ERDNASE

Discuss general aspects of Genii.
Mike Vance
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Mike Vance » August 1st, 2011, 10:05 pm

For the Erdnase gathering, how about we hold the event at Erdnase's childhood home? Maybe near his birthday?

I think that the only thing that would be 100% proof for some people would be a signed publishing contract. However, if the contract is not forthcoming, I guess the question we need to ask is: "How much evidence, documented and/or circumstantial, would it take to convince you that it is one candidate in particular?" Would satisfying Todd Karr's checklist (http://www.miraclefactory.net/mpt/view. ... e=articles) be enough for you? How high is the bar that needs to be cleared? I know the level of proof will differ from person to person, but I'm curious what it would take. How would YOU respond?

9 days left!

Bob Coyne
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bob Coyne » August 1st, 2011, 10:34 pm

Bill, I with much of what you say above. But as I said before, I never claimed that the parallel wording examples were anything like solid evidence or proof. I *do* think they're suggestive though and provide counterexamples to Richard Hatch's assertion that Sanders' use of language didn't sound at all like Erdnase. Also, I think it would be more difficult than you think to line up texts in a similar way when their sizes are more comparable. i.e. Picking TR as an example makes a nice demonstration but doesn't really show much given its huge size compared with Sanders.

That's interesting about Sanders being in legal trouble and something of a rogue.

I'm really looking forward to the Sept Genii article too. I hope/expect to find out much more about Sanders when I read it :-)

cage
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby cage » August 1st, 2011, 11:12 pm

The problem with a coincidence is that it looks _exactly_ like a meaningful correspondence. And a meaningful correspondence looks _exactly_ like a coincidence. But two coincidences? Three? A dozen? More? To quote David Alexander's article in Genii, January 2000: "At some point the idea of endless coincidences becomes unreasonable and the evidence, even though circumstantial, becomes overwhelming."

Bob Coyne
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bob Coyne » August 1st, 2011, 11:18 pm

This was already mentioned a while ago in this thread, but one other interesting piece of support for Sanders (showing at least superficial familiarity/interest in gambling/cheating) is this poem he wrote about a classmate for this 25th college reunion:

Come, Johnson, cease your naughty ways,
Make simple faro, poker plays
Or roulette e'en, but stop this craze
For playin' the "Shell game."

However, Johnson, when I learn
The shell game played by your concern
Is not the western game I yearn
To see played on the square,
[...]

Jonathan Townsend
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Jonathan Townsend » August 2nd, 2011, 9:06 am

IMHO the Karr checklist is an interesting read, entertaining etc though not a solid foundation to build a case. I've put in a few italicized comments simply challenging the presuppositions.

The Basic Evidence
The most (ONLY) solid evidence we have are the book itself and (interview* reports of) the 1940s recollections of its illustrator, artist Marshall D. Smith. These two sources offer us the following basic possibilities:

1. The author may have been named E. S. Andrews, reversing his name to spell S. W. Erdnase.
Irrelevant. Consider the public trademark name/person of "Betty Crocker". Looking for someone of that name who was a good cook would likewise turn up lots of close partial matches the further one stretched the anagram taffy.

2. Based on the level of subtlety in his explanations, the author seems to have been highly skilled in psychology, deception, and of course gambling. possibly: the author and person (or persons) relating the subject need not be the same person. Such is part of the literary craft involving narrators.

3. The author (or agent thereof) had some connection with Chicago, where the book was printed and published, and would most likely have been in the Midwest at the time of the books publication in 1902.

4. Erdnase had knowledge of the law or access to legal advice, judging from the elaborate copyright notices throughout the book. Just because technical text is included in a work does not imply that any particular hand in that text's accretion was skilled in any particular trade or area of expertise. By way of absurd/extreme example consider: Does the artist also transmute base lead into the rest of the metals he uses to make is paints? Does he likewise make and stretch his own canvases?

