WAY BACK in 1942 I remember writing up a two person book test called " The Hand is Guided." The principle employed was one that had been little used though Zancig at one time had managed to get ten dollars a time for it. The effect I have mentioned meant a great amount of spade work, and though later it was marketed by an American with no credit to this writer, recent months have sent me back to it and in going back I have simplified the preparation without losing any of the effect.
First of all in any book test, I feel that the audience should never have reason to think that what is taking place is a feat of memory, i.e. in many cases a performer asks for a number to be given and a book is opened at the page bearing that number, the performer then detailing particulars of the chosen page. The spectator could well give the performer credit for having memorised the contents of each page. Book tests as I see them should indicate a telepathic approach, and in such case where a number is requested and then given a book should be chosen, its title being unknown to the performer.
In this effect (offered as phase of telepathy between spectator and medium) which is very straightforward a number between six and a hundred is requested. The presenter notes this number on a slate which is then handed with a piece of chalk to the medium who sits facing the audience. The presenter indicates to a member of the audience a pile of popular magazines. " Sir," he says, " I want you to look over and then remove any one of those magazines. Don't let me see which one has been taken and please don't let the lady here see, either."
The assistant takes one of the magazines, the presenter looking away. In fact the best thing is to have the magazines in a pile on a chair or table and both presenter and medium well to the front, thus there can never be any idea in the audience's mind that anything is glimpsed.
" Now you have taken a magazine I want you to open it at the page number that has been freely given first of all look at the page heading concentrate on this and see whether the medium can pick up your thoughts . . . ." This is done and the medium gives details of the page heading.
" Now, sir, a harder test take the words at the corners of the page. First of all the top left hand corner (the medium starts writing on the slate), next the right hand corner (more writing), the left hand bottom corner and the right hand bottom corner (more writing by the medium).
The medium is asked to turn round the slate she is holding. On it printed in chalk and reading from left to right in two lines appear (say) the words " DELIGHT . . . REALLY
The spectator with the book is asked to read out the words he noted. They are .. " DELIGHT, REALLY, HAPPEN and TOO ! "
Nine sticks of chalk.
Ten similar magazines of the Digest size.
Nine magazines of the same size but all different copies.
A large slate or blackboard.
Some paper, pen, sellotape and patience. Preparation.
The books that I use are Ellery Queen magazines which run to ninety-six pages. The performer is, therefore, concerned with a matter of ninety pages assuming that he ignores the first five or six. Remove the covers from all but one of the magazines and with a spot of adhesive rebind the similar magazines inside the different covers. Thus though appearing to have ten different magazines the contents of each are identical.
Now make up some paper tubes that will fit over a length of chalk. About four rollings of paper will give quite a stiffish tube (see illustration 1). Making a note of the circumference
measurement, cut some pieces of paper of the same length. You will require nine tubes and nine pieces of paper. These papers will represent ten pages of the magazine. The first will cover 6 to 15 and so on.
The information needed is the titling at the top and the four extreme words on each page. The format on each piece of paper gives all this information, which is printed in small letters like this: —
£• 5. C-ARDNCfc - 5L4CK JfcT [¿.MAY ■ S££N. CHAwif - CAnC I 7,To. CA'TAI/U • Min, - "roe(< V. lime • «.ofti - tfVii" - f'wr
"1J.TC UC • fAY - NiUK - .Towf il.TcfiC^i.' TlC£ 'ïeir ' u£0 /J, f z\Y - £<fLA<N. ■ P £ VISE - S IT itft Cat » r-wwe* - -Hén-rof.
The slate and books should be either on chair or table, the chalks being easily getatable.
The lengths of paper are now taken, adhesive applied and rolled around the tubes. To keep the writing clean sellotape (Scotch tape) is used to cover the writing. The sticks of chalk are now pushed inside the tubes which should allow about half an inch to protrude.
The matter of keeping the tubes positioned is one for the individual. First of all the sequence is important, i.e. the presenter must be able to place his hand on the needed information without hesitation. Therefore the following suggestions are made. The first is to have two holders, one which will take four pieces, and the other five, these holders being slipped into the right and left trousers pockets, respectively, or to have a box on the table which will allow the easy extraction of the necessary piece. The following illustration in which the chalks can stand upright meets the case.
The medium is seated facing the audience well to the front of platform. Books and slate are picked up by presenter, the books being placed at the rear of the table which should be behind him. A number is asked for and being given, the presenter goes to either his pocket or box and takes out the piece which carries the information relative to that particular page. He writes the given number in large figures on the slate, and this with the piece of chalk is handed to the medium. She holds the chalk between the left hand, thumb and second fingers and in that position she can easily revolve it and note the contents of the titling and the chosen line. Remember that at this stage she already has the information though no book has been chosen !
The spectator is directed to choose one of the books and from then on until the close of the effect the total result depends on the showmanship of the presenter and his assistant.
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