ERDNASE

Discuss general aspects of Genii.
David Alexander
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby David Alexander » December 20th, 2009, 6:32 pm

Jeff,

I notice that one of the Dalrymple daughters married and moved to Deming, NM. I know my candidate was in the New Mexico area for a time as a mining engineer. Maybe he visited them?

The problem with finding widow's obits is that they may have moved in with one of their children and lived a good long time after the death of their husband.

David

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Geno Munari » December 27th, 2009, 10:44 pm

I know that this post might be jumped on with a reply as "we covered that....", however I may have missed this concept completely, and if I did I am sorry, however I was taught as a child that there is no such thing as a stupid question. Please accept my ignorance if it applies.

So. The scrambling of the name S.W. Erdnase. If the name was Andrews and it was reversed, there are not to many letters of the alphabet that would work to have a somewhat normal sounding name, except using the "se" on the end to complete the name.

So references and research that look for matching candidates that are named E. S. Andrews may be a moot point.

For instance: S.W. Erdna. Then adding different letters such as le giving Erdnale, le, rd, etc. Not many letters will work to form a somewhat legit sounding name. Did we cover this concept?

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Disparity1 » December 28th, 2009, 11:38 am

My personal feeling is that if one is going to flip something around and make a name, one name is about as good as another. In other words, "S. W. Erdna" is about as good a pseudonym as "S. W. Erdnase."

I understand that it was common practice then (and possibly now) to add random letters simply to fill out an anagram or name reversal, but my sense is that (and I know this is completely an extrapolation and wholly unprovable) using an extra "S" and "E" simply to fill out the name would have been unsatisfactory to Erdnase; indeed, it may have been offensive to his sensibilities (as it is to mine). Erdnase was too precise and complete a thinker -- a systemic thinker who dealt in the tiniest of details -- and seemingly always concerned with how every little part contributed to an outcome. I believe that he would no more use any available letters to complete a name reversal than he would put a finger in a certain place during a move "just for the hell of it."

I sometimes wonder just how concerned Erdnase was with protecting his identity. If you're trying not to be found out, simply reversing the letters in your name wouldn't seem to do it. I remember, as a child, when I saw my first copy of The Expert At The Card Table, and I INSTANTLY perceived that the name backwards was "E. S. Andrews." If a child can do it, anyone can.

If anonymity is a prime concern, but one is still vain enough to want his name in there somewhere, then a better path would be to anagram your name first and THEN reverse it. Anyone perceiving the reversal would likely stop there and hunt for one name, when in fact, they should be looking for another. That seems to be more in line with how this character might think.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Jonathan Townsend » December 28th, 2009, 12:24 pm

A sufficient amount of intelligent rationalization can get you almost any name as author and any reason for the book and perhaps even the burning down of the publishing house to cover the tracks.

IMHO it has nothing to do with the author(s) or the book itself. It's all about distraction from learning and performing. Our few historians might want to find out why the author etc was not tracked down at the time of publication. There's the lesson IMHO. The rest is ... curious.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Disparity1 » December 28th, 2009, 1:27 pm

I dunno...it doesn't seem like anyone with 25,000 posts between Genii and the Cafe needs to be talking to anyone else about being distracted from learning and performing.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Jonathan Townsend » December 28th, 2009, 1:48 pm

Disparity1 wrote:I dunno...it doesn't seem like anyone with 25,000 posts between Genii and the Cafe needs to be talking to anyone else about being distracted from learning and performing.


You are correct, you don't know.

Our few historians are slowly making progress toward hard evidence of the book's provenance.

Some folks seem to enjoy fantasies projecting the skill they don't have and the disdain they can't own up to onto a fictional person they can claim as real.

I have a copy salvaged from the fire by an invalid who would not give his name... respect me.
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Disparity1 » December 28th, 2009, 2:30 pm

This seems like the kind of post that merits a response, but I don't understand about 80% of what you've written. I sense, though, that you're sitting there with hurt feelings.

Apologies.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bill Mullins » December 28th, 2009, 6:41 pm

Geno Munari wrote:I know that this post might be jumped on with a reply as "we covered that....", however I may have missed this concept completely, and if I did I am sorry, however I was taught as a child that there is no such thing as a stupid question. Please accept my ignorance if it applies.

So. The scrambling of the name S.W. Erdnase. If the name was Andrews and it was reversed, there are not to many letters of the alphabet that would work to have a somewhat normal sounding name, except using the "se" on the end to complete the name.

So references and research that look for matching candidates that are named E. S. Andrews may be a moot point.

For instance: S.W. Erdna. Then adding different letters such as le giving Erdnale, le, rd, etc. Not many letters will work to form a somewhat legit sounding name. Did we cover this concept?