5. The author may be characterized as intelligent (the prose is direct and perceptive), ambitious (based on the scale of the book), and meticulous about detail (he misses very few nuances in his explanations and appears to have hand-corrected, or asked someone to correct, many of Smiths drawings to improve their accuracy). Erdnase also seems to have lacked pity for the victims of con games (as we read in his book).
This looks like a cold reading bit. Kindly see Eco on Hugo for more about how the writer can greatly enlist the reader by way of willing suspension of credulity and even into complicity in creating fictitious worlds.

6. Erdnase also seems to have been in need of money at times, as he points out at the end of his introduction. As mentioned above, Marshall Smiths illustrations seem to have been crudely altered by an amateur, an indication perhaps that Erdnase did not have sufficient funds to commission professional corrections. While these claims are consonant with the introductory statement about the author's purpose in writing the book they are not self consistent with the claims of expertise and competence purported to be discussed in the book. Why sell a book on fishing to raise a few dollars when one can catch ones own fish?

7. Smith described Erdnase as well-spoken and gentlemanly, short of stature, with a pleasant, smooth tone.
Smith claims to have met a person. The rest is questionable inference. Is there any additional evidence or corroborating evidence of this event - second party?

8. Erdnase met Smith in a hotel room and paid for his artwork with a check, as Smith recalled.
Smith claims to have met with a person. The rest is questionable inference.

9. Smith also said that Erdnase had mentioned a family connection to artist Louis Dalrymple.
More hearsay from Smith. Wasn't there a Smith person also associated with making sure the newspapers reflected the correct data and perspective on historical events?

...
11. Magician James Harto, based in Indiana, claimed to have been friends with Erdnase and to possess letters he received from Erdnase. While an interesting story this too is unsubstantiated and less interesting than the story of Santa Claus or the Easter Rabbit who may also be advantage players at the card table.

The propensity to look at a pile of circumstantial evidence and make claims of truth is one of our less admirable traits. Does it really only rain when you don't bring your umbrella?

Additional findings and stories are welcome as far as I'm concerned. I like stories and also curious to find out what happens when there is a settled certainty on the origins of the "erdnase" text.

Much enjoying the suspense,

Jon

*See Royal and Schutt (or similar) on the art of interviewing and interrogation.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bob Coyne » August 2nd, 2011, 10:42 am

Jonathan Townsend wrote:The propensity to look at a pile of circumstantial evidence and make claims of truth is one of our less admirable traits. Does it really only rain when you don't bring your umbrella?


Jonathan, I don't think anyone here is making claims of truth. Given the sparsity of the so-far-existing evidence, it's really all about hypothesizing about what's most likely. Any of the candidates could easily be disproven (or proven) by some strong new data/evidence without anyone having to revisit their world view. And presumably that's what will happen in a few days when the article comes out.

Also, I'd actually modify your statement and say that the propensity to look at a pile of circumstantial evidence and *form hypotheses* is one of our *most* admirable traits. That's a key part of the process by which we attain knowledge.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Jonathan Townsend » August 2nd, 2011, 11:02 am

Bob, I'm with you about hypothesis formation (when accompanied by testing) as *most* admirable.
How can you know if X
How can you know if anything but X


Around here we still have statements like: If you had any understanding of the work at all, you'd appreciate that it is absolutely impossible for it to have been "cobbled" together. posted regularly. Not sure what the hypothesis is though IMHO the evident presuppositions don't look too sanitary. Just because everyone has an "opinion" does necessarily imply the community is best served its expression** in public. IMHO we have much room for improvement separating what we might bluster about for audiences and how we address each other when away from the folks looking to be entertained and deceived.

Ultimately what one knows depends on what one chooses to believe. I find the process of story/myth formation of interest. Folks may have noticed I distinguish between the artifacts and the interpretations, development of a story and the way that story is defended. Not challenging any of the artifacts or actual historical research here.

In some world Sachs wrote the book,

Jon

PS what's the distance between any two of the many worlds? ;)

** yup he went there with the joke.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bill Mullins » August 2nd, 2011, 11:24 am

Jon -- why are you so dismissive of Marshall Smith's statements?

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Jonathan Townsend » August 2nd, 2011, 11:47 am

Bill Mullins wrote:Jon -- why are you so dismissive of Marshall Smith's statements?

