ERDNASE

Discuss general aspects of Genii.
Bill Mullins
Posts: 4738
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Huntsville, AL

Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bill Mullins » May 10th, 2018, 4:09 pm

Chris's most recent newsletter discusses anagrams in the context of Erdnase.

His point seems to be that since he can't find examples of magicians using anagrams or reversed spellings of their names as pseudonyms, then you can't argue that Erdnase did so. The only example he found was Selbit/Tibbles, but he discounts it because "1901 is before Erdnase could have read Selbit's book (published in London). He probably already settled on his pseudonym Erdnase before reading Selbit." He goes on to say "If you know of any authors who have reversed their names or anagrammed their names prior to 1901, please email me."

I don't know why he picked 1901 as a date for Selbit, since he (Selbit) had an advertisement that included both his real name and his pseudonym in the July 1900 issue of Mahatma, which could easily have been seen by Erdnase. He also was mentioned numerous times in The Showman and in Stanyon's Magic in 1900. (I also don't know how he decided when Erdnase picked that pseudonym.)

Other pre-1902 examples from magic include:
- Hercat (real name R. D. Chater), born ca. 1843, and performed widely in the US and England in the latter part of the 19th century
- Ornum magic emporium in London, owned by George Munro, and advertised in The Showman in 1900

From elsewhere in the performing arts:
- Violinist Alma Senkrah (real name Alma Harkness), 1864-1900

And other pre-1902 examples:
- Italian poet Trilussa (real name Carlo Albert Salustri), started writing 1887
- Olphar Hamst (real name Ralph Thomas), author of The Handbook of Fictitious Names (1868)
- Alcofribas Nasier (real name François Rabelais), French Renaissance writer
- Barry Waller, Poet (real name Bryan Waller Procter), English early 19th century poet
- Dralloc (real name John Collard), 18th cent English logician
- F. Pylodet (real name F. Leypoldt), 19th cent German-American writer
- James Hasolle (real name Elias Ashmole), 16th century alchemist (anagrammists of old would substitute J for I)
- Walter Ramal (real name Walter de la Mare), English writer from 1890s
- Arnold Lacretie (real name Jules Claretie), French 19th cent writer
- H. Trusta (real name Elizabeth Stuart Phelps), 19th century American writer
- Partenio Etrio (real name Pietro Aretino) Italian 16th cent writer
- Telliamed (title of work by Benoit de Maillet) French 17th-18th cent scientist
- Rudolfus Otreb (real name Robertus Fludd) English 16th-17th cent physician
- Ryhen Pameach (real name Henry Peacham) English 16th-17th cent writer
- Thorny Ailo (real name John Taylor; J for I substitution) English 16th-17th cent poet
- P. H. Treleinie (real name Peter Heylin) English 17th cent author
- W. J. Andre (real name W. Jerdan) Scottish writer
- Johann Abricht (real name Jonathan Birch) 19th cent poet

Contemporary writer Lewis Turco has published under the name Wesli Court.

If you are trying to validate a non-anagrammatic explanation for the pseudonym "Erdnase" on the grounds that anagrammatic pseudonyms just weren't a "thing" before Expert, you are working from a faulty premise.

Bob Coyne
Posts: 498
Joined: January 26th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Favorite Magician: Charlies
Location: Montclair, NJ

Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bob Coyne » May 10th, 2018, 6:22 pm

Another example (not of an author but a title) is Erewhon (nowhere) by Samuel Butler in 1872.

Bob Coyne
Posts: 498
Joined: January 26th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Favorite Magician: Charlies
Location: Montclair, NJ

Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bob Coyne » May 11th, 2018, 11:57 am

Bill Mullins wrote: The likelihood is that whoever Erdnase was, no one on this forum has ever mentioned his name. In other words, it is probable that Erdnase was not E. S. Andrews or Edwin S. Andrews, or Benedict, or Gallaway, or Sanders, or any of the other candidates.

That doesn't mean that it isn't fun to discuss and hash out the candidates, but I'd bet that Erdnase has yet to be discovered.

This is pure speculation, but one other interesting possibility I've wondered about is if Erdnase could be more than one person. It seems likely that Erdnase worked with a partner at the card table (e.g. In addition to the we/our voice, he also has a special section "player without an ally" for situations where a partner is not available, implying that working solo is not the standard/ideal method). If so, then it could be that the author was the partner with the writing ability/experience, and that there was another "main" erdnase.

Tom Gilbert
Posts: 698
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: NH
Contact:

Re: ERDNASE

Postby Tom Gilbert » May 11th, 2018, 10:06 pm

Wondered if he had "help" with the magic section.

