Review: AmazeBox Black by Mark Shortland and Vanishing Inc

Reviewer: John Teo

This AmazeBox Black is version 2 of the original AmazeBox.  The originator, Mark Shortland, came up with this “improved” version after receiving feedback from users of his original AmazeBox, which is (still) available, but in white colour.

For those of you who are not familiar with an AmazeBox, you may not appreciate the changes made in this version 2.

So, what is an AmazeBox?  It is a closed rectangular box with a slot on top for people to drop in folded slips of paper.  It is constructed out of stiff cardboard and the entire container is actually a switching device.  When the box is opened later, the original lot of folded slips is switched for another lot of pre-folded written slips already placed inside the box earlier, unknown to the audience.  The Box is cleverly constructed in such a way that the secret compartment is not seen when the folded lid of the Box is lifted up.  To the audience, the folded pieces of paper inside are the ones that are put in originally by the various members of the audience.  This becomes a very useful device for mentalists.  

One good use is for various members of the audience to each write a different item, say, that can be found inside the performing auditorium.  There are literally dozens of items.  Each piece of paper is folded so that the written information is hidden inside the folds.  It is then dropped into the slot of the AmazeBox.  An independent spectator is later invited up on stage.  The AmazeBox is opened, and she can see the various folded slips of paper inside.  She picks one of the slips of paper.  When it is unfolded, the item written on it matches exactly the prediction prepared earlier by the performer.

Now that you know what is an AmazeBox, here are the main differences between this version 2 and the original version:

  • The colour of this AmazeBox is black whereas the original version is white in colour.
  • The capacity of this Box is much greater than the original Box.  This version can take about 200 folded slips of paper whereas the first version can take around 30 folded slips of paper.  The dimensions are also larger.  This version measures about 9.5 inches (L) x 6.5 inches (B) x 7.0 inches (H).  The first version measures around 8.0 inches (L) x 5.0 inches (B) x 5.5 inches (H).
  • There are magnets provided in the second version so that the secret compartment is temporary locked when the box is opened.  The first version does not have this feature.
  • This version sells for $65.00 whereas the first version costs $45.00.

You can now decide which version suits you better.

You receive a die-cut pre-creased development of the AmazeBox in stiff cardboard, together with some accessories for you to fix onto the Box.  You are provided with a link to an online set of instructions.  They feature the originator himself, Mark Shortland, who teaches you step-by-step how to assemble and use the Box.  The video is well produced, and his instructions are clear and you will have no problem in coming out with the finished Box itself in no time at all.

The AmazeBox is brilliant in its construction.  It looks so ordinary and so clean in its operation.  It is also easy to use.  Mark Shortland is nothing short of being a genius to come out with such as amazing switching device as the AmazeBox.  It is bound to be a classic utility item in the arsenal of a mentalist.  Its use is only limited by your imagination.

Mark provides an interesting routine for the use of his AmazeBox as an “add-a-number-pad”.  A dozen people are asked to each secretly write the cost of purchasing a drink – any drink – alcoholic or non-alcoholic.  A spectator opens up the box and adds up the total cost of all these drinks.  The grand total is already predicted by the performer.  There is even a “near-miss” version of this routine which is very entertaining.

Whether it is this version 2 or the earlier version of AmazeBox, it will be an amazing purchase for you – a device that is so practical that you will want to put into immediate use, instead of letting it gather dust in your cupboard as with other magical props that you have purchased.

Please support intellectual property. Only buy original. Available from all reputable Murphy’s Magic dealers.

10 Stars (10 / 10)

AmazeBox Black by Mark Shortland and Vanishing Inc

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