ERDNASE

Discuss general aspects of Genii.
performer
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby performer » November 10th, 2017, 9:09 pm

Sometimes I wonder if all the Erdnase enthusiasts should all chip in and contribute a certain amount of money to a private investigative agency to delve into the matter and figure it all out!

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Leonard Hevia » November 10th, 2017, 9:53 pm

S. Tauzier wrote:To me that made more sense.
He just thought it was a good name to use as it was a word he was familiar with. Why cant it just be that simple?.


To others it makes more sense that the author left behind clues for readers to follow a trail. A reversal or anagram of his name is one clue.

You suggest removing W.E Sanders from the list of candidates, but he was a mining engineer--an earth nose/Erdnase. A good name to use that happens to be a perfect anagram of your own name.

Chris has yet to prove, even circumstantially, that Gallaway held a deck of cards in his hands. Erdnase was a card handler. A viable candidate in my opinion should have at least left behind a receipt for a purchase of a deck of cards.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby S. Tauzier » November 10th, 2017, 10:22 pm

Leonard Hevia wrote:
S. Tauzier wrote:To me that made more sense.
He just thought it was a good name to use as it was a word he was familiar with. Why cant it just be that simple?.


To others it makes more sense that the author left behind clues for readers to follow a trail. A reversal or anagram of his name is one clue.

You suggest removing W.E Sanders from the list of candidates, but he was a mining engineer--an earth nose/Erdnase. A good name to use that happens to be a perfect anagram of your own name.

Chris has yet to prove, even circumstantially, that Gallaway held a deck of cards in his hands. Erdnase was a card handler. A viable candidate in my opinion should have at least left behind a receipt for a purchase of a deck of cards.


Im not buying it. I dont think trying to hide your identity in the context of this book was a game.
I think people are way over thinking that one.

W.E.Sanders- eh I still dont think so because again I point out- he was trying to hide his identity - NOT play Peek-A-Boo.

The tired issue of trying to put a deck of cards in his hands- that is an invalid argument.
That wouldnt prove anything anyway.
That said- if you dont think for one second that every person alive at that time surely held a deck of cards in their hands at some time then I think you are not critically thinking; cards were a very popular passtime for practically everyone back then.
Also, if you dont think folks traveling in a circus would get around to playing cards while their waiting around, traveling, etc, then maybe you dont realize there were no iPhones back then.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bill Mullins » November 10th, 2017, 11:20 pm

S. Tauzier wrote: If you were seriously trying to hide your identity- not so the public doesnt know but so anyone you may know personally doesnt figure it out- would you just reverse your name?


Why are you assuming this is what Erdnase was trying to do? It could be that he didn't really care, and it's just an accident of history that no one today knows who he was. I'd be reasonably good money that if you walked into Roterberg's magic shop in 1902-1903, and asked about "That guy who wrote Expert at the Card Table," someone in the shop would have known who he aws

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Leonard Hevia » November 10th, 2017, 11:26 pm

S. Tauzier wrote:Im not buying it. I dont think trying to hide your identity in the context of this book was a game.
I think people are way over thinking that one.


Or maybe they aren't.

S. Tauzier wrote:W.E.Sanders- eh I still dont think so because again I point out- he was trying to hide his identity - NOT play Peek-A-Boo.


Why not Peek-a-Boo? The author has a sense of humor; Peek-a-Boo is consistent with that. If you read The Expert, you will discover it.

S. Tauzier wrote:The tired issue of trying to put a deck of cards in his hands- that is an invalid argument.
That wouldnt prove anything anyway.


It would prove the candidate at least handled a deck of cards. People get tired--not issues. 8-)

S. Tauzier wrote:That said- if you dont think for one second that every person alive at that time surely held a deck of cards in their hands at some time then I think you are not critically thinking; cards were a very popular passtime for practically everyone back then.
Also, if you dont think folks traveling in a circus would get around to playing cards while their waiting around, traveling, etc, then maybe you dont realize there were no iPhones back then.


Practically everyone had a deck of cards back then? Then everyone was Erdnase? :roll:

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Roger M. » November 11th, 2017, 12:12 am

S. Tauzier wrote:The tired issue of trying to put a deck of cards in his hands- that is an invalid argument.

It's not at all invalid, but it's certainly Chris's argument!
Indeed many (if not all) of your points are Chris's points!

Interesting.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Richard Hatch » November 11th, 2017, 12:47 am

performer wrote:Sometimes I wonder if all the Erdnase enthusiasts should all chip in and contribute a certain amount of money to a private investigative agency to delve into the matter and figure it all out!

