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Jonathan Townsend
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Re: Erdnase

Postby Jonathan Townsend » November 21st, 2010, 2:11 pm

? we have a picture of a few poorly conducted interviews, much hard work done collecting potential leads and one burnt down printing house.

I give about as much weight to the interviews as those done with the ex mrs hofzinser about his magic and apparatus - though hold hopes that there has not been sufficient time for all trails back to the original text we call "erdnase" to have been plowed over by the progress of time and passing on of those who may have useful information on the matter.

What's the consensus about the conjuring section following the advantage play section as regards it's connection in writing content and thematic continuity of ideas from one venue to another?

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Re: Erdnase

Postby Ryan Matney » November 21st, 2010, 2:43 pm

I'm out of my depth trying to have a conversation about this but here goes:

I'm assuming that he performed magic because of the type of material in the magic section. Where exactly does one do the traveling cards, certainly not at a poker game or after one. This is a platform piece. Or at least it is a bit more formal.

What use are the various think of a card effects to a gambler?

Having said that, the inclusion of the SWE shift (the only sleight named after the author) and 'The Three Aces: make me think that he did much in the way of anything for real people. None of it reads to me like someone who performed for people.

I think he was an educated man who did magic as a hobby and was interested in gambling enough to fancy himself a gambler,study the written works of the day and think of a few original techniques of his own.

Could the whole book be an armchair fantasy of some upper class wannabe card hustler?

PS Where did Erdnase get the color change attributed to Houdini when the published sources came after Erdnase and why is attributed to Houdini when Erdnase published it first?
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Re: Erdnase

Postby Joe Pecore » November 21st, 2010, 3:24 pm

> re: Where did Erdnase get the color change attributed to Houdini
I believe it was reported that Erdnase's color change is the same as the "New Colour Changes, Fourth Method" published by Selbit in "The Magician's Handbook" in 1901, which he credits Harry Houdini for having shown it to him.
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Re: Erdnase

Postby Richard Kaufman » November 21st, 2010, 3:32 pm

There are two printed earlier references to Houdini: the one above, plus one other I can't recall.
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Re: Erdnase

Postby Eric Fry » November 21st, 2010, 4:53 pm

Giobbi cites Selbit and "Elliott's Last Legacy," which Houdini fiddled with. Obviously, we can't trust the latter book. But I'm not sure that even Selbit credits Houdini for creating the move. What he really says is: "For the knowledge of the movement I am indebted to my friend Mr. Harry Houdini..." That could mean simply that he learned of the move from Houdini.

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Re: Erdnase

Postby Richard Kaufman » November 21st, 2010, 7:27 pm

The point is that the move was in existance and done before it was published by Erdnase. It might well have been Houdini's creation--he was quite good with a deck of cards. You'll find some remarks about that in Gaultier's Magic Without Apparatus.
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Re: Erdnase

Postby Magic Fred » November 22nd, 2010, 3:06 am

In my view, the "betray no confidence" line speaks precisely to the point that he was self taught. He didn't betray any confidences because nobody took him into their confidence and taught him the ropes, so to speak.

Other than Vernon's speculation, I see no reason to believe that this line suggests he was holding back things that he had been taught.

I believe Erdnase certainly was interested in magic. Probably, but not necessarily, after he quit gambling. It seems likely to me that he performed, at least, for family and friends and there is evidence to suggest that he certainly witnessed a number of magic acts.

His familiarity with magic and his lavish patter does not, in my view, make it less likely that he was a real gambler at some stage in his life.

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Re: Erdnase

Postby Magic Fred » November 22nd, 2010, 3:25 am

The S.W.E. Shift is a wonderful piece of engineering and, when done properly, can come frighteningly close to being invisible. As Erdnase admits, it is not perfect but I would certainly not ridicule him for including it.

It demonstrates his thought process and objectives beautifully. Compare with the standard two handed shift and you begin to see the direction Erdnase was heading when striving to devise a shift "appearing as coincident card table routine; or that can be executed with the hands held stationary and not show that some manoeuvre has taken place."