Two problems with this line of thinking:

1. It goes against Occam's Razor -- "E. S. Andrews" is a more reasonable, logical explanation of "S. W. Erdnase" than any other name.

2. It doesn't narrow down the avenues of research in any way. If you suppose that the author's last name was Andrews, the boundaries of the search process are too large for the problem to be solved. Ancestry.com has almost 50,000 people named "Andrews" in their index for the 1900 census.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Richard Kaufman » December 28th, 2009, 6:44 pm

Occam's Razor: the simplest solution that explains the most is the generally the best.
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Jonathan Townsend » December 28th, 2009, 7:02 pm

Richard Kaufman wrote:Occam's Razor: the simplest solution that explains the most is the generally the best.


Not sure if that applies so well with deceptive people and/or incomplete information about the context. In this case we almost certainly are dealing with deception at more than one level of the puzzle.

for example: the coin vanished, the magician said they used magic, same as for the other things they did, so it must have been magic. Or sway out "do as I say because I'm your (whatever)" as the explanation and notice how that gets less workable over time. :)

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Disparity1 » December 28th, 2009, 9:33 pm

Um, no...the "simplest solution" must still be a credible one.

It's a strength of our craft that we optimally leave the audience with no solution but magic for what they witnessed, a solution they will not accept, for they refuse to believe it, but the only one with which they are left nonetheless.

Even if multiple layers of deception are in play, Occam's Razor holds as a general principle (and a good one, although nothing more than that).

If it were otherwise, then all quandaries would be solved, because the simplest solution in every case would be, "it's magic." Since that's unacceptable, we'll have to stay with the true intent behind the principle.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Jonathan Townsend » December 28th, 2009, 11:16 pm

There's an unstated presupposition or two in action there about access to more complete information in context or a non-trump of other priorities in context. The "how would one know if..." test fails when discussing interpretations of text of unknown provenance. The recent story "Killing Time" offers an amusing example or three for that idea.

IMHO you hit the nail on the head with the words "credible" and "acceptable" - a nail called vanity. No need to get into specifics about things folks claim to be acceptable and credible now ... is there?

It's magic - and the latest ebook on the subject will be out shortly ;)

* the student is directed to Borges' 'Three Versions of ...' story for example by way of analogy using nested frames. Three versions of Erdnase anyone?

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Geno Munari » December 28th, 2009, 11:34 pm

Hi Bill

Interesting response, however in academia, is Occam's Razor dogma? Or just a theorem? The simple way in circumstantial evidence has put many convicted persons to death.

i.e., He was spotted in the area. He hated the victim. That is simple for a jury to convict.

In many instances the simplest way is the better unless there is fraud or some other reason that we are unaware, or the suspect is just plain innocent.

The basic fact that the name was purposely changed to either confuse or conceal the real name would negate that notion of Occam's Razor .

My only conjecture is simple. How many ways can you write a name backwards that when read makes a somewhat logical name?

This suggestion is not to meant to be argumentive or absolute, but a ponder.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Jonathan Townsend » December 28th, 2009, 11:50 pm

Geno a deeper question might be "who would benefit from offering such an obvious plausible (specious) snipe to hunt?"

:) Have a read about the darling William of Occam and his dear rusty saw. Even the wiki article has enough to read between the lines and note the cynicism then and the irony of its use after the middle of the twentieth century.

The tough part of actually using his heuristic is to find well formed and viable working alternatives. In the real world - the story of the measurement of longitude (measurements vs a good clock) seems a pretty good example.

Probably simplest to see the idea as a counter to the how the judge decided cases in the washington irving story by weighing the submitted piles of paper.
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Disparity1 » December 29th, 2009, 10:56 am

Interesting response, however in academia, is Occam's Razor dogma? Or just a theorem? The simple way in circumstantial evidence has put many convicted persons to death.

i.e., He was spotted in the area. He hated the victim. That is simple for a jury to convict.


Geno,

Occam's Razor is neither dogma nor a theorem, unless it's misused as either. It's a principle of logic, and it actually goes beyond, "The simplest explanation is the best." That's just how most people understand it.

The idea (or set of ideas) actually goes much farther in the past than William of Ockham...into the previous millenium, actually.

The core ideas are these:

1) Make as few assumptions as possible.
2) Disregard assumptions that do not affect plausible theories
3) Do not posit matters that lead to complexity without sufficiently answering the question ("plurality should not be posited without necessity")

When faced with more than one possible hypothesis, the actual workable summary of Occam's Razor is, "All other considerations being equal, the simplest explanation tends to be the best."