David Alexander had been a professional private investigator at one time.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby performer » November 11th, 2017, 9:41 am

I know he was. However, I meant a REAL private investigator! I always found David to be a bit unreal in more ways than one in view of my interactions with him.

I have very little interest in the identity of Erdnase and have never studied the matter with the intensity that everyone else is subject to on the grounds that I couldn't give a toss who he was ,but I strongly suspect he had never cheated at cards in his life. It seems obvious to me that he was a magician and a very advanced card magician for the times.

I have a gut feeling that you all may be looking in the wrong place. Just think for a moment. Who were the well known card magicians of the day? It is probably someone written about in magic books of the time.

I think there is a post of Glenn Bishop's somewhere on this long, long, long thread where he points out the same things that I have pointed out. I only just noticed it yesterday and I find it interesting that he came to the same conclusion quite independently that I have. I have met card sharks among all the various scoundrels I have associated with in my life. They weren't that bright and I doubt they could spell let alone write a book. Secondly, they only knew about three moves with cards if even that. But then to earn a living that is all they would need to know.

Erdnase was clearly an intelligent well educated person. Magicians, dolts though most of them are, do tend to be intelligent and well educated. They know many moves and sleights rather than three at the most. And they are far too innocent in the ways of the world to actually have the nerve to cheat at cards.

I find Erdnase incredibly advanced in card technique for his day. In fact he was so advanced I have often wondered if the book was REALLY published in the year it was and not much later. I suppose I must be wrong since all you know-alls will have no doubt verified the date. Sometimes I have fancifully wondered whether Vernon wrote the bloody thing himself as a practical joke and never told a soul throughout his entire life. He lied about how he came across the book in the first place.

I know. I know. The timing would be wrong for my daft theory. However, I would LOVE it to be true!

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby lybrary » November 11th, 2017, 10:06 am

Bill Mullins wrote:
S. Tauzier wrote: If you were seriously trying to hide your identity- not so the public doesnt know but so anyone you may know personally doesnt figure it out- would you just reverse your name?

Why are you assuming this is what Erdnase was trying to do?

Because a cardshark is a cheat, a crook, a criminal. It is not in their interest to be found out. It is typical magician's thinking. We love cardsharks, we adore them, we idolize them, we seek them out, we try to learn from them. The rest of the people think they are crooks. To them it is obvious that somebody like Erdnase would want to stay hidden for good.
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Jack Shalom » November 11th, 2017, 10:38 am

Just to clarify, then, Chris, you believe that Erdnase was or had been a working cardshark?

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Leonard Hevia » November 11th, 2017, 10:51 am

lybrary wrote:Because a cardshark is a cheat, a crook, a criminal. It is not in their interest to be found out. It is typical magician's thinking. We love cardsharks, we adore them, we idolize them, we seek them out, we try to learn from them. The rest of the people think they are crooks. To them it is obvious that somebody like Erdnase would want to stay hidden for good.


Erdnase was also a magician, and therefore thought like a magician. The late Tony Giorgio suspected that the author was a magician with aspirations of being a card cheat. In his opinion, many of the moves described in the book would not fly above scrutiny or just wouldn't work.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby lybrary » November 11th, 2017, 11:24 am

Jack Shalom wrote:Just to clarify, then, Chris, you believe that Erdnase was or had been a working cardshark?

That depends on how you define "working cardshark". I think Erdnase did cheat at the card table, but I do not think he was the prototypical cardshark the way most would picture them, at least not for his entire life. Perhaps he had periods where he did mostly gamble, but during other periods it might have been a sideline, or a deep interest, rather than his 'profession'. Erdnase was widely read, which is clear from his breadth of vocabulary. One does not acquire that by sitting all day and gambling. One acquires that through extensive reading. Erdnase clearly had other interests, as many intelligent and widely read folks have, but gambling and cheating was on the top of his interests at least until he wrote Expert.