There is no unnatural movement to get the little finger inserted further into a break. There is no awkward dip of the left fingers (essential when sitting at a table). The packets pass through the minimum space possible in transposing and do so with lightening speed and almost completely silently. Above all, the hands seem to remain completely at rest and under no tension whatsoever.

The move is certainly worthy of study, and thus an important inclusion in the book.

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Re: Erdnase

Postby Magic Fred » November 22nd, 2010, 3:49 am

RE: I think he was an educated man who did magic as a hobby and was interested in gambling enough to fancy himself a gambler,study the written works of the day and think of a few original techniques of his own.
------------------------------------

Sincerely not wanting to sound patronizing, but this betrays a fundamental misunderstanding of the work. The case for him having real world gambling experience is SO convincing that even Mr Giorgio must create a phantom "second man" to account for it.

Erdnase earns our trust in so many ways. His comments regarding the system of palming and his various shifts, for example, turn out to be absolutely accurate once you have mastered them.

Various comments throughout prove that he himself has an intimate understanding of the path to mastering each particular technique.

I often marvel at his perseverance and trust in his own thought process. I'm sure the S.W.E. shift looked like trash the first time he did it too... though he did have the advantage of having mastered the "Longitudinal Shift first, a factor neglected by most.

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Re: Erdnase

Postby Magic Fred » November 22nd, 2010, 4:40 am

RE: So, if you think the same man wrote both sections of the book and this man was also a gambler that was familar with working real games and cheating to make money, then why all of the card presentations with elaborate patter? What use would those ever be to a real gambler who wanted to hide his skill?
-----------------------------------------------

This is a straw man of sorts. The answer is "those" would be of absolutely no use to a real gambler who wants to hide his skill.

It does not follow, however, that Erdnase was therefore not a gambler who wanted to hide his skill.

Perhaps his interest in magic was as a private pastime. Do you know of any accomplished magicians today who do not perform in public? I do.

Perhaps (least likely) he had a career in magic after he quit the gambling scene.

Perhaps, and in my view most likely, he was just naturally interested in the subject and liked to entertain friends and family occasionally.

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Re: Erdnase

Postby Magic Fred » November 22nd, 2010, 4:44 am

RE: I'm not an Erdnase scholar at all but I also remember there being a famous exclusion of a gambling technique that was popular at the time. Someone could chime in and help me here as I can not find where I read this bit.
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I suppose you are referring to "the spread"? I think it is largely due to Vernon latching on to this omission that it has become a popular quote for people.

I'd say, however, that there are many many more techniques omitted by Erdnase that were in heavy use at the time.

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Re: Erdnase

Postby Jonathan Townsend » November 22nd, 2010, 9:02 am

Magic Fred, the introduction states that that his techniques were of his own invention and 'we betray no confidences'... so it's likely that if he was shown anything he kept it to himself.

I appreciate you textual analysis as regards the rhetoric of the book. Have you read Umberto Eco's similar discourse on Victor Hugo as regards the geography of Paris?

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Re: Erdnase

Postby Glenn Bishop » November 22nd, 2010, 9:32 am

If I may add a few more thoughts - Erdnase said in his book or the reason that he wrote the book and self published it was that He needed the money. If he could do the info that he published in 1902 why could he not find a game - and use his system to get the money!

I think that Erdnase was a player just because of the way he wrote about - being taken with a short deck. But being a player doesnt make him a professional card cheat. But he could have learned about cheating and worked on cheating moves in a self education in the school of hard knocks as I think the book suggests - while on the road.

I also think that Erdnase was a magician - I dont know if he was a professional magician. But because the magic section - the magic has several little bits of business - such as making the moment - so he could palm cards - little things like that in my opinion are learned while on the job.

As far as being a professional magician - I dont know. He could have been a drawing room performer that performed parties and other social event kind of shows. I would guess that to make a living doing close up card magic in 1902 - one must take into consideration - what was the market for a magician in 1902. Magicians performed drawing room shows and early vaudeville?

