ERDNASE

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Zenner » July 22nd, 2015, 6:50 am

Richard Hatch wrote:
Brad Henderson wrote:fwiw I think demarest's candidate has an amazing litany of coincidences, if that's the measure of a candidate. We know he knew one of the tricks in EATCT...


I don't believe this is correct. His Yellowstone diary shows him playing with MUTUS NOMEN, a trick NOT in EATCT. Which is a bit puzzling, if he was Erdnase... why not include it?


Because it was not accomplished by sleight of hand?

lybrary wrote: A magician is a performer


Nope. Not always. The majority of "magicians" who form the "fraternity" are not performers. They are hobbyists and amateurs (in the true meaning of the word, i.e., 'lovers' of magic). They buy tricks, play with them, and stick them in a drawer. Some watch performers and criticise them. Some flick cards up and down and then retire to the bar whilst the Gala Show is on, so that they may follow their true love - finger flicking.

Bill Mullins wrote: Seen elsewhere on the internet:

I am not sure of very many things in life, but based on the facts and arguments I have seen on the Erdnase thread of the Genii forum, I AM sure of the following:

1. Harry S. Thomson was not S.W. Erdnase.


And the evidence for this statement is ?

Mr. Sawyer has a vested interest in Harry not being 'Erdnase'; he wants to keep self-publishing books on the subject. What makes him so sure? Is it because he IS Tom Sawyer, just as David Ben can't be wrong because he IS David Ben? And Bill Mullins can't be wrong because he IS Bill Mullins? (He has been researching Erdnase for years you know) Others are in the same boat. They have spent many years defending their candidates and then this "ridiculous" "newbie" comes along with a new theory, with evidence to back it up. Oh dear...

So what happens? Sheriff Bill Mullins rounds up his posse and they try to shoot down said "newbie". Debate is not enough; they have to exterminate any new ideas.

Joe Mckay wrote: Was Erdnase actually a bona fide card cheat?

Didn't Tony Giorgio use to argue that Erdnase was useless for the genuine card cheat?


At last we hear from a sane person. The clues are in the book. We have a section on 'Legerdemain'; we have references to "entertainment" and "amusement" and "performer". The author was a magician with access to books previously published on the "art" of "card manipulation". Period.

Bill Mullins wrote: In addition to Smith and (probably) McKinney, Erdnase outed himself to Edwin Hood, Hugh Johnston, Del Adelphia, and probably Frederick Drake (at least, Drake claimed to know who he was). I would bet that Emil Sorenson knew him, and possibly other members of the Chicago community including Hilliar, Vernelo, or Roterberg.


I posted my initial findings on July 7th. My hunch was that Erdnase was known to the people behind The Sphinx and that's where I went looking for a suitable candidate. Why wouldn't the unusual name 'Erdnase' be queried right from the start? Because they knew who it was.

lybrary wrote: What if he assumed the name E.S. Andrews simply for the purpose to write his book, opened a bank account (assuming this is possible with a pseudonym, or perhaps using a fake ID), got his checkbook and introduced himself as Andrews to Smith and McKinney. Smith remembers the check was #1. This could be indication that Erdnase opened the bank account just for that purpose. Then he reverses his fake name E.S. Andrews to get S.W. Erdnase to use as his nom-de-plume. This would be a great psychological trick, a two layer protection for his identity. Then he would have had strong anonymity, because neither Smith, nor McKinney nor the bank, if he used a fake ID, would have known who he really was.


Elementary my dear Watson. But I believe that McKinney should be deleted from that paragraph. If mail addressed to "S.W. Erdnase c/o James McKinney" was being delivered to his business premises then he had to know where to redirect it.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby lybrary » July 22nd, 2015, 7:02 am

Zenner wrote:But I believe that McKinney should be deleted from that paragraph. If mail addressed to "S.W. Erdnase c/o James McKinney" was being delivered to his business premises then he had to know where to redirect it.


Not necessarily so. Erdnase could have visited McKinney occasionally to pick up anything that arrived there for him. Or if he himself, a relative, or friend worked at McKinney, then it would also work without knowing the actual mailing address. Of course if Erdnase works at McKinney then McKinney will know who he is unless he built up an elaborate fake identity, but I think this would be a bit far fetched.
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Brad Henderson » July 22nd, 2015, 8:38 am

not all tricks in EATCT require sleight of hand. we have zero problem that Thompson could do anything with a deck of cards.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Brad Henderson » July 22nd, 2015, 8:40 am

why the personal attacks? sherif Bill et al.

are you so thin skinned that you cannot abide your ideas being placed under scrutiny? If you cannot or will not allow your claims to be questioned you come across less a scholar and more a religious zealot.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Roger M. » July 22nd, 2015, 12:24 pm

I think you're misreading the thread Brad.

