Impromptu Book Test Simplified

By Corinda

It is always as well to knowr a couple of good effects that can be done on the spur of the moment. In this effect, a Book Test, I have again resorted to the easiest possible means—and, I might add, the cleanest. When you talk about impromptu effects you forget about forcing a word with dice, playing cards and what-have-you—nothing is more likely to make the whole thing appear prepared.

The Effect and Method

Being a Mentalist you will anticipate that sooner or later you will be asked to do something! Prepare for this event a few minutes beforehand by finding a good size book. Preferably one from a selection of many that may possible be found on a book shelf. In an emergency, you can utilise practically anything, a directory, office invoice book, diary, etc. . . . but choose a book if you can.

Carry with you at all times a ten shilling note, the serial number of which you have memorised. Here again, if the trick must be done entirely impromptu, you can work from scratch using any ten shilling note, one-pound note or dollar bill. However, you make it easier for yourself if you use the same one each time.

Look at your ten shilling note and note that you have six figures in the serial number. The first two numbers of the six—will represent the PAGE number. The next two the LINE number and the last two—the position of the word in that line. Because of this, you would do best to choose a note with the first two figures around the fifty mark (i.e. 47) the next two around the twenty (i.e. 23) and the last two very low around nine or ten, but not more, as there may not be that many words in the line. A serial number like 472305 would be perfect.

With this foreknowledge, choose a book on the premises and on the quiet look up page number Forty-seven, line number Twenty-three and find the Fifth word in that line. Remember this word and then replace the book. Have the ten-shilling note folded to a convenient size for switching. (See Step Six).

When the time arrives to perform—say that you will try something that might be of interest. First ask for the loan of a ten shilling note (or one the same as w hatever currency you are using). Next look around for a book

I ( 1 [ [ I I i and move about a bit before you choose the predetermined one. In moving around the room, obviously getting ready to do something, you have every chance of switching the two notes.

When you get the book hand it to the host and tell them you will try a novel test with their property! Look at the note and say, "we have six figures on this ten shilling note you have given me. Let's take the first two as a page, the next for a line and the last for the word. Look (show them), the first figures are forty-seven—turn to page forty-seven. Take the note also because I don't want to be anywhere near you when you see the word".

Guide them carefully with clear instructions (i.e. "disregard the title heading on the page if there is one") until they find the word. From then on it is just a matter of revealing the word by some dramatic presentation or other. Don't just tell them the word—build it up—write it backwards with lipstick on the mirror, in ash on your arm, spell it out with matchsticks—anything that leads up to something more than just saying "And the word is Mouse", to which the host may justifiably retort "So what!"?

Last but not least—looking ahead, you will make a sly effort to recover your ten shilling note and replace it with another. 1 suggest that the easiest way to do this is to follow with any trick which uses a ten shilling note!


By Corinda.

In a moment I'm going to talk about dice and playing cards, other horrible things which all tie up with the routine for this rather unusual Booktest. But bear with me—there is a deliberate purpose for using the offending materials and if you bypass this effect you will rAiss something good; aside from which, the knowledge of the dice force involved will come in handy, time and time again.

Is it not true that throughout the career of every performing mentalist, there are constant requests for "show us a trick" and following that "show us how it's done". This time we are concerned with Showing How to do an Effect of Mentalism! That is why 1 have titled the routine "A Lesson in Mentalism"—it is a standby routine which fits the occasion from every point of view.

First we must consider the ethical side of the problem of teaching a trick to members of the public. You cannot reveal anything of importance and yet you have to do something which pleases them—and perhaps satisfies their demands. I am of the opinion that it is an error to teach anybody anything at anytime—unless they are "one of us". So we get round the problem in true mentalists' fashion—show them a routine presenting it as a demonstration of Mentalism and having arrived at a surprise climax we now go further, explain the methods by running through the trick backwards —but each time you go to illustrate what you did—an even more surprising occurrence is discovered!! Another name with this routine would have been a "Trick with two climaxes!"

The Routine

After a few introductory words in which the performer mentions a few basic principles of "Theoretical Mentalism"—speaking about the diversity of ways to perform mindreading. dual-control, long distance telepathv. etc., he prepares to give a demonstration, a single example to show what must be done in order to achieve the results he usually displays!

