Olympic Reviews

Olympic Reviews

Monday, 20 May 2013

Mephisto's Journey - Docc Hilford - Review

What is it?
Docc Hilford presents an updated version of Mephisto's Journey - you get an eBook, a Doccinar, a teleseminar (still to come), and a voucher for the bonus effect.

The effect reads exactly as described on the ad page, a very long ad page.  My quick version, 

You borrow a deck of cards, an envelope and some pieces of paper.  The participant (who seemingly must always be a female) writes down a thought of card and you pop this in the envelope.  You mark another piece of paper and say you will write something on this later (This is shown to be blank at one point).  The deck of cards are sealed into the envelope with the pieces of card (genuinely sealed).

This is taken away by the participant to be hidden somewhere (a different room ideally) and the scene is set, the room is darkened and you may begin!  In the darkness you can light a candle or similar and produce an envelope.  (This is where you initiate bilocation). The envelope is opened and a deck of cards removed (their deck of cards and the more distinctive the back design the better).  You open their folded piece of paper and read the card they selected, you locate the card in the deck and give it to the participant (it really is their card).  You proceed to write on the marked paper and place everything back and close the envelope.

The participant returns to locate the original envelope and brings it back to the performance area, you do not need to touch it again before they open it, removing the deck (minus their card) and the pieces of card with your hidden message which instructs them to locate a further little something...

(Well I meant it to be the quick version...)

My first thought was, 'well it says borrowed deck but i'll just use my own, it's too risky to borrow a deck, it wont work', well it will work, borrow the deck! How does this rate?

Why this instead of similar products?
This is difficult to compare to other products.  I will try to do so on two levels.  Firstly, the presentation.  This is astonishing, Docc credits the older versions very well in the ebook and describes in detail, how to present this.  You will learn a lot from watching him discuss how to pace this, how to make it feel real etc.  I particularly like the 'Pulp Fiction' moment.

Secondly, the workings.  The method here is very clever.  You could use this for something else and it would be a winner.  I am more likely to use the framework of this effect than anything else.  It cleans up a lot of problems with other routines.  The final envelope package is really clean!

Does it work?
Surprisingly, yes!  I thought this wouldn't play as written, but it did!  Docc talks you through every aspect, and it works.  This is truly impressive stuff.  I have been through this a few times and it is one of the most enjoyable things I have played with.  I love being so clean at the end.  I would love to ask people how they thought this was done after performing it to them.  I can only imagine their thoughts.

As an homage to something mentioned in the eBook here is a breakdown of the ad a line by line critique:

  • The cards are borrowed. - True
  • The spectators see the borrowed deck being hidden and then in your hands! - True
  • The hostess’ actual card is given her. - True
  • She never selects a card, only thinks of it. - True (writes it down but does not touch it)
  • There is NO FORCE. - True
  • There are no impression devices - True
  • The hostess unseals the envelope and checks the paper and deck. - True
  • You touch nothing after the envelope is sealed. - True
  • You actually read what she wrote on the slip of paper, right in front of the spectators, just as you claim. - True in words
  • You don’t ever leave your seat or need to know where the cards and envelope are hidden. - True

  • I nearly don't believe it myself.

    How adaptable is it?
    Docc covers some ways to perform this in different environments.  He gives advice on how to perform this for corporate environments (namely in an office?) and a few other presentational touches.  I think that you can only really present this as described without damaging some of the impact.  Docc gives advice on how to present this with another of his releases which would work well, there are other similar options too.  You could use the framework of the effect (the work with the cards and deck) to set up a different routine.  There is nothing incredibly important about any of the props, it is how they work together that makes this sparkle.

    The method is not overly complicated, nor is it contrived or difficult.  Somehow this is easy to do as well as being incredible.

    How is it as a package?
    I prefer watching Docc's material along with reading it, I think it adds an awful lot to his work.  I can't help feeling that a lot of Docc's material is advertising his other releases, this has one major example in the bonus section.  Some of his other releases are peppered throughout the Doccinar, the thing about them is, they are all great!

    I really think a great benefit of this is having the Doccinar.  You get a complete package with this.  The quality of eBook is great, the quality of Doccinar is great.  It's produced to a higher quality than a number of DVDs I own.  Seeing Docc discuss it and talk through it brings it to life, i'm confident that people who seem to doubt Docc's claims would have a change of opinion after watching him speak.

    The only thing missing is a live performance (not sure how you would capture this beast though).

    Nothing to do with the effect, but I really like the intro to this.  It sets the mood marvellously.

    Will I use it?
    I will use the method hidden behind this, I am not sure about the full presentation.  There is nothing wrong with it, it just might take a bit of presentational leeway from me (particularly the bilocation claims).  I may find space for this in the future and frankly, I hope I do.  I am going to challenge myself to fit this in, it's that strong.

    If I lost everything, would I get it again?
    Yes.  I really enjoy watching Docc, I just worry that he has me under his spell.  I am considering getting the bonus item but I wont until I decide on my own terms, not just because I have been put into a trance!

    I would recommend this for anyone who likes the presentation as you will not be disappointed.  If like me, you think the presentation is interesting but not convinced, you will get a good solid routine framework and I would be surprised if the presentation doesn't have you convinced by the end, it certainly has me convinced.

    If you have the original booklet, you will probably find a lot of information useful in the Doccinar, which I believe you can purchase separately.

    If you have any suggestions for reviews please get in touch at:


    I can't guarantee I will get a chance to review everything but I will do my best!

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