There are no personal attacks taking place, and Zenner isn't effectively questioning anything, least of all the other candidates.

Zenner states unequivocally that he has found Erdnase, but in doing so he has failed to achieve any traction. Zenner is engaging in discussion such that he's asking folks to explain that lack of traction. People are explaining to Zenner as best they can why his candidate has failed to achieve any traction.

That Zenner doesn't like the answers he's getting is simply human nature. He may need a thicker skin, or better evidence.
Such is life.

A positive side effect of the above though, is the huge increase in the number of posts and visitors to the Erdnase thread, which always makes for great reading.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Brad Henderson » July 22nd, 2015, 1:19 pm

the sheriff bill nonsense and accusing Tom of being intellectually dishonest because he publishes enters the fray of the personal attack, IMO

to an objective observer such as myself, who has no dog in the contest, it belies the confidence he clearly has for his candidate.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Tom Sawyer » July 22nd, 2015, 2:49 pm

Brad, thanks for the comment! I appreciate it. --Tom
At least for the time being, I have taken down my S.W. Erdnase blog.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Roger M. » July 22nd, 2015, 3:32 pm

Sorry Brad, I completely misunderstood your post.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bill Mullins » July 22nd, 2015, 4:44 pm

Thanks also, Brad. But I've been insulted worse online. Besides, I'm not a sheriff, I'm a fire marshall:

Image

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Zenner » July 23rd, 2015, 7:19 am

Roger M. wrote:I think you're misreading the thread Brad.

There are no personal attacks taking place,


Zenner is defending his candidate and attempting to defend the attacks against himself with humour.

and Zenner isn't effectively questioning anything, least of all the other candidates.


Zenner HAS questioned ALL of the other candidates in supporting his own candidate. He dismissed five of them because they were foreigners and didn't believe that Smith wouldn't realise that they were.

Zenner states unequivocally that he has found Erdnase, but in doing so he has failed to achieve any traction.


Zenner believes that he has found Erdnase and believes that no other candidate comes anywhere close. He also believes that the other participants in this thread don't want Erdnase to be found. What would they have to talk about if it were to be proved, beyond doubt, that it was anybody?

Zenner is engaging in discussion such that he's asking folks to explain that lack of traction.


Zenner didn't understand why he failed to attract one supporter but he has never asked "folks to explain that lack of traction". He explained why he posted his findings and stuck around to see what effect that would have.

People are explaining to Zenner as best they can why his candidate has failed to achieve any traction.


Zenner still doesn't understand why a man experienced in printing and publishing, an expert in sleight of hand, fitting Smith's description, has been so totally dismissed in favour of men who "played cards". The Expert was self-published, don't you know. Nobody has presented evidence that their candidate was capable of doing that. 61% of the book was 'technique' and 39% was 'Legerdemain', yet Erdnase has been dismissed as being a magician?

That Zenner doesn't like the answers he's getting is simply human nature. He may need a thicker skin, or better evidence.
Such is life.


Zenner knows that he has better evidence than all of that given in support of any previously nominated candidate. He now realises that whatever evidence he has now, or ever comes up with, will be totally dismissed on the Genii Forum because of vested interests. Nobody likes egg on their face.

“All truth passes through three stages: first, it is ridiculed; second, it is violently opposed; and third, it is accepted as self-evident.” [19th century German philosopher, Arthur Schopenhauer, 1788-1860]

A positive side effect of the above though, is the huge increase in the number of posts and visitors to the Erdnase thread, which always makes for great reading.


Well thank you, Roger, at least I have accomplished something of which you approve :-)

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Brad Henderson » July 23rd, 2015, 10:49 am

you're wrong. I know that many of the people who are looking into erdnase would happily consider new candidates and many of them HAVE switched primary candidates in the face of better evidence.

