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Topic: Book test reveal question
Message: Posted by: The Futurist (Nov 12, 2009 04:52PM)
I'd be interested in hearing what strategy mentalists use for the "reveal" stage of a book test. Whatever specific test it is doesn't really matter, but supposing you have the single word that the participant has chosen and are giving it some showmanship to reveal the word. Do you prefer:

a) A letter-by-letter reveal: "It's got an 'a' in it... yes, a 'b' too, in fact it begins with a 'b' doesn't it? Yes, I think I have it - your word is 'boat'. Thank you."
b) Homing in on the word semantically: "I'm getting a sense of water, of the sea in fact, um, there's a ship... in fact, sir, I think it's more... I'd call it a boat. Is your word 'boat'? Thank you."
c) A mixture?
d) None of the above?

Thanks in advance.
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Nov 12, 2009 05:15PM)
Depends on what skill set/power/ability you are displaying really...and that should shape and define everything you do...
Message: Posted by: John C (Nov 12, 2009 05:22PM)
[quote]
On 2009-11-12 17:52, The Futurist wrote:
I'd be interested in hearing what strategy mentalists use for the "reveal" stage of a book test. Whatever specific test it is doesn't really matter, but supposing you have the single word that the participant has chosen and are giving it some showmanship to reveal the word. Do you prefer:

a) A letter-by-letter reveal: "It's got an 'a' in it... yes, a 'b' too, in fact it begins with a 'b' doesn't it? Yes, I think I have it - your word is 'boat'. Thank you."
b) Homing in on the word semantically: "I'm getting a sense of water, of the sea in fact, um, there's a ship... in fact, sir, I think it's more... I'd call it a boat. Is your word 'boat'? Thank you."
c) A mixture?
d) None of the above?

Thanks in advance.
[/quote]

All or any of the above.

j
Message: Posted by: Dick Christian (Nov 12, 2009 09:05PM)
In my case (which may or may not be typical) the answer is mixture because I don't use a single book test, but a book test ROUTINE involving multiple books (as many as ten, no more than five of which are gimmicked and all of which will withstand close scrutiny), multiple methods and multiple reveals (as many as a dozen). The way I reveal the word(s) or phrase will vary from book to book, method to method and even depending on the word itself and which reveal is most appropriate for that word or phrase. Typically I do a couple of them letter by letter, at least one or two the entire word in one shot, others by whatever is best suited to the word; e.g., describe a scene, an emotion, a feeling, some can be expressed as an image or drawing, etc.

While few may want to present a routine as involved as mine (although I use a very rapid-fire presentation and even with a full ten books, the entire routine only lasts 5-6 minutes at most), I strongly recommend against presenting only a single test or even multiple tests using a single book because in either case it puts all the heat/attention on the book and emphasizes in the minds of the audience the inevitable, if unspoken, question "Can he do that with ANY book?" Using multiple books with multiple methods and multiple and varied reveals answers that question implicitly and gets the heat/attention away from the books (thereby diminishing the likelihood that the "secret" of any gimmicked books will be detected) and on the performer where it belongs.
Message: Posted by: Amirá (Nov 12, 2009 09:25PM)
Depends in various factors as other people said

your character, the book test itself... but your ideas are very good
using brain game by banachek its a very good strategy (PS1)

just enjoy your creativity
Message: Posted by: Taliesin (Nov 13, 2009 07:30AM)
Let me second what Iain said above. Marc Salem has a method that perfectly fits the skills he claims to possess. While it works for him, I don't know that it would work for anyone else.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e8FUQPDwjug
Message: Posted by: The Futurist (Nov 13, 2009 09:12AM)
Aye, it seems to me that the letter-by-letter approach, in particular a phonetic approach ("Say the word over and over in your mind... are you aware of the micro-movements of your mouth & adam's apple?"), might suit the "body language expert" performer. The semantic approach ("For some reason, I'm getting...") seems like a "psychic impression" type of manoevure that would suit the more mysterious "thought transference". But then, nothing's set in stone, and the consummate professional could use either or both approaches interchangeably.

