Wouldn’t it be nice if you were a real mentalist and for a book test you would only have to use any ungimmicked pocket-book or magazine. You would merely take the book, riffle its pages until the spectator says “stop”, and hand them the magazine, have them look at the first three words and then you tell them exactly what words they’re thinking of. Well just in case you’re not a real mentalist, keep on reading for here’s the way YOU can accomplish the above, clean cut effect.
In my presentation, I have a chair sitting stage left and on it are a couple of magazines and five or six paperback novels. I get an assistant from the audience and have them stand to my left (between the chair and the microphone). I have them select one of the books (or magazines) as I patter along the following lines.
“I’m sure that the total amount of words in all of these books and magazines would total into the millions. In fact, the one you selected (read off its title) has three hundred and twenty pages and probably eighty or a hundred thousand words in it alone.”
Apparently, as the above was said, you casually flipped through its pages to confirm your statement. What actually happened was as soon as the book is handed to you, you take it in your left hand and hold it by its spine. Your right thumb riffles the pages of the book (upper right corner) stop a little over half way through the book. Quickly glance at the left hand page and scan any large ads, pictures, general layout and if possible the first two or three words on the page. Memorize this information (with a little practice it’s easy). As soon as you have it, place your little finger on top of the right hand page and let the book close. What you now have is known in card magic as a little finger break in the book, at the lower right corner.
We now come to the all-important force. So you don’t get confused, positions of hands are as follows. The left hand is holding the spine of the book, the four fingers are underneath the book, and the thumb is on top. The right hand thumb is on top of the book’s cover. The right little finger is holding the break and the other three fingers are underneath the book. Still with me?
Continuing, the right thumb starts slowly riffling the pages. When the spectator says stop, both hands move the book towards him as this happens, move your right thumb completely away from the book. When you do this, the book will spring open at your little finger break, and you place the book into the spectator’s hands as you move away from him. The entire action of forcing the page must be done with your head turned away (to the right) from the action.
When I perform this I say, “I would like you to form an image of this page in your mind. Visualize, the pictures, the headlines, even the first two or three words of text, if you will. Now, actually write these thoughts, with chalk of imagination, on the blackboard of your mind.”
You then proceed to feed back the memorized information in your most showmanly manner. I have researched for many years the hundreds of book tests that have been in magical print and I’ve never found a cleaner, more direct, or easier method than, “simplamental”. I hope you agree and will give it the practice it deserves.