Where specifically have I made any statment about Marshall Smith? Sceptical of reports given by magicans as second hand uncorroborated evidence - especially after what happened with Hofzinser's wife and Robert-Houdin's wife (by way of Houdini no less) - you betcha.

Stories are fine. As stories. I like stories.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bob Coyne » August 2nd, 2011, 11:50 am

Another erdnaseum teaser video ("where's erdnase's office?") has appeared on youtube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PXzDdoOrULA

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Edwin Corrie » August 2nd, 2011, 12:21 pm

Jonathan Townsend wrote:Sceptical of reports given by magicans as second hand uncorroborated evidence - especially after what happened with Hofzinser's wife and Robert-Houdin's wife (by way of Houdini no less) - you betcha.

Stories are fine. As stories. I like stories.


According to Magic Christian's recent research, the story about Hofzinser's manuscripts was itself one of these "reports given by magicans as second hand uncorroborated evidence":

Important new facts:
His widow did not burn the manuscripts after his death like reported by O. FISCHER.
http://www.hofzinser.com/hofzinserlife_en.html

Magic Christian's book has completely changed a lot of what we thought we knew about Hofzinser.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Rick Ruhl » August 2nd, 2011, 12:23 pm

Like I said earlier, if the article has the 'smoking gun', then all the speculation is over.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Frank Yuen » August 2nd, 2011, 12:24 pm

I think the problem lies with calling the Karr checklist "evidence". Evidence by definition is something that furnishes proof. What Mr. Karr has actually supplied is a list of clues. When looked at in that light I think it is a fine beginning to the investigation into Erdnase's true identity. I have a problem with a few of the items but most of them are perfectly logical assumptions to make in order to hopefully get started on the right track.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Richard Hatch » August 2nd, 2011, 12:29 pm

RE: Richard Kaufman's braying of "Willllbbburrr" at the end of the online MORE GENII SPEAKS video: Taking it at face value as a reference to one of Richard's favorite shows: "Mr. Ed, the Talking Horse". One of the writers (I believe the head writer) for that show was longtime charter Magic Castle Member Lou Derman. Derman was one of Dai Vernon's best friends. Vernon idolized Erdnase. Coincidence?

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Ted M » August 2nd, 2011, 2:49 pm

By Jove!

Erdnase was a talking horse?!!

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Jonathan Townsend » August 2nd, 2011, 3:01 pm

Can you imagine 'that' voice on the phone saying "can you work from a model if I send one over, and take dictation? I'll send my secratary Wilbur over with a draft" :D

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Rick Ruhl » August 2nd, 2011, 3:17 pm

we need another GOOD hint..

cage
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby cage » August 2nd, 2011, 4:13 pm

Hmm... "Authentic chocolate malt..." M.F. Andrews was known as "The Malted Milk Murderer."

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Chris Aguilar » August 2nd, 2011, 4:35 pm

Hm. I wouldn't be surprised if RK and a few others aren't throwing out multiple red herrings at this point.

That's what I would do if I had an article like this coming out and wanted to further stoke interest.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Brad Henderson » August 2nd, 2011, 4:36 pm

I had a chocolate malt last night. Perhaps I am erdnase

Now all you need is a picture of me holding a deck of cards in one hand, a dq shake in the other, and it's settled.

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Richard Kaufman
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Richard Kaufman » August 2nd, 2011, 4:38 pm

Mmmm ... I love DQ! Nothing beats a chocolate dip!
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Larry Horowitz » August 2nd, 2011, 5:41 pm

I got it! That final clue from RK did it.

DQ= Dairy Queen

Dairy=milk=wholesome

Queen=woman

The elusive author is one of The Andrew Sisters

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Mike Vance » August 2nd, 2011, 7:56 pm

Richard Kaufman wrote:Mmmm ... I love DQ! Nothing beats a chocolate dip!


Maybe Richard is leading us astray here. Should we be considering other restaurant connections besides DQ? What about Burger King?