Thanks, guys, for your input. Taliesin, it's always a pleasure to watch Marc Salem in action.
Message: Posted by: p_n_g (Nov 13, 2009 12:50PM)
My version is a mixture of the two :

[i]Have you ever misheard something in a conversation?
Perhaps the music was too loud, or you just didn't pay attention. But you remember some of the letters, and some part of the previous conversation. This is similar.
I am almost sure that the first letter is 'b' or 'p'?
But it is a short word.
I have a flashing image in my mind. Feelin' peace, and seeing the color blue. I think its the sea.
I will try to use all of the information. short word.... begins with 'b' or 'p'... and related somehow to the 'sea'. Maybe buoy?
Hmmm...nothing happens in my mind...
No, its not buoy ...wait...it is boat. Yes! It must be boat. Could you confirm this?[/i]

I know that there are some language related issues with 'my version' but you can see that I tried to mix the letter-by-letter approach with the 'image method'.

Norbert
Message: Posted by: Looch (Nov 13, 2009 12:54PM)
The letters in a word ploy can't be beat IMHO one of banacheks greatest bits
Message: Posted by: Mind Guerrilla (Nov 13, 2009 01:40PM)
[quote]
On 2009-11-12 18:15, IAIN wrote:
Depends on what skill set/power/ability you are displaying really...and that should shape and define everything you do...
[/quote]

With a book test, it's usually telepathy that's being demonstrated, yeah?

This may be corny but for a word that can be flipped and turned into numbers (the opposite of those calculator tricks where "07734" becomes "hELL0") you can do that and make it look like you initially failed, eg. "Are you sure you're thinking of a word, not an equation or a formula? I keep seeing these numbers in my head. I'll write them down. Maybe they make sense to somebody...etc." Maybe even admit failure and move on to another effect, leaving the paper/slate around for a spectator to "discover" the upside-down word on their own or else revisit later yourself if they don't pick up on it: "You know, I've been kicking myself for not getting your word right but I think I finally figured out what was happening...etc."

This, of course, is similar to writing the word and letters backward and then revealing it in a mirror ("Hmm these are starting to look like heiroglyphics to me...etc.").
Message: Posted by: Mortelini (Nov 13, 2009 01:46PM)
I am working on a "do as I do" method which I will test quite soon.
It goes like this. The Spec has the "word".
I invite a person up on stage/out front to "learn" some mentalism. This is in effect an instant stooge effect. The "volunteer" needs to be known or show some interest and definitely "up for it". (Not pre-show)
The M.O is to have a post-it and sharpie each. Get the "volunteer" to stretch their hand towards the spec and look like they are concentrating. (Play this as you will)
You of course are doing one ahead (TT potentially). Hold your post-it out too in a mirror of your volunteer but flash the first letter (to the volunteer). Ask the "volunteer" to say a letter if they see it in their mind's eye. Once the spec agrees, get the volunteer to write down the letter on their post-it and you write the second letter on yours. This progresses letter by letter with hopefully a good reaction from the audience (and spec). At the end, show both post-its to demonstrate the "do as I do".
I realise it is probably better in some scenarios than others but I thought it might be fun.
Apologies if this is already known. I have a habit of re-inventing mentalist effects :)
byebit
Mort
Message: Posted by: Mortelini (Nov 15, 2009 07:14AM)
Some comment on the "Do as I do" idea would be nice.
Ta
Mort
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Nov 15, 2009 07:21AM)
[quote]
On 2009-11-13 14:40, Mind Guerrilla wrote:
[quote]
On 2009-11-12 18:15, IAIN wrote:
Depends on what skill set/power/ability you are displaying really...and that should shape and define everything you do...
[/quote]

With a book test, it's usually telepathy that's being demonstrated, yeah?
[/quote]

not really, not always..thats why I said what I did...if you are a psychological illussionist, you wont be using telepathy at any point as you probably don't/shouldnt be believing in it...
Message: Posted by: PsiDroid (Nov 15, 2009 08:58AM)
[quote]
On 2009-11-15 08:21, IAIN wrote:
[quote]
On 2009-11-13 14:40, Mind Guerrilla wrote:
[quote]
On 2009-11-12 18:15, IAIN wrote:
Depends on what skill set/power/ability you are displaying really...and that should shape and define everything you do...
[/quote]


With a book test, it's usually telepathy that's being demonstrated, yeah?
[/quote]

not really, not always..thats why I said what I did...if you are a psychological illussionist, you wont be using telepathy at any point as you probably don't/shouldnt be believing in it...
[/quote]

Yes. and sometimes magazine and book tests are played as predictions
Message: Posted by: Jamie D (Nov 16, 2009 09:09AM)
Like Jermays bubble burst suggestion works great, it's never let me down :)

Daren
Message: Posted by: phillsmiff (Nov 17, 2009 06:41AM)
The revelation in a booktest is the key point in the effect, and I have learnt from my own experience that it can be risky to hand the climax to the spectator:
"Is your word... noctilucent?" you ask.
"You tell me." They say.
"Great. Thanks alot. It is noctilucent, am I right?"
"Yeah." Minimal applause follows.

