Olympic Reviews

Olympic Reviews

Monday, 19 May 2014

Popsicle Sticks - Morgan Strebler PDF Review

In the interests of clarity, Morgan sent me a copy of this to review.

What is it?
A simple yet deceptive psychological force effect.  It’s not as blatant as some others and fits nicely in a little imagination thing allowing for some presentational changes.

At first i thought, i can’t mention popsicle sticks in my shows but it might be a fun routine but it makes perfect sense (though as pointed out by Peter Turner in the PDF, not everyone calls them popsicles).

You get two similar versions, one from Morgan and one from Peter.  It’s difficult to describe in words without giving clues to the secret but i’ll do my best.

You take an imaginary journey (which includes popsicle sticks) resulting in the spectator making selections to arrive at a free outcome, which you have predicted/can say out loud etc.  Wouldn't be amiss in a Psychological Subtleties book.

Read on...

Why this instead of similar products?
As with any psychological force it’s not 100% but this is stronger than a lot of others.
It seems very free for the spectator and the more you let happen in the spectator’s mind, the harder it is to backtrack.

Does it work?
Yes - i’ve tried it for real people.  I did it where the whole thing takes place in the participant’s mind and i don’t have any outs prepared.  I performed it in such a way that if it had have missed, it wouldn’t have mattered… having said that… one missed.

There is one key bit that makes it work for me, Morgan is very explicit about wording in the PDF but the piece that makes it hit for me is it taking place vividly in the participant’s mind, if someone doesn’t seem like they want to participate, use someone else.

How adaptable is it?
Incase anyone is wondering, it does not rely on the word popsicle, rather the theme, so it should in theory work for any English speaking audience who know what an ice lolly is.  You could in theory adapt this to another language but don’t expect it to work in say German without a bit of work on your part (and i don’t know if it’s actually possible).  You could however use the main ‘workings’ here for another effect.

For being a psychological force, i actually think this is very adaptable.  You can perform it with a degree of safety (with outs prepared etc), but you don’t have to (and probably wouldn’t need to…).  The outs suggested can be a bit more than just having an index in your pocket.

You could use this as a force for lots of different things, Peter seemed to spill a lot in his section.  There are little pieces from various works by Peter dotted throughout his bit, if you pick up on those and dissect them you will something very beneficial, though if you already have everything Peter has put out, you will have seen a lot of this before.

In short - very adaptable, but understand the limitations, it’s a psychological force, you have to speak and there’s a chance it might miss.

How is it as a package?
Very nice PDF download.

Morgan explains his version (which is more or less what i used), and then Peter Turner explains essentially the same effect but it can take many different routes.  For me, Morgan’s simple version hits the spot.  All the other stuff Peter includes is great but i think it works best in other routines, though i imagine this will be the option of choice for some people.

If i had to ask for one addition it might be how to guide your participants a little more but anyone who has experience performing will be able to pick the pieces they want to use from this.  There is nothing missing, i can just imagine some people not being able to pull it off and blame the routine or effect.  The easy option is to say that it doesn’t work all the time.
- it’s not 100%, it is pretty successful
- a bad performance will lower your success, a good performance will heighten it

So if you say ‘it doesn’t work all the time’, you are right, but it does work to a successful enough degree.

Will I use it?
Yes - if you could say to me, spend under $20 and put something straight in your show, i would bite your hand off (then purchase the effect in question), this is one of those times.

I think some people have visions of every effect being a huge closer, and all money they spend on mentalism must 'kill everyone' all the time, i think they are wrong.  It all must be strong, but it has to have different flavours and styles.

This will go in a little piece of what i perform, and it will make it better.  I am in a position to know that it won’t be 100% and not to care about that.  It works for me, it might not for you.

This brings us on to a different point.  What makes a show?  How do you pick your routines?  I can’t answer that for you here (or maybe ever), but think about it for yourself, what kind of things are missing?  What could plug the gap?  I have just happened upon this but it makes perfect sense.

If I lost everything, would I get it again?
Yes - as long as I still know that i can put it in my show.  Things like Psychological Subtleties could be seen to be better value but i don't come away from those books wanting to perform it all at some point.  Plus you get Peter Turner's words which some people will think makes this more than worth the money.

You can get it from Penguin Magic or i’m sure you can contact Morgan directly:

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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