## Ace Revisited

Many, many years ago, a magician by the name of Ace Gorham released a mental effect called the Ace Dictionary Trick. I believe it was in the 60's. As I recall it, the effect came with a wooden stand, a deck of alphabet cards and a dictionary. A total of 125 words and page numbers were taken from the dictionary and written in the borders on the backs of the 50 alphabet cards. The single bold words in the upper left and right hand corners of 125 pages in the dictionary are the words that eventually are used for the selection. The choice of page was governed by the five finger number force. In other words, three spectators each hold up a clenched fist. On the performer's signal, each holds up as many fingers as they wish, from one to five.

The result is a three digit number which indicates the page in a dictionary a fourth spectator is to turn to. Because of the limited force employed there are exactly 125 numbers that can be created, although from the audience's perspective, there seems to be many more possibilities. Once the 3-digit page number is selected, the performer has the fourth person turn to that page in the dictionary. He is instructed to concentrate on the word in the upper left or right hand corner of the page, which is set in bold type. As this is being done, the performer displays the faces of the alphabet cards to the audience. Naturally, all he has to do to know which word the spectator is looking up is to check the back of the cards.

The effect was well thought out, but of course, the first thing I did was to eliminate the stand and alphabet cards. To the best of my memory, my favorite routine using the principle eventually evolved into an effect I called "Bell, Book & Candle." This appeared in my second book, World of Super Mentalism, Vol. 2, published in 1979. I used a limiting procedure (a Pentagram) that reduced the 125 possibilities to 60 and these were written inside five matchbook covers (twelve words in each). In later years I returned to the 125 possibilities to structure the word test you're about to delve into. The reason was my introduction to the computer in 1985. Now it was possible to reduce 125 words, even 250 and page numbers to a readable size on a 3" x 5" file card. The resulting prompter can be hidden and accessed in a number of ways.

My favorite apparatus for holding the prompter is the Himber Wallet variation that I had Roy Roth make up for me known as the Blockbuster Wallet. The wallet is designed to hold a single 3" x 5" file card on the inner right hand panel and the left hand panel contains a single small pocket to hold an envelope and some business cards. Here's how I used it to perform a truly baffling word test. Incidentally, if the reader does not own my Blockbuster Wallet, there's a no-wallet method explained in these instructions. The next thing you need is the perfect dictionary. It's entitled, Webster's New World Portable Large Print Dictionary. It's softbound and contains 890 pages and 30,000 words. But, it's the large print aspect that makes a critical difference for the mentalist. Because the book is designed for the visually impaired, there is only one column of words on each page and the bold word in the corners is large enough for people who need glasses to read it. If I squint, even I can read them without my trifocals. Since all the words are that size, it's much easier for a spectator to count down a number of lines in the column without making a mistake. The dictionary is also quite thick, which makes it look even more formidable.

The retail price is \$18.95 and you can order it from Amazon.com if you have access to the internet. The editor is Jonathan L. Goldman.

To prepare the prompter, Xerox the artwork and cut it out following the broken rule. Glue it to an index card. Laminate it on both sides using adhesive backed laminating film obtainable at any office supply store. You'll also need a blank index card cut to the same size and laminated with adhesive backed laminating film. To write on the laminated surface, use a "Sanford Vis-aVis wet erase, fine point overhead projector pen. These low-cost markers can also be obtained at any office supply store.

What it looks like to your audience:

The performer hands out a large dictionary to a member of the audience. (Pick someone wearing glasses to be on the safe side). Now, have three spectators randomly selected. Have each stand in place. State that you're about to ask these folks to create a random number, over a hundred, but under a thousand. Ask the first spectator to hold their right or left hand in the air with their fist clenched. As soon as the spectator does this, explain that when you shout, "Now!" the spectator is to hold up any number of fingers that he wishes. The performer shouts. "Now!" and the spectator holds up three fingers. This repeated with the remaining two spectators. For example, the volunteers create the number 3-2-4. The performer records each number as it is created, on a file card in his pocket secretary. The performer now shows the number 324 boldly written on the file card, to the audience. Now, a fourth spectator is asked to stand and rearrange the 324 into another number. For example, the fourth spectator converts the 324 to 432. Thanking the four spectators for their help, the performer has the audience reward them with a nice round of applause. The performer writes the number 432 beneath the 324, which he crosses out. Displaying the new number to the audience, the performer asks the gentleman holding the dictionary to stand and turn to page 432 in the dictionary.

When the spectator states that he has found page 432, the performer asks the spectator to look at the bold word in the upper left hand corner of the page. The spectator is further asked to picture the word in his mind. After a moments intense concentration the performer writes something on the file card. "I'm getting the impression that the word you're picturng in your mind is not an object, is that correct? (The spectator answers in the affirmative.) It has something to do with language, is that correct? (Again the response is, "Yes.") But it's not an easy language to decipher, is it?"