I've had one or two of these, and even when it works, you are dependent on them for the impact: the audience only has his reaction to go on. My method now has the climax with me:

Write something down, unseen, and hold the board to your front.
"OK, I'm pretty confident this is right and there's no way either of us can change our mind now." You cap the pen and hold the board in such a way that maybe a quarter of the audience (at most) can see it. Make eye contact with a couple of people who can see it and nod. This locks in the idea, for the rest of the audience, that there are people able to see it even before the reveal. "For the first time, what was your word?"
"Crepuscular." he says. Now the quarter of audience that can see the board react, and this reaction builds the expectation and the tension amongst the others. They really want to see what is on the board! Now, you control the climax as you turn the board fully around:
"Crepuscular! Thank you very much!"

You control the timing of the revelation, you have obvious control of the situation and the concrete text that you have written down makes it seem more definite and removes the air of transience and uncertainty that can go with verbal revelations.

This is a showbiz reveal, and maybe not the same touchy feely let's-work-it-out kind of reveal that a genuine psychic might do, but it is solid craft, and it really works well.
Message: Posted by: Dick Christian (Nov 17, 2009 09:29AM)
IMO all of the various responses to the question are valid ones for INDVIDUAL tests with a single book -- depending the performer's style, context in which the test is presented, the nature/type of the test itself, and assorted other factors. Accordingly, WHICH reveal is "best" in any situation is dependent on all of those factors.

Having ceded that point, the fact remains that IMO presenting a single test, using a single book -- regardless of the "reveal" involved -- is (with rare exception -- there are ALWAYS exceptions) the weakest possible presentation of a book test for the simple reason that the heat is then always on the book. The fact that it may be a 100% legitimate ungimmicked book is of no consequence if the audience believes that it is a "trick book." Having featured book tests in my own performances for nearly 20 years has convinced me that the performance of any book test necessarily raises the inevitable, albeit rarely spoken question "Can he do that with ANY book?" in the minds of the audience. That question can ONLY be dispelled by performing a ROUTINE using multiple books, multiple methods and varied reveals. In addition to taking the heat off the books themselves, the use of multiple books with multiple methods and varied reveals makes it almost impossible for an audience member to "back engineer" and determine the "secret(s)."
Message: Posted by: phillsmiff (Nov 17, 2009 10:17AM)
The particular revelation I described was developed with my password divination, where I use a (single) dictionary which is (apparently) of little importance in the effect. You are of course correct Dick that this wouldn't work so well with successive revelations, it is engineered to build the single moment and it works well for me. I would never say it is 'the' solution, but it is, in my opinion and experience a great solution for that particular effect.
Message: Posted by: tiriri (Nov 17, 2009 06:39PM)
When I perform a book test I make the spectator repeat three or four times the word; louder and louder to create excitement in the audience. And then, I approach another spectator that has been holding the blackboard with the prediction.

I do use anyway the word-by-word but not with the book test but with a 20 dollar bill series number and it works dramatically well.

Giovanni.
Message: Posted by: ChuckHickok (Nov 18, 2009 02:29PM)
My latest booklet -THOUGHT-FULL TELEPATHY is all about making any telepathy routine more fun, interesting and exciting by focusing on a techinque call Post-Awareness Revelations.

While the idea may not be brand new ... it is clearly explained with several example. I'm getting lots of praise on this idea alone.

Chuck Hickok
Message: Posted by: Taliesin (Nov 19, 2009 12:09PM)
Dick,

If you're familiar with Osterlind's Seafire Sequence, would you consider it to be a "single book test" because only one book is ultimately chosen, or would it fit your criteria. I think I see what you're getting at, but I'm trying to get a clearer idea.

-Rick
Message: Posted by: Dick Christian (Nov 19, 2009 12:48PM)
Rick,

I know of, but do not have Osterlind's "Seafire." It is one of a couple of dozen still on my "book tests to get" list. Since I don't have it and am not familiar with it, I can't fully address your question. However, having said that, I still think that if the test revolves around the use of a single book, even if it is chosen from an assortment of books and even if there are several revelations, the book itself becomes suspect. There are certainly steps one can take as part of the presentation to reduce/minimize the suspicion but I fear that the thought that the book is somehow "special" and therefor is, itself, crucial to the test remains. The use of a single book is (IMO) least apt to arouse suspicion if an assortment of several books is available and the participating audience member is given a TOTALLY FREE CHOICE of any one of them -- as in "Here is a stack of books, take one" (i.e., no equivoque, P.A.T.E.O., or other method of forcing the choice of book no matter how fair it may APPEAR to be).

