Simplified Newspaper Test


IN PENTAGRAM for November, 1952, under the title of "An Impromptu Torn Newspaper Test," I described a method of tearing a borrowed sheet of newspaper into 32 pieces so that one particular piece, which had been briefly memorised during the actual tearing, could be made to appear at any given number from the top of the pile. Several magicians have since told me that they liked the effect, but all have agreed with me that the tearing of the paper was rather slow and difficult to do successfully unless they were working at a large table. I was therefore pleased when I recently discovered a method of simplifying the tearing and of speeding up the whole effect at the same time.

Instead of tearing the paper into halves, then into quarters, then into eighths, and so on, it is merely folded smaller and smaller, and then the folds at the edges of the resulting bundle are all cut away together with a pair of scissors, so that you still finish up with a pile of separate pieces as before. A spectator is then asked to count down to the piece which is at the number he has chosen and, when he has taken it out, you proceed to tell him what is printed on either side of it.

As some of you will not want to turn up the original description before you read any further, or will not have that particular copy of Pentagram at all, I had better describe the rest of this simplified version as if it was an entirely new effect.

As soon as the sheet of newspaper has been borrowed you make a quick mental note of the main contents of the rectangular portion which is shaded in the following illustration. This can be done as both sides of the paper are being shown to the audience, or as you are waiting for someone to come forward to assist you. It is this portion of the paper which you are going to force. At the same time you ask for someone to call out any number less than 32.

The paper is then folded into a half, then into a quarter, again to an eighth, again to a sixteenth, and finally to a thirty-second of its original size. The exact order and positions of these five separate folds are indicated by the heavy lines in the illustration. They are easy to remember if the main part of the folding is done with your right hand, and if the paper is always given a quarter of a turn clockwise after each fold is made.

Each of the folds can be made either upwards or downwards; in other words, if the half which is nearer to you is kept in a plane which is parallel to the floor, the other half (which is nearer the audience) can be folded either on top of it or beneath it. Which of these is actually done as each fold is made will determine the position of the chosen portion in the final pile. It is only necessary, of course, to place it in one of 16 possible positions from the top, because the other positions, from 17 to 32, are found by turning the whole pile over and counting from the bottom.

The folding must therefore be done according to the instructions in the following table. This is not quite as complicated to understand and follow as it might appear at first, and there is no reason why you shouldn't have a copy of it hidden behind something on your table for easy reference.

Those of you who have tried the original method of tearing will find that this table is similar to the one which I gave for that, but I think you will also find that the folding and the final cutting of all the folds together with scissors can be carried out more easily, more neatly, and more quickly than the separate tearing.

If this is to be the position of the chosen piece of paper from the top / bottom,

the outer half must be folded back on top of the inner half during the following fold(s)












1 & 2






1 & 3



2 & 3



1, 2 & 3






1 & 4



2 & 4



1, 2 & 4



3 & 4



1, 3 & 4



2, 3 & 4



1, 2, 3 & 4

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Fundamentals of Magick

Fundamentals of Magick

Magick is the art and practice of moving natural energies to effect needed or wanted change. Magick is natural, there is absolutely nothing supernatural about it. What is taught here are various techniques of magick for beginners. Magick is natural and simple and the techniques to develop abilities should be simple and natural as well. What is taught on this site is not only the basics of magick, but the basics of many things.

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