Over the years I have worked on and
developed many versions of the classic effect, OUT OF THIS WORLD. In fact, the
first effect I ever released was called COUPLES — a version of OOTW that, at
the time, Paul Curry stated was the best variation of his original that he had
seen, and offered to market it for me! It was a most encouraging start to what
has become a most interesting field of endeavor.
Now, these many years later, I’ve finally developed an extremely straightforward, hands-off, two-phase routine that utilizes deeply layered methods, befitting this classic effect of Mentalism. Watching the impact it has on both laymen and Magicians/Mentalists alike has convinced me it’s one of the most powerfully direct and clean presentations available.
Via an ebooklet, with embedded videos,
Via an ebooklet, with embedded videos,you can also learn this most amazing of effects that slayed them when premiered at the prestigious MEETING OF THE MINDS and has fooled some of the best minds in the business.
Here are a few unedited quotes:
Christopher Carter: When I first saw Bruce Bernstein perform Separation Anxiety, I knew I had to learn it. It was the cleanest, most direct handling of Out of This World I had seen. I didn’t see how it could be improved upon. Then Bruce showed me the second phase, and it was even more incredible than the first.”
Few creators understand what mentalism should really look like in performance better than Bruce. The first phase of Separation Anxiety is as perfect as any mental card effect could be. Gone is the unusual procedure of most versions of Paul Curry’s classic effect. A spectator psychically separates a small back of cards into reds and blacks. That’s it! It’s that direct. But Bruce doesn’t stop there. As soon as the spectator has picked her jaw up from the floor, he has her do it again, but this time with a twist so diabolical it just has to be seen to be believed.
I never thought I needed another card effect in my repertoire until I saw Separation Anxiety. Now I know better. It’s definitely going into my repertoire.
Matthew Field -THE MAGIC CIRCULAR: Paul
Curry’s “Out of This World” is, perhaps, the most
popular card trick ever. A problem with it is, however, that it
is a tough sell to make it seem “psychic”. Chicago
mentalist and magician Bruce Bernstein spent years trying to come with
a method which fit his persona, and “Separation Anxiety” is
The spectator is handed a packet of 20 cards and told to deal them into two fairly equal piles, but not haphazardly or simply alternating piles; she is to “follow her intuition”. The wizard counts one of the piles and congratulates the spectator when the total is seen to be 10 ‒ precisely half. The top card of one pile is turned over ‒ it is red. The top card of the other pile is black. Several more cards are turned over in pairs ‒ again, red in one pile, black in the other. The remainders of both piles are turned over, showing a perfect separation.
As a follow-up, the wonder worker removes an Ace of Spades from his pocket and states that he will make the spectator treat this card as red, as he openly inserts it into the packet of cards and mixes them. Again, the cards are dealt into two piles. One pile is shown to consist entirely of black cards, the other of all red cards ‒ except for the Ace of Spades, seen in the centre of the “red” pile.
As one would expect from Bruce Bernstein, this is devilishly clever. $25 might seem a bit expensive for a 16-page pdf, but the price is for the years of thinking that went into the method, and the fact that the working mentalist will get a lot of mileage out of this. Three brief videos are included illustrating a few of the fine points.
Bob Farmer: Bruce
Bernstein, who has an honored place in my book, as one of the premier
Sultans of Swindle, was selling a new trick, "Separation Anxiety,"
which sounded--like a lot of Bruce's stuff--completely impossible. So I
figured--like a lot of Bruce's stuff--the method would be in the upper
echelons of deviousness--and I just had to know how it worked because
here's the effect:
You hand a spectator a small packet of ungaffed, face-down cards. You tell her to follow her intuition and deal the packet into two piles on the table--but she is to deal the cards completely at random (i.e., not back and forth in a regular manner, but helter skelter).
She does so. When the two piles are checked:
1. There are exactly ten cards in each pile.
2. She has somehow divided the ten red cards from the ten black cards.
This is about as clean and fast an "Out of this World" effect as you can get. Bruce also provides a second phase, different from the first, which in effect is different enough to be interesting, and in method relies on something the audience has understood from the first phase.
It's 16 pages of unmitigated sneakiness and I highly recommend it to one and all.
Ross Johnson: Bruce Bernstein is in creative mode and has
traveled to a new solar system. On the heels of the ground breaking
"TABOO" comes a refined take on the always intriguing "Out of
this World". Only the mind of Bernstein can both simplify method and
expand impact at the same time. This is a routine not to be overlooked by any
worker who presents miracles of only the highest quality.
Jheff’s Marketplace of the Mind: This is a lean, direct, powerful, and easy-to-do version of the classic Paul Curry effect. And, besides, if you've read his landmark book, UNREAL, you know that anything with Bruce Bernstein's name on it is, sight unseen, well-worth getting!
Of course, the plot, which you probably know already, involves the participant amazingly separating red and black cards. This version, which only uses twenty cards, is based on ideas from Brad Henderson and Jon Armstrong, who, in turn, based their work on ideas from Martin Gardner and Paul Curry (though not all of Gardner's and Curry's ideas are in SEPARATION ANXIETY). It starts and ends clean and most definitely can be done with a borrowed deck of cards and in impromptu situations. In fact, it's probably best for that.
Using twenty cards
certainly solves the controversial issue of the effect being too long. The entire stack is handed to the participant to separate which makes this a very nice hands-off
presentation. And the clean-up is much cleaner and far less awkward than
the usual manner in which it is done. For those familiar
with Jon Armstrong's "Out of This Blah Blah Blah," know that this was certainly
inspiration and starting point, but he has added some touches that take this effect into an entirely new and different level.
I'll also note that Bernstein includes a second variation which allows for the effect to be repeated. It is rather amazing as it features a powerful prediction that's quite a shocker to the layman.
