Impossible Dictionary Test

Here is a routine for that special occasion when you want to do a blockbuster mental effect under almost test conditions. Prior to print here, I've only tipped it to two others — Jeff Busby and Bob Baker. I'm hesitant about including it here — I know it will read as "chancy" and impossible to do, however I do use it and it works like a charm. It's a combination of the use of the Apex Stainless Steel Blindfold and muscle reading. If you have experience in contact mindreading, you'll find this to be an invaluable effect. As this is a book for the advanced performer, I'm assuming you do have the required experience. If not, you may want to study one of the many books on the subject such as those by Dariel Fitzkee, Eddie Dexter, or at least the section devoted to the subject in Tony Corinda's classic THIRTEEN STEPS TO MENTALISM. Jeff's Recommended Reading chapter will give you more information if you're unfamiliar with these books.

In this effect the spectator thinks of any word in the English language (foreign readers don't despair — they can think of any word in your language, too, as you'll see by reading the working of the effect). The mentalist is blindfolded and sits on a couch with the spectator sitting at his side. (If you're right handed, the spectator would sit at your right, if left handed, vice-versa.) A large dictionary (which may be borrowed) is placed on your lap and you request the spectator grab your right wrist with his left hand. The assistant is told to concentrate strongly on his or her word as you flip through the pages of the book. Eventually you stop on the page that contains the spectator's word. Next you run your extended finger up and down the page containing the spectator's word. Finally, even though you are blindfolded, you name the word aloud!

Stop for a moment and consider the effect: Everything is ungimmicked and nothing is involved but the spectator's thoughts. You have an effect that is nothing short of stunning in its magnitude. I feel it's an effect worth working on!

During the course of the effect you put your spectator into a particular mental attitude that makes the working easy and surefire. But, you must choose the spectator wisely: choose one who is willing to cooperate, and is a believer in your "wonderful powers". Here, I'm referring to a spectator who has seen you work, is impressed, and who feels there is something "special" about you.

Think for a moment about the mental process you would use to locate a word in the dictionary: First you locate the proper alphabetical section, then you look at the page headings to arrive at the general area of the word, and then you start to zero in on the word. Occasionally you'll find that you were a page off and flip to the next page impatiently. Finally, you mentally relax when you locate the exact word. This is the process you will secretly guide the spectator through as you locate his or her word.

Once you have donned the Apex Stainless Steel Blindfold and have the spectator seated next to you while you hold the dictionary in your lap, impress upon him or her the importance of them wanting you to find the word. Subtly impress upon them that their mental cooperation is essential to the success of the test. You can also comment that they seem receptive and a good "transmitter".

When you begin flipping through the pages you will find the spectator's muscular reactions to be very strong as he mentally tries to guide you to the correct aphabetical section. When you are near to the word, there will be a hesitation as he looks for the word on the page. If he sees it on the page opposite to where you are searching, his impulses will increase dramatically. As the spectator's mind is so occupied on finding the word, there should be no room in his reasoning process to analyze what you are doing or to understand the situation. Once you've arrived at the correct page, he will realize that you actually are going to accomplish the impossible task you have set for yourself. Finding the specific word is now child's play.

During all of this process you should have your eyes closed and the blindfold lowered — Uiis will definitely help you to concentrate on reading the spectator's muscular reactions. It is only when you have your finger on the correct word and the spectator's reactions tell you to go no further that you get a quick peek and immediately lower the blindfold to normal position again. Caution the spectator not to name the word and have him close the dictionary. Now, in your best dramatic manner name the word! What more could you ask for?

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