Also I think that Erdnase must have had a job where he traveled - working for the railroad as I think was talked about in this thread - or performing as a small time drawing room performer - would fit this profile. Being a man that traveled I think fits into his - learning from many people - watching and meeting people such as meeting gamblers on trains if he worked for the railroad - also going to the town saloon and playing in saloon games while he was on the road - while working for the railroad (doing magic as a hobby and learning about card cheating).

If he was an early vaudeville performer - I have heard many stories from many performers that played cards between shows. I think that even Walter Scott who played in a group that performed in vaudeville played cards between and after shows.

I think that Erdnase was a small time performer - scratching out a living - who worked on a book that he did not have the money to publish or promote - so he self published it and did the best that he could - by putting an add in the Sphinx magazine to sell the book to magicians. Two parts of the book are written in the form of a demonstration - the section of Three card monte and the 12 card stock.

Perhaps Erdnase wrote them this way - through his experience of doing both these items as part of a drawing room performance. I dont know - one can only read the book and profile and take an educated guess as to what kind of a man Erdnase was. Magician or gambler.

Just a few thoughts and opinion.

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Re: Erdnase

Postby Magic Fred » November 22nd, 2010, 9:45 am

RE:Magic Fred, the introduction states that that his techniques were of his own invention and 'we betray no confidences'... so it's likely that if he was shown anything he kept it to himself.
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Absolutely. I was merely making the point that this line does not necessarily mean that he was holding back or knew more than he published. The "betray no confidences" remark would not be a contradiction even were the book to represent the extent of his knowledge.

RE: I appreciate you textual analysis as regards the rhetoric of the book. Have you read Umberto Eco's similar discourse on Victor Hugo as regards the geography of Paris?
------------------------------------
Nope. ;)

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Re: Erdnase

Postby Ryan Matney » November 22nd, 2010, 2:55 pm

Every question or point made can't be a 'straw man' For one, I'm not arguing with you.

It's apt that Erdnase is referred to as the cardman's bible. Like the 'other' bible, one seems to get out of it whatever one is looking for. You can start at your desired position and work backwards to reach it.

It has become almost a Rorschach test.

Everyone has long held that the book was published anonamously to hide the identity of a real card cheat. Maybe someone who was protecting their good name or family.

My question is, Is there a real reason that the book was not an anonamous fantasy by someone who was wealthy and educated enough to be embarrassed by wanting to be a gambler?
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Re: Erdnase

Postby Magic Fred » November 22nd, 2010, 3:11 pm

RE: Every question or point made can't be a 'straw man' For one, I'm not arguing with you.
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The comment regarding the magic tricks being of no use to a gambler seemed to suggest either that somebody would claim the contrary, or that this would somehow prove that Erdnase was not a gambler. An opinion you asserted later in your post, so I assumed you were building up to it using this to support your view. Sorry if I misinterpreted.

It's apt that Erdnase is referred to as the cardman's bible. Like the 'other' bible, one seems to get out of it whatever one is looking for. You can start at your desired position and work backwards to reach it.
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I disagree. Erdnase is extremely explicit and precise in both his message and language. His book has not been translated, updated or otherwise tampered with over the years. The same can not be said for the "other" bible. You are right though, that some people seem to be able to read the book and get absolutely nothing out of it. Mr James I'm looking at you.

My question is, Is there a real reason that the book was not an anonamous fantasy by someone who was wealthy and educated enough to be embarrassed by wanting to be a gambler?
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And again the answer is yes. There are several very good reasons. The evidence to suggest he was a gambler with real world experience is almost overwhelming. I have referenced some of this evidence in my previous posts.

I would never be so arrogant as to say "I know" but I am as convinced of Erdnase's background in gambling as I am, say, in the non-existence of the flying spaghetti monster ;)

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Re: Erdnase

Postby Magic Fred » November 22nd, 2010, 3:54 pm

RE: RE: Every question or point made can't be a 'straw man'
--------------------------------
Ironically, this too is a straw man since I did not claim that every question or point was a straw man.

