M. M. M. - Scott Creasy
This review is from 3 years ago. My reviewing style has definitely matured over the years; I do still love this book, so I thought it was fitting to start with this.
When I saw this new book by Scott, I was totally intrigued. I’ve only seen a little of his work, but I’m becoming more and more fascinated with minimalism in mentalism. I’ll admit, I was dubious about the “Metaphysical” part because that’s not the way I typically perform, but this book has opened my eyes.
I will start by saying the essays and random thoughts throughout the book are all exceptional. Scott makes great points and backs up those points with experience. I don’t have time to review each of those essays individually because they are peppered throughout the book. Instead, I will just review the effects, but know that the essays are just as valuable (or even more so) than the effects. The book starts with 6 essays before you ever get to the first effect, and I highly recommend reading each of those essays.
You should know EVERY effect in this book uses double blank cards, a rubber band, a sharpie, and hardly anything else. So practically everything you’re about to read is done with only those items.
PIN Revelation: This is Scott’s take on a PIN revelation. It’s a great method for a PIN reveal (or any other reveal.) It is quick and to the point and very effective. It looks just like it would if you were doing it for real with very little visual compromise. And it leads perfectly into a numerology reading (and later on in the book Scott details a method to make an effect out of this reading.) It’s a classic method used in a beautiful way with some lovely touches by Scott.
Diem Natalis: The same method as above but used with four people’s birthdays rather than a PIN. This one is a bit more on the metaphysical side as you are essentially giving 4 readings based on birthdays with the ability to give the last one without seeing the birthdate. But again, it’s a great use of the method and would play very largely.
Three’s Company: The spectator thinks of 1 of 3 numbers and the performer reveals it and gives a reading based on it. This is simple and uses a method I have used with playing cards for years, but the effect this would have on a spectator its vastly different than any time I performed it in the past; it seems very real and doesn’t seem to be a trick at all. In fact, people will walk away thinking you’re just really good at reading people which is exactly what Scott is going for. The method is strong, but the performance is stronger. This is also the first effect of a trilogy of number effects Scott performs. The next two tricks that follow are the other two “phases” of this number routine.
666: 6 spectators think of a number. One person is nominated and the performer reveals their thought of number and gives a reading based on it. There’s more to it than that, but that’s the main point of the effect. This is another method I have used before with cards but I’ve never seen the potential past that. Scott clearly saw the capability of this principle. This is just one way to use this method; it could be used for virtually anything that you could write down. It’s simple to do and very effective leaving the performer available to concentrate on the performance.
History Mystery Gift: The finale of the trilogy; the performer writes a prediction. Three numbers are selected (readings are given) and added together to arrive at a tarot card (more reading.) The prediction matches the final number/tarot card. Again, this is a method I was very familiar with, but here it is used in the best way I’ve ever seen it. It is just stunningly unique. The presentation lends itself PERFECTLY to the method. I don’t think they’ll walk away thinking it was a neat trick. They’ll walking away thinking you must be really good at reading people. And they won’t question any part of the method, it all makes logical sense.
The Mystic Squared: Scott’s take on a magic square. It is very different than any magic square presentation you’ve seen. It uses the previous method in a different way which is a bit more practical and compact. A couple of readings are given in the routine, and you are able to predict the number they choose. It’s a really wonderful, metaphysical take on the magic square which takes all the magic and mathematics out and makes it mystical.
Unconscious Muscle Memory: This is a WONDERFUL effect. It is usually performed with playing cards, but the use of blank cards makes this so much more mystical and deceptive. Essentially, the performer is able to tap into the spectator’s unconscious muscle memory and feel the exact amount of cards they cut off. I would have never suspected to see this trick turned into a mystical demonstration, but Scott pulls it off.
Pb: A drawing duplication recreating the conditions psychics of the past were faced with. This has a story line which makes sense, and makes the process interesting; but personally, it’s too fishy for my liking. There’s a lot of movement and a lot of handling of the card with the drawing. This is actually my least favorite effect in the book. It isn’t bad, and it’s totally workable, I just don’t think its as minimalistic as the rest from a moves standpoint. But don’t get me wrong, it’s a good and clever method. I just feel spectators will walk away saying “Hmmm, I don’t know when he looked at it, but he must have looked at it some point while he was fiddling with those cards.”
Zodi-Act: This uses a method from a previous routine in the book (666) to get someone’s star-sign. You actually get 4 hits out of this routine for very little work. It’s great thinking, and I think it will play as if you are just a fabulous reader—not a deception artist. Readings are given in this routine. You’re also in an interesting place at the end, because the spectator actually has a gift to give to 3 of their friends. This is lovely because it means when they see those three friends, they will conjure up memories of your performance and help your legacy grow.
Kiss or Kill: This Is Scott’s take on the now classic effect. They select a few numbers, readings are given based on their choices. They ultimately arrive at a number that has “kiss” written on the back. The other numbers all say “kill.” This is the most lighthearted routine in the book, and is meant to be used to add some humor. It is a great take on the classic effect, although I’d probably stick with Quinta to perform this. It COULD play a little too much like a rick lax effect in its current state.