Not right or correct, just "the best," based on what is known at the moment. Not always, just "tends to be." Not in every case, but "when all other considerations are equal." Occam's Razor is a tool for analysis, not a truth-telling machine.

Applying Occam's Razor to the mystery of Erdnases's actual name would tell us that the simplest solution is the most favorable one. The odds are that the man's name was really E.S. Andrews. It's not a proclamation of fact; it's just the most likely direction in which we should proceed. Introducing other lettering schemes may turn out to be plausible, but it makes sense to first explore the possibilities with the greatest likelihood.

Applying Occam's Razor at every step in the investigation into the true identity of Erdnase would take us to...well, where Richard Hatch has brought us. It's a useful tool.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Nathan Muir » December 29th, 2009, 5:56 pm

Townsend wrote:Have a read about the darling William of Occam and his dear rusty saw. Even the wiki article has enough to read between the lines and note the cynicism then and the irony of its use after the middle of the twentieth century.


I can't believe you are arguing the toss over Occam's razor. Not only that, that you cite Wikipedia as an authoritative source for controversy over a basic principle of scientific inquiry.

Disparity1 wrote:
Occam's Razor is neither dogma nor a theorem, unless it's misused as either. It's a principle of logic, and it actually goes beyond, "The simplest explanation is the best." That's just how most people understand it.

The idea (or set of ideas) actually goes much farther in the past than William of Ockham...into the previous millenium, actually.

The core ideas are these:

1) Make as few assumptions as possible.
2) Disregard assumptions that do not affect plausible theories
3) Do not posit matters that lead to complexity without sufficiently answering the question ("plurality should not be posited without necessity")


A well-stated, concise outline of the principles.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Jonathan Townsend » December 29th, 2009, 7:08 pm

Since when does "even the wiki article" imply more than casual reference for our facile readers?

Amusingly, that was one of his principles about presuming the existence of a thing - scripture - in this case the book of E. ;)
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bob Farmer » January 31st, 2010, 2:06 pm

There is quite a bit of info on cheating in this new book on the history of poker:

http://www.amazon.com/Cowboys-Full-Stor ... 0374299242

but Erdnase is not mentioned. Hardison is mentioned. Where does Hardison fit into the chronology?

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bill Mullins » January 31st, 2010, 11:32 pm

Because magic has a body of literature going back to Erdnase, it is easy to track the book's influence on the art.

Has anyone ever tried to track Erdnase's influcence on gambling since 1902? What is the first external reference to EATCT in gambling-specific literature?

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Jonathan Townsend » February 1st, 2010, 7:50 am

Bill Mullins wrote:Because magic has a body of literature going back to Erdnase, it is easy to track the book's influence on the art.
- has this been explored? Erdndase inspired Al Baker, Findley, UFGrant... - not so sure about the book being influential in its time.

Bill Mullins wrote: Has anyone ever tried to track Erdnase's influcence on gambling since 1902? What is the first external reference to EATCT in gambling-specific literature?


Is there such an open literature of card cheating? IMHO it's close to asking whether the new BSCS curriculum in science improved meth lab efficiency.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bill Mullins » February 1st, 2010, 4:27 pm

Jonathan --

Ever consider making a post that advances the discussion, instead of going off into some weird tangent? Just a thought . . .

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Jonathan Townsend » February 1st, 2010, 4:41 pm

Bill Mullins wrote:Jonathan --

Ever consider making a post that advances the discussion, instead of going off into some weird tangent? Just a thought . . .


Bill, ever considered learning to make comments directed to a person via private message? Show me a few years of such basics and I'll reevaluate my position on some things I currently read as playbows awaiting rejoinders.

So, is there a card cheats journal like 9600? Old books on how to run the cons in detail?

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Jonathan Townsend » February 1st, 2010, 7:45 pm

Real question:

How would you compare the magic items in Erdnase to the "Workers" series items of today?
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bill Mullins » February 2nd, 2010, 12:55 am

In the hands of a gifted performer, tricks from Erdnase or Workers can be effective. The descriptions in Workers tend to have more useful information about presentation and the mechanics of getting into and out of a trick. There are many sleights in Erdnase which could be updated to accomplish the same purpose. And the Erdnase tricks tend to be a bit "wordy", for lack of a better word.

Jonathan Townsend wrote:
Bill Mullins wrote:Because magic has a body of literature going back to Erdnase, it is easy to track the book's influence on the art.
- has this been explored?
Contained within this very thread is an exploration of how Erdnase has influenced magic since its publication.