;)

No, every point is not a straw man but many of the issues raised by Giorgio are. As is using the fact that the card tricks are of no use to a gambler as a reason to suggest that the author was not one. Who ever said that the card tricks *would* be of use to a gambler? And why on earth would it suggest that the author wasn't a gambler?

I know it sounds tedious, but it is important to highlight such logical fallacies in a discussion like this.

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Re: Erdnase

Postby John Wilson » November 22nd, 2010, 3:59 pm

'If I may add a few more thoughts - Erdnase said in his book or the reason that he wrote the book and self published it was that He needed the money. If he could do the info that he published in 1902 why could he not find a game - and use his system to get the money!'-Glenn Bishop


Remember what Erdnase says about "pretty money". He would still need a stake to play in a game if he could find it. Going bust happens to every gambler I ever heard of at least once. I would imagine that Erdnase is no different.

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Re: Erdnase

Postby Richard Kaufman » November 22nd, 2010, 4:18 pm

Perhaps "Erdnase" was a good writer but a lousy cheater.
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Re: Erdnase

Postby Ryan Matney » November 22nd, 2010, 5:45 pm

Quote: Ironically, this too is a straw man since I did not claim that every question or point was a straw man.

No, but you did call everything Tony Giorgio said that you disagreed with a straw man. And then what I said as well.

You seem to really WANT to believe Erdnase was an expert gambler who really cheated in real games. Does this make the techniques taught more valid to you?

I'm sure you will call this a straw man as well, (There needs to be a moratorium on this phrase on the forum)

However, consider this: If someone handed you the book shuffled up and you read the magic section first, would you still assume he was a gambler? Judged purely by content and without the introduction.


By the way, I don't think it's a straw man to say that a real gambler in 1902 would have no use for victorian card tricks with flowery patter. Some of the effects are more than just casual tricks for family and friends. The cards to pocket is a platform piece, for example.

When you say he was self taught and all was his material are you implying that he worked out the bottom deals, palms, culls, and everything else on his own?

He was most certainly not entirely self taught when it came to magic tricks, why would you assume he was when it came to the cheating techniques?

Anyway, I have it on good authority that Erdnase had never heard of Norman Beck, so he couldn't have been a "REAL" gambler. :grin:
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Re: Erdnase

Postby John Wilson » November 22nd, 2010, 11:41 pm

I think that there is good reason to suspect at least the influence of a second author for the magic section. Note that in the gambling section he refers to "Charlie's pass". In the magic section the name is corrected. The patter for the "Exclusive Coterie" sounds nothing like the voice of the gambling section. e.g. "Don' worry bout no two han's boss." We begin with a bit of a ruffian and end up with a pompous Victorian sleight of hand artist. Do you imagine that a person who speaks like the patter in the magic section would ever make the mistake of calling it "Charlie's pass"? I can't see that happening.

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Re: Erdnase

Postby David Alexander » November 22nd, 2010, 11:56 pm

John,

The quote you use from the first section is Erdnase writing in what was considered a Negro dialect in those days, specifically imitating a "colored attendant." It was not Erdnase speaking in his own voice.

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Re: Erdnase

Postby T Baxter » November 23rd, 2010, 12:21 am

...and "Charlie's Pass" appears to just be a misprint or typo.

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Re: Erdnase

Postby elsielefe » November 23rd, 2010, 12:24 am

"There are several signs in the book that Erdnase taught gambling techniques - eg p22, teaching a blind shuffle in 5 mins, p24 the size of hand doesn't matter, p73 refering to instructing certain players."

Wow, cool, thank you for the great information.

-----------
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Re: Erdnase

Postby John Wilson » November 23rd, 2010, 1:50 am

David,
I know that he is not speaking in his own voice. He is taking advice from the speaker. The speaker is telling him not to waste time running up two hands, that the mark will most likely play any hand dealt to him. I don't see anyone who speaks of the "feminine portion of the smart set" as being part of this conversation. I think the tricks and patter are not from the author of the gambling section.

