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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Penny for your thoughts » » Book test (5 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

JoshDude849
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Anybody know where I can get more information on the book test effect?
mindmagic
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All the classic textbooks include book tests. Off the top of my head:

Thirteen Steps
Practical Mental Effects/Magic
Modern Magic Manual
Mind, Myth and Magick
Self-Working Mental Magic

For the *original* book test, see here: https://psi-encyclopedia.spr.ac.uk/articles/book-tests

Barry
Mr. Woolery
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On top of that, I think there are at least 14,000 specially printed book tests that use at least 43 different methods to do the same basic thing.

In general, the effect of a book test is that a participant selects a word from a book and the mentalist is able to know the word. That’s the effect. Methods, as I note above, vary greatly.

What are you trying to accomplish with a book test? In what context will you apply it? Details like your performance experience, your limitations, literature preferences, and so on will make it much simpler to help you.

Patrick
JoshDude849
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Shock the audience I'm performing it for is what I'm aiming for.

I haven't tried anything like this yet.

I'd prefer stuff on history, or sports, or even psychology in terms of books I'd use.

I don't want something extremely expensive either.

Josh
Mr. Woolery
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Any book test done well is an amazing event. Any book test (even the most expensive) done poorly is a flop.

If you want to shock your audience, you can do that easily enough, just by arranging for a shocking word to be selected. This varies by audience. For a group of church folk, you could be certain of shocking them with the Satanic Bible. Or an adult magazine.

There’s a reason I asked about your intended audience. Will it be 300 bikers at an outdoor gathering? 6 friends in the school hallway?

The audience type will make a big difference in how you approach this.

Patrick
Mr. Woolery
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Grab a magazine or a cheap paperback book and use the BT from MWCCIM and you will be set. It will play for large or small groups, can be free if you find someone getting rid of books, and is very strong if done well.

That last bit is important. Can you present it well? If not, stick with trick that depend less on performance skills until you build your chops a bit.

That’s sincere advice, not a blowoff. A lot of magic is somewhat expensive to buy but the effects can be strong even when presentation isn’t. There are folks in the mentalism world whose entire show consists of $5 worth of stuff from an office store. And 20 years of learning how to perform it for maximum impact.

It isn’t the prop that makes a book test strong. It is the performer. A pro will invest in props that work well for him and those often cost a lot, but the same prop in a beginner’s show might tank instead of triumphing.

Patrick
JoshDude849
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Well I definitely won't use a Satanic bible or an adult magazine, as that goes completely against my beliefs.

I definitely think I could perform it well. My family members have always said I should be an actor. Haha.

I probably wouldn't be doing this for more than 20 people. So a smaller type setting.

I feel dumb, but what is the "MWCCIM".

Also, thanks for the great advice overall, very helpful.

As always,

Josh
Demitri
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MWCCIM = Mark Wilson’s Complete Course in Magic

You can also look into David Hoy’s Bold Book Test from The Bold and Subtle Miracles of Dr Faust, Richard Osterlind’s Poor Man’s Book Test from Six Shooter, or Marc Spelmann’s Words from his What Am I Thinking video (very similar to Osterlind’s).

These are all effective methods that are mechanically simple and use ordinary books. Working with any of these will allow you to focus on presentation.
JoshDude849
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Okay, that makes complete sense.

Thanks Demitri.

Josh
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