Jonathan Townsend wrote: Is there such an open literature of card cheating?
What do you mean by "open" -- is the literature of magic "open"? Not very, I'd say. The journals are limited in distribution, the books had small print runs, there are few research libraries other than personal collections. I believe UNLV has a strong collection of gambling literature, but haven't been there and don't know, and I'd imagine that it isn't available via interlibrary loan.

It's only been in the last decade that so much magic literature has been digitized and made available via CD-ROMs or AskAlexander. I'm not plugged into the gambling scene, and don't know if there is an equivalent situation in gambling literature.

Jonathan Townsend wrote: So, is there a card cheats journal like 9600?
If there were, would that be useful? 9600 is a bunch of script kiddies swapping stories about how they found a password to all the machines at their local Best Buy, near as I can tell. If, on the other hand, there was a journal that described the methods of Gamblers, psychology, reviewed the literature as it became available, gave points on how to improve your play, described the big tournament matches and also the underground and casino games, over a long period of time, then it'd be the gambling equivalent of something like the Linking Ring and would be germane to the discussion.

Jonathan Townsend wrote:Old books on how to run the cons in detail?
David Maurer wrote The Big Con in 1940, and had published in academic journals on the topic before that. No doubt there are others -- searching Advanced Google Books for titles between 1800 and 1950 and the phrase "confidence men" in the book title shows several other likely examples.

Bill Mullins wrote:instead of going off into some weird tangent?
Jon, in your most recent posts on this thread, you've made obscure reference to BSCS, 9600, and playbows. I caught one of them, but I've got no idea WTF you are talking about with the other two. This is what I mean.

I felt bad about the post I made earlier, personally calling you out, so I've tried to seriously answer the questions you asked. But in doing so, I've deviated the thread into Jon and Bill one-upping each other instead of down its most recent organic path, as started by Bob Farmer, that being the relationship of Erdnase to gambling. If there was any mention of Erdnase in gambling literature before WWII, I think that might provide an interesting insight on the book from another perspective. That's all I was trying find out.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Jonathan Townsend » February 2nd, 2010, 6:16 am

Hypotheses floated on unfounded presuppositions can make for good fiction if you contrive something engaging. Not sure it's a sensible way to approach history, though.

I like the idea of seeing if the Erdnase text left ripples in the sharping community's literature, presuming there exists such a thing. IMHO one might do well to look for ripples in the literature of conjuring due to the Erdnase text and seek similar. I can't say I've seen such ripples in our literature - or what might be ripples may have also been damped out by the effects of the Hoffmann and Hilliard works. So far "doc" and others online have not mentioned such a body of literature among advantage players - nor do I recall such mentioned in the Erdnase text.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Jim Maloney » February 2nd, 2010, 10:06 am

Unless I'm really out of touch, I think you guys mean to be referring to 2600.

As far as "ripples" go, Erdnase definitely had an impact in its time. Just off the top of my head, I know there are several citations to Erdnase in Down's "The Art of Magic", with the reader being directed to that book for instruction on false shuffles and cuts, second dealing, and bottom palming.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby David Alexander » February 2nd, 2010, 10:27 am

Bill Mullins wrote:
Jonathan Townsend wrote:Old books on how to run the cons in detail?
David Maurer wrote The Big Con in 1940, and had published in academic journals on the topic before that. No doubt there are others -- searching Advanced Google Books for titles between 1800 and 1950 and the phrase "confidence men" in the book title shows several other likely examples.



In doing some research of my own some time back I spoke with David Maurer's daughter about her father's work. Unlike many academics who were kept their raw research notes and such, Maurer destroyed it all before he died. The only thing remaining, she told me, were the articles and books he wrote.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Jonathan Townsend » February 2nd, 2010, 10:28 am

I got tired of reading about where nickle tones from blue boxes work on payphones in Slovenia.

The sort of ripple I look for for is where something is advanced from a specific source. Say where the Power of Faith travels overseas to become the power of thrift subtitled "the girls want to be with the girls". Notice the lack of a version where four wives form a supper/shopping club that meets in secret every second thursday, hey that's today, and all across town ...
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Jim Maloney » February 2nd, 2010, 10:45 am

More ripples: I don't know an exact reference, but I seem to recall that G.W. Hunter published his takes on a couple of the Erdnase shuffles in The Sphinx.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bill Mullins » February 2nd, 2010, 11:24 am

There is definitely a body of literature on gambling/sharping, going as far back as "Sharps and Flats" (1894), or even "Gambling Exposed" (1843 by Jonathan Green).

And surely Jon jests when he says "I can't say I've seen such ripples in our literature", referring to Erdnase's influence (or lack thereof). Is there any other book from that era that has had more influence on card magic?

