Bookie Book Test

By C.L. Boarde (Reprinted from The Conjurors' Magazine by permission)

The title is particularly apt, for the effect temporarily casts the psychic In the role of a betting commissioner. This businessman is, on the surface, sorely subject to the vagaries of human emotions and actions. Yet, by his knowledge of the probabilities involved, he is able to turn such vagaries to profit. His ventures have the willing investors buffaloed from the start, for rare indeed is a loss. Let the sucker enjoy his apparent freedom of action (freedom is a stimulant to trade); the odds are neatly figured and long is the chance of beating them.

The astute reader will have recognized in that paragraph above an introduction to an extension of "50-50 or 9 out of 10" which appeared in Phoenix 162. The "improvements" are four in number. Firstly, the number of persons participating in the hoo-ha of providing the digits which are eventually totalled to locate the selected page is not limited to four but may range from four to 11. Then, the performer has no need of specially worded phrases to limit the choice of digits. Furthermore, the performer need not memorize a list of probable wordsi he makes use of a mechanical prompter. And lastly, the probable words are drastically reduced and, therefore, the pumping required minimized. These are counterbalanced by what might be considered detremental points. The performer must prepare an apparently complicated table and learn how to use it as well. In addition, he must make use of a tour-de-force to gain a necessary bit of information.

The effect loosely follows the lines of the parent version. Audience participation and the use of numbers (to avoid behavior patterns) form the skeleton around which the patter is built. A spectator is presented with a number of books from which he makes a selection. Another participant receives a pad and pencil. He collects a group of one-digit numbers which are listed one below the other in column form. After a number of digits have been collected they are totalled. The resultant figure is passed to the spectator holding the book. He turns to the page indicated. Since there are hundreds of words on the page, the performer has the spectator total the page digits and use the result to find a word. The spectator concentrates on it. However, the performer suffers from a few false starts. So, the spectator is handed a slate and directed to note his selected word thereupon. The performer does likewise on a slate. At a given signal the slates are turned about and the words match!

The effect makes use of five factors. The book is forced. Then, as in the parent effect, probabilities are put to use. A special table must be constructed. The Baker word force is again used. And the Dobrin slate comee in handy as a carrier for a prompter. Finally a tour-de-force is employed.

The manner in which the book is to be forced is a matter of personal taste. I would suggest- the Annemann either-or force or the variant thereof described in "50-50' etc." Another excellent force, also Annemann's, is the use of the s ame_ text bound in three different-cover s^__Foi—the-benefit of the reader who is not familiar with the latter, permit a slight digression. Five volumes, preferably of the quarter pocket book variety (considering weight and cost) are purchased. Three are of the same (main) title and the other two of titles strange to each other and the main three. All five should be of the type that does not have the' title'at the head of each page, but is free of all marks except page number and content. The covers are removed from the two strange volumes and their bodies discarded. The bodies are removed from two of the three main books and glued into the strange covers. Now we have three books, each with a different title cover but with the' same contents. The first force will allow the performer to toss'the unforced books to the audience. At the proper time the possessors may be directed to turn to the selected page and word in their volume to show what might have beèn if the force-sucker had selected that volume. The second force permits a truly free selection of the book.

It' might be wise for the reader to skim through the following three paragraphs and return to them after he has grasped the overall workings of the effect. As was true of its predecessor, this test makes full use of probabilities. No matter how many persons take part (in our possible number game, participant group of four to 11), and despite whatever digits they may note, only a minimum of 33 totals in the case of four participants to a maximum of 96 totals in the case of ll participants can be reached to produce a page total. The exact number of "page totals" that can be reached in any particular case depends upon the number of participants in the "number game." And these page numbers, through the Baker word.force, can produce only 18 different word totals. Refer to the illustration. The laws of probability determine the frequency with which the page totals appear. It is through the use of word total, number of participants, and probabilities that the performer reaches the factor of page total which gives him the word selected.