The extensive reading part is another aspect that fits the typesetter/printer profession so well. Historically typesetters/printers were often the most widely read folks, because when one typesets a book one also automatically reads it. Somebody who likes to read and likes books would be naturally drawn to that profession. That is very likely why Gallaway choose to work at the Delphos Weekly Herald and enter a printer's apprenticeship, learned to typeset, and then worked as typesetter for a couple of years. Gallaway, just as Erdnase, was widely read, with an extensive vocabulary, and an interest in several subjects (printing, estimating, astronomy, religion, gambling, magic, Dickens, Poe, history, ...)
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby performer » November 11th, 2017, 12:03 pm

Leonard Hevia wrote:
lybrary wrote:Because a cardshark is a cheat, a crook, a criminal. It is not in their interest to be found out. It is typical magician's thinking. We love cardsharks, we adore them, we idolize them, we seek them out, we try to learn from them. The rest of the people think they are crooks. To them it is obvious that somebody like Erdnase would want to stay hidden for good.


Erdnase was also a magician, and therefore thought like a magician. The late Tony Giorgio suspected that the author was a magician with aspirations of being a card cheat. In his opinion, many of the moves described in the book would not fly above scrutiny or just wouldn't work.


Exactly!

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bill Mullins » November 11th, 2017, 12:47 pm

The Dalrymple cartoon which some suppose to picture W. F. Sanders appears in the Jan 7, 1891 issue of Puck.

Three weeks later is this interesting classified ad:

Fine Playing Cards
Mention PUCK and send ten (10) cents in stamps or coin to JOHN SEBASTIAN, Gen'l Tk't and Pass. Ag't, CHICAGO, ROCK ISLAND & PACIFIC RY., Chicago, Ills., for a pack of the latest, smoothest slickest playing cards that ever gladdened the eyes and rippled along the fingers of the devotee to Seven-Up, Casino, Dutch, Euchre, Whist or any other ancient or modern game, and get your money's worth five times over.


I don't recall Edwin Sumner Andrews ever working for this railway, but I believe that his second wife did before they got married.

Regardless, were agents the "point of contact" for passengers who wanted to get a game going on a train?

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Jack Shalom » November 11th, 2017, 1:03 pm

Isn't there the story that Canada Bill offered to pay the railroad agents for the right for him to play on the trains exclusively, with his promise that he would only cheat people of the cloth?

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bill Mullins » November 11th, 2017, 1:12 pm

Found another, Jan 21 1891:
PLAYING CARDS
For fifteen ceents in postage, sent to P. S. EUSTIS, Gen. Pas. Agent C.B.& Q.R.R., Chicago, Ill., you can obtain a pack of best quality playing cards.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Richard Hatch » November 11th, 2017, 1:14 pm

Bill Mullins wrote:The Dalrymple cartoon which some suppose to picture W. F. Sanders appears in the Jan 7, 1891 issue of Puck.

Three weeks later is this interesting classified ad:

Fine Playing Cards
Mention PUCK and send ten (10) cents in stamps or coin to JOHN SEBASTIAN, Gen'l Tk't and Pass. Ag't, CHICAGO, ROCK ISLAND & PACIFIC RY., Chicago, Ills., for a pack of the latest, smoothest slickest playing cards that ever gladdened the eyes and rippled along the fingers of the devotee to Seven-Up, Casino, Dutch, Euchre, Whist or any other ancient or modern game, and get your money's worth five times over.


I don't recall Edwin Sumner Andrews ever working for this railway, but I believe that his second wife did before they got married.

Regardless, were agents the "point of contact" for passengers who wanted to get a game going on a train?


John Sebastian was very active advertising playing cards. In my presentation on Erdnase at the 2011 Magic Collectors Association Weekend in Chicago I included advertisements by him in the Henry (Illinois) Times of April 17, 1890, the Chronicle Argonaut (Ann Arbor, Michigan) in 1891, and Lippincott's Monthly Magazine in 1893. I also included a full page ad for the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railway that he placed (in his capacity as general ticket and passenger agent) in the back of an edition of Harry Kellar's Magician's Tour (1886). I think my point was simply to show that train agents (like Edwin S. Andrews) might also have had an interest in cards (Sebastian obviously had a good side business in them). It would be interesting to show a connection between Sebastian and Andrews, perhaps through his future wife, Dollie, who worked in Rock Island for the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy (CB &Q) Railroad in the mid-1880s (she later transferred to their main office in St. Louis).

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Jonathan Townsend » November 11th, 2017, 2:28 pm

The "andrews" thing is not so much a matter of contention as finding a person of the right build, who was in the area, who could handle cards and who had some connection with the other artist. The material clues being Gardener's report of Smith's recollections and scattered titbits in the text such as "(?)".

Richard Kaufman mentioned the "spread" item being known yet not divulged in the book. So the calendar is not complete and the reader is left to determine what else is being told on the slant in the text. A graduate education... based upon what primary, secondary and university curriculum? But folks like to coat their memorabilia with nostalgia... and woofle dust accumulates over time in our literature. ;) Enjoy the dialog.

