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  • Writer's pictureMadison Hagler

Permanent Record by Ben Seidman

Updated: Mar 2

I’m back! I’ve been a little absent with my reviews lately because my wife and I have had our first baby: Liam Hudson Hagler

Needless to say, I haven’t had much time for reviews these past few weeks.

But I thought I would hop on and do a quick review to get the ball rolling once again.

I’m starting the season off with a wonderful release from Vanishing Inc that was launched at the 2023 Magifest: Permanent Record by Ben Seidman.

The effect is that you have someone name a card, and you show the card they named printed on the back of the bicycle card box. Someone else selects a card, and somehow, the card on the box changes to their selected card.

Note: The first phase relies on the spectator naming the Ace of Spades or Queen of Hearts. It is going to come across as a minor effect regardless because everyone will think, "I bet everyone says that card," and in this case, they would be correct. However, if you want that phase to work 100% of the time, there are multiple methods discussed to make it sure-fire.

You receive a specially printed forcing deck and four gimmicks (two red and two blue.) Let’s start with the forcing deck. This forcing deck makes the trick self-working, and it operates smoothly every time. There is no rough and smooth or sticky stuff here. It’s just the special print job that allows you to show the deck as all different and then force a card in the cleanest manner possible. And the great thing is that this deck can be used for any trick that you need to force a card for. The other gimmicks that are provided are top quality as well. I’ve seen these types of gimmicks in the past for other effects, but I can safely say this is the most realistic and convincing one yet. It looks EXACTLY like the real thing without you having to adjust it. They nailed it there. 

If you’re a seasoned pro and you’ve watched the trailer, then you probably know exactly what is happening–you won’t be surprised by the method. 

What you WILL be surprised about is the depth and quality of the instructions. In 78 minutes of content, Ben teaches multiple routines and techniques for this effect. The instructions are phenomenal. They are clear and easy to understand, and they offer so much value to the project. Many of the techniques taught can be used for other routines, and many of these techniques take this from a great effect to miracle-level in the right environment. Ben really leaves no stone unturned; he shares all the goods. He shares multiple subtleties to throw people off your scent (the signature idea is brilliant), some routines with the force deck, some with a regular deck, some for cocktail party environments, transpositions, an ethereal presentation that extends the magic beyond that particular moment, a multiple selection routine, a card to spectator’s pocket routine, and more. It really is a comprehensive look at how to take this simple idea and make it play big. If someone else released this, it could have easily been a quick throw away moment that is easily forgotten. Ben’s routines ensure the audience will never forget it. 

After Ben unloads a wealth of knowledge, you also receive Jonathan Pickard’s original routine. Apparently, after working on this routine independently for a long time, Ben discovered that the same method had been released in 2011 by Jonathan Pickard in a trick called “Ambideckstrous.” This trick utilized the same method, but it was clear that Ben added a lot of value. Rather than get into a flame war on the cafe about whether or not it should be released (I’m looking at you Petty and Weber.) Ben/Vanishing reached out to Jonathan to work out a solution. This shows extreme class from all of the parties involved, and this is exactly how these types of problems should be handled. Kudos to the entire team for handling it like professionals. Jonathan’s routine feels a little dated and less direct than the routines Ben discusses, but it is nice to see the humble origins of this. 

Overall, I think this is an A+ project and I can guarantee I will be using it. This is not one of those things that will just end up in the bottom of your drawer; it’s a real worker that mixes simplicity with high impact magic. Plus, it has the added benefit of easily transferring from one deck to another. It’s the type of thing you could leave on your deck ready to go at all times. When that deck gets worn out, simply move it to a new deck and continue getting great use out of it. I can’t wait to use this. 

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