One of the boldest book tests ever conceived was the brainchild of David Hoy. In the simplest of terms, it was true genius. Two unprepared paperback books are used. The spectator selects either book. The remaining book is held in a position to riffle the edges as previously detailed. Any spectator is asked to call "stop" at any time. The book is opened at that point and the performer calls out the page number, instructing the spectator holding the other book to turn to the chosen page. Tossing the book aside, the performer asks the spectator to concentrate on the first line of the text. "Don't settle for a short four or five letter word," the performer states.
"Make this as difficult as possible. Concentrate on a long word." Immediately, the performer reveals the word the spectator is concentrating upon.
Most of you are familiar with this little gem (and such adaptations as Ross Johnson's, outlined elsewhere in this volume). Obviously, the performer has previously selected two sentences on the first line of facing pages in each book and memorized the longest word in each. Remembering the page numbers, as soon as the second spectator has called "stop" the performer miscalls the page number he's been stopped on, substituting the force pages. It's quite easy to see which page (right or left) the spectator is looking at, so determining which word has been selected is a snap.
To remove the one inconsistency in this great effect (not allowing anyone to actually see the selected page number), I decided to offer, as an option, a gaffed book that will enable you to cleanly force two facing page numbers. While the "guts" of this book are prepared to perform "Flashback," Only the first 30 pages and the last 30 pages in the book are consecutively numbered. The balance of the book (approximately 128 numbered pages) consists of pages 92 and 93 (facing pages). No matter where the book is opened (with the exception of the 30 pages on either end) the spectator will be looking at pages 92 and 93.
Obviously, you memorize the longest words in the first line on each of these pages in an unprepared paperback novel that you can pick up at your local bookstore. Better yet, prepare two prediction envelopes, each containing one of the two possible force words (produce the proper one at the appointed time) or use a gaffed "double" envelope to produce either of the two possible predictions. In this fashion, you can perform any "Flashback" effect and follow it with a powerful prediction.
The more adventurous performers might also consider handing the book to a spectator and have them open the book to the force pages. However, if you want to play it safe, simple riffle the pages until a spectator calls "stop" and then have them verify and call out the selected page numbers. With a 64 page leeway, it's quite simple to have the spectator call "stop" on the force pages.
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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