Book Tests

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Postby Guest » 01/21/03 02:04 PM

I am rehearsing some tricks for a small stage appearance. One of them is the book test. I am currently thinking of using a 14-15 force deck (the spectator places a face up joker between two cards in the spread). I took it out of Annemann's Practical Mental Effects. I read about the joker touch in Ortiz's Strong Magic.

Would you suggest other, in your opinion, better methods? If yes, which ones, and where may I find them?


Postby Guest » 01/21/03 10:13 PM

If you're familiar with the concept of a simple riffle force to a break (a fairly standard card move), try using that with a small object like a coin or a toothpick placed near the spine of the book as the break (instead of a pinky break).

Forcing the page number with a pack of cards isn't a book test. It's a card trick.

Postby Dr Adrian Solon » 01/22/03 05:43 AM

You could use 2 entirely normal paperbacks for a Hoy type book test. One of the books is used to force a page number in the other book, from which you remember the first line on the force page (the first, or longest word, or the gist of the whole line). Another option is Max Maven's Autome, which is on one of his Videomind tapes. I have always had brilliant reactions to Autome.
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Postby Guest » 01/22/03 03:42 PM

well if u buy larry beckers book test u get a forcing book. and u can get some really good effects out of the books to u get like 6 books.

Postby Andy Hurst » 01/23/03 01:05 AM

My favorite book test (and I've used quite a few) is now Val Andrews Unfeked Book test. There's some info on Ian Rowland's web site (although the manuscript is not available from him, but he gives Val's contact info).

Ian Rowlands Page about Val Andrews Book test.

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Postby Guest » 01/23/03 05:10 AM

Adrian Solon suggests the Hoy book test.
And I couldn't agree more!
It is beautiful in its simplicity; you start clean, work clean, and finish clean.
There are, in fact, NO gimmicks; you don't even have to use your own books.

Think about the philosophy of a book test for a moment:
If you want the spectator to think of a word from a book, why wouldn't you simply have them open a book and look at a word (or something as close to that as possible).
The minute you bring other things into the mix (like a deck of cards) it becomes a magic trick and not a piece of mentalism.
Peter Marucci

Postby Guest » 01/23/03 05:43 AM

I have developed a booktest using several old/new methods.
The spectator names any page number from a book they have checked out and are holding in their hands. You can directly tell them or write down the first words on that freely chosen page.
No force! Ordinary book! Looks amazing, promise!

This booktest works very well, I have sold a few to my closest magic friends and they like it very much. The booktest is very workable in real world situations. Even sceptics should be amazed.

If there is any need for a new booktest, then its possible that I produce this great booktest. The prize should then be around 70-90 dollar.

Postby Steve Bryant » 01/23/03 10:50 AM

Val Andrews has a book test that meets your conditions exactly, with the added bit of information that no crib sheets are used. It sells for $10. I do not mean to suggest that you are thinking of charging $70 too much, as your method is likely quite different and probably entails that cost. But as a customer I suffer from not knowing what in the heck makes a book test cost (in some cases) hundreds of dollars, when the description of EXACTLY what happens is rarely described, and the method even more rarely.
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Postby Steve Hook » 01/23/03 11:10 AM

Steve B:

I'm a bit surprised at your post re Mats' booktest. Hey, this is the magic biz...there are lots of intriguing products offered and the ads rarely explain the method!

But I do have a solution for you.

The Val Andrews booktest very good but is not, in my opinion, the best booktest. Some would say, "Too much work!" Hey, it's the MTV generation!

[Please, no sidebars on rehearsal and presentation. That's not my point.]

But the cost of some of the booktests, from Becker's to Karmilovich's [try saying THAT 10 times!] is obviously increased by the high production costs. I would assume this is Mats' reason, not that he can TELL us.

So, the solution? It's the Internet and forums like this. I'm sure those who fork over the moola will be glad to post reviews.


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Postby Steve Bryant » 01/23/03 11:40 AM


The BEST reaction I ever got with a book test was Koran's "Word in Thousands" as described in Eugene Burger's Spirit Theater. A lot of trouble is involved, but it fooled the heck out of a group of gifted high school kids who were attending a Halloween party. (And it didn't cost me anything other than the Burger book, one of my top favorites. To really date that book, Richard included a _phonograph_ record with it. Nowadays young magicians might wonder what the heck that thing is. An old soft floppy?)
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Postby Pete Biro » 01/23/03 01:46 PM

Watching Jerry Newton at trade shows KILL with a book test leads me to believe the one he uses is the best ever.

