The book test is a classic of mentalism new and old, but it has always been something I have been reluctant to perform as there is something quite illogical about them.
As I have mentioned before, a mentalist asking someone to ‘pick a card’ doesn’t make any sense – they should be able to just think of a card. Likewise, why go through the process of picking a word from a book when the spectator could just as easily think of a word.
That considered, there is still one book test that I think has some mileage in a stage situation, the invisible book test.
This is a creation by sneaky thinker Colin Mcleod, and runs a little like this:
A member of the audience joins the performer on stage. They are asked to imagine walking into a bookshop, and picking up any book they like. They turn it to any page number, and then see it open in front of them. They look at the imaginary page and pick a word they see on it. The word is show to match a prediction that had been made previously by the mentalist.
You can watch Colin Mcleod perform it on Penn and Teller’s ‘Fool Us’
Those interested in this kind of performance may wish to investigate the idea of ‘dual reality’. Dual reality is a at the forefront of new mentalism, and essentially means that the volunteer has a separate experience to that of the audience, but both are still valid. This is different to instant stooging, but still only really works for stage performances. Colin’s DVD is a great resource for this.
For modern mentalism ideas like this one, an essential purchase is Colin Mcleod’s Opening Minds DVDs .
There’s some great thinking on it, and loads of ideas you will be able to use straight away. Not to mention a thorough explanation of the invisible book test, and a real book test that will surely become the standard.