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Topic: My Own Mother of All Book Tests
Message: Posted by: czero (Apr 7, 2004 10:48PM)
I originally posted this on the forums of another online magic community populated by devotees to a certain arctic bird. I've since decided to migrate here to the Café, as I appreciate its commitment to literacy and civility (not to mention its overall maturity and professionalism). May I never see another post that substitutes "u" for "you" or poses such deep questions as "Die-cypher II vs. Bannacheck [sic]"...


This is something I came up with a while back...

I owe this effect entirely to the brilliant Harry Lorayne, as it combines a very basic mnemonic technique presented in his various memory books with an effect from his The Magic Book: The Complete Beginner's Guide to Anytime, Anywhere Sleight-of-Hand Magic. It's something I can only do when entertaining guests in my own apartment and there was some fairly rigorous mental preparation involved, but it's absolutely blown people away every time I've performed it.

THE EFFECT: The spectator freely selects any volume from my rather large library of books--there is no force involved; s/he goes up to my bookshelves and picks whichever volume strikes his/her fancy. The same spectator (or another, if there are others present, and I want to involve more than one of them) then randomly generates a four-digit number. The first three digits of this number are used to designate a page from the selected book; the final one designates a line number on that page. I then ask the spectator to find that particular page and line in the book and concentrate on the first word appearing on that line...and then catch their eye and tell them the word.

THE METHOD: It's a combination of the classic Ten-Eighty-Nine number force with using the most basic memory technique {the link}. Beautifully simple technique, but somewhat rigorous preparation, as I've mentioned. But soooooo worth it. I just link the book's title to its relevant 1089-derived word.

Whenever I buy a new book and it goes on my shelves, I always commit the relevant word to memory. I keep a master list of all of them, which I periodically review for reinforcement.

One variation that I'm thinking of trying: If I happen to be visiting someone whom I haven't shown this to, and they happen to have the same edition of a given book that's on my own list lying about...i'll ask to borrow it to do a quick psychic test and take it from there.

I'm also thinking about alternative methods of forcing the page/line number. So far, old 1089 has proven to be surprisingly reliable--it's so old it's new again...but I know that my luck there can only hold out for so long <g>. What I love about it is it doesn't rely on props--no billets/pellets, loaded dice, playing cards, or other gimmicky crap getting between the spec's choice and the numbers generated.

Of course, when I do come up with a better force, I'm going to have to re-memorize a couple hundred books/words. Ah well...

Thank God for Harry's techniques. If I had to rememorize the relevant words from a thousand books, I could do it in an afternoon. They're that good.
Message: Posted by: mOzerian (Apr 7, 2004 10:58PM)
CZERO....excuse my complete ignorance...[b]love your idea[/b]...could you explain me the 1089 force, I am aware of several number forces but since you claim that this one is so Reliable...could you share some pointers on it with me....

Feel free to PM me...if you don't want to write it here.
Message: Posted by: London (Apr 8, 2004 12:09AM)
I believe you can find it in Annemanns 202 methods of forcing.
Message: Posted by: mOzerian (Apr 8, 2004 12:46AM)
Yes I am actually famillar with it...for some reason I thought it was a less arithmetic intensive force
Message: Posted by: czero (Apr 8, 2004 10:04AM)
Yep, it's the one you're thinking of. I know, I know...we all learned it when we were kids. But it still works! LOL

As arithmetical forces go, it's pretty straightforward. Its simplicity is both a curse and a blessing, I guess. Only two calculations required (so there's little chance of them making a mistake), and to most people it seems random. But there's a real danger of them reverse-engineering it and realizing that it always produces the same result. So far, though, the fact that they've been allowed to choose any book at all has managed to take the heat off the seemingly innocuous method of choosing a page/word. I've performed it about two dozen times, and I've yet to be busted. It's actually become a bit of a reputation-maker for me. :)

As an alternative, you could just take another book and tell the person to say STOP at any time as you riffle through it. Then pretend to look at the page they've caused you to stop at and announce its number (in reality announcing the force page regardless of where they've stopped you). Then you can have them look up the same page in the book they've chosen and note the first word on the page. If you're casual enough about it, no one's going to call you on it. I'm thinking of doing it this way in the future, as it seems like it might be more natural. Of course, I'll have to rememorize my entire library, substituting the first word on the page for the first word on the ninth line of the page...

Ah, well. It's worth it. <g>

For the stage, I'd just go with a conventional book test. They always seem to get great responses. I like the one Max Maven has on his Videomind series, especially the idea of utilizing a drawing--that's a great twist. Somehow seems more psychic.
Message: Posted by: landmark (Apr 8, 2004 03:38PM)
Alternatively, you could take each book in your library and perform a certain little operation on each of them, if you get my drift . . . If not PM me.

Jack Shalom
Message: Posted by: Anabelle (Apr 8, 2004 04:28PM)
About the 1089 force. I read a book by Docc Hilford called The Sign Of Four which has an awesome presentation for this force. Check it out!

Message: Posted by: czero (Apr 8, 2004 05:12PM)
Wow...Docc uses it?

*adding another book to my must-read list*

Thanks for the tip, Anabelle. :)

Message: Posted by: jasonchr (Apr 9, 2004 12:45PM)
For some excellent number forces, check out Richard Busch's Number...Please?

Message: Posted by: czero (Apr 9, 2004 03:57PM)
Jason: That one's on my list too. So many books... :hypnodisk:
Message: Posted by: Dr.Morton (Apr 10, 2004 02:27AM)
I really like your effect, thanks for sharing it with us.
Here is my advice (for what it is worth):
If you found a killer routine that works - stick to it. One of the biggest mistakes among magicians is, to be never satisfied with the method and to buy more and more and even more in search for the perfect solution. Most of the time there is not, everything lies within the presentation. You can work miracles with simple stuff like a TT, a Sven Gali deck or a simple Double Lift, if done at the right time, within the right context. It will blow poeple away.
On the other hand, in your case, it might be a good idea to have a second force or a different method available to be able to repeat the effect without relying on the same method twice. That might turn it in a little wonder.
Message: Posted by: EndersGame (Mar 17, 2008 10:47AM)
There's some more useful discussion on the 1089 force here:

Tom Ogden also describes "The 1089 Book Test" in [i]The Complete Idiot's Guide to Magic Tricks[/i] (p.246), which is where I learned this effect. He suggests using equivoque, to give the spectator an apparent choice of three books, and you use the magician's choice to force the book of your choice. I've had a few people question the math or wonder if there was a limited outcome of possibilities, but another spectator would point out "But you could have chosen a different book!" so this additional convincer really helps sell the effect. Although I like the idea of the original poster - just memorize the key word in several books, and allow an entirely free choice of book.

I'm wondering about the best way to present the effect. I take it that you present it as an exercise in mind reading? Any reason for going with that presentation rather than as a prediction?