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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Penny for your thoughts » » Progressive anagram is the best method? (3 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Profile of rockbrunnen
Where can I get Insight Book Test? Is it OOP?


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Profile of ddyment
Concerning the so-called "progressive anagram" (a.k.a. "branching anagram", which is still incorrect terminology), it is my observation that three levels of development are involved:

Level One is the creation of a branching sequence that "works". In other words, getting positive/negative responses from each step leads unequivocally to the specific word.

Level Two is the creation of an optimal branching sequence. This is one that leads unequivocally to the selected word with a (mathematically) minimum number of negative responses.

Level Three is the creation of an optimal branching sequence that is tied to a very specific script, designed to hide the methodology. Such a script provides, for any possible negative response, a credible reason for same and/or a strong unequivocal follow-up statement, to counter the misstep. Finally, the script must "flow", and not give the impression of "fishing".

Of course, there is more to the delivery of such effects than the design of the branching algorithm, but this is not a bad place to begin!

Turning to the most popular effect of this nature, the divination of Zodiac signs, the vast majority of published versions are "level two" in nature (e.g., Ray Grismer's "What's Your Sign?"), with a goodly smattering of "level ones" (e.g., T.A. Waters "Signse"). There are also lots of performers who have never been instructed on the proper techniques for this type of work.

Done well, this can be one of the most powerful tools in the mentalist's arsenal; it's strong, personal, prop-less, and completely impromptu... hard to ask for anything better. But to transform it from a puzzle to a performance piece requires that the would-be entertainer investigate the available methodologies, understand all three techniques for disguising the method, and learn a proper script (just like a real actor).

Apparently, this is far too much work for most, leading to performances that do, indeed, come off as weak impressions of a "Hangman" game.
Doug Dyment's Deceptionary :: Elegant, Literate, Contemporary Mentalism ... and More
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Profile of ChuckHickok
Doug has made some excellent points. If you want to amaze and entertain people as a mentalist, read everything Doug has put in print.

Chuck Hickok
Patrick Redford
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Profile of Patrick Redford
Speaking of non-letter branching anagrams it may be of interest to note that I created such a thing with fantasy animals. It may be found in the pages of my book Mendacity. It allows a subject to virtually think of any Fantasy animal and the performer goes on to describe it in full detail.

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Profile of RickThibau
Between the 2 options I perfer to know a letter of a specific position.
again.. between those 2 options.. often I would opt for peeks or forces.
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