And again, you are making this personal. Rather than considering FOR A MOMENT that maybe your 'evidence' isn't nearly as strong as you would like it to be, you find fault with the other researchers, their intellectual honesty, and accuse them of having a 'vested interest.'

that's not 'humour', that's childish.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Richard Kaufman » July 23rd, 2015, 12:37 pm

Return to your corners and be calm or banning will begin.
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Roger M. » July 23rd, 2015, 1:01 pm

I'm pretty sure that those folks who would state in a de facto manner that the entirety of the contributors to this thread "don't want Erdnase to be found" probably should be responded to, and probably should be called out for making such an utterly ludicrous statement.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Leo Garet » July 23rd, 2015, 1:19 pm

Roger M. wrote:I'm pretty sure that those folks who would state in a de facto manner that the entirety of the contributors to this thread "don't want Erdnase to be found" probably should be responded to, and probably should be called out for making such an utterly ludicrous statement.

I'm not part of the hunt, though I enjoy reading the work of those who are. I'd certainly, truly, madly deeply love to know who Erdnase was, and I'm sure that applies to all the searchers. However I just don't think it's going to happen.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Roger M. » July 23rd, 2015, 1:24 pm

The odds undoubtedly seem stacked against finding out who Mr. Erdnase actually was, but some remarkable advances have been made to date ... and all it takes is one single piece of indisputable evidence to show up (as Richard Hatch has noted, a detailed inscription in a yet to be "discovered" first edition), and you'd have your man.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby lybrary » July 23rd, 2015, 4:22 pm

Perhaps we can get this thread back to a more productive conversation. In my research I have discovered a new 'why the name S.W. Erdnase' theory. First let me repeat the main current theories I am aware of:

- name spelled backwards (E.S. Andrews; be it the authors real name, or taken from somewhere else)
- anagram (ex. W.E. Sanders)
- German nickname or ethnic slur 'earth-nose'
- purely random by accident - no logic connection to anything

If we believe what has been passed down verbally then the first reversed spelling should be the most likely of the four. I personally do not believe this because I don't see any real believable evidence for it.

Anyway, here is a new theory. Assume our candidate for Erdnasehood has a mother with first initial S, and a father with first initial W. That is why S. W. ... Further assume the first name of our candidate is Alexander, but he likes to write it Alexandre (with the trailing er reversed). Now reverse his first name to get Erdnaxela. Exchange the X to S like in the short form for Alexander which is Sandy. We now have Erdnasela. Lop off the last two characters to get Erdnase. And thus S. W. Erdnase.

I am calling it the 'playful reversal' theory. The main way the name is derived is via a name reversal but it includes a few 'playful' modifications to a strict reversal. These modifications could be motivated by how the end result sounds or looks, for example.

What say you?
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Brad Jeffers » July 23rd, 2015, 4:50 pm

Roger M. wrote: ... and all it takes is one single piece of indisputable evidence to show up (as Richard Hatch has noted, a detailed inscription in a yet to be "discovered" first edition), and you'd have your man.


I agree.

If the true identity of Erdnase is ever to be known, it will be through discovery, not deduction.

Given the nature of magicians, their love of deception, especially the satisfaction derived from deceiving their fellow magicians, I would not be surprised if a forgery of such a piece of indisputable evidence were to surface at some point in time.

An inscribed first edition would be easy.

My personal fantasy discovery would be a box containing the original 101 M.D. Smith drawings.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bill Marquardt » July 23rd, 2015, 5:38 pm

As an outsider to the discussion (save for my April Fool post,) I would be inclined to bet on W. E. Sanders as the author, based on what I have read here and elsewhere. For one thing, an anagram that reverses into a rather common name seems a more likely ruse than a straight reversal that might be "decoded" rather easily.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Jonathan Townsend » July 23rd, 2015, 10:58 pm

lybrary wrote:...
I am calling it the 'playful reversal' theory. The main way the name is derived is via a name reversal but it includes a few 'playful' modifications to a strict reversal. These modifications could be motivated by how the end result sounds or looks, for example.

What say you?


I'd have to see some examples of other known pseudonyms to get any sense for how plausible that theory is. Of other known pseudonyms used at the time what percent were based upon anagrams?
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Zenner » July 24th, 2015, 6:51 am

Erdnase wrote -
"Works on conjuring invariably devote much space to the condsideration of card tricks, and many have been written exclusively for that purpose, yet we have been unable to find in the whole category more than an incidental reference to any card table artifice; and in no instance are the principal feats even mentioned."


Are you still saying that 'Erdnase' wasn't a magician? He has searched through "the whole category" of "works on conjuring" for references to "card table artifice". Who else but a magician would have access to all of the available magic books at that time?