Four things are laid on the table. A slate, a glass, a book and a pack of cards. The performer explains that this type of experiment is called a Book test, and enlarges the description by explaining that this means a word has to be chosen and the manner must be free of any influence. For scientific purposes the best way to have a word chosen is to isolate the human element and leave it to chance. Which brings us to dice, and cards—for what is more chancey than such things?

He takes about six dice from his pocket and drops them into the drinking tumbler. Whilst talking, he gives them a good shake; finally he hands the glass to one onlooker and tells him to give a real good shake and then to add the top numbers and call out the total.

The number twenty-one is called and the dice put aside. Taking the cards from the case the performer lays them face down in a pile on the table. He explains that the spectator must count to the twenty-first card and then look at it. Whatever it may be—that card will be used to locate a page and word in the book. The cards are counted off and the twenty-first is turned over and found to be the NINE of diamonds—a NINE. (The performer has explained that the suit will be disregarded—whatever the value, if it should be a six, for example, we would take the page number six and sixth word along in the top line).

The spectator takes the book, turns to page Nine and counts to the Ninth word. He reads aloud that word "Unmentionable". This done, you explain that this is how a mental test is conducted—and add that if done properly, the results would be like this the performer picks up the Slate and turns it over. There is chalked the word "Unmentionable".

Normally of course, the test would end there—but this time you intend to show how the preliminary tests are mentally guided so that you are sure to get good results. "Let us go back" says the performer, "Let us see how we arrived at this word which I predicted".

He takes the book. "This is page Nine, the word is the Ninth word in the line. We arrived at that because you selected a card numbered Nine. He puts the book down and points to the cards. The Nine was chosen because it happened to be at the twenty-first position in the pack, had it been any other number it may well have been any other card—do you agree? The number was twenty-one—again by chance as with six dice (he throws them back on to the table) there could have been any total between six and thirty-six—a pretty good range. Therefore the only real problem was to mentally control the dice to make you arrive at the number twenty-one. This I did—and of course you will be doubtful—so I may as well prove it. Your card was the twenty-first—it couldn't have been any other card as now you see (turns pack face up) it happened to be the ONLY real card in the pack—all the others are blank!" Everything may now be examined— there is nothing to be found.

The Method

Find a book with a good word at the ninth position on page nine and copy-that word on to your slate. Have a blank face pack of cards with the Nine of any suit at the twenty-first position from the top. Now you require twelve dice and an ordinary drinking tumbler. Keep six of the dice in one pocket ready for switching at any convenient point in the routine. You have plenty of time. Divide the other six into three sets of two. Take them in pairs and give each the same treatment:—

With a good strong glue stick the pairs together with the following numbers matching on each of the four long sides of the block, 5 & 2/4 & 3/5 & 2/4 & 3, on the short ends the numbers 1 and 6 will appear. An alternative combination of 4 & 3/6 & 1/ repeated with 5 & 2 at the short ends. The outcome of the preparation is that no matter how much the dice are shaken, the top number will always be Seven on one set. With three sets it will always come to TWENTY-ONE!

At the point in the routine where you introduce the dice, you. remove the three "doubles" from your pocket and just drop them into Hie tumbler, shaking them idly as you patter. When it comes to having the/spectator shake them—BE BOLD—don't look twice at the dice—simply say "put your hand over the mouth of the glass and shake them up". When he has done that—and you will see how unbelievably deceptive the noise and movement makes the force, take back the glass and add the top total asking somebody to check that. If, after the shake, one pair should settle upright, give the glass a tap before starting the count. When you have had the total checked, simply tip the dice back into your hand and drop them into your pocket.

Keep the secret of this dice force up your sleeve. If you want to use it more extensively, you can obtain an extensive range of numbers by adding one or two single dice, sticking them to the bottom of the glass. Again you will have to try it to realise that anything so stupid can be so effective. The combination of two or three "Doubles" and one or *wo permanent singles give you a lot of scope for forcing numbers. I haveVorked on this principle for quite some time and 1 know that there is much to be done with it yet.

