downfall of these routines.
Arthritis - Two people write down a random word on a billet. The two billets are mixed by one of the spectators and a third spectator chooses one and tries to guess what is written on it. They make their guess and the billet is opened. Unfortunately, they failed. The billet is destroyed. The person whose billet was revealed thinks of a completely new word at random, and doesn’t write this new word down. The spectator even tears up the remaining billet. Incredibly, the performer reveals both thoughts.
This is Cassidy’s Name and Place on steroids. The structure of this piece is outstanding. It’s one of my favorites from the book. It’s almost entirely self-working and there are no covert billet peeks or center tears. It was made to be able to be performed even if the performer has arthritis. The subtleties at play make it virtually impossible to backtrack. This is gold.
Marking Billets - There are 5 methods taught for marking a billet. One of these is particularly novel, the other four are pretty typical marking systems. They are all valuable and reliable. There’s even a method here that allows you to perform the classic color match routine without electronics.
Fan-tini - A card is freely selected from a borrowed deck (no force) and freely shuffled back into the pack by the spectator (no control.) Without looking at the face of a single card, the performer finds the selected card.
This is a classic gambling method modernized for our times. It is primarily used by the author as a magician fooler. It won’t be your go-to method, but it is the perfect thing to pull out at a convention or the likes to really leave them guessing.
Sacrificing Impossibility for Credibility - A discussion on using subtleties to eliminate the too perfect theory.
Along the way you learn a nice way to lead into an OOTW effect and a very small presentational change to add to OOTW which gives all of the credit to the performer rather than the spectator.
Judgement Day - An Out of This World effect that is done with half the deck and two spectators. Not only do the spectators get the colors correct, the performer has also predicted PRECISELY what they would do.
This is such a simple idea. It takes a minute to get your brain around how it works, and the explanation is a bit hard to follow at times, but once you understand the process, it becomes clear just how easy it is. This is one that doesn’t sound great on paper, but when you try it with the cards in hand, you begin to realize how deceptive it is. This brings something completely new to the table for OOTW.
The Oracle - Two spectators divide up envelopes full of change and decide which envelopes to keep and which to get rid of. Despite the freedom of selection, the performer has predicted the total of the change for both spectators and how much they would decide to get rid of.
This is a presentation for the methodology from Judgement Day using pocket change instead of cards. It’s quite a unique routine, and there are several aspects that make it particularly difficult to backtrack. It’s not really a routine I would see myself doing, and it’s definitely not something you will take table hopping, but it’s certainly fooling and for the right circumstances, it’s great.
Lost and Found - A husband and wife take turns eliminating a stack of blank cards until only two remain. The discarded cards are revealed to contain the names of famous people. The two cards that remain are revealed to contain the name of the husband and wife.
This is another presentation surrounding the Judgement Day methodology this time using blank cards instead of playing cards. This changes the effect drastically from the previous two. It has a similar feel to the classic PATEO force but it is more direct, and the clever “Prequivoque” guarantees a clean ending.
We are the Imps that Stand on Giants’ Shoulders - General thoughts on anagrams and some ideas that would make them more effective. Much of this reminds me of things I’ve read from Matt Mello and The Jerx. Nothing too earth shattering if you’ve read their work, but solid thoughts that should really be considered if you want to create strong and deceptive anagrams.
Monkeying Around Zodiac Anagram - A star sign anagram explained with several presentational wrinkles to hide the “no” and justify the process.
This is a now well-known anagram that is widely used by many. It is primarily explained here to serve as an example for several new anagram techniques that will be explained in the next few routines.
How to Stop Psychic Attacks - The spectator thinks of their star sign and the performer teaches them how to protect their mind from psychics. This proves successful. But once they return to their old way of thinking, the performer is able to immediately name their star sign.
This is a presentational angle for anagrams which makes the “no” part of the presentation. It makes everything seem logical, and it is an engaging routine. It is over fairly quickly which allows you to move directly into your next routine of your choosing. My favorite part of this is that the presentation separates the method from the reveal which makes the actual anagram process seem one step removed from the reveal.