Opposites Attract: The performer selects a word card, the spectator selects a word card, they are matching opposite pairs (like hot and cold.) The rest of the cards are revealed to be blank. This is SUCH a simple routine, and yet it is one of my favorites in the book. It looks incredibly clean and I KNOW the blank reveal at the end will hit them like a freight train. I think this is a perfect lead in to any of the other effects in this book. It’s simple, it’s effective, it’s clean, and it’s a keeper.
Forget me not: The performer makes the spectator forget an item from a list of 4 things. This routine is just decent in my opinion. It’s another one of my least favorites. It’s a simple method using one of Scott’s principles which is heavily used throughout the rest of the book, but I think the effect itself is a little lack luster and perhaps a bit out of character for the rest of the book. I guess it could be a nice break from the mind reading; I’d have to try it out to see how strongly it plays. It’s a very basic use for the underlying principle which makes me think this may have been included purely for demonstration purposes to help introduce readers to the capabilities of this utility move.
C.C.P.: This is another one of my favorites from the book. A spectator thinks of a 3 digit number. The performer shows it was predicted it in advance. This one is clean as a whistle. It is SO easy to do and uses a lovely combination of methods to create a seamless prediction effect. It is very direct and has a great presentation which sort of explains how a psychic could predict the future. I love it and I will use it.
Michelle: Scott elevates a classic method to a new level with this presentation. The spectator chooses some numbers, the performer gives a reading, and they find their name written on a card at their number. It’s a wonderful routine and I KNOW the spectators would react massively. Scott teaches a method to use if you can overhear their name beforehand and a method which allows you to get their name ready in real time.
White Spirits: This is Scott’s take on “impromptu” sprit slates. Using 2 cards which are clearly seen blank and numbered on each side, end up with writing on one of them. This is the perfect solution to a spirit slates routine I’ve been using a lot lately. I had a decent method to convincingly show both cards blank, but this one takes the cake. It looks incredibly clean. Love it.
White Spirits Simplified: This uses only 1 card instead of 2. I really like this version a lot. It has a more impromptu feel for some reason and it is just as convincing of a display. Also, they walk away with their initials on the card that the writing appears on. Another fabulous offering.
Dreamscape: Scott’s confabulation. This is a thing of beauty. There’s an essay right before this effect which makes a truly great point about typical confabulations. And Scott’s right. THIS is how it should and would look if you could do it for real. I won’t say much more about it, but it is a thing of beauty and it will play just as well close up as it will on stage. I absolutely love this one; his approach to this is superb. You better believe I’ll be using this.
ANAAN: The spectator rolls an imaginary die 3 times, adds the numbers together, counts to that number, and discovers one card with a number written on it—the very number they chose. All other cards are blank. I’ll admit the first time I read through the book, I didn’t really like the sound of this very much and kind of skipped through it. But now that I’ve read the book several times… this one is a winner. I imagine the effect this will have on people will leave them speechless with nowhere to turn and NO possible solution in their head. Wow. What a phenomenal piece of work. I can’t wait to start doing this. Of course, there are readings given along the way to add in some metaphysicality.
The Oracle Stack: A cyclical stack for 40 colored symbols. This is a stack Scott created which allows you to do stacked deck work with symbols and colors rather than playing cards. It’s a fine system, and quite easy to memorize, but not my favorite (there’s another stack taught later which I prefer to this one.) I don’t think I’ll be using this one for anything. But what follows are the routines Scott developed using this stack.
Open and Closed: This is a routine for the oracle stack (or any other stack.) They cut to a card, pocket it without looking at it, and then cut to another card, remember it, and pocket it in the other pocket. The performer reveals both symbols. I was fooled by the description, and I think everyone would be fooled if they saw it (probably even some seasoned pros.) This is my favorite “stacked deck” effect.
Predict-A-Shape: A routine using the previous stack which allows you to predict the color and shape someone will choose. It’s a clever method and a good use of the principle in play, but I don’t think I’ll be using it.
Far Far Away: A target symbol card is selected at random, dated, and sealed in an envelope without anyone seeing its identity. The spectator calls a friend of the performer’s and puts it on speaker. The performer never says a word to the person on the phone; yet, the person on the phone is able to describe the symbol with 100% accuracy. This is another effect for the Oracle stack. Admittedly, I don’t love the cuing method used here. Scott seems really proud of it, but I kind of think it’s a bit transparent and unnatural. But that’s coming from someone who hasn’t worked it. I’m sure in Scott’s hands, it is lovely.
The $800 Miracle: Ten audience members each make a drawing on a blank card. They are collected and the performer gives a brief reading for each drawing. A spectator cuts to a drawing and pockets it unseen. They then cut to another drawing, remember it, and put it in their other pocket. The perform divines both drawings; first by reading their mind then by remote viewing. It uses a method discussed previously but with 10 random drawings rather than a stacked deck. It is a great combination of principles, and I can see it hitting very hard. Good thinking. This would play very largely.
Michelle Refined: The same effect as before, but with a method which, in my opinion, is much cleaner and makes more sense presentationally. I love this version of Michelle, and I will definitely be using it. It is so simple, but man the way Scott has routined it makes it very effective. More numerology readings are in this routine.