Kudos to those who would measure the depth of the dust and find clues from historical context. Magic has much to offer the student of history.
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby S. Tauzier » November 11th, 2017, 2:30 pm

Roger M. wrote:
S. Tauzier wrote:The tired issue of trying to put a deck of cards in his hands- that is an invalid argument.

It's not at all invalid, but it's certainly Chris's argument!
Indeed many (if not all) of your points are Chris's points!

Interesting.

Chris knows I agree with him - so what.
I dont think you could prove he held or didnt hold a deck of cards but we already know he held cards.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Roger M. » November 11th, 2017, 8:40 pm

S. Tauzier wrote:...... but we already know he held cards.


We don't know anything of the sort!

What evidence can you present that puts a deck of cards in Gallaway's hands?

PLEASE ..... be precise.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby lybrary » November 11th, 2017, 9:07 pm

Roger M. wrote:
S. Tauzier wrote:...... but we already know he held cards.


We don't know anything of the sort!

What evidence can you present that puts a deck of cards in Gallaway's hands?

PLEASE ..... be precise.

Since pretty much everybody played cards one way or another during the 19th century, essentially everybody had a deck of cards in their hands. For Gallaway we know even more. We know he had an interest in sleight of hand with cards, because he had card magic and gambling books in his library. Nothing like that is known about E.S. Andrews or W.E. Sanders.

Leonard Hevia wrote:Erdnase was also a magician, and therefore thought like a magician.

That he was a magician or interested in magic is obvious, after all he describes a number of card tricks in his book. But to say he "thought like a magician" requires some arguments which you haven't offered. What do you mean by "thinking like a magician"? If one reads Expert carefully Erdnase sends mixed messages, but for the most part he identifies with gamblers more than he identifies with magicians.
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Leonard Hevia » November 11th, 2017, 9:50 pm

lybrary wrote:Since pretty much everybody played cards one way or another during the 19th century, essentially everybody had a deck of cards in their hands. For Gallaway we know even more. We know he had an interest in sleight of hand with cards, because he had card magic and gambling books in his library. Nothing like that is known about E.S. Andrews or W.E. Sanders.


W. E. Sanders undoubtedly knew card magic. He described a card magic effect in his 1881 camping diary: "Mutus Nomen Detit Cocus." We also know that on a ten week camping trip in 1896, he purchased six decks of playing cards.


lybrary wrote:What do you mean by "thinking like a magician"? If one reads Expert carefully Erdnase sends mixed messages, but for the most part he identifies with gamblers more than he identifies with magicians.


I will answer your question with your own quote:

lybrary wrote:
Because a cardshark is a cheat, a crook, a criminal. It is not in their interest to be found out. It is typical magician's thinking. We love cardsharks, we adore them, we idolize them, we seek them out, we try to learn from them. The rest of the people think they are crooks. To them it is obvious that somebody like Erdnase would want to stay hidden for good.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby lybrary » November 11th, 2017, 9:58 pm

Leonard Hevia wrote:W. E. Sanders undoubtedly knew card magic. He described a card magic effect in his 1881 camping diary: "Mutus Nomen Detit Cocus." We also know that on a ten week camping trip in 1896, he purchased six decks of playing cards.

That is not a trick that requires sleight-of-hand. It is the exactly the sort of trick a lay person might know. If he would be Erdnase we would expect to see a lot different notes on tricks and moves. There is no information that W.E. Sanders was interested in sleight-of-hand with cards.

Leonard Hevia wrote:lybrary wrote:
Because a cardshark is a cheat, a crook, a criminal. It is not in their interest to be found out. It is typical magician's thinking. We love cardsharks, we adore them, we idolize them, we seek them out, we try to learn from them. The rest of the people think they are crooks. To them it is obvious that somebody like Erdnase would want to stay hidden for good.

I was referring to the thinking of people here on this forum, which is typical magician's thinking, not the thinking of Erdnase. Erdnase, being a cheat, crook and criminal, wanted to stay hidden, because most everybody would not want to associate with a criminal. Thus he really wanted to stay hidden.
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Roger M. » November 11th, 2017, 10:01 pm

lybrary wrote:
Roger M. wrote:
S. Tauzier wrote:...... but we already know he held cards.


We don't know anything of the sort!

What evidence can you present that puts a deck of cards in Gallaway's hands?

