Mind Reading Trick – The Centre Tear

A classic of mind reading is the ‘centre tear’. With a centre tear you can deduce information a spectator has written. You get the spectator to write or draw something on a piece of paper then covertly tear out that section and secretly take a look at it. Here is a centre tear method you can try:

For this trick you need a ‘billet’ (piece of paper or card) roughly 7cmx7cm, a pencil and a cigarette lighter.

Step 1: Pre-fold the billet into 4 equal quarters like so:

center tear

Step 2: Draw an elipse in the middle about 4cm across

center tear2

Step 3: Hand the volunteer a pencil. Ask him to think of a name clearly in his mind and print it on the middle of the paper.

Step 4: Once he has done that ask him to fold the billet back up like it was before. Once folded show everyone there is no way you could see through the paper.

Step 5: You are now going to tear the billet. Place it so the circle is between your thumb and index finger and tear it out. Now tear off another third. Rip the remainder of the billet again and again, placing the torn off piece at the bottom of the pile each time.

Step 6: Slip the centre into your right hand and transfer the other pieces into your left hand. Focus everyone’s attention on your left hand at this point.

Step 7: Now place the pieces of paper in your left hand into an ashtray. Reach into your right hand pocket where you have the lighter and at the same time you get the lighter, drop the centre piece of paper into your pocket.

Step 8: Show everyone the lighter, making sure everyone can see there is nothing in your right hand, then light the papers in the ashtray.

Step 9: As the papers begin to burn turn away and say ‘I won’t look in case it becomes visible’. Now secretly reach in your pocket, grab the paper and take a quick look.

Step 10: Perform a mind read on the volunteer to reveal what was written.

This trick requires quite a bit of practise to get the sleight of hand and misdirection right. Make sure you have practised it plenty before your first performance :)

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