And again -
"The conjurer employs the shift in nine-tenths of his card tricks, and under his environments it is comparatively very simple to perform. A half turn of the body, or a slight swing of the hands, or the use of "patter" until a favourable moment occurs, enables him to cover the action perfectly."


Magician's language? Or that of a man who merely "plays cards"?

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby lybrary » July 24th, 2015, 8:04 am

Jonathan Townsend wrote:
lybrary wrote:...
I am calling it the 'playful reversal' theory. The main way the name is derived is via a name reversal but it includes a few 'playful' modifications to a strict reversal. These modifications could be motivated by how the end result sounds or looks, for example.

What say you?


I'd have to see some examples of other known pseudonyms to get any sense for how plausible that theory is. Of other known pseudonyms used at the time what percent were based upon anagrams?


Jonathan, here is an example of a reversal with a change in character position:

EREWHON: Backwards spelling in the name of satire has a long history. The title of Samuel Butler’s 19th century novel lampooning the society of the time was meant to be “nowhere” spelled backwards, but the ‘h’ was moved out of place. It features properly backwards-named characters like Yram (Mary) and Senoj Nosnibor (Robinson Jones).
Found here http://mentalfloss.com/article/56337/9- ... -backwards

Who says that S.W. Erdnase was not an accident or formed with some errors? Maybe he wanted to spell something backwards but made an error. And once he had it, it stuck. Etc. Etc. My point being there are lots of ways S. W. Erdnase could have happened.
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby lybrary » July 24th, 2015, 8:44 am

Well, that explains a lot. The technical term for a word that spells backwards another word is called a Semordnilap. An example is the S.W.Erdnase/E.S.Andrews pair. Now guess who coined that term? Guess ... Guess ... it was no other than Martin Gardner.

To me this means that Martin Gardner had big blinders on. He can only see a reversal theory here and nothing else while there are many many other ways the name S. W. Erdnase could have happened.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Jonathan Townsend » July 24th, 2015, 9:22 am

Of the decade or so around 1901, how many books were published using pseudonyms, and of those how frequent was any kind of playful shuffle of the actual author's name used as the pseudonym?

Just so stories are just so ...telling
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Edward Finck » July 24th, 2015, 10:51 am

My 2 cents and they might not be worth that much.

Discounting primary source material like M. D. Smith's recollections because they don't fit a profile is very dangerous. We have only a few unequivocal eye witnesses to Erdnase and I don't think we should discount their recollections without strong reasons and other real evidence. Martin Gardner did this to some extent once he was convinced (primarily by Pratt) that it was Milton Franklin and this now seems to have been a large mistake.

We also have somewhat credible evidence via Dai Vernon that his much older friend John Sprong had questioned F. J. Drake (the son I believe although it might have been the father) and determined that S. W. Erdnase was E. S. Andrews. Throwing this primary evidence away for convoluted pseudonym theories risks side tracking the actual search.

Of course all are free to use their time as they wish but no matter how many posts this very interesting thread receives, Occam's razor still applies.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bill Mullins » July 24th, 2015, 11:06 am

Zenner wrote:Magician's language? Or that of a man who merely "plays cards"?

The language of a man who is commenting on what a magician does.

Or, the language of a man who is knowledgeable about how to handle cards when someone is watching him (something that there is no evidence that Thompson is knowledgeable about).

lybrary wrote: Etc. My point being there are lots of ways S. W. Erdnase could have happened.


Yes, but once you've settled on a person to offer as Erdnase, you need a reasonable explanation of how that person got to that pseudonym. Occam suggests that a simple explanation (reversal) is more likely than a complicated one (pick an acquaintance, reverse his name, substitute a different letter, etc.).

lybrary wrote:Well, that explains a lot. The technical term for a word that spells backwards another word is called a Semordnilap. An example is the S.W.Erdnase/E.S.Andrews pair. Now guess who coined that term? Guess ... Guess ... it was no other than Martin Gardner.

To me this means that Martin Gardner had big blinders on. He can only see a reversal theory here and nothing else while there are many many other ways the name S. W. Erdnase could have happened.


Ananym is also a word for a word created by reversing another word. When the word/phrase in question is a name, it is a boustrophedon. And most sources I see online say that Dmitri Borgmann coined semordnilap, but Gardner's citation of this was a prominent early usage of the word. So I don't see how Gardner, discovering a word in the 1960s, means he had blinders on in the 1940s. Word Play was one of Gardner's many interests (he had a couple of articles in Word Ways), and would have been aware of other methods to get to S. W. Erdnase.