PLEASE ..... be precise.

Since pretty much everybody played cards one way or another during the 19th century, essentially everybody had a deck of cards in their hands. For Gallaway we know even more. We know he had an interest in sleight of hand with cards, because he had card magic and gambling books in his library. Nothing like that is known about E.S. Andrews or W.E. Sanders.


Sorry, but this isn't an argument, nor is it in any way proof that Gallaway ever picked up a deck of cards in his life.
What this is though, is incredibly lazy posting Chris, and is the equivalent of saying that everybody alive in 1902 could have been Erdnase.
In other words, it's a completely ridiculous - irrelevant to the subject matter.

Your next statement carries more weight, but still fails to put the cards on Gallaway's hands. Through ex-wives, parents, etc ... I have about 15 gardening books in my library ... but I couldn't be any less interested in gardening than I am. So the fact that the gardening books are in my library (contrary to your logic) has absolutely nothing to do with any interest I have (I have none) in gardening.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby lybrary » November 11th, 2017, 10:11 pm

Roger M. wrote:In other words, it's a completely ridiculous - irrelevant to the subject matter.

I agree, saying that somebody had a deck of cards in his hands is ridiculous and irrelevant, because everybody had one in their hands in the 19th century. It doesn't make everybody Erdnase, it simply is a characteristic that is not specific to Erdnase at all, not even remotely.

Roger M. wrote:Your next statement carries more weight, but still fails to put the cards on Gallaway's hands. Through ex-wives, parents, etc ... I have about 15 gardening books in my library ... but I couldn't be any less interested in gardening than I am. So the fact that the gardening books are in my library (contrary to your logic) has absolutely nothing to do with any interest I have (I have none) in gardening.

Did you also paste bookplates in your gardening books?
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Tom Sawyer » November 11th, 2017, 10:38 pm

Setting aside Gallaway's copy of The Expert at the Card Table, I am led to wonder exactly (a) what gambling books, if any, and (b) what magic books, if any, are known to exist with Gallaway's bookplate in them.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bill Mullins » November 11th, 2017, 11:40 pm

Tom -- I'm sure you know this as well as I do, but everything I've ever heard on the subject is summarized [poorly] a single footnote in The Man Who Was Erdnase, p. 390:

Letter, Marshall to Gardner, 2 Jan 1957. Local Chicago amateur magician William C. Griffiths bought a group of magic and gambling books that a second-hand book dealer had been holding for Rufus Steele, who had died in 1955. Several of the gambling books had the bookplate of Edward Gallaway. One was a first edition of The Expert that Griffiths gave to Marshall.


Richard Hatch provided a copy of the actual letter from Marshall to Gardner to Chris Wasshuber, and it is transcribed in the current edition of his The Hunt for Erdnase. The relevant excerpt:

The proprietor had several gambling books on hand, that he was holding for Rufus Steele. When Bill Griffiths told him that Rufus Steele was dead, the shop owner then offered the books to Bill. There was a first edition of Erdnase in the lot and Bill bought it and gave it to me. There was nothing odd about the copy BUT there was a bookplate: Library of Edward Gallaway. In a couple of the other gambling books was a similar bookplate.


TMWWE takes the above to mean that Gallaway had "a fair-sized collection of gambling books" (see p. 57); Chris makes reference in his book a couple of times to "magic books" owned by Gallaway (note the plural).

But a careful reading of the sources does not support either of these propositions. It may well be an exaggeration to think that Gallaway owned more than three or so gambling books. There is no reference to magic "books"; only a reference to Expert, which could fairly be called a magic book. Singular, not plural.

So, the best evidence is that he had owned a few gambling books, one of which was Expert. Chris has used these slim facts to support the contention that Gallaway had an interest in magic. If he owned the books because he was interested in their contents, I don't think you should go beyond an interest in gambling, since that is the common subject. But given that he had worked for the printer of Expert, and followed that with employment at Bentley, Murray & Co. (a printer of gambling literature), an equally reasonable explanation is that these all were books he had a hand in producing, and that he had no particular interest in their subject matter.

To say that Gallaway's library showed that he was interested in magic, and supports the contention that he was a magician, stretches what few facts we have beyond breaking.