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Re: Erdnase

Postby Ryan Matney » November 23rd, 2010, 2:06 am

I agree with John as well as for the reasons I cited myself.

In my opinion, either someone else wrote the conjuring section of the book or Erdnase was not the gambler others have mad ehim out to be if he wrote both sections.

I, personally, can not reconcile that the same man wrote both sections without calling for a reevaluation of the mythos.
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Re: Erdnase

Postby Magic Fred » November 23rd, 2010, 2:21 am

No, but you did call everything Tony Giorgio said that you disagreed with a straw man. And then what I said as well.
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I was merely starting with the straw men in Giorgio's articles. I mentioned one as an example. Not everything I disagree with there is as a straw man.

You seem to really WANT to believe Erdnase was an expert gambler who really cheated in real games. Does this make the techniques taught more valid to you?
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On the contrary, I believe I approach the question in a completely unbiased manner by carefully considering the evidence. It is others who seem to have a preconceived notion and will not be convinced otherwise regardless of the evidence presented.

I'd happily change my mind if I ever came across any convincing evidence to the contrary. So far though, it all points to him being a gambler.


However, consider this: If someone handed you the book shuffled up and you read the magic section first, would you still assume he was a gambler? Judged purely by content and without the introduction.

-----------------------------------
Had I read the magic section, and only the magic section I would have assumed he was a magician. What does this prove? It is a rather pointless example. Had I then gone on to read the rest of the book I would have changed my mind, as the content of the artifice section contains compelling evidence that he was a gambler.

So like I said before, I believe he was a gambler who either did magic as a hobby or turned to it later after quitting the gaming scene.


By the way, I don't think it's a straw man to say that a real gambler in 1902 would have no use for victorian card tricks with flowery patter.
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It is if you are using it to counter my (or anyone else's) case that Erdnase was a gambler. Nobody is saying a real gambler would have use for them. Anyway, this neither harms the case for him being a gambler or furthers the case for him being a magician so it is another form of logical fallacy too ;)

Some of the effects are more than just casual tricks for family and friends. The cards to pocket is a platform piece, for example.
-----------------------------------
I would thoroughly agree. Most of the tricks were intended for the parlour setting. I still don't agree that this gives us any insight into whether or not Erdnase had real gambling experience.

When you say he was self taught and all was his material are you implying that he worked out the bottom deals, palms, culls, and everything else on his own?
-----------------------------------
Yes. Perhaps with a small amount of book learning thrown in. I do not believe he was specifically taught by another cheater. Maybe he saw the work, kept his mouth shut and went from there.

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Re: Erdnase

Postby Magic Fred » November 23rd, 2010, 2:35 am

Personally, I see a distinct similarity within the two sections. Especially in the technical descriptions. I am open to persuasion though, but so far I have not come across anything to convince me that the author of the first section was not the author of the second.

The only objection could be his patter, but here he is merely displaying his creativity in assuming the role of a magician. I don't find it inconsistent that somebody who is such a good writer, with an obvious interest in magic, may be able to enjoy himself in coming up with such colourful patter lines.

Although this really isn't a sticking point in the debate. Erdnase may even have been an accomplished professional magician at one point in his life. He may have asked for some help in coming up with stories for the tricks. This doesn't detract from the evidence that suggests he also had a working knowledge of the hustling scene.

I wouldn't argue strongly either way on the magician question. I don't believe there is enough evidence to argue convincingly what his involvement in magic was. I am almost completely certain, however, that he was a gambler at one point in his life and I think the evidence is entirely convincing.

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Re: Erdnase

Postby Magic Fred » November 23rd, 2010, 2:51 am

RE:You seem to really WANT to believe Erdnase was an expert gambler
------------------------------------
May I respectfully suggest that, in this thread, we stick to debating the message and not the messenger. God knows, that can get ugly fast.

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Re: Erdnase

Postby Magic Fred » November 23rd, 2010, 3:59 am

RE:...that the mark will most likely play any hand dealt to him....
---------------------------------------

A little off topic, but this is not entirely accurate. He is making the point, not that the mark will play any hand, but that it is "sods law" that the mark will get a good hand anyway.