Effect: He has a large book, hands it to someone, they open to ANY page... look at ANY word.

With little or NO FISHING... he nails the word.

It is called "The Mother of All Book Tests."

Believe me, once I had the "G" on it, I decided if I ever needed to do this effect I would save up the $500 it cost and buy it.

Yep, it is a special book, but the method is diabolically simple and yes they have a free choice of pages and an almost free choice of words. The performer just tells them "Don't make it a short little word like "It or the, or an" -- you can't miss with this one. :cool:
Stay tooned.
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Postby Guest » 01/23/03 01:51 PM

My booktest includs a "normal" book, instruction and a secret gimmick that is "hard" to produce.
The invisible "thing" is rather costly.
I have done my booktest for 60 magicians at a magic meeting plus on my ordinary shows. I can tell you they very badly fooled, heheh. A wife to a magician told me after that the book thing was really amazing. Later on the magician phoned me and wanted to buy the effect.
One of my magic friends that works as a full time pro in sweden told me that this could problably be a "hit" in the magic community.
Of all booktest I know, this use its own method.
Its very easy to do effect.

Postby Guest » 01/23/03 02:09 PM

I replied to you in "Book of the month" with the following:
Book tests are hard enough to justify using books but when you add playing cards to the mix, then they select two cards to decide the page and word, gets way to convoluted to be effective. There are many good book tests out there from gaffed books such as MOABT,Flashback,or Harvey Berg's new books, Dushek has a neat little book, then there is the addition of materials that make pages "short" for a riffle force (like a business card or coin rammed up against the page close to the spine-works very well) Dave Harkey has a great one which uses the "book cover" to aid in the selction of a page (which I love because it is an ungimmicked book) or Lee Earle's new effect which allows a page to be selected and for you to find it with ease to perform the reveal. All excellent ideas. Richard Busch amongst others also has an excellent ungimmicked, impromptu booktest that does not rely on the "Hoy" ploy (Wow, I just rhymed) that is included in his Peek Performances, and is favored by many mentalists.

So, in answer to your question, drop the convoluted "selected a card, it's number is X so turn to that page..." and do some reading and research as there are many better methods out there. Read up on such authors as Busch, Maven, Lesley, Hull, Cassidy, Becker, Miller (Al Koran's Legacy),to name a few. There are many a method out there to discover that are far better and more direct. The closer you get to "open the book, look at a word, close the book" and then you reveal it, the better. There are also several book test methods in my book, and if you send me a private e-mail I would share them with you.

PSIncerely Yours,
Paul Alberstat
(Last week to taker advantage of our January New Years Special)

Postby Guest » 02/12/03 02:39 AM

The best book test that I've ever used or seen was Insight by Keith Fields. No pages are repeated, but nine words are "planted" in the text of each page. A different nine words are planted in the text of the next page, and so on for five pages. Then the planted words are repeated (although the pages are different).

The words are mnemonically connected, so it takes only an hour to memorize all 45 (so said Danny Orleans in the GENII review).

For the first word, you riffle and then glimpse the opposite page's last word on the first line. That tells you the "key" that you're on, and from that, you can determine all nine words (although I usually name only one or two).

Then you ask the spectator to pass the book to someone else, and have them name a page. The last digit of the page number gives you the "key," and there you can determine another nine words.

Then you ask the book to be passed to a last person, and ask them to turn to any page. You ask them to look at a long word on the top line, and with a little fishing (cleverly disguised), you can blow away all the magicians in the room. It's the last one that sells it.

It sells for $200, but it's worth it. It's officially off the market, but I know where to lay my hands on one or two. Email me.

Postby Ian Kendall » 02/12/03 09:31 AM


I've got the Val Andrews book test, and it is very versatile (it's possible to pull a book off a bookshelf at a friend's home and go right into it...

Having said that, ten years ago I got the original Flashback, and I've been using that exclusively ever since. The updated version has other follow on effects which I don't care for (I know it's bad grammar) but you can still do the original with them.