[and for those who are interested in chasing Griffiths' library down, in hopes of locating other bookplates, note that the Marshall letter says only that Griffiths bought the 1st. ed. of Expert; it doesn't say what happened to the other gambling books -- Griffiths may not have bought them]

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bill Mullins » November 12th, 2017, 12:19 am

Here's another thing about the Gallaway gambling books. The Marshall-Gardner correspondence says (in a Jan 2 1957 letter) that Griffiths bought the 1st ed. Expert during a "recent excursion" -- presumably very late in 1956. It also says that Gallaway's widow sold his library after his death to pay bills, and that she had died "about nine years ago." (She died in 1947).

So where were the books between 1947 and 1956? Did this unknown second-hand book dealer have them that whole length of time? Probably not; since he was holding them for Rufus Steele (who died in 1955), he probably picked them up after Steele had last visited.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby lybrary » November 12th, 2017, 11:29 am

Roger M. wrote:Your next statement carries more weight, but still fails to put the cards on Gallaway's hands. Through ex-wives, parents, etc ... I have about 15 gardening books in my library ... but I couldn't be any less interested in gardening than I am. So the fact that the gardening books are in my library (contrary to your logic) has absolutely nothing to do with any interest I have (I have none) in gardening.

This argument falls apart after closer examination. The subject of magic and gambling is almost exclusively a male pursuit. This means the magic and gambling books in Gallaway's library are not from his spouse or his mother. The only possible person would be his father. But his father died in 1900 and at least one of the books was published after the death of his father, so couldn't come from him. Gallaway had these books because he had an interest in card magic and gambling.

Roger M. wrote:He had a first edition, but so did (presumably) about 1000 other people at some point in time.

That is true but you cannot look at one fact in isolation to assess the strength of the case. Let's give a short run down and see why Gallaway's case is so compelling.

The author certainly had a first edition in his library, but so did say 1000-3000 others. We do not know the exact number of the first print run and we have to account for second hand sales, too. So let's make this a group of 5000 people Erdnase is member of. Then we also need Erdnase to have some kind of connection with McKinney where the book was printed. This could be a number of things, employees, suppliers, people living across the street, relatives of employees, etc. My estimate is about 10,000 people had some kind of connection with McKinney at the right time (1901-1902).

Now we have to combine these two facts. Not everybody who had a connection with McKinney also had a first edition of Expert. And not everybody with a first edition had a connection with McKinney. All those second hand sales we had in the number of first edition owners would most likely not know McKinney. Not everybody bought directly from McKinney, actually only a minority would have. What is the overlap? Let's be generous and say 100 people are in the cross section. So 100 people both had a first edition and had some connection to McKinney.

We are looking for an author. Erdnase wrote a book. Not everybody who buys a book is an author. About 1 out of 10 is an author. This brings down the number to about 10. So only about 10 people had a first edition, had some connection to McKinney, and were authors themselves.

Author is too lose, we need folks who could write very well, because Erdnase is an excellent writer. We need not only somebody who is writing very well, but somebody who at least remotely writes like Erdnase, who shares some rare words and phrases or exhibits some other aspects that make him at least somewhat like Erdnase. I would say that again one out of 10 is a sufficiently good writer. This brings down the cross section to ~1 person. If we apply a more specific linguistic fingerprint it certainly reduces it to 1.

Even if your numbers are different, it means there are very few people who had a first edition, had some connection to McKinney, were writers/authors themselves who wrote well enough and similar enough to Erdnase. The evidence shows that Gallaway is one of them. One can then add all the other evidence of record of self-publishing, copyright application, price on title page, similarity in traits (instructor, performer, reading, religious questions, magic & gambling, math, print, detail-oriented, ...), match of physical appearance if you trust Smith, and we know that Gallaway is Erdnase. No other candidate's evidence even remotely is able to get down to such a narrow selection.
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby S. Tauzier » November 12th, 2017, 12:07 pm

Bill Mullins wrote:
S. Tauzier wrote: If you were seriously trying to hide your identity- not so the public doesnt know but so anyone you may know personally doesnt figure it out- would you just reverse your name?


Why are you assuming this is what Erdnase was trying to do? It could be that he didn't really care, and it's just an accident of history that no one today knows who he was. I'd be reasonably good money that if you walked into Roterberg's magic shop in 1902-1903, and asked about "That guy who wrote Expert at the Card Table," someone in the shop would have known who he aws

And maybe they did not know; maybe they were some of the people he hid it from.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Leonard Hevia » November 12th, 2017, 12:48 pm

lybrary wrote:For Gallaway we know even more. We know he had an interest in sleight of hand with cards, because he had card magic and gambling books in his library.


Chris--are you saying here that Gallaway owned more than one card magic book? Beyond The Expert, did he own any more books on card magic?

