Reviewer: John Teo
Being able to secretly obtain information from a spectator is an important aspect of mentalism. It enables the performer to demonstrate his mind reading prowess or make a successful prediction.
There are many covert ways of obtaining information. They include impression pads and other devices, peek wallets and other devices, center and off-center tears. Different performers have their own personal preferences as to which type they want to use. Even after they have chosen a particular method, there are myriad handlings from different creators.
For billet tear, you also have to justify why you write something on a piece of paper only to tear it up later on. On billet tear itself, you can choose from the different handlings from Richard Osterlind, Barrie Richardson, Pink and Doug Dyment, among others. It is difficult to say which method is the best. Certain handling may be more suitable for one performer than for others.
In Richard Stride and Alan Wassilak’s “Scatter Thought Off-Center Tear”, a small piece of opaque paper is pre-folded in half twice and then unfolded. A spectator pens her selected word in the middle of this paper and refold it along the creases so that the written word is hidden inside the folds. The performer tears this packet in half several times. In the process, the written word is exposed for a brief moment, but enough for the performer to learn of the written word. Finally, the packet is torn one more time into small pieces. The entire tearing process seems clean and natural. It takes less effort to execute this than doing the bill switch with the thumb tip!
You receive a printed booklet of 24 pages. The written description of the tearing process, together with illustrations, is surprising clear and very easy to follow. The authors offer a brief history of the center tear, presentation suggestions for pre-show work, close-up and parlour performances, and a couple of ideas for justifying writing and tearing up a piece of paper. Included is an interesting comedy “You-Do-As-I-Do” routine by Alan Wassilak, and a “Mental Rerun” routine by Larry White.
Whether you have your own off-center tear or not, “Scatter Thought” is worth taking a look. It was first released in 1988 with very limited copies. Now, 28 years later, it is available again to the magic community. Do not miss it this time.
Please support intellectual property. Only buy original. Available from all reputable Murphy’s Magic dealers.(9 / 10)