When Richard Stride and Alan Wassilak’s “Scatter Thought” first hit the market in 1988 with a limited print run of 150 copies, it quickly sold out and generated quite a buzz within the mentalism community. Copies of the first edition have recently been valued at well over twelve times its original retail cost. After seventeen years, the Pseudo-Psychic’s Off-Center Tear still stands out as a unique and unsurpassed solution to the problem of divining a spectator’s hidden-from-view thought, suitable for both the working professional and the serious amateur in any performance venue.
Celebrated professional mentalist Richard Stride’s masterpiece of creative thinking, which is the core of the manuscript, builds on concepts pioneered by Richard Osterlind, Ray Hyman, and others. It is believed by many to be the simplest, most elegant, effortless, and deceptive handling ever devised for a center tear variation, allowing for an angle-proof glimpse of the spectator’s written thought while in the act of nonchalantly tearing up the folded paper. There are no steals, no need to burn or discard the torn pieces, no awkward peeks, and no difficult or suspicious moves of any kind.
Witnesses will swear that the performer never even looked at the paper as he nonchalantly destroyed it. In addition to the easy-to-follow step-by-step illustrated instructions for accomplishing this revolutionary handling of a fundamental psychic entertainment tool, “Scatter Thought” offers several novel suggestions by both Mr. Stride and by noted magic illustrator Alan Wassilak (with a guest appearance by writer/innovator Larry White) regarding presentation of the Off-Center Tear for stand-up routines, walkaround performances, and pre-show preparation. A brief history of the classic Ovette/Annemann center tear is also included in the text, with suggestions for further reading.