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Jonathan Townsend » February 2nd, 2010, 11:40 am

A book by an outsider ( magician in the case of Sharps and Flats ) is not what we're looking for.

Thanks for the citation to the Green book

http://books.google.com/books?id=MrhIAA ... q=&f=false

Curiously the introductions are echoed in the Erdnase text.

Now if you want a book that has ripples down our literature to the present, perhaps Modern Magic would serve as template.
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Jonathan Townsend » February 2nd, 2010, 12:22 pm

PS I wish the Erdnase text had more echos and ripples in our literature. IMHO the text is erudite, concise, forthright in stated opinions and without pretensions to educate or having the best possible methods for the performing magician. Even if all folks got from that text was the habit of refining ones work to have a consistancy of action and an appearance of congruent actions we'd be doing better than we are today IMHO.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Joe Pecore » February 2nd, 2010, 2:35 pm

Jim Maloney wrote:More ripples: I don't know an exact reference, but I seem to recall that G.W. Hunter published his takes on a couple of the Erdnase shuffles in The Sphinx.
-Jim


I found an article called "False Shuffles" by G. W. Hunter in the March 1920 issue of Will Goldston's "Magazine of Magic" (which quotes Erdnase).
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Jim Maloney » February 2nd, 2010, 3:56 pm

Yeah, I think that might be what I was thinking about.

Thanks,
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Joe Pecore » February 2nd, 2010, 4:34 pm

Also, Professor Hoffmann did a long series called "Some Useful Card Sleights" which quotes Erdnase extensively starting in the first issue of the British magazine "Magic Wand" (September 1910).
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby David Alexander » February 2nd, 2010, 4:59 pm

I believe that the mention in "The Art of Magic" (1909) was the first reference to Erdnase in magic literature, not counting the ads in magazines.

Anyone know of anything earlier?

I think it unlikely that we could know or be able to measure Erdnase's impact on the sub-culture of card cheats because they were (and remain), secretive. It may be years or decades before some interesting technique leaps from the hands of a skilled mechanic to an interested magician and then a long time before he gives it up to more than a few close friends. In my own experience I can think of several things that I know about and a few that I do that have never appeared in the literature. My experience cannot be unique in magic and mentalism even given the ubiquity of blabbermouths on the Internet.

As was mentioned many screens ago, Erdnase does mention teaching his shuffle system to at least one person, someone he looks down on for not understanding the mechanics of the process. He may have taught others possibly in trade for something they knew or for a fee. Teaching has less risk than doing.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bill Mullins » February 10th, 2010, 1:15 pm

I just noticed that the last line of Si Stebbins' introduction to Si Stebbins' Card Tricks reads:
My reason for writing this book is the money I expect
to obtain from its sale.


Curiously similar to Erdnase's reasoning . . .

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bill Mullins » February 10th, 2010, 2:20 pm

David Alexander wrote:I believe that the mention in "The Art of Magic" (1909) was the first reference to Erdnase in magic literature, not counting the ads in magazines.

Anyone know of anything earlier?



From The Sphinx, Sept 1902, 6th unnumbered page, col 2.

A recent book on gambling tricks has been published by S. W. Erdnase, under the title "The Expert at the Card table." It contains a chapter on ledgerdemain.



The Sphinx, Feb 1909, p 158, col 2.
Any one up in Erdnase system of false shuffles will have
no trouble in continuing to shuffle the deck and finish by placing cards on top, instead of below.

Jonathan Townsend
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Jonathan Townsend » February 11th, 2010, 8:41 am

Was there a review published at the time?
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time

Richard Hatch
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Richard Hatch » February 11th, 2010, 10:33 am

Jonathan Townsend wrote:Was there a review published at the time?

To date, none has been found. The September 1902 mention in the Sphinx is the earliest known mention. It was not advertised in the Sphinx till the November issue (by Vernello, the publisher of the Sphinx). Busby and Whaley argue that the September mention was an editorial plug for the book by editor William J. Hilliar just as he was leaving that job (it was the last issue he edited). They argue that he was the "ghost-editor" of the book, as he was in Chicago at the time the book was in preparation, knew about copyright law, and worked for Drake at the time (which company began selling first edition copies in 1903 and published its own editions starting in 1905). Personally, I don't find the two sentence mention much of an editorial endorsement, especially without any information on where to obtain it. The book was published in Chicago in March 1902 and the Sphinx was first issued that same month, also in Chicago. If Hilliar had any hand in the production of the book, why did he wait until his departing issue in September to slip in a mention of the book? Makes no sense to me! There are numerous other good reasons to believe that Hilliar had nothing to do with the book, but I suspect those have been discussed earlier in this thread...


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