User avatar
Richard Kaufman
Posts: 24123
Joined: July 18th, 2001, 12:00 pm
Favorite Magician: Theodore DeLand
Location: Washington DC
Contact:

Re: ERDNASE

Postby Richard Kaufman » May 11th, 2018, 11:50 pm

Erdnase was neither a gambler nor a card cheat. He was a magician.
That is a definitive statement from which I will not be shaken.
There is much evidence in the text of the book to back this up.
Gambler's do not invent moves for their own enjoyment and publish them with their names appended to the title. That is something magicians do.
Gamblers master two or three moves and use them to make money. That's all.
Gamblers do not call people watching them "spectators." But magicians do.
And so on.
Subscribe today to Genii Magazine

User avatar
Zenner
Posts: 111
Joined: September 30th, 2008, 8:49 pm
Favorite Magician: Al Koran
Location: Derbyshire, England

Re: ERDNASE

Postby Zenner » May 12th, 2018, 5:43 am

Richard Kaufman wrote:Erdnase was neither a gambler nor a card cheat. He was a magician.
That is a definitive statement from which I will not be shaken.
There is much evidence in the text of the book to back this up.
Gambler's do not invent moves for their own enjoyment and publish them with their names appended to the title. That is something magicians do.
Gamblers master two or three moves and use them to make money. That's all.
Gamblers do not call people watching them "spectators." But magicians do.
And so on.


HURRAH!

A voice of reason amongst this quagmire of quibbling!

Now all we have to look for is a magician who had business dealings with James McKinney & Co circa 1902. There is only one.

Guess who!

Leonard Hevia
Posts: 1687
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Favorite Magician: Dai Vernon, Frank Garcia, Slydini, Houdini,
Location: Gaithersburg, Md.

Re: ERDNASE

Postby Leonard Hevia » May 12th, 2018, 10:59 am

Zenner wrote:Guess who!


Can you provide a few examples of Benedict's writing to exhibit any syntactic similarities to Erdnase? Being a magician is only half the equation.

Bob Coyne
Posts: 498
Joined: January 26th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Favorite Magician: Charlies
Location: Montclair, NJ

Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bob Coyne » May 12th, 2018, 11:28 am

Richard Kaufman wrote:Erdnase was neither a gambler nor a card cheat. He was a magician.
That is a definitive statement from which I will not be shaken.
There is much evidence in the text of the book to back this up.
Gambler's do not invent moves for their own enjoyment and publish them with their names appended to the title. That is something magicians do.
Gamblers master two or three moves and use them to make money. That's all.
Gamblers do not call people watching them "spectators." But magicians do.
And so on.

I don't think it's either/or. Instead, he invents moves because he looks at card sleights as artistry, with the goal of perfection in technique. Hence his "constant and ever failing efforts to devise a perfect shift." He talks about the "expert card handler" (not magician or gambler). He repeatedly disparages "bunglers" and "contrivances," and he expresses admiration for how artistic a particular move is and promotes what he's teaching as the "highest and most artistic branches of his vocation." This is all much more than a purely pragamatic "get the money" or "get the applause" mentality. It's an aesthetic response and concern.

So it seems to me that this love of the artistry in sleight of hand is what defines his approach to both gambling and magic. He talks about learning "every sleight in the calendar." That's not something either a professional magician or a gambler needs to do. That's the hallmark of a sleight of hand artist.

As to his actual experience...just look at what he emphasizes. In the legerdemain section (less than half of the book), over half is concerned with sleights. He describes patter as only needing to be some bit of "nonsensical clap-trap," and overall there's comparatively little about performance issues that concern a magician, even within the actual tricks themselves. This is in contrast to the card table section which deals with every nuance and move to conform to the various constraints at the card table. So it seems clear to me that he had much more experience at the card table than with magic, which seems to be more of a hobby and something he does as an amateur (he even refers to its "impromptu nature" using the "family deck"). He, likewise, reserves the word "professional" for the card table artifice. Plus the whole introduction is focused on card table artifice, with only a single sentence on magic.

Bob Coyne
Posts: 498
Joined: January 26th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Favorite Magician: Charlies
Location: Montclair, NJ

Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bob Coyne » May 12th, 2018, 11:37 am

Leonard Hevia wrote:
Zenner wrote:Guess who!


Can you provide a few examples of Benedict's writing to exhibit any syntactic similarities to Erdnase? Being a magician is only half the equation.


Plus benedict (and gallaway) have no connection that I've heard related to the pseudonym and/or anagram. That's a HUGE missing piece and extremely difficult to overcome.

Roger M.
Posts: 1322
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm

Re: ERDNASE

Postby Roger M. » May 12th, 2018, 11:43 am

The old nugget that a gambler only needs a couple of moves to put food on the table, while true, isn't representative of all gamblers.