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bill Mullins » November 12th, 2017, 1:03 pm

lybrary wrote:Then we also need Erdnase to have some kind of connection with McKinney where the book was printed.

Why in the world is that the case? If this were true in general, then the only people who could self-publish books would be those who had a connection to a printer.

There are a number of self published authors that participate here. Did Richard Kaufman work for a printer before he published books? Did Tomas Sawyer? Did you work for a printer before you published McDermott's book?

The only connection the author needed was the ability to read, so he could find a printer. Think Yellow Pages. If you are literate enough to write a book, you have all the connections to printers you need.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Roger M. » November 12th, 2017, 1:26 pm

lybrary wrote:..... Let's give a short run down and see why Gallaway's case is so compelling.



I read, and then re-read your post, and beyond you stating that you felt the contents of your post were "compelling", I found there was nothing at all compelling about anything you presented.

So go most of your posts, which are almost entirely highly personal opinions (often without a shred of evidence) packaged up and sold as a "fact" ... when indeed there is nothing at all either factual, or compelling about them.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby lybrary » November 12th, 2017, 1:39 pm

Bill Mullins wrote:
lybrary wrote:Then we also need Erdnase to have some kind of connection with McKinney where the book was printed.

Why in the world is that the case? If this were true in general, then the only people who could self-publish books would be those who had a connection to a printer.

With connection I do not mean that Erdnase had to necessarily work there. He had to have some connection, business connection (being a customer or supplier for example), family connection, local proximity, whatever. The book was printed there. And thus Erdnase knew the James McKinney business, he did business with them. He had to go there or communicate with McKinney to get his manuscript to them.

Opportunity is a key requirement in any criminal case. Gallaway clearly had opportunity. I am estimating about 10,000 others had also opportunity. It is one important way to narrow down the list of suspects.
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bill Mullins » November 12th, 2017, 3:26 pm

But a person who wants to print a book will make their own opportunity -- it doesn't have to pre-exist.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby lybrary » November 12th, 2017, 3:52 pm

Bill Mullins wrote:But a person who wants to print a book will make their own opportunity -- it doesn't have to pre-exist.

True, it doesn't have to pre-exist, but in either case, if it pre-existed or was created, you have to show that Erdnase was at the scene of the 'crime', otherwise you cannot 'convict beyond a reasonable doubt'. Gallaway clearly was at the right place at the right time and his opportunity is proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Leonard Hevia » November 12th, 2017, 6:13 pm

Leonard Hevia wrote:
lybrary wrote:For Gallaway we know even more. We know he had an interest in sleight of hand with cards, because he had card magic and gambling books in his library.


Chris--are you saying here that Gallaway owned more than one card magic book? Beyond The Expert, did he own any more books on card magic?


Chris--you haven't answered my question.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bill Mullins » November 12th, 2017, 9:48 pm

lybrary wrote:
Bill Mullins wrote:But a person who wants to print a book will make their own opportunity -- it doesn't have to pre-exist.

True, it doesn't have to pre-exist, but in either case, if it pre-existed or was created, you have to show that Erdnase was at the scene of the 'crime', otherwise you cannot 'convict beyond a reasonable doubt'. Gallaway clearly was at the right place at the right time and his opportunity is proven beyond a reasonable doubt.


All along you've been saying that Gallaway's employment by McKinney makes him more likely than the other candidates, with respect to the issue of opportunity. Are you agreeing now that anyone who can be shown to have been in the Chicago area in the era before Feb 1902 is on equivalent footing to Gallaway?

And do you disagree that all of the things that had to have happened between Erdnase and McKinney could have happened remotely, via the mails?

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby lybrary » November 12th, 2017, 10:55 pm

Bill Mullins wrote:All along you've been saying that Gallaway's employment by McKinney makes him more likely than the other candidates, with respect to the issue of opportunity. Are you agreeing now that anyone who can be shown to have been in the Chicago area in the era before Feb 1902 is on equivalent footing to Gallaway?