The Merry-go Round Principle - A spectator thinks of something from any category. The performer attempts to read their thoughts, but it doesn’t go well. Eventually they settle on a new word in a different category. The performer is immediately able to name their thought.
This is a clever ruse that you can use with any anagram. It’s genius because it completely negates the anagram and it hides it perhaps better than any other method I’ve read in print. This is something I will start using. The problem with a lot of anagram work is that you seem to be getting a lot of information before you name the thought. This idea brilliantly hides this by making it seem like you get literally zero knowledge about the thought you revea. And the best part is that the psychological ploy works just as well one-on-one as it does with a group. There are also some nice additional touches to pay attention to. All of these additional thoughts add tremendous value. Especially the ‘Matryoshka effect.’ Don't ignore it! This would leave even experienced mentalists scratching their head if they saw it in a show.
Margana - Another star sign revelation this time time without an anagram.
This is the only thing in the book that I simply do not like. I think it’s quite convoluted and I think it’s an odd way to arrive at a star sign. I think all of the anagram work above leads to a more direct effect than this one does. The author seems quite fond of this, but I’m not as excited by it. It works, but it adds a couple of extra steps that are so odd, they will be remembered by the spectator.
The PTM Principle - This is a simple system that allows you to be right about being wrong.
This is a subtle idea that helps you erase a no in an anagram. There are other uses for it beyond that as well. This section also details a way to use alphabet cards for an anagram and describes several processes to take you from two outs to just one. There’s also a secret link to an anagram generator hidden here as well. Be on the lookout.
T.W.E.S.S.D (The World’s Easiest Star Sign Divination) - This is a star sign divination based on pure bluff.
It may be the easiest star sign divination to do, but it’s also not the most convincing. This would be used as a throw away as it only mildly SUGGESTS you knew their star sign instead of having any physical proof. I’m not a fan of this one.
The Real Secret - This essay discusses how to make your routines stand out above others, and the author shares a couple of stories about how mentalism can be used to solve real world problems.
Autological Presentations - This is a concept of hiding a method in the presentation. A couple of examples are given and worked out piece by piece so you can see how to work these types of presentations out yourself.
A Handy Secret - The spectator writes down a secret and hides it in one of her hands. This performer is able to find which hand the billet is in three times. The spectator destroys the paper so no one can see her secret, and yet the performer is able to whisper the secret in the spectator’s ear.
This is a demonstration of an Autological Presentation. It plays very big and allows you to do three very clean demonstrations of which hand before moving on to the kicker revelation of the secret. You can reveal the secret however you want, but it makes sense to keep it private by whispering it in their ear. This routine doesn’t particularly excite me, but it’s a solid structure and I may try it out to see if it plays better than it reads.
Zoltar (Handy Secret Bonus Routine) - The performer is able to reveal a thought of name without any peeks.
This is a very clever method. I’m not entirely sure how the routine relates to “A Handy Secret” as it is a completely different routine and completely different method. However, I’ve never seen a method like this and I think it will be fun to explore it. It does use quite heavy DR so talking afterward will be an issue, but if you’re doing it in a setting where people don’t know one another, it will look completely impossible. Just note: you will only be able to use this in a scenario where you can burn the billet.
Creating Interesting Presentations - This essay details some tips on how to come up with unique presentations. Along the way you learn a great visual way to reveal a thought that acts as a perfect lead in to intermission in a show. I really like this visual as it gets the whole audience involved and it creates a powerful moment.
Pretty Little Ditty - A genuine method for guessing a present you receive from a loved one.
This isn’t so much a routine as it is a way to guess what gift someone has gotten you. The author says this has become an annual tradition at xmas with his family. They all try to guess a gift and somehow he is always able to guess his—or at least give details that he shouldn’t be able to know. It’s not something you’ll be able to use often—maybe never. But if this sounds like fun, this is a genuine method to help you achieve it.
Perpetuity - This is a presentational idea to help an experience live much longer than just that one moment.
This is quite a bold thing to ask of your spectator. It’s whimsical and fun, but of course, we will never know if they actually do what we ask of them as it involves them doing something after the performance when you’re not there. If they do what you say, it will create a lasting impact on them and their family. My big gripe with this is that it is far too self-centered for my personal taste. I can’t imagine making this request of my spectator. And I really can’t imagine any spectator actually following through with this.