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Rick Ruhl » August 3rd, 2011, 1:25 pm

Larry Horowitz wrote:I got it! That final clue from RK did it.

DQ= Dairy Queen

Dairy=milk=wholesome

Queen=woman

The elusive author is one of The Andrew Sisters


no no!

Dairy=milk=boobs=woman

So we are looking for a woman's woman

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Rick Ruhl » August 3rd, 2011, 1:26 pm

Richard Kaufman wrote:Mmmm ... I love DQ! Nothing beats a chocolate dip!


You are really enjoying this, aren't you?

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Terry » August 3rd, 2011, 1:55 pm

Rick Ruhl wrote:
Larry Horowitz wrote:I got it! That final clue from RK did it.

DQ= Dairy Queen

Dairy=milk=wholesome

Queen=woman

The elusive author is one of The Andrew Sisters


no no!

Dairy=milk=boobs=woman

So we are looking for a woman's woman


Mae West?

She came up around that time.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Leonard Hevia » August 3rd, 2011, 11:53 pm

We seem to be entering a period where mysterious figures are finally being identified:

http://news.yahoo.com/fbi-found-db-coop ... 00392.html

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Richard Kaufman » August 4th, 2011, 12:13 am

Sometimes, I order a vanilla cone with cherry dip at DQ.
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Mike Vance » August 4th, 2011, 12:53 am

Rick Ruhl wrote:
Richard Kaufman wrote:Mmmm ... I love DQ! Nothing beats a chocolate dip!


You are really enjoying this, aren't you?


I think he really is.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Rick Ruhl » August 4th, 2011, 8:07 am

Leonard Hevia wrote:We seem to be entering a period where mysterious figures are finally being identified:

http://news.yahoo.com/fbi-found-db-coop ... 00392.html


yup

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/12/1 ... 98607.html

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Rick Ruhl » August 4th, 2011, 8:08 am

Richard Kaufman wrote:Sometimes, I order a vanilla cone with cherry dip at DQ.


There are some keywords in here..

You didnt say Dairy Queen, you said DQ.....

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Jonathan Townsend » August 4th, 2011, 8:58 am

That was the punchline to one of the few jokes they bleeped on The Gong Show. "What do you call a milkman in high heels?".

Just a couple of weeks till we get more on the erdnase authorship.
In the mean time is someone gonna suggest it's a Ralph Ellison type Invisible Man who was there for so much of the play yet unobserved?

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Richard Kaufman » August 6th, 2011, 11:17 am

Image
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Richard Kaufman » August 6th, 2011, 11:19 am

My original opening paragraph of "Genii Speaks" in the September issue cited several instances of people whose real identities would likely never be known--"D.B. Cooper" being one of them. Good thing I cut it out!
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Scott M.
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Scott M. » August 6th, 2011, 11:22 am

That's a really beautiful cover.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Richard Kaufman » August 6th, 2011, 11:26 am

Thanks.
The issue gets stitched Monday and mails Tuesday.
Digital edition should be up Wednesday.
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby aofl » August 6th, 2011, 10:48 pm

Richard Kaufman wrote:Image


Is that a real silhouette of The Man Who? Can we guess who it is?

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Richard Kaufman » August 7th, 2011, 12:38 am

Oh yes, that's the real silhouette.
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Bob Coyne
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bob Coyne » August 7th, 2011, 12:57 am

Aha! I've seen that picture before! It will be fascinating to read the evidence.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bill Mullins » August 7th, 2011, 1:39 am

Not to interrupt the discussion of what I am sure will be a well-received issue of Genii, but . . .

There is currently on ebay LINK a copy of William Hilliar's book Card Sharper Their Tricks Exposed. The front cover is _very_ similar stylistically to the front cover of the pictorial hardback Drake edition (the 1st Drake edition??). Both include silhouetted figures, and the artwork is mostly black, with spot red color. This isn't too suprising since both were contemporaneously printed by Drake, but it struck me as worth noting (especially given the speculation that Hilliar may have ghosted portions of Erdnase).

Now back to your regularly scheduled anticipatory disucussion.


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