The end of the routine is, I suppose, obvious. You explain how very easy it would be for them to look up a word, write it on a slate, put one card at a known position in the deck. All that remains is knowing how to Mentally Control six dice—but that's another Lesson!!


This trick draws the basic idea from an effect devised by that Masterment-alist, Ted Annemann. In Practical Mental Effects, Annemann describes a clever adaption of The Centre Tear to a Newspaper test. Much as the effect is good, and the method reasonable, I have found that getting a spectator to underline a word and then folding the ahh not exact: and indeed. in psychotherapy one almost courage» people to tell a story highly coloured by indiquai values, as material for analysts Onl) 10© rare is it one is able, evm m case of need, to verify what rea occurred objectively at a certain point oí the patient

But when it comes to assessing of geni patient asses», how much an apparently psychic encc wt\c*ir»-rwofy, and how much was sid^ecme apperceptive., the difficulty oí the task »s increase a hundredfold

The hywerXrven more thar. mon peopledrama, and wants to ptW an important pan in the /rama More-over, since pryehV perceptivity has no« ytfDeen accepted as a normal functidb of the human piycrf. there is a ten-dency among tenainVople 10 weave inVthe most ordinary and explicable events\ backgroundJ*xpiicit or implicit, of clairvoyance, telepathy precogn^on and what not By doing so, tbe import ariceVi the and the mysterious qualit\of heightened. Here then are much materia! provided by

Another difficulty was one in the hope of Icarni To sidestep therapy on «cross the former,

'currence n magnified.

one who retails it is rcasont for discounting most hopeful patients hical Patients come to lo co(!t with their symptoms. rcjrarch.Xthe latter were to cut 'uld be uneYiial. Psychological analysis of any kirtd^iusi be concern^! with helping the patieni to find vahiA which will enable men to adapt him. »elf in his own wy to whatever mav be hil^ariicular life-pattern In mojf cases, the analytically miflded therapist is no» at all cc^cerned with what happened. aWl it is of no therapeutic /t)\ic to son out the objective rWurrrnces from the s/ojective accretion around the exiert^ event The cKcemion to this is where the source of the perception ob»ci/c or uncontrolled and therefore liable toViuse In such a case the matter needi to be studittLin a point which will be illustrated later, points are made to explain the paucity of acm i ; i i i i t paper so that their word is correctly positioned for the Centre Tear, can offer a bit of trouble. Deciding that the effect and method were worth the trouble, I have experimented with the result that the following method makes it quite infallible.

The Effect

A spectator chooses any book—preferably one that is his own property, but a cheap one that you can afford to tear. He chooses any page and tears out that page. He is then instructed to rule two lines across the page—right across from corner to corner both ways, forming a large Cross. Next he looks at the word to be found in the middle of the cross at the point where the two lines meet and then, having committed the word to memory (no writing) folds the sheet in half and half again and gives it to you. Upon receiving it, you tear the paper into shreds, drop the pieces into an ashtray and set it alight. After that you are able to reveal the chosen word.

There is little to describe. The drawing of two lines guarantees that the word to be selected is going to be near, if not exactly in, the centre of the page. Since this is so, when the page is folded twice, you are sure that the chosen word is precisely where it has to be for the Centre Tear which you do as you tear the page into shreds. (Step Six on Billets gives a detailed account of The Centre Tear).

I don't see that the drawing of two lines is any distraction to the effect. No more so than would be underlining a word or drawing a circle around one. It is enough that they can choose any book and any page—and you may excuse the action by explaining that you want them to "navigate" at random to find the position of a word in millions. Another thing, you can tell which side of the paper to read when you glimpse the torn centre as it will be marked with two crossing pencil lines. This is the sort of trick that I would recommend to you for keeping on one side as a standby for emergencies. As long as you can get a book—you can do it. A valuable effect to any Mentalist.

Friendly Persuasion

Friendly Persuasion

To do this successfully you need to build a clear path of action by using tools if necessary. These tools would be facts, evidence and stories which you know they can relate to. Plus you always want to have their best interests at heart, in other words, you know what is good for them

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