Move aside, Mysto. Fall in line, Fantasma. There’s a new mass-marketed magic set in town. You’ve seen it on TV and at Walgreens. It’s the Criss Angel Mindfreak Platinum Magic Kit, and it sells for $30.
The kit doesn’t come with eyeliner or black nail polish, but it does offer some impressive stuff. Invisible thread, thumb tip, miniature silks, faux metal cups, a poker-size deck of playing cards—I wish the magic sets I received as a kid had props this professional. For $30, the kit is also a great value, though, not as great as the box would have you believe. “Over a $200.00 value!” it reads. As a former professional magician and former middle school mathlete, I can’t imagine how Angel’s people arrived at this figure.
The worst part of the kit is the instructional DVD. In the introduction section, Angel says, “The most important thing for you is to practice, have fun and make each mindfreak your own.” But how am I supposed to make these tricks my own when 90 percent of them have Criss Angel logos and photos on them?
And after his incredibly brief introductory comments, Angel seems to perform a disappearing act. Some guy I’m pretty sure isn’t Criss Angel teaches all the tricks. We never even get to see his face or hear his voice—though some verbal instruction would be incredibly helpful—but staring at those fingers, I’m confident it’s not Angel, creepy as that might sound.
Angel’s contribution to the instruction booklet is equally token (e.g., “Criss’ Thought: This is a strong MINDFREAK because the spectator believes you can ‘read’ their thoughts.”). Oh well. Magic set instructions are notoriously crappy, and for generations, kids have been figuring out what to do with magic props even if the tattooed and ringed celebrity behind them isn’t exactly pointing the way. I’m sure they’ll figure out what to do with these props, too. And when they do, they just might freak your mind.