Tarot In Your Pocket: This is a method to essentially have a stacked and marked tarot deck using just double blank cards. This is very clever, and I believe it will fool laymen badly. The effects described are a little bland, but that may just be because Scott has described them very minimally (maybe in the hopes that this will get overlooked and forgotten about so he can keep it to himself.) Essentially, it allows you to have someone cut some cards off a tarot deck, look at the card on the bottom of their cut off section, and you immediately know the card they chose. You can do the same thing with two people. Included in this section is also a reading system you can use with these tarot cards.
Random Thoughts: Scott details another stack system using a mix of numbers, words, and drawings. This stack can be used for any of the stack routines explained previously. I prefer this stack to the oracle stack because in my opinion, it seems more random. To me, THIS is a valuable stack worth working with. And you could easily adjust it as you see fit by adding more cards or taking some away.
P.M.T.: You have a stack of word cards. They think of a word, and you reveal it. But then they spread the cards to find that not a single word is printed on any of the cards. Its a fine idea. Its also the only trick in the book which requires a truly gimmicked pair of cards. Because of this, I don’t see myself using it. The second routine explained tells you a way to have another spectator receive the thought that the first spectator chose. It’s a clever idea, and I like that particular idea more than the main routine it’s used for. I may find a way to use that in my own routine.
SCTP: I have abbreviated the title because I feel it gives too much away. This is a peek of anything written/drawn by a spectator. I have to say… it’s one of the best peeks I’ve seen. It is SO casual—there’s nothing flashy, nothing showy, nothing out of the ordinary or attention-grabbing. It is so understated that it will fry them. It’s also dead easy to do. And their’s an extra convincer at the end. This may become my go-to peek.
The Name & Name: This is Scott’s take on the classic Name and Place routine using the peek taught previously. I know MANY versions of this classic, and I think Scott’s beats them all. No one will suspect anything could possibly happen, and yet you’ll be able to reveal TWO thoughts. This is how I’ll be using the beautiful peek.
Three Dimensional Telepathy: You all know Cassidy’s now classic routine, 4DT. This simplifies it to the hills, strips out all of the superfluous action, and leaves you with perhaps THE PUREST demonstration of mind reading I’ve ever come across. I mean it. Much like the previous peek, it’s the casualness of this that is so off putting. There are no unnecessary moves and nothing suspicious ever takes place. They can watch your every move like a hawk and they won’t see anything unexpected. There are no envelopes, no folding, no crumbling, AND each card is handed back to the owner immediately following its reveal. It’s so good, it’s dangerous. Forget everything you know about 4DT… this is the final word.
Q&A Simplified: THE BEST Q&A act I’ve ever read. It is so casual and so hands off that it feels down right dirty. Scott has also come up with an absolutely brilliant way to, after answering 5 freely chosen questions, be able to sit on the stage with no props in sight and answer every single audience member’s question. No matter how big the crowd. And he even answers 2 very specific questions and identifies their owners. I mean… this is other worldly. If you taught this to a psychic, they would make a living off of this one routine. It plays incredibly clean and there are so many subtleties along the way which make it seem impossible for you to be able to do what you’re doing. Scott says he believes this will be his final say on Q&A; I imagine so because I don’t think he could possibly top it. This could easily be a 30 minute act in itself using nothing more than 30 double blank cards, a rubber band, and a sharpie! (And an envelope IF YOU WANT but it totally isn’t necessary.) No gimmicks, no preparation, no preshow. Just pure metaphysical mind reading at it’s best. This looks like the real deal. Be careful with this one… it could start a cult.
I know this was a long one (I think it may be my longest review yet,) so congrats if you made it this far. I am so passionate about this book that I HAD to make this post and write this review. If you read my thoughts in the beginning, you saw I have never done readings and never even considered it… well the effects and essays in this book have started to change my perspective. Perhaps I am missing out by not doing them. I will begin to incorporate them into my work using these routines; I have a feeling the reactions will be so honest that I’ll never turn back. We will see! I believe someone could use the contents of this book table hopping in an upscale restaurant all night long and then perform a 15-30 minute stand up show at the end of the night all just using double blank cards, a rubber band, and a sharpie. It's amazing that all of these remarkable effects are done with very little props. The material is some of the strongest I’ve read and it’s all done with just blank cards. It contains the simplest of methods and the strongest of routines. The methods are flawlessly woven into the presentations and every move is so casual, it will fly under everyone’s radar. This is what real mind reading would look like. This is a book I will continually come back to. I’m not at all joking when I say I want to perform every routine from the book (with VERY few exceptions.)
Overall, this is one of the best mentalism books I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. I received it midday on Monday and I read all 360 pages in one sitting. I couldn’t put it down. It is now late Wednesday night and I have read every routine multiple times and have practiced every routine in the book multiple times. I have never done star sign work or numerology work, or tarot work… but this book inspired me, and I now have all the star signs memorized by date, all the numerology significance memorized, and all 21 tarot memorized as well as their significance.
Three years later, I still stand by most of what is written here. It's a wonderful book with some great thinking that can inspire just about anyone.