Added to which the mechanics are lemon sqeezey so you can concentrate on the important stuff (flame bait)

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Postby Guest » 02/12/03 09:24 PM

Less is more. Have audience focus on words & thoughts, not on the book. The MOBT/Flashback are
direct and to the point. But the Hoy booktest still ranks. I know someone who has EVERY booktest ever put out and still comes back to Hoy.
I have seen situations where some questioned the
mentalist using THEIR books,and killed by a, (seemingly) impromptu (Hoy) test. A well-known
performer making an in-store book signing appearance, (seemingly) takes some books of the shelves and does a (Hoy) book test.

Postby Guest » 02/13/03 06:52 AM

Well, I'll also say HOY is your best bet and I'll raise that thought by suggesting you check out Bob Cassidy's Mentalism CD on which he offers some very clever twists on this and other classic bits of mentalism. BTW... this CD has at least 4 or 5 very good BT routines including a Trilogy demonstration that's killer!

I've used the INSIGHT booktest in conjunction with the Ed Fowler made Zip Lock Baggies for several years now as a prime bit of PR business (we do a book drive with each show to help with local Literacy programs). It's a hefty up-front investment, but it's never failed to get a positive reaction from folks (well, except for when I was in Nashville a few years ago and every person I went to couldn't read... not kidding... that's what inspired the Literacy Book Drives ;) )

I've seen and appreciate Lee Earle's Silver Bullet (thanks Andy!) as well.

Push goes to shove and you feel you really need to make a lasting impression on the client, check out Docc Hilford's reversed BT in the "Band of the Hand" manuscript... :eek:

Postby Guest » 02/13/03 12:18 PM

Originally posted by Andy Leviss:
If you're familiar with the concept of a simple riffle force to a break (a fairly standard card move), try using that with a small object like a coin or a toothpick placed near the spine of the book as the break (instead of a pinky break).

Forcing the page number with a pack of cards isn't a book test. It's a card trick.
If you like this concept, T.A. waters has a great idea somewhere in Mind,Myth and Magic as to where you get to use the page breaks as a prediction.

Not to Mention the benefit of owning M,M and M.


Postby Guest » 02/19/03 03:23 PM

A combination of the MOAB and Flashback has worked well for me. Using the Flashback prevents almost any fishing for the MOAB word. With the Flashback books you can also ring in a third book. I use a Harry Potter book which gives credibility to the other two. The routine I use is a brain child of Richard Busch, I believe.


Postby Guest » 03/31/03 06:04 PM

I once saw Kreskin use the riffle force method to force the page on a telivision host during a canadian television apearace. He made the force seemingly more fair by asking her not to reveal her page # and asking her about how many lines of print would be on a typical page in the book, and how many words per line and ahving her name a line number and posotion number. He then told the host what the book said on the page and position she was thinking of. When she finally revealed the page number she finally was only thinking of Kresken opened the book to reveal his accuracy. A slightly different effect because the host was not aware of the text on her page number till the end, but she was floored non the less.
Having said that I prefer book tests that deal with visual information and rounder more abstract thoughts than a simple word. In pure effect, Derren brown mentions doing a book test with the yellow pages in which the spectator is asked to think of an ad they see on the page. (no method though)
Barrie richardson has a magazine test in which visual information is passed to the performer as the spectator runs his hand over a photograph--neat idea!
Also Ive been trying to figure out a way to do Maven's Autome book test (also visual information, though based on the printed word) with a copy of John Wyndham's "The Crysalids". What's the book about? A group of mutated teenagers who comunicate telepathically using thought shapes. How apropriate! To date however, I haven't found the right edition or visual key to make it work. ( I sometimes discuss this classic sci-fi book before doing a circle/Triangle force!)

Postby Guest » 03/31/03 07:29 PM

Last Saturday, a performer making an in-store appearance, pointed to the "Bestseller" rack and asked someone to bring some of the bestsellers to him. He performed the ____book test, and when finished, had the store's books placed back on the racks.
It doesn't look better than that.
If he had used his own books, it would have been like going to a Las Vegas casino, and asking the dealer to use your Fox Lake deck, to play.

Postby Guest » 04/04/03 10:58 PM

Originally posted by Andy Hurst:
My favorite book test (and I've used quite a few) is now Val Andrews Unfeked Book test. There's some info on Ian Rowland's web site (although the manuscript is not available from him, but he gives Val's contact info).

Ian Rowlands Page about Val Andrews Book test.

It's imprtant to understand on this test, while the book is unfeked, preparation is required
Ford Kross

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