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Re: Erdnase

Postby Ryan Matney » November 23rd, 2010, 12:25 pm

Quote: The only objection could be his patter, but here he is merely displaying his creativity in assuming the role of a magician. I don't find it inconsistent that somebody who is such a good writer, with an obvious interest in magic, may be able to enjoy himself in coming up with such colourful patter lines.

He only has an "obvious" interest in magic if you begin with the assumption that he wrote the magic section. This is working backwards to make a case. If you have doubts, as I do, that he wrote the magic section then what is there in the gambling section that shows he has an obvious interest in magic?

As I said, I do believe that the choice of material is objectionable as well as the patter being inconsistent.

And, if you believe that Erdnase is merely displaying his creativity in assuming the role of a magician, why can't that cut both ways? He could equally be a magician assuming the role of a gambler. Or a broke writer assuming the role of both.
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Re: Erdnase

Postby Jonathan Townsend » November 23rd, 2010, 12:30 pm

Or... off the top of my head I don't recall the erdnase text containing any discussion of how the material described was proved effective in situ. Beyond the mention of paying to sit at card games and being taken in the introduction - looking for the other side of the lesson book - similarly for the conjuring section.

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Re: Erdnase

Postby Magic Fred » November 23rd, 2010, 1:07 pm

RE: He only has an "obvious" interest in magic if you begin with the assumption that he wrote the magic section. This is working backwards to make a case. If you have doubts, as I do, that he wrote the magic section then what is there in the gambling section that shows he has an obvious interest in magic?

As I said, I do believe that the choice of material is objectionable as well as the patter being inconsistent.

And, if you believe that Erdnase is merely displaying his creativity in assuming the role of a magician, why can't that cut both ways? He could equally be a magician assuming the role of a gambler. Or a broke writer assuming the role of both.

--------------------------
You are arguing in circles now. It is a reasonable course of action to begin with the assumption that we can take the work on face value. Without any investigation there is no reason to suggest that there were two authors involved, otherwise both would be credited as having written the book.

(So yes, we begin with the assumption that he wrote the magic section and then we see if there is any evidence to suggest that he didn't. I haven't seen any such evidence.)

The next step is to then make the suggestion that Erdnase was not a gambler but a magician and provide some reasoning for making that claim. It is this line of reasoning that I was refuting with my points regarding him having an interest in magic. Just because the author was able to write convincingly about magic, does not mean that he was not a real hustler. Even were the book written by 5 different people, there is no evidence to suggest that whoever wrote the card tricks was not a real gambler. Just as there is also no evidence to move you from the position of "don't know" when considering the question "was he a chess master?"

Regarding demonstrating his creativity, I was not stating necessarily what I believe to be true, just highlighting why the arguments presented do not support the view that Erdnase was not a gambler.

The question of two authors is a different matter. I have yet to see any convincing evidence suggesting different authors were involved. I do, however, see a mountain of evidence indicating that the two sections were written by the same person. Everything from the language, tone to the thought process, the philosophy and the attitudes are all entirely consistent across both sections of the book. He has a real talent for writing and I find it practically impossible to believe that it would not be painfully obvious were he not responsible for the whole book.

Once again, though I know this point will be ignored yet again, there is ample evidence to support the idea that he was a cheater with real world experience and thus not a magician assuming the role of a gambler. Loathed as I am to argue from authority, even Mr Giorgio must introduce a phantom gambler consultant to reconcile the overwhelming evidence that the author was the real deal.

So, in summary:

- there is compelling evidence to suggest that the author of the artifice section was a real gambler with real world experience.
- there is no evidence to suggest that the author of the artifice section was NOT a real gambler.

- there is compelling evidence to suggest that the whole book was written by the same person.
- there is no evidence to suggest that different authors are responsible.

- there is no evidence in the legerdemain to suggest the author was a gambler.
- there is no evidence in the legerdemain section to suggest the author was NOT a gambler.
- there is convincing evidence in the legerdemain section to suggest that the author had experience performing magic.