Edward Finck wrote:We also have somewhat credible evidence via Dai Vernon that his much older friend John Sprong had questioned F. J. Drake (the son I believe although it might have been the father)


Drake died in 1912. His son Frederick died much later, 1937, but I don't believe he was involved in the publishing company. His sons Stafford and Logan were.
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Leo Garet » July 24th, 2015, 11:56 am

Bill Mullins wrote:Yes, but once you've settled on a person to offer as Erdnase, you need a reasonable explanation of how that person got to that pseudonym. Occam suggests that a simple explanation (reversal) is more likely than a complicated one (pick an acquaintance, reverse his name, substitute a different letter, etc.).

Agreed, although what passes for reasonable over here might not pass for reasonable over there.

As for Occam, a "simple reversal" might be the case. I'd love it to be good old E.S. Andrews, whichever he was. But a pseudonym that is not simple to third party observers might be perfectly simple and logical and natural to the creator of the pseudonym.

Probably doesn't help, I know, but that's not to say it isn't so.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Jonathan Townsend » July 24th, 2015, 12:44 pm

Leo Garet wrote:
Bill Mullins wrote:Yes, but once you've settled on a person to offer as...


As for Occam, ...


simpler to start with real people who were directly involved in the book's production than to introduce mysterious strangers if you're trying to uncover history rather than create a mystery.
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Edward Finck » July 24th, 2015, 12:45 pm

Bill Mullins wrote:
Drake died in 1912. His son Frederick died much later, 1937, but I don't believe he was involved in the publishing company. His sons Stafford and Logan were.



Point taken, I didn't realize that FJD jr. probably wasn't involved with the publishing firm.

My larger point was that I don't believe that Vernon's account of Sprong's discovery was specific about who at Drake was the source. Vernon often conflated details but the crux is that a) at least one source of the simple S. W. Erdnase = E. S. Andrews seemingly came from Drake via Sprong via Vernon and b) Sprong was old enough and possibly interested enough to have asked Frederick sr. himself prior to 1912. But as far as I know now we don't know when Sprong got this info or from whom. We do know it was published (the source possibly being Sprong) in the Sphinx in 1929 or so and probably shouldn't be dismissed out of hand for convenience in shoehorning in other candidates. Vernon's story is suspect on it's face because he says he continued "badgering" old man Drake for months but "old man" Drake was dead and had died at 47 years of age and years before Vernon even came to the U.S. The sons were all around Vernon's age or younger. This strongly implies that Vernon never asked any of the Drakes anything but doesn't refute that Sprong might have.

below are the Drake family ages in 1910.

Frederick J Drake 45
Julia F Drake 40
Logan R Drake 17
Frederick J Drake 16
Stafford W Drake 14
Gertrude F Drake 5
Robert J Drake 3

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Richard Hatch » July 24th, 2015, 1:01 pm

Didn't Vernon cut silhouettes in Chicago at the 1933 World's Fair? I always assumed that was when he followed up on Sprong's lead and "pestered" the Drake folks then for more information, which they either didn't have or weren't willing to share. Drake was still publishing the book then.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bill Mullins » July 24th, 2015, 1:01 pm

Arguing for "E. S. Andrews"
- simplicity of explanation/Occam's Razor/existence of other reversals as pseudonyms
- Smith's statement, quoted by Gardner
- Sprong's 1920s statement, quoted by Vernon (See Genii Aug 1970 "The Vernon Touch", where Vernon says he later spoke to "Mr. Drake". Diaconis date Sprong's investigations to the 1920s in his intro to Revelations.)
- Rullman's early comments (Sphinx 11/28, 2/29, 5/33) (Note that this was well before Thompson died, so if Rullman was wrong, Thompson would have had a chance to correct him, and he didn't)
- Graham Adams statement at his Jan 1931 lecture

The 1920s statements are early enough to have been refuted by people who would actually know better, if they weren't true.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Leo Garet » July 24th, 2015, 1:06 pm

Jonathan Townsend wrote:simpler to start with real people who were directly involved in the book's production than to introduce mysterious strangers if you're trying to uncover history rather than create a mystery.

