All of the discussion in this thread is causing me to break some news I wasn't quite ready to release. Perhaps I should wait, but here goes. Recently, I've been doing research on Hooker's Rising Cards (ever since it was announced that the performance would be featured at the History Conference), and have found some very interesting information on the history and mechanics of the trick. I had hoped to announce after I had finished writing it up, but by posting now, I'll be able to guage interest.
Look's like I've found some information that eluded Jim Steinmeyer and John Gaughan. From family members of Hooker, and from digging through archives, I've put together a pretty good idea of how much of the how much of the trick was performed.
One source is William Hooker's granddaughter. On page 70 of the Genii article, it states that William Hooker becamed estranged from his father in 1932. Later, he moved to the Atlanta area and started a family. His second son's daughter has a number of letters, papers, photos, etc from her grandfather, including a diary that he kept when he was in his early 20's (during the period when Hooker first presented the trick). I've also found indications in the Chattanooga _Times_ that he performed some stage magic (but no evidence that he recreated the Rising Cards).
The second source is Dr. Samuel Cox Hooker's professional library. He had a full and active career as a chemist, apart from his magic interests. His magic library went to the New York Public Library upon his death. His professional papers went elsewhere. I found a folder that was apparently neglected when Hooker's family disposed of his effects, including handwritten notes and drawings of the houlette used in the rising cards, and details of the table upon which it sat (including invoices for the wood and hardware used in its construction!)
I've been able to put a fair explanation together of most effects in the Rising Cards peformance. Where my information is solid, I say so. Where I'm speculating, I explain why I've come to the conclusions I've reached. I have _no_ information on Miltiades III, but it's pretty obvious that some of the levitations are similar -- at least I can see no reason that the methods wouldn't work for a small stuffed bear head.
It had been my intention to write this up and publish it in a limited, numbered, fine press edition. I've completed the manuscript and am currently researching printers. The cost will not be cheap. The more limited, the higher it will be since a number of "one-time" costs will have to be amortized over the entire print run. Perhaps 25 to 50 copies total.
The recent discussion of the "mystique" of not knowing is making reconsider much of what I've planned to do. However, I've sunk a great deal of time and energy into the project so far, and have the blessing of this branch of the family (like many laypeople, they had no idea how important their great-grandfather was in our little part of the world, and are proud of any recognition he may get).