The manner in which the table will be used is a subject for subsequent paragraph. Our present problem is setting it up. We need do it only once and it will serve until the performer wishes to change to another force book. A sheet of paper 6-3/4" by 4-3/4" is used. The 6-3/4" length is divided into 12 columns, each 9/16" long. Then the 4-3/4" width is divided into 19 rows, each 1/4" wide. This sheet is held length uppermost,. The upper left square is split diagonally for the descriptive headings. See the illustration. Now the first column (directly under the split square) is filled with the word total figures of 1 to 18 in order. Then the following .four columns (to the left of the split square) are collectively headed by the figure 4. Each column thereafter is headed by the figures 5 to II in order. A line is drawn under the first (heading) row and after each column heading. In essence,.we have distorted the illustration, stretching its width and compressing its length. ' '

Now the table must be filled with the 96 words which might be chosen. To do this the large numbers in the illustration must be replaced with the words they represent. Take the force book in hand. Disregard the blank '' squares. Wherever a large number appears, turn to the page it represents. Now check the word total column to the left on the same row. Count to that word on the page and fill it in that square. Thus the square bearing the figure 10 is.filled in with the first word on page 10, the square bearing 55 is filled in with the 10th word on page 55. Care must be taken that thé se? ires are properly filled, the items.must not displaced^ horizontal3y or-vertically.

The upper left corner of each square filled should be left clear for further entry. When all the squares numbered are filled with the proper words, our table should look like the illustration with the exception of the small figures in the upper left corner of the squares so marked. The small numbers and their punctuation are now filled in. The completed job should look like the illustration, words replacing the figures that had represented them.

Thi*.table is fastened under the flap of a Dobrin slate. The flap Is left open and the slate is placed face down over an unprepared companion slate. A few pieces of chalk are placed on top of the elate. Then the force books are placed over them. On top of these a pad and pencil are placed. These preparations completed, the performer is ready to perform.

The standard request Is made for an assistant from the audience. While he Is on his way up, the performer scans the audience near the platform and picks out a person who looks cooperative. A pad and pencil are tossed to him with the directions to collect a group of single digit numbets. These are * ye listed one below the other in column maime:... While the acpouatsnt

'o busy'at his tnsk, the performer turns his attention to the first volunteer who has by this tiiaa-jreached the platform. The procedure of selecting a book for further action is now consumated. 'When "the selection has been made and confirffisd, ths performer turns to the accountant and directs him to total the numbers he has collected.

While this cooperative gentleman is busy with his task, the performer turns to the audience. He requests those who furnished the accountant with figures to raise their hands. Care is taken that none of this group fail to comply, a feet generally accomplished by the simple query - "Are there any more?" These people are now put through the standard routine of, "Have you I met before? Have we prearranged anything?" On the surface this is little more than a bit of showmanship. In reality it accomplishes an important bit, furnishing the performer with the number of participants in the nutsber gsir.a (all the performer need do is to count hands). This information is held in reserve, it will soon come into play.

By this ties the accountant should be finished with his problem in addition. He is directed to copy the result on another sheet of paper and pass this slip on to the chap with the book, When this ha-3 been done, he is put tfcvouph the o'jsikum of no" prearrangenent.

He is then thanked for his cooperation and permitted to taki- his seat, The figures he has collected remain with hin. Invariably, sose joker will ask him for ths liet in order ¿0 check them.

The perfors-sr now turns his attention to the spectator who has been patiently smiting with boo'-, in hand. He is directed to turn to the page indicctrcd on"the slip handsd to him. When he has done 30, the performer calls his attention to the fact that there are several hundred words on the pags. Qne must be selected in a manner that eliminates behavior patterns. £0 a-'rcinscs is planted for recourse to a strictly mathematical procedure which ksppsro to *ic the Baker force. The spectator is directed to t^ake the digitc comprising his pnge numbers erA total thorn,: The illustrates using three digit pa^es. i.e., pa&e 103 would nera the fevrth word, 241 would nesn the seventh -cord on that psga. The explication is purposely made ensbereoao ar.d ccir.olicated. Thee, it merely. seer.o a desire on the performer's to clarity ar;d I sip when he acl'i the spectator the total he has reached and -jn directs hits to count over to that word ctsrting at the first word oa the first line. Thvcygh this byplay the perforacr has learned the word £otaI5 the cccimd bit oi iufomatioa he requires: • >^cs the Koxd is reached thci. spectator is requested to memorize and ccn'.*entrats: on it.--

With the two necr.3i*ary bits of information in mind9 the performer Is almost racSy' to v'zc' vs&- of the tsble. The Bobrin slats, flap open and face down, in pickei. by "he rJjut hsr.d, fingers on tor- and the thumb on the flap. la the crao motion ths han4 is dropped at the wrist. This action turns the flap portion cf the slate toward the ? As a continuation o£ t±?. easio tsotlon tha elate in passed- to the left hand. The- right hand then picks up- .1 piece of ch&lk.

