Dollar Store Book Test
Allow me to begin by saying I’m not a big fan of mental magic.  However, this idea may inspire you to create something different with simple props.

The dollar stores are filled with both hard and soft cover books on a variety of subjects.  And they are all $1.  Amazing isn’t it?  I pray the books I’ve written never die a slow death in dollar store Hades.  But that’s not the point.

Choose two books you like with no more than 398 pages.  Pick up a spiral bound notebook as well.  You’ll also need a marker, an ink pen, and a few minutes to prepare the props.

The Book Test
Offer two books for examination.  Ask your volunteer to choose either book and thumb through the book to see how many pages are inside.  Ask them to call out a page number.  With the marker write the number on the first page of the spiral notebook.  Write the numbers in a vertical line in preparation to add the digits together.  For example if page 321 is given you will add them on the notebook page to reveal the sum of 3 + 2 + 1 = 6.

Ask your volunteer to turn to page six.  Randomly ask them to look over the page and find a single word.  For example, “Look at the third word in the fifth line on the page.  Use only lines of print.  If it’s the first page of a chapter don’t count the chapter title just the lines of text.  When you have found the word stare at it and say it over and over in your mind.  Don’t say it aloud, only in your thoughts.  I will attempt to pick up the word you are repeating over and over in your mind.”

Turn the first page of the spiral notebook back to reveal a clean sheet.  Begin to write the letters of the word one at a time in random order.  For example if the word is “lucky,” you might write the letters k, u, y, l, and c until the word is formed on the page.  Confirm that the word you wrote is correct and accept your applause.

In the beginning of this article I stated that I’m not a fan of mental magic but after reading what I just wrote I may have changed my mind.  This sounds like a strong book test and can be done with any books.

The Secret
This is the simpliest book test I know of with ungimmicked books.  I bought the secret when I was a child and can’t remember the name or originator of the idea.  I checked in Tarbell but couldn’t find anything there either.  From childhood I just remember the book that came with the directions had a cheat sheet in the inside cover of the book.  In my presentation I am using a spiral notebook and two books to choose from.  I like my addition and I hope you will as well.

The secret is to find the word in the same position on all of the first twenty numbered pages of the book.  Make a list of the third word on the fifth line.  Write this list on one side of the inside cover of the spiral notebook.  Do the same with the second book.  However, choose a different random position.  For example the second book will be using the sixth word on the third line.  Write this column on the inside cover of the notebook as well.  You now have a cheat sheet with all the words on the first twenty pages of both books.  Either book or both may be used and you can divine the one word your volunteer is thinking of.

The notebook makes the perfect cover for the cheat sheet and once the math page is turned back to reveal a clean sheet for the word prediction the notebook cheat sheet is hidden from view.

Hopefully there are enough details here so you can test your book knowledge in an upcoming show.  The photo shows a couple books I picked up at the dollar store along with the gimmicked notebook.  Those dollar stores will sell anything these days.

 

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