Making Your Selection Process POP - This essay explores various ways to choose a participant from the audience in an entertaining way. There’s a variety of ideas listed. Some of them are a genuine free selection of a volunteer and some are ways to secretly force the volunteer. My favorite is the paper airplane idea. It’s a brilliant idea that is sure to create excitement and totally change the pace of your show. I can see myself using it.
Diamond Mining - Everyone at the table sees if Barnum Statements apply to them. Afterward, you are able to know vast amounts of information about each and every person at the table. You can use this information throughout the performance to reveal things you shouldn’t be able to know.
This is a novel idea. The basic idea is to collect a lot of data up front that you can then sprinkle throughout the performance. This is a unique way to gather data which doesn’t require them to write down their thoughts. In essence, you can move on to a Q&A type routine after this quick demonstration of how some people use Barnum Statements. I won’t be using it, but I can see some table hopping workers getting a lot out of this in a corporate or wedding setting.
Contrast (Kurotsuke) - You perform a Kurotsuke routine and gain valuable information along the way that you can pull out later in the performance.
This is another really original idea. It allows you to harvest virtually any information you want during the performance. There’s some really clever principles at play that make this extraordinarily difficult to backtrack and completely hidden. There are two fun presentational hooks provided that give an interesting lead in to the routine. The data you can harvest from this will be very useful, and with some thought, you can build some truly memorable moments of mind reading with the knowledge you glean from this. Perform this piece, give it a time delay, and then reveal some of the information, and the spectators will be so clueless they won’t even know where to begin.
Tequila and Salt - The spectator hides a twenty dollar bill in one envelope and a blank piece of paper in another envelope while the performer’s back is turned. The performer is able to divine which envelope contains the money. The performer removes the $20 and replaces it with a $50 and repeats the performance in an even cleaner manner. Finally, the performer changes it to a $100 and still finds it in the cleanest manner yet!
This is an extension of the Tequila Hustler routine that many of us have come to know and love. It changes it from a which hand effect into something that plays much bigger and it allows you to repeat the routine as many times as you want. There’s a natural build to the routine with the increasing of the denomination and there’s even a chance for you to do some data mining to use at a later time. This definitely adds a lot to the Tequila Hustler routine and expands it into a full performance piece. I could see myself using this one.
Broken Telephone - Everyone at the table thinks of random words and the performer is able to tell everyone what they are thinking.
This is another great demonstration of taking a small routine and making it much bigger. It’s all based on one simple peek, but this peek gives you access to a plethora of information. It’s a very simple idea, and it’s not 100%, but if you’re good at thinking on your feet, you can create a lot of stir at a table with this and you can make it appear as if you knew every single person’s thought. My only complaint is I feel it’s a little too linear of a method. I think spectators will jump to the only logical explanation for how it’s done, and unfortunately, that explanation is the correct one.
The Force is Strong with this One - A spectator thinks of their PIN code and another spectator divines it.
The author always amazes me with his unique way to approach a solution to a problem. This is no different. It is a very unique way to force a PIN number on a spectator. The idea is solid, however, I must admit, I find the writing of this one to be confusing. It’s all over the place. I can’t quite see how the routine is supposed to play out from beginning to end. There are references to “free thinkers” and “planners” but there’s no explanation of what those terms are referring to or how they relate to the routine. The idea is there, and the way the force works is clear, but some of the finer details don’t quite compute. This is a strange note to end the book on.
Conclusion - The conclusion ends the book with a fictional story of fate. We also get the solution to the Crocodile Paradox.
Glossary of Credits and Inspirations
Overall, this is a strong offering to the community with many powerful routines. The book starts very strong with many great offerings. I feel the further you journey into the book, the weaker the routines get, but they are all still usable and even the weakest routine in the book is still a strong effect. This can't be said for many releases in today's world.
This entire book has a very different feel than Peter's other work. If you're used to his typical risk-taking style, this will be a breath of fresh air. I think this is his most practical offering to date, and I think everyone will find a new routine or two to add right to their set.