The preparatory steps coti^leted, the psychic is now ready to use the table. Refer to tha The performer has learned zh-i word total.

With this figure in mind, he runs down the first column (titled "Word total*" until he reaches that figure. (For the sake of illustration, let's say that the word total was nine and that there were seven participants in the number game. So we run down the first column to nine.) The row extending to the right of the table now of interest to the performer. These squares contain the only possible words the spectator could have selected. It is now up to the performer to determine which of the possibilities the spectator's selection may be. He now recalls the number of participants in the number game and scans the tiny figures in the upper left corner of the squares so marked for that number. The square containing that number is the point of departure, being the square most probably selected. (Here we're looking for the square bearing seveawhich turns out to be the square bearing the ninth word on page 39). I repeat, these tiny numbers tell which square in the row is the most probable for any particular number of participants in the number game. They do not tell us conclusively which word was selected. The selected word might just as well be the one on either side of the most probable. The odds are only in favor of the most probable. So the performer must pump. He takes a feature of the most probable (word length, first letter, last letter, word of action vs. stasis) not shared by the possibilities on either side and throws it out as a lead. If the response is positive, he gees on to another point of difference and throws it out as a pump lead to obtain verification. If it is obtained the most probable is the word selected and the next few sentences have no meaning.

If, however, the first response is negative, the most probable square has failed to deliver. So he shifts over to the square to the right of the most probable as now being most likely. (The first shift from a failing most probable is always to the right.) Pump procedures are used for that word. Should this square fail to deliver, the performer now shifts to the square to the left of that indicated by the tiny figure as most probable. If this fails the shift is now over to the second square to the right of the most probable. The shift is always .right, left, right, etc. The need for shift<-ing decreases rapidly with each change. Generally, the most probable, tRe to the right will suffice and very rarely must the performtr go beyond three shifts.

Note the headings at the top of the table indicating the number of participants, and particularly the heavy lines to the right of each. These indicate the limit of probable words for that number of participants, the words to the right of the black line being nonexistent since the totals required cannot ba reached by that number of participants. (In our example we had 8 participants so the only possible pages producing a word total of nine are 9, 18, and 63. Page 72 can only be reached if there were 8 participants.) Thus liiaits are put on the alternating right and left shifting and the performer protect© himself from overextension end the result of puaping non-4 ex.*.,tent probabilities.

Although the performer now has the word, he feigns difficulty. Finally, he puts his slate down for a moment. The spectator is directed to put his book aside. The remaining slate and a bit of chalk is handed to him. The performer picks Ms slate up.Now these two stand back to back. Some time dur^ ing the punp or this byplay the performer has found an opportunity to close and lock the flap. The exact moment at which this is done depends on the performer and the circumstances of performance. At a given signal both spectator and performer begin to print. When finished both turn their slate to the audience. The words match!

For the sake-^x£-ihe_xecord letr'-s—cover the situation_in.whichseveral probabilities-^have been tried and failed. Knowing the limits of choice, the performer can readily memorize the remaining possibilities. Now the performer and spectator face each-other, slates in hand. The spectator prints first. The performer should get a clue to the proper word from the length of time or number of characters it takes the spectator to do his job. Should this fail, the performer lists the possibilities on his slate and uses the out that "transmission" was poor and he received several impressions. He is quite sure one is correct but due to conflicting impressions he can't narrow it down.

The beauty of this test lies in the fact that the performer apparently has no way of knowing what page was selected nor does it appear that he has had an opportunity of controlling the selection. As far as the performer is concerned, he need not worry about errors in addition for the problem is not prepared and one total is good as another.


This is nothing entirely new as far as this effect goes - if it can be called an effect. Actually, the magician does nothing in the way of tricks, but does demonstrate his ability to command machines to do his bidding.

Imagine being able to walk up to a subway turnstile and walk right through it without paying any money into the coin box. Or, getting cigarettes, candy, soda, etc, from rhe vsr xcus verging machines. This, to an acquaintance, is real magic!

The secret is simplicity itself. A?J you do is load the turnstiles and vending machines beforehand with nickl's, dices, quarters. Only, you do not walk through the tum&tilss, nor do you attempt to work the machines. Just put the coins in and walk away. No natter how many persons use that machine during the course of a day, there will still be one unused coin in it. Therefore, all you need do is press the button or pull the handle.