This is being sold as a 16 page downloadable PDF with some embedded videos. I know that this should be obvious but I'll say it anyway: this is highly recommended.
SEPARATION ANXIETY is available as
a PDF with 3 short embedded videos to make the handling crystal clear.
Sent as an email attachment – no shipping/handling charges.
PayPal $25 USD to BruceMBernstein@sbcglobal.net
PayPal $25 USD to BruceMBernstein@sbcglobal.net
An autographed “Hard Copy” on a CD is $25 + $8 shipping via priority mail in the
Elsewhere, shipping is an additional $25 USD (total = $50.00)
Here's what I
wrote in the introduction - "TABOO is a unique melding of concepts
I’ve been working on for nearly a decade and is perhaps the most
advanced routine of Psychic Entertainment I’ve ever created.
It would be wrong to just call TABOO an effect, it’s so much more than that. Let me also state as clearly as I can, that TABOO is only suitable for the boldest and most charismatic of performers. This is not something to be done casually for some friends or as a demonstration of mental magic.
But that said, even if you never perform the effect, I believe that you’ll find there is much to be gleaned from my thinking about this presentation from the “cutting edge.”Another point I should make clear at the start is that TABOO must be personalized and custom tailored to the particular performer who is brave and talented enough to tackle this presentation. To expect a “one size fits all” script or approach is only asking for failure. But with the techniques and variations I’ll be sharing in the book, the right performer will have found his or her miracle."
I describe several variations on the theme in the book, including "THE
ULTIMATE TABOO, which I created for my own personal use,
here's the basic plot:
Several spectators are asked to join you onstage and are requested to think of things they have done, or might do, that would be considered "Taboo" by most people.
You then start to read their thoughts all at the same time, revealing facts and information in a way worthy of a soap opera or reality show.
Even though they are asked to keep a "poker face" and not give you any hints about their secret Taboo, you are able to "zero in" more and more on each of their secret thoughts, until it starts to become clear you're starting to figure out just which Taboo each of them are thinking of.
Then, in the most incredible of climaxes, each of them individually acknowledges time and time again, just how how accurate you've been in discovering their most personal of information.
O.K. - Although that sounds incredible, I know what you're thinking.
Even if that were possible (which it is!), I'm sure you're thinking that this routine could easily cause embarrassment or discomfort to those participating. But, perhaps the most amazing part of the routine are the many psychological subtleties and powerful gambits I teach that will actually put them at ease and show them how to thoroughly enjoy their roles as the "Stars" of the presentation.
Michael Weber - "I believe two things about Taboo to be true: 1) Bruce has crafted a routine which is both practical and powerful, and 2) 99.9% of the mentalists I have seen don't have the balls to present it the way it deserves to be performed."
- "Bruce Bernstein is a genius. This fact is accepted by everybody who
knows his work. Where others put out minor variations of popular and
frequently over used themes, Bruce’s published effects
consistently range from innovative to groundbreaking. It’s not
that he doesn’t draw inspiration from prior creators. All
creators do that. What makes Bruce’s work stand out are two
things. First, he sees the potential in ideas that the rest of us
breeze over without noticing. Second, he combines these ideas in such a
way that the result is vastly greater than the sum of the parts."
"Taboo is a perfect product of Bruce’s devious mind. Within the method, there are elements that we all will recognize but they are applied, in combination, to a devastating effect."
"And what is that effect? It’s practically the holy grail of mentalism. When people find out that you’re a mind reader, they worry that you’ll be able to divine their deepest, most intimate secrets. Thanks to Taboo, you do exactly that. Amazingly, Bruce stages things so that you reveal their secrets in such a way that they will never be publicly embarrassed, and yet there is no doubt that you have received impressions you really should not be able to know."
"When Bruce first shared his idea with me a few years ago, I was delighted with its boldness and simplicity, and I hoped to one day be able to do it. Since that time he has refined the routine and added subtleties that make it even stronger. It ranks, in my opinion, among his best work."
"I have one caveat about Taboo. The characteristic that makes Bruce’s work stand out is that he understands the difference between mentalism and magic. His best effects rely on subtle methods that require a bold and confident performance to pull off. No sleights are required, but you must be able to bluff with impunity. Because of this, brilliance of Taboo will probably go unrecognized by the beginning mentalist or mental magician. That’s bad news for Bruce in terms of product sales, but great news for the rest of us. Those who study and perform this will have a miracle that I predict very few others will be doing."
Jon Stetson - "Taboo is Too Good. It's Bruce's greatest creation to date! At $100.00, this masterpiece is way underpriced. For me, it is worth thousands - I wish I could keep this one for myself. Thank goodness Bruce uses his power for good!"
"PS. For anyone wondering the difference between Mentalism and Mental Magic, buy
Taboo and find out."
TABOO is 18 pages and printed on high quality paper, spiral bound with Art quality covers, featuring my custom calligraphy.
Banachek: "Every mentalist or magician is looking for that Holy Grail of effects. You know the one, the one that looks impromptu, the one that can be performed anywhere anytime, close up, cabaret or stage, the one that can be whipped out for a newspaper story and become the center piece for the reporter to hang his words of astonishment upon."
"With Bruce Bernstein's contribution of WILL POWER, that Grail has been created for us. Bruce has fabricated a brilliant routine with props that fit in your change pocket. It really is that tiny but the impact and reactions are incredibly huge. The effect is non assuming yet grows with each stage of the routine. The impossibilities stack up one on top of the other to create a well-choreographed piece of theater that does not feel like theater, it feels genuine. This is not mental magic, it can not even be described as mentalism as that would not do it justice, it appears to be a real feat of psychic power. But hey, what would you expect from the mind of Bruce Bernstein, nothing less. I will carry this with me."