No not at all. There were about a million people in and around Chicago. Only about 10,000 people had potentially contact with McKinney. Showing that somebody was in Chicago is definitely not anywhere as narrow or specific as showing that somebody had contact with McKinney. It is not Gallaway's employment that is important, it is his proven contact with McKinney at the right time. Employment is one of many forms such contact could be shown. A supplier, relative of McKinney or any employee, somebody living across the street of McKinney's print shop, a receipt, letter or other communication with McKinney's business, a check for payment to McKinney, etc., all of those would prove sufficient opportunity. I don't understand why this is so hard to comprehend for you. The book was printed at McKinney. If one can proof that a candidate had contact with McKinney or was in the immediate vicinity at the right time it is proof for opportunity. Being in Chicago is not sufficient opportunity. There were hundreds of print shops in Chicago. Why would somebody merely in Chicago choose McKinney? In order to show opportunity you have to proof that they had contact with McKinney or were in the immediate viscinity. Think about a crime. Just because somebody was in the same city doesn't make one a suspect. But if one were in the same building at the time of the crime one would certainly be a suspect, or if one had contact with the victim around the time of the crime would make one a suspect. It comes down to showing contact with McKinney be it by spatial proximity or some proven contact via documentary evidence of some sort.

The way to quantify it is how small the group of people with the same characteristic is. Anybody in the world could be Erdnase. The world population at that time was about 1.5 billion people. Not a particularly narrow characteristic. If you can proof that a candidate was in the US during the right time then you would narrow it by a factor 10 to about 160 million. If you can place a candidate in Chicago you cut this down by a factor of ~100 to about 1.2 million. If you can show contact with McKinney you reduce it again by a factor ~100 to about 10,000.

A similar hierarchy can be made with writing skill. If you do not have knowledge of any writing then there is no narrowing possible. If you can show that somebody was an author and wrote books or articles then that would make the candidate by about a factor 10 better, because we are looking for an author and not everybody is an author. If you can demonstrate that he was a good author on the same skill level as Erdnase then that is perhaps by another factor 10 better. If you can show that he actually writes like him another factor 10-100 better.

Bill Mullins wrote:And do you disagree that all of the things that had to have happened between Erdnase and McKinney could have happened remotely, via the mails?

Possible but highly unlikely in my opinion, because there were so many print shops all over the country that doing such a contract purely by mail would be highly unusual. That is not how print shops operated. But hey, if you can show that somebody in California communicated with McKinney then I would accept that as sufficient opportunity for that person. Immediate spatial proximity is one way to show opportunity. A document that proofs contact with McKinney is another way of doing that. Anyway you can do it is fine. But if such evidence is not present then you haven't shown opportunity.
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby MagicbyAlfred » November 12th, 2017, 11:34 pm

Jack Shalom wrote:Isn't there the story that Canada Bill offered to pay the railroad agents for the right for him to play on the trains exclusively, with his promise that he would only cheat people of the cloth?


Yes, Jack, there is indeed such a story. It first appeared in print in an article entitled, "Three Keerd Monkey," in the Little Rock Daily Republican, September 14, 1872, p. 3. A similar story is recounted in School for Scoundrels, Notes on There Card Monte, written by Whit Haydn and published in 2001 by Whit Haydn and Chef Anton. (Don't have the page reference right now because I am on the road and don't have my copy with me). However, according to the Notes on Three Card Monte version, when the Union Pacific Railroad banned three card monte, Canada Bill wrote to the railroad's Superintendent offering $25,000 in return for the exclusive right to operate a three-card monte game on their trains, and a promise to play only against commercial travelers from Chicago. The Superintendent politely declined the offer.

Canada Bill is widely reputed to be the greatest three card monte hustler ever. He is known mainly for his "rube act," wherein he played the part of a barely literate hic from Kentucky, who had just learned how to play this game with three cards after having been hustled by some slicker in the game. He would demonstrate how he had been taken by awkwardly tossing the cards about, and making it look like he had no skill whatsoever. Believing they would be able to take advantage of this poorly-clothed, uneducated "rube," and win the big bankroll he flashed (money he had supposedly just acquired from selling some horses from the family ranch), many a sophisticated and well-healed traveler was fleeced by Canada Bill (and usually a shill) - especially by the bent corner ruse. Unfortunately, Bill was himself addicted to gambling, and typically lost all his copious winnings (hundreds of thousands of dollars) at the Faro table.

Since this is, after all, an Erdnase thread, it seems fitting to quote from what is said of three card monte in Expert at the Card Table: ""But there is not a single card feat in the whole calendar that will give as good returns for the amount of practice required, or that will mystify as greatly, or cause as much amusement, or bear so much repetition, as this little game; and for these reasons we believe it worth of unstinted effort to master it thoroughly." Interestingly, it would seem from the foregoing quote that Erdnase's orientation toward the game was as a form of magical entertainment, as opposed to a con for card cheats.


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