The Dictionary Trick2

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Ask a spectator to concentrate on either of his hands and to think of a number from one to five. When he has done this, ask him to concentrate on the other hand and think of another number from one to five.3 Then tell him to show you the numbers he has thought of by extending the fingers of each hand which correspond to the number for that particular hand. We will assume that he has shown 'five' and 'two'. This would be 52.

Next you give him a pocket dictionary, which you may have given him before the start of the routine, and ask him to turn to page 52. Ask him to choose the "left" or "right." Then ask him to look in the corresponding column and read the word at that number. (If he chooses the left column, he would look at the fifth word, if he chooses the right column, he would look at the second.) Now you can tell him exactly what is in the dictionary at that point.

It should be clear that with this technique it is possible to arrive at only the following numbers: 21, 31, 32, 41, 42, 43, 51, 52, 53, 54. This is the result of the restricted selection and you read the numbers from his fingers. You always place the larger number first. If he shows three fingers on one hand and four on the other, the number would be 43, not 34.

If the spectator chooses "left," he is to count down to the word in the left column that corresponds

2 This is identical to "The Dictionary Test" published in Psychic Entertainers News & Information Service Issue No. 4, November, 1978, pp. 3-4. Although no author Is stated, I believe it was Robert E. Cassidy, Editor. The author says, "The routine is based upon an old dictionary test which required a phenomenal bit of memory work or the use of an Index." AR

3 You must have a different number in each hand. CMSjr to the left (tens) digit of the chosen number. If he chooses "right," he is to count down to the word in the right column that corresponds to the right (ones) digit. If the number is 43, that would be either the fourth word from the top in the left column or the third word from the top in the right column. Thus, only a total of 20 words can be selected.

In addition, you must prepare a card to use as a guide. At the left side, write the number of the page and to the right, next to each number, write the two entries that can be chosen on that page. Here is an example taken from the Langenscheit's Universal Eng-Ush-German Dictionary[\9th edition. 1982.)4





baton=S£a6, Taktstock

bead=Perle, Tropfen



beggar=Bettler, Kerl








business=Geschäft, Handel




cheek=Backe, Un verschämth


chlll=Fros/, Erkältung








This card should be palmed or concealed somewhere under cover. At the moment when the spectator shows you the number, you can look at the card, and you will know the two words even before the spectator can look them up. A clever mentalist can make something of this.

4 A link memory and mnemonic system would eliminate the use of a prompter card. If you don't have Hariy Lorayne's How to Develop a Super Power Memory, get a copy I The book is available in Spanish and it may be available in other languages. Although there are many memory systems, I consider Lorayne's presentation one of the best. Although initially hard work, this will pay off in the long run for you — ever in your daily lifel AR

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