Yep. And then where to? Blind alleys are everywhere.
But that's the fun. I think. At least I hope it's fun, because if it ain't, then why bother? Unless it's the day job, of course. Then we generally have little choice.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bill Mullins » July 24th, 2015, 1:06 pm

Jonathan Townsend wrote:simpler to start with real people who were directly involved in the book's production than to introduce mysterious strangers if you're trying to uncover history rather than create a mystery.


Yes, that is simpler. But investigations of Gallaway, McKinney, Drake, and others haven't lead to much yet. Gardner' interviews of Smith have provided some of the only real "evidence" we have, and it is used to vet possible suspects.

But the straws to grasp at are few, so we use other means to investigate, such as starting with the name, trying to figure out how "S. W. Erdnase" was arrived at, and going from there.

They aren't mutually exclusive.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Edward Finck » July 24th, 2015, 1:43 pm

Richard Hatch wrote:Didn't Vernon cut silhouettes in Chicago at the 1933 World's Fair? I always assumed that was when he followed up on Sprong's lead and "pestered" the Drake folks then for more information, which they either didn't have or weren't willing to share. Drake was still publishing the book then.


This is possible but there was no "old man" Drake even then. Sprong was still alive in 1933 and was about Frederick Drake Sr.'s age (if Drake had still been alive). Sprong was born in 1866 and Drake 1865.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby lybrary » July 24th, 2015, 1:59 pm

Let's make this a bit more interesting:

Based on my reading of the McKinney bankruptcy files and other research spanning the last weeks, it is my current belief that the author of the book was either Edward Gallaway the typsetter working at McKinney or his brother Alexander or a collaboration of the brothers. Details to follow...
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bill Mullins » July 24th, 2015, 2:31 pm

bated breath . . . .


It is news to me that Edward had a brother Alexander.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby lybrary » July 24th, 2015, 2:42 pm

Then I have lots of news for you :-) I have a full genealogy of the entire family several generations up and down, relatively detailed moves of Edward etc. As I said lots of exciting material. But just to wet your appetite one of the books Edward wrote, "Estimating for Printers'" was self-published, copyright applied for (I do have the application form) and the title page shows the price the same way as on EATCT. Pretty unusual parallel and only one of many pieces of real evidence I have gathered...
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Richard Hatch » July 24th, 2015, 4:05 pm

Does the Erdnase candidate field remind anyone else of the current Republican presidential candidate field? Getting crowded, but nothing wrong with that! I'll refrain from drawing any further parallels, as politics is verboten on this board!

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bill Mullins » July 24th, 2015, 4:11 pm

Would it be wrong to suggest that one candidate is more like Donald Trump than any of the others?

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bill Marquardt » July 24th, 2015, 4:47 pm

That hair would make a great hold out.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Tom Sawyer » July 24th, 2015, 6:22 pm

Hi All,

Regarding Chris Wasshuber's breakdown of possible sources of the name S.W. Erdnase, I don't really disagree with those five categories, but I think one or two of them could be viewed as subsets of other groups, and maybe the groups could be broken down further or expanded.

I might make a list something more like the following. I have placed three items in boldface italics, for reasons that will become clear:

1. A backwards spelling (E.S. Andrews).

2. Other "perfect" anagrams (examples: W.E. Sanders or Wes Anders).

3. Near anagrams (of many kinds, including M.F. Andrews).

4. Not very close to an anagram, but with a sort of anagram flavor or some other word-play flavor. Maybe the author's real name was (as a made-up example) Andrew Drew. That isn't very close to a reversal of S.W. Erdnase, but on the other hand it isn't even remotely random.

5. Use of Erdnase as a word (nickname or otherwise).

6. No obvious derivation (could be made up out of nothing, or could be influenced by something unknown).

Without pretending to go into a lot of detail, here are a couple of observations:

a. It is almost impossible to estimate usefully the relative likelihoods of use of those methods.

b. I agree with Chris's indications that the author's real name has a good possibility of being something apparently normal and completely unrelated to "S.W. Erdnase." For instance, his name could easily have been something like "Chandler Smithson Smithington" (another made-up example).

HOWEVER: A major rub is that if Erdnase used any theory other than 1, 2, or 5 (in boldface italics), the value of the name "S.W. Erdnase" as a "clue" drops off quite quickly to zero, or nearly zero.

Also, withoutt a "good" name (like E.S. Andrews or W.E. Sanders) as a component of a case, I would think that the other proof would need to be much stronger than with a good name.

--Tom Sawyer
At least for the time being, I have taken down my S.W. Erdnase blog.


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