When I first saw Michael Baker’s Zen and Again on his website I was very excited because I thought he had taken Loyd’s Bunko Blocks and added some beautiful boxes with an Oriental theme to create the perfect set for a Bunko Blocks Deluxe effect. Unfortunately, I was a little disappointed because Michael does not use the mechanical method with Zen and Again that makes the Bunko Blocks so effective. In fact, after contacting Michael he had not even heard of Bunko Blocks so was unaware when he created Zen and Again of the effect or the method created by Loyd c. 1945. Don’t get me wrong Michael’s version does use gimmicked blocks which do work, but I’m not convinced it is anywhere as close to the real miracle that can be achieved with the Bunko Blocks.
So what I did was combine both effects: Loyd’s Bunko Blocks and Michael’s Zen and Again boxes, and now you really do have a wonderful routine and a complete fooler too – a true Bunko Blocks Deluxe 🙂
Michael’s Zen and Again also comes with updated patter, or you can use a variant (updated for modern PC sensibilities) of the original Loyd handing and patter and you have a really perfect miracle that looks the part too!
I do include Michael’s blocks which you can see in the photos but to be honest I can’t imagine why you would use them over the original mechanical Bunko Blocks. The Bunko Blocks have these features:
- No Shells.
- Nothing added or taken away.
- Instant Reset.
- No Extra Blocks.
- No Exchange of Blocks.
- No Sleight of Hand.
- All Blocks are shown on all sides.
which no other solution has.
Original Patter (edited): These 7 blocks that you see represents an episode, parts of which are so incredulous and mysterious that some will doubt it. The F.B.I. had discovered a shipment of opium from overseas on a San Francisco wharf, represented by these red blocks. They had watched this shipment for days from a nearby building in hopes of implicating the party or parties involved. There were two shady guys under suspicion represented by these two plain yellow blocks.
After several days of observation, these two guys were seen to enter two warehouses in the rear, (represented by these two pieces of cardboard). There was nothing particularly suspicious about this, except that they were the two guys under suspicion.
Several days later these two guys were seen to divide up and move the opium from the wharf to the two warehouses. Immediately the investigator went to call headquarters regarding this. However, the two guys must have become suspicious for when the Chief Investigator arrived at the scene the opium had been placed back on the wharf. The theory of the one Inspector was that they had emptied the cases and placed the empty cases back. While they were discussing this possibility, the two guys were seen to again divide and carry the cases into the warehouses.
The Inspectors immediately went to the first warehouse and surrounded it, while one went inside and came out with the suspected guy. After further investigation of this warehouse the other guy was brought out, but there was no opium. Going to the second warehouse they found the opium but NO guy, so all they could do was to confiscate it, which they could have done at anytime, but they could not make an arrest.
Here is Michael’s Patter for Zen and Again which I quite like:
Effect: “A professional magician understands that magic should never be presented as a puzzle to challenge the audience. It is an unfair duel that the audience would most likely lose. No one enjoys being made to feel foolish.” “It has occurred to me, however, that a puzzle just might be able to be presented as magic. A strange paradox, yes?”
“The puzzle in question involves these seven cubes. The objective is to somehow divide the cubes between these two boxes so the final result is that you have the same in each box.”
“At first glance it seems to be an impossible task. If you put the cubes into the boxes this way, it is apparent that the answer is wrong. Any way that the cubes go into the boxes, you can’t have the same in each box. Putting them in this way is futile as well. It simply can’t be done.”
“So, what is the answer? Believe it or not, once you alter your line of thinking, the solution to the puzzle is very simple. I will reveal the solution to you momentarily, but be warned that you will be faced with an even greater mystery, one that even I can’t explain.”
“Remember, the objective was to have the same in each box. Look! These are the same in THIS box, they are both red… and these are the same in THIS box, they are all yellow.”
(Notice: Includes: Printed Instructions.)