Where Are All The Gaffs

In addition to the "prompter" word that reveals the first word on the page the spectator is looking at, the next paragraph is also gimmicked. Many years ago, U.F. Grant released a "Readers Digest" book test that utilized a slip-in printed page on which the same paragraph had been repeated ad infinitum. The first letter in each word of this paragraph was arranged alphabetically. In short, the first word began with an "A," the second word with a "B," the third with a "B" and so on. I believe there were twenty-five words in the paragraph.

Using a false-start procedure that I'll explain later, the performer was able to zero in on any word in the paragraph the spectator mentally selected. Unfortunately, while the idea had some merit, the gaffing stood out like a sore thumb, especially the word "x-ray." It was as blatantly obvious as a neon sign.

While discussing the possibility of including this type of paragraph with Lee Earle, he suggested burying the principle one layer deeper by using every other letter in the alphabet to construct the wording of the paragraph. Take a look at the paragraph below which I subsequently created. While the wording is little "stiff," it'll easily pass a casual glance during the selection process since the spectator will be busy focusing on only one word in the paragraph.

It should also be noted that this paragraph does not appear in exactly the same position on each left hand page since the first word on the page may or may not be the start of a paragraph. In addition, the paragraph has been arranged into four cyclical paragraphs and alternated every other page so that you will not see an exact repeat of the paragraph until nine numbered pages have gone by. Believe me, this is a diabolical arrangement, from the alternate letter concept to the cyclical paragraphs that help hide the principal in play. Here's the gaffed paragraph plus the cyclical variations :

"Apparently, Congressman Edwards generated immense kickbacks. Malicious opposition quickly silenced undesirable witnesses. Blindly defiant family hysteria justified leniency. Nobody predicted retribution towards victims."

"Nobody predicted retribution towards victims. Apparently Congressman Edwards generated immense kickbacks. Malicious opposition quickly silenced undesirable witnesses. Blindly defiant family hysteria justified leniency."

"Blindly defiant family hysteria justified leniency. Nobody predicted retribution towards victims. Apparently Congressman Edwards generated immense kickbacks. Malicious opposition quickly silenced undesirable witnesses."

"Malicious opposition quickly silenced undesirable witnesses. Blindly defiant family hysteria justified leniency. Nobody predicted retribution towards victims. Apparently Congressman Edwards generated immense kickbacks."

Additional gimmicking was also done to the second and third lines from the bottom of both the left and right hand pages. The third line from the bottom of the left hand page includes the name, "Robert." The third line from the bottom of the right hand page includes the name, "Mr. Brewster." The second line from the bottom of each facing page contains only one "long" word consisting of more than four letters. For example, the second line from the bottom of the left hand page includes the word, "difference" and the second line from the bottom of the right hand page includes, "judiciary."

The fifth (optional) book is gaffed to force two page numbers (pages 92 and 93). While it's possible to have the book examined using the first word subtlety detailed earlier, I don't recommend it. I usually use the "Hoy Plus" book to demonstrate how I want the spectators to examine their books. In other words, I hand out all five books. Then, before I say anything about examining the books, I retrieve the "Hoy Plus" book to demonstrate with, then casually use it to perform the "coincidence" effect that I'll shortly explain. Later, I can use it to force a page in an unprepared paperback in similar fashion to the Hoy Book Test, but with the added advantage of not having to "miscall" the page number of the freely selected page..

As you can see, I have not compromised the examination feature of the original "Flashback." What I have done is to vastly increase the versatility of the books and provide additional features that were not possible with the original version. Incidentally, please understand that I haven't included effects such as this, that requires special apparatus, simply to tease you or whet your appetite. The effect is available, but more important, I wanted this book to be my definitive work, my legacy to all those who love mentalism as much as I do. Therefore, I've included practically all of the effects that I have created during the past ten to twelve years, regardless of whether they're the do-it-yourself variety or require specially produced apparatus.

Practical Mental Influence

Practical Mental Influence

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