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Beyond ESP 3

PostPosted: Dec 21st, '16, 23:58
by Morgan

I've not been on here for a while. For some reason, about a year ago, I sold just about every magic item I own and magic got put on the back burner for a whole host of reasons but I feel myself being drawn back into the fold recently. One item I never sold was Beyond ESP 2 as it remains one of the most versatile decks I've ever owned.

It being Christmas, I wondered if Beyond ESP 3 had ever been released and so today I found myself directed to and the YouTube video - that compliments it.

I KNOW this is the Electronic Media section but I've posted here purely on the premise that my review is based on the YOUTUBE video "sales pitch" by MagicBox.

The Effect
Those familiar with Beyond ESP and Beyond ESP 2 will be all to familiar with the blurb that accompanies this product and without over repeating what has gone before the general premise is as stated on the booklet that comes with the effect:

"First and foremost – this is the most innocent looking deck of ESP cards you will ever own. The plain black backs make the cards look like little else than research tools, yet they contain an incredibly subtle marking system that allows you to identify each card with a short glance.

Housed inside the "International Paranormal Research Association" box are two complete ESP or Zener decks. One red backed deck, and one original black backed deck. The new cards have been printed to the highest standard by the US Playing Card Company, so they look and feel great. Inside your deck you’ll also find a selection of extra cards and fakes providing you with more creative possibilities than any other ESP deck on the market.

For those who might be short of ideas, Beyond ESP 2 comes compete with a 32-page booklet containing 8 solid routines from a collection of mentalism’s top authors including Lee Earle, Banachek, and Richard Osterlind.

The result is a startling collection of ESP routines and ideas, which can often be difficult to track down, all between the covers of one booklet. Coupled with the ground-breaking Beyond ESP cards this is guaranteed to be one purchase that will amount to far more than the sum of its parts!"



(1=easy to do, 2=No sleights, but not so easy, 3=Some sleights used,
4=Advanced sleights used, 5=Suitable for experienced magicians only)

Definitely a 3
Which is a good thing for me as I am not a particularly efficient cardician!

Hmmmm. If you already own Beyond ESP 2...don't bother. Unless you had difficulty in reading the markings.
Beyond ESP 2 had a nice card case which although it was just a plain looking black card case, it had an authentic air of genuine "ordinariness" to it. Beyond ESP 3 "upgrades" the packaging to a plastic box which in my opinion, although more rugged and durable, it just makes the product looks "over commercialised" which I don't think a genuine "research tool" would have. My brain operates on a principle that Paranormal Research scientists are operating on a tight budget and would go for a practical and utilitarian product.
That's gripe number one.

Number two.
I am a bit anal when it comes to spelling, grammar, etc. I don't pretend to be an expert by any stretch of the imagination but I TRY to ensure that what I write makes sense and is accurate.
Though I love Beyond ESP 2, one thing that gripes me is that the back blurb states "The plain black backs make the cards look like little else than research tools." Now, use of wording aside, if I'm buying a product with red and black backs why doesn't it say that on the blurb? I can only assume that it was copied and pasted from the original product.
Why then does the blurb for Beyond ESP 3 say exactly the same thing? Easy. Because they've only put a different front cover on it!

On MagicBox's video demo, a quick flick through the booklet on camera shows that the contents are the same as version 2.
This brings me onto another gripe of mine. Particularly in the world of Magic products.
Production values.
In an "industry" where we practice for hours on end to make sure that what we are presenting to an audience is as good as it possibly can be, why oh why do we put up with retailers that cut corners?
These cards are RED and BLACK backed.
The pictures in the booklet are black and white.
I KNOW this is something simple and to be honest, magic producers may not have the "budget" but surely if you are going to push out an "upgraded" product, at least have the decency to "upgrade" the instructions.

Review point number 3 (read GRIPE number 3).
The MagicBox Youtube video.

I LOVE a good review online. The boys at World Magic Shop are particularly good at it.
In an age where anything can be posted about just about anything, it is inevitable that every spotty little oik with a tendency to "review" can very easily give away more than necessary, I personally find it Beyond Belief that the manufacturer/retailer will give away the marking system in such a blatant fashion (and drag it out for quite so long...).
I understand that IT'S WHAT YOU DO WITH IT THAT COUNTS, but really?

How you present the effect is what sells it. Have I been away so long that the community has decided that they will just tell the audience how every trick is done before presenting it?

If you don't own Beyond ESP 2....see if you can find it second hand.
If not. Buy Beyond ESP 3 as it's basic premise is EXACTLY the same in this product. The presentation suggestions in the booklet are exceptional (as you would expect from those who wrote them) and the "simplicity" is a surefire winner that stands up to close scrutiny once the effect is complete.
Just don't expect anything new in this version. In my VERY humble opinion this is a rehash of an already winning product that I don't feel has made any significant advances on the previous version.
"Some people thought the markings weren't obvious enough" makes a LITTLE sense to me but in a product where the marking system is SUBTLE and open of close scrutiny, the subtler the better. In this sense, I think there has been a step back in terms of product "value".

I'm not generally a negative person but Beyond ESP 3 has really got my back up a bit and I feel a little sad that the first thing I thought of doing was coming back to this forum to write something that is probably going to be slated by one and all.

Re: Beyond ESP 3

PostPosted: Dec 22nd, '16, 00:42
by Mandrake
No slating expected for such a comprehensive, courteous and honest review - glad you came back to tell us!

Re: Beyond ESP 3

PostPosted: Dec 22nd, '16, 12:40
by Morgan
Thanks Mandrake.
I've calmed down a bit today and done a little editing on my spelling and grammar too ;)

Re: Beyond ESP 3

PostPosted: Dec 22nd, '16, 15:31
by Mandrake
It would be great if the producers/sellers of these sort of things took note of your comments and observations but somehow I doubt they will! :(

Re: Beyond ESP 3

PostPosted: Feb 2nd, '18, 15:24
by Sexton Blake
I entirely agree with you about the open YouTube video. Morgan. It's incomprehensible to me that they did that. "This is a marked ESP deck. The main difference between ESP2 and ESP3 is that the marking on ESP3 is easier to read," would have said utterly everything that any reasonable person could have required.

Your detailing of the differences - or lack thereof - between the ESP2 and ESP2 is also useful.

Let me put in vote for the increased readability of ESP3 as a genuine plus, though. I was never 100% confident with ESP2 - especially so when the lighting is perhaps less than ideal and you're trying to read the marks with, obviously, a quick glance - and as my eyes have aged this has worsened. ESP3 is *far* more readable. Unfortunately, it's impossible to gauge if they are 'too' readable - i.e. that a lay person will spot the marking. What I do in cases of marking is The Me Test: if I examine a set of cards I *know* are marked but *I* can't spot the marking, then they pass the test and I'm pretty confident a lay person won't notice the marks either. ESP2 passed this test. But it's a test one can do only once, of course; once you know the marking system you can't unknow it and examine a deck with ignorant eyes. My suspicion is that ESP3 would probably pass the test too, I'm certainly confident enough that I'd be happy using them, but I can't be sure.