For the soda, just be sure and have an extra cup with you. When a coin is placed in ens of these, the cup drops out, but a button must be pressed for the soda. It's quite a sight to walk up to a soda machine, pull a paper cup from your pocket, and press the button, filling the cup.


The Effect:

The performer enters and delivers a brief lecture on the marvelous clairvoyant powers of the "medium". He states he wishes the assistance of a few members of the audience to prove his claims.

First he gets the loan of a gentleman's stiff hat, which he places on the table,mouth up. A large handkerchief (borrowed) or napkin is then spread completely over the mouth of the hat, after which it is pushed down into the hat so as to form a "pocket".

He now walks down into the audience, hat in hand, and spectators drop small personal articles into the hat - such as a ring, coin, stickpin, pencil, fountain pens lodge pin, etc., etc., six or seven such articles will be enough for one performance.

When the desired number of articles have been collected the four corners of the handkerchief are gathered together and It is lifted out of the hat and the articles thus hidden from sight are handed to some member of the audience to hold.

The "medium" is now introduced, blindfolded and seated on the platform or at one far end of the room. Almost immediately she begins describing the articles previously collected and as each is recognized the spectator holding the handkerchief "bag" takes out that one particular article and returns it to the owner.

The Method:

There is no code used and no signals of any kind are employed. You tip off the medium as to the articles collected, by a written list that you make outL unknown to the members of the audience.

This list may be made out in two different wayst---

In your right hand trousers pocket is a blank business card and a short pencil stub. While the left hand holds out the hat during the artiele collecting your right hand rests in the pocket and jots down, in abbreviated form, short descriptions of the articles.

To one who has never tried "blind writing" such as writing in the pocket, it may sound impossible but that is far from being true. Only a very little practice is needed as you will find upon trial.

Or a pencil and card rest in your pocket at the start and, in placing the large handkerchief (or napkin) over the mouth of the hat, you. palm out the card-anxj-undej cover -of-the-"handkerchief it is shoved-up~~t3N~"TBE^0UTSIDE - OF THE HAT SO ONE END OF THE CARD IS CLIPPEl>-EISMLY_IN--Che--ribbon that goes around the—hat.___Next-^ialm-oui^t he-pencil ~~and using the hat as a writing base you jot down the descriptions undercover of the handkerchief draped down over the hat. Apparently both your hands are just holding the hat to steady it during the collection.

The desired number of articles having been collected, the card and pencil are again palmed and replaced in the pocket just before the handkerchief and contents are lifted out.

Next, introduce the medium and as you blindfold her you let your hands meet.and in.the fraction of a second she has the card. It may be placed,in the folds of her dress or in her folded hands or she may be seated with her back to the audience to make the test "harder". now an easy matter to read the contents of the card by use of the old "kid glove trick blindfold" or a fake blindfold (of which there are many on the market) may be used.

: Nevertheless it is now simply "tip to the "medium" to play out her part and give the descriptions in a "trance like" voice.

A large sheet may be thrown over the medium instead of blindfolding her and this makes a fine "trance act". Of course, under cover of the thin sheet she can easily read the card and do her stuff.


The following effect, so far as I know, is entirely original with me. While there is nothing.startling new about it, I am sure that you .will.find it very effective.

The effect, in brief, is as follows: Performer shows regular Spirit Slates which are cleaned in usual way to convince audieince that they bear no writing; these are fastened together and given a spectator to hold »."."Next the performer gives deck of cards to another spectator, who freely shuffles them. These are placed in the magician's inside coat pocket after the assistant has convinced himself that it is absolutely empty,, without. false pockets, etc. Next a member of the audience is asked to call a number preferably below twenty. The magician removes the cards from his pocket, one at a time, and upon arriving at the selected number the card is.turned over so all can see it. The Spirit Slates are now opened and the name of the selected card is found written upon one of them.

The preparation for the trick is simplicity itself. First determine the card you desire to be selected; then, in the usual way write this beneath the flap of one of the slates. The selected card is now removed from an ordinary pack and placed in your upper right hand vest pocket. The rest of the trick is self-explanatory you will find it a simple stunt to pull the card from your vest at the selected number. The use of so many spectators only makes the trick seem the more complicated and difficult.

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