Please note that I didn't say -- or mean to suggest -- that a test using a single book couldn't or shouldn't ever be presented, only that IMO it is inherently weaker than a presentation in which several books, multiple methods and varied reveals are emloyed. Certainly the strength of any presentation is far more dependent on the performer that the items used.
Message: Posted by: pearljamjeff (Nov 19, 2009 04:03PM)
[quote]
On 2009-11-16 10:09, Daren James wrote:
Like Jermays bubble burst suggestion works great, it's never let me down :)

Daren
[/quote]

Killer. I use imagery/memory associations to paint pictures in their mind that I try to perceive. Finally, I nail the word with the bubble burst.

This is my preference for a random-word test, but for a name test, I prefer to start with Banachek's Brain Game then move onto a light reading of the person to be named, followed finally with the name reveal without the aide of the bubble burst.
Message: Posted by: pearljamjeff (Nov 19, 2009 04:08PM)
Oh, also... a while back I read a very interesting take on a book test reveal called "Erratus" by Osterlind. It was in his Perfected Center Tear booklet, hiding away at the very back. I've never tried it, but it pops into my head now and then as a very unique idea.
Message: Posted by: Stuart Cumberland (Nov 19, 2009 05:46PM)
To answer your question, I think you'll get votes for each you offer.

Some like the one-letter-at-a-time gambit. I dare say that's certainly the most "popular".

Then there are some old school who do the Dunninger approach: "Choose a word. Got it? Concentrate... ... ... BANANA! :-O

Assuming you are asking to determine the "best" approach, my advice would be to try out the different ways and see what has the strongest impact on your audience. Whichever THEY like best, is the best... for you.

SC
Message: Posted by: kevin carmean (Nov 19, 2009 08:24PM)
Salem video is great!
I like to have 3 hard back and three paper back, one is forced the other is not forced or gimmicked and do multiple reveals.
Lots of great thinking in this post.

Kevin
Message: Posted by: The Futurist (Nov 20, 2009 08:45AM)
[quote]
On 2009-11-19 18:46, Stuart Cumberland wrote:
To answer your question, I think you'll get votes for each you offer.

Some like the one-letter-at-a-time gambit. I dare say that's certainly the most "popular".

Then there are some old school who do the Dunninger approach: "Choose a word. Got it? Concentrate... ... ... BANANA! :-O

Assuming you are asking to determine the "best" approach, my advice would be to try out the different ways and see what has the strongest impact on your audience. Whichever THEY like best, is the best... for you.

SC
[/quote]

Yeah, I wanted a quick and informal 'show of hands' as I am interested in knowing the current state of the art. I would have made this a poll if the forum software had that feature. Once again, thanks to everyone for your kind contributions.

I think the two main approaches are 'equal but different' and both of great merit myself, and of course those two don't by any means exhaust the possibilities.
Message: Posted by: Tom Cutts (Nov 20, 2009 12:26PM)
Dick,

Readers should go back and read your post quoted below in full, but frankly I don't think requoting bad advice, even in dispelling it, is fruitful. I'll focus just on the telltale thoughts. If you consider that twisting your words, well can I suggest you put more thought into construction of your posts.

Here are your basic concerns for a one book test.

[quote]
On 2009-11-19 13:48, Dick Christian wrote:

the book itself becomes suspect.[/quote] Fault of the performer in his ability or guilt.
[quote]
no... method of forcing the choice of book no matter how fair it may APPEAR to be).
[/quote]Fault of the performers ability or guilt
[quote]
a test using a single book... is inherently weaker than a presentation in which several books, multiple methods and varied reveals are emloyed.[/quote] Again I'll just say, for you yes, for others doesn't have to be so. If one can condense all the necessities of the multiple tests down into the one single solitary test, one renders repetition unnecessary and even anti-climactic. But that would require not taking the off the shelf (pun intended) presentation and trying to plug it into one's show.
[quote]
Certainly the strength of any presentation is far more dependent on the performer that the items used.
[/quote]So here you dismiss everything you posted.

Performances can be just as, if not more, powerful with a single booktest and a single revelation. Such allows your audience to concentrate fully and attentively to every aspect.