Jonathan Townsend
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Re: Erdnase

Postby Jonathan Townsend » November 23rd, 2010, 1:34 pm

"It is a reasonable course of action to begin with the assumption that we can take the work on face value."

Not IMHO. We have a text, two less then informative attempts at interivew and a burnt down printing house. Treated as a forensic matter - not sure even 'follow the money' has helped so much in this matter of tracing the text back to it's source.

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Re: Erdnase

Postby Magic Fred » November 23rd, 2010, 1:38 pm

RE:Not IMHO. We have a text, two less then informative attempts at interivew and a burnt down printing house. Treated as a forensic matter - not sure even 'follow the money' has helped so much in this matter of tracing the text back to it's source.

So what should we do? Start with the assumption that the author was a chess master?

My point is that it is reasonable to start essentially with no assumptions actually. The title page says "by S.W. Erdnase" not "By S.W. Erdnase and friend" so why not start there and then if we are going to suggest that two people wrote the book, provide some evidence.

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Re: Erdnase

Postby Jonathan Townsend » November 23rd, 2010, 2:12 pm

I'm proposing we start without assumptions - go from what is - and I encourage all in/from the area where that printing house was to scour for diaries, family letters etc that offer primary evidence. And this time - with the experience of the Hofzinser and Robert-Houdin interview history to work from - let's be nicer to those interviewed - they might still remember something of use or have some old stuff lying around that would help in the search.

The title page says "by S. W. Erdnase". So you are going to start by looking for a S. W. Erdnase?

Or can we use Bible Code on the text and look for clues to the design of a Jules Verne era machine that can alter luck in the room at which it is pointed? Reasonable is just another word for common rationalization. Not well reasoned nor even backed by evidence.

Facts please. What's a "reasonable" assumption to one may well be a "just so" fiction to another. Real historical work aside for the moment - I'd settle for a novel combination of tropes from the armchair experts and the rest who can't do a convincing double lift, false transfer or figure out how to test their s - which are IMHO about as consistent, congruent and convincing as their sleights - so often accompanied by crude flinches, tells and just short of Dug the Dog's startling "Squirrel!"

* and no i don't believe the book slipped in from an alternte mirror universe ala the TV show The Fringe where a typewriter seen in a mirror appeared to have typed a Mr. Andrews name backwards. ;) But you will notice how that "theory" accounts for far more of the "facts" of the matter than other supposed theories offered so far. :D
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time

Magic Fred
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Re: Erdnase

Postby Magic Fred » November 23rd, 2010, 2:22 pm

Well (as far as I can tell from your, let's say, interesting prose) aren't we saying the same thing?

Perhaps I used the word assumption when I shouldn't have. Our starting point is that we have a book primarily on card cheating with a section on magic, written by one S.W. Erdnase. ALL of my points have been based on facts - the contents of the book.

I have yet to see any evidence to suggest that there was more than one author involved. I have, however, seen ample evidence to suggest both sections were written by the same author.

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Re: Erdnase

Postby Jonathan Townsend » November 23rd, 2010, 4:10 pm

MagicFred, I almost wish I could relocate to the area and do some searching/interviewing myself to find out more about the printing house, what else they published and the neighborhood lore.
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time

Richard Hatch
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Re: Erdnase

Postby Richard Hatch » November 23rd, 2010, 5:19 pm

Jonathan, James McKinney & Company was not a publishing house, but a printer. They are presumed to have printed Erdnase because the copyright statement gives the author's address in care of them. According to a note at the bottom of the title page of Adrian Plate's first edition copy (now part of the Houdini Collection at the Library of Congress), McKinney was also selling copies. I have one other book they printed, a children's fantasy book, bearing no resemblance to The Expert in format, content or style.

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Re: Erdnase

Postby Ryan Matney » November 23rd, 2010, 10:18 pm

Richard,

What is your stance on authorship of the two sections? You think it's possible the magic section was written by someone else or 'advised' by someone else?
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