As to your final comment, I don't mean to threaten you or impune your ego by disagreeing with you. I'm simply pointing out there is more than one way to achieve mystery. Mostly it depends on the performer, which you agreed, but your view above focuses on the method. I see a gross contradiction there.
Message: Posted by: Dick Christian (Nov 20, 2009 02:13PM)
Yes, my posts did focus on the method as it was a question about the method that started the thread. Thought my posts had made it clear that there are many ways of doing things and which is best depends on a combination of factors. I try to make it plain that there are certainly "different strokes for different folks" and am careful to qualify my comments by noting that they are "IMO" and assume that readers understand that said qualifier at the beginning of a paragraph applies to what follows. The way others choose to do things is their business I only know what works best for me what I observe when watching other performers and the reactions and comments of other audience members on those occasions. When others ask for advice and/or opinions I feel free to offer mine.
Message: Posted by: Tom Cutts (Nov 20, 2009 07:45PM)
Huh, I thought the question was about how to reveal the known info. Isn't that presentation, Dick?
Message: Posted by: magicFreak2 (Nov 20, 2009 07:57PM)
[quote]
On 2009-11-20 20:45, Tom Cutts wrote:
Huh, I thought the question was about how to reveal the known info. Isn't that presentation, Dick?
[/quote]

I think you got him there Tom. xD

(no offense to Dick ofcourse)
Message: Posted by: Dick Christian (Nov 21, 2009 09:54AM)
I suppose it is both "method" and "presentation." Certainly, the reveal is an essential part of the presentation; however, as I recall, the question was about the way (i.e., method) by which the reveal was made. Seems to me that "method" and "presentation" are inextricably connected. The "methods" by which the book, page and word are selected as well as the number of books used, etc. are all part of the presentation but are also "methods." I guess I mistakenly thought this was a discussion of the ways (methods) of presenting book tests and didn't realize that it was actually a game of "gotcha."
Message: Posted by: Tom Cutts (Nov 21, 2009 10:14AM)
A discussion needs to have common understanding. When that fails the discussion can become pointless. I would suggest you revisit the opening post, Dick. My understanding is it is about presentation; how one reveals the info AFTER it has been obtained. That would be AFTER the method was over.

Yes, it is true there are some methods which force part or all of that delivery, but the decision to use that method should be presentation based, not method based, IMHO. Furthermore, the question is "once you have the info..." which would seem to say method over.
Message: Posted by: The Futurist (Nov 21, 2009 11:11AM)
[i]AFAIK[/i] the method doesn't matter, I should say, because I don't have a collection of book tests like the professionals might. But I believe there are expensive books for pros that, shall we say, are not the sort of books that make for entertaining bedtime reading. However, the spectator can do the job of opening such books at whatever page they like.

If "pumping" is actually required then that might dictate how one can reveal the information. If you have to pump for a letter or two then it makes sense to stay in that vein. I don't know of an equivalent "semantic pump" though there might be one out there!

However I know a couple of the more popular gaffs with a regular book, where the mentalist himself handles the book. Nudge nudge, wink wink, say no more ;) On the face of it, the fact that the mentalist handles the book seems less than ideal, but one could put the work in on the patter and linguistic deception, and thus take the "heat" off the weak point. I like to think that nothing of this sort is insurmountable, after encountering some of the extremely clever people who "turn weak points into strong points".

I should add that the physical mechanics of operating the gaff aren't as easy as all that! Although maybe I spend more time fiddling with cards than fiddling with my little book of Picasso prints (I thought 'select a picture' might be nice... here I have sidestepped the word issue entirely!) and I just need to put the practice in. Although I have done this book test for someone (a scientist! Zoologist to be precise... though it was in the informal context of "doing a trick for my mate" rather than "fooling a scientist") and was convincing :)
Message: Posted by: PsiDroid (Nov 23, 2009 09:29AM)
Mr.christian I truly enjoyed your posts but on this one I have to say that you seem to reinterpret the meaning of what you posted as you go ..
Message: Posted by: Dick Christian (Nov 23, 2009 12:08PM)
To each his own. I only know what works for me and try to express my opinions in ways that others will understand. They can take 'em or leave 'em. How they choose to interpret them is beyond my control. If my intent/meaning isn't clear, I'll try to do better the next time.
Message: Posted by: phillsmiff (Nov 23, 2009 12:31PM)
Dick, the points you made contrasted with my own, but I was happy to read them. Not sure why everyone is getting all worked up?