There are plenty of experts on gambling today (as there were in 1902) who know a whole lot of moves, and a whole lot of magic ... but they're experts on gambling first (see Steve Forte as an example).
Calling these folks "magicians" (while not wrong) - is incomplete.

The author of EATCT was a gambler.

That he also knew a fair bit about magic isn't surprising, as his love of playing cards and playing card sleights would have naturally led him in that direction from the gambling table.

As well, calling Erdnase a "gambler" or a "magician" may be far too restricting, as many here consider seriously that he was also a trainman, a mining engineer, or a printer.

With a world outlook and verbiage as Erdnase demonstrates, the likelihood that he was a man of many talents is extremely high ... and calling him just a "magician" is (IMO) selling him terribly short.

Leonard Hevia
Posts: 1687
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Favorite Magician: Dai Vernon, Frank Garcia, Slydini, Houdini,
Location: Gaithersburg, Md.

Re: ERDNASE

Postby Leonard Hevia » May 12th, 2018, 12:27 pm

Bob Coyne wrote:Plus Benedict (and Gallaway) have no connection that I've heard related to the pseudonym and/or anagram. That's a HUGE missing piece and extremely difficult to overcome.


I noticed that as well. Candidates are proposed with only half baked evidence.

Good points by the Chief Genii, Roger, and Bob. I believe Erdnase was an amateur gambler and magician who made his living in an outside profession. As Bob points out, he was a sleight of hand artist obsessed with the artistry in handling the pasteboards. That artistic obsession so well documented in the book was not lost on a young Vernon.

Dr. James Elliott was Vernon's next influence in artistic card handling and he was known to rent a hotel room and spend hours at a portable card table practicing. One can easily picture Erdnase doing this in rented hotel rooms while traveling thru cities on business trips.

Roger M.
Posts: 1322
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm

Re: ERDNASE

Postby Roger M. » May 12th, 2018, 3:18 pm

Zenner wrote:A voice of reason amongst this quagmire of quibbling!

There would be a lot less "quibbling" if posters didn't show up in the forum with scant (or no) evidence at all and declare that they'd found Erdnase!

When those posters then decide they've chosen the hill they're going to die on ... and further that they're going to die on said hill right here in this thread ... you get "quibbling".

Actually, by avoiding claims of identifying Erdnase by name, this current discussion is of the most enjoyable types one can participate in here in the forum.
What exactly, must Erdnase have been or done in his life such that he could have first anticipated, then developed, then perfected, and then written about everything in the book that he wrote about?

EATCT is definitely not the work of a common plunker, be he a gambler, printer, trainman, magician, mining engineer ... or anything else.
This guy was advanced in everything he did ... especially for 1902.

Erdnase was not a "common man".

Tom Gilbert
Posts: 698
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: NH
Contact:

Re: ERDNASE

Postby Tom Gilbert » May 12th, 2018, 8:15 pm

True about the quibbling. The whole thing about the drawings being someone's hands was a little over the top. Pseudo science and conjecture won't put a candidate over the top... only facts will. I do wonder what the "smoking gun" will be? A long lost scrapbook or diary, the overlooked sentence in an old magic book or magazine. If none is found, it will be an ongoing thread of quibbling.

User avatar
Richard Kaufman
Posts: 24123
Joined: July 18th, 2001, 12:00 pm
Favorite Magician: Theodore DeLand
Location: Washington DC
Contact:

Re: ERDNASE

Postby Richard Kaufman » May 12th, 2018, 9:10 pm

I believe STRONGLY that Erdnase was an amateur magician, and not a gambler at all. He observed people gambling, but did not partake in anything but a casual way. He did not cheat at cards.

The array of mostly odd and silly original sleights in the book is indicative of an amateur magician, not a pro, or a professional card cheat.

There will be a new candidate announced later this year that will throw everyone into a tizzy. It's not coming from me, but from someone else. Whether it is true or not, time will tell.
Subscribe today to Genii Magazine

Jonathan Townsend
Posts: 7801
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Westchester, NY
Contact:

Re: ERDNASE

Postby Jonathan Townsend » May 12th, 2018, 9:24 pm

Bob Coyne wrote:... This is all much more than a purely pragmatic "get the money" or "get the applause" mentality. It's an aesthetic response and concern...

+1
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time

Roger M.
Posts: 1322
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm

Re: ERDNASE

Postby Roger M. » May 12th, 2018, 9:47 pm

Richard Kaufman wrote:There will be a new candidate announced later this year that will throw everyone into a tizzy. It's not coming from me, but from someone else. Whether it is true or not, time will tell.


As long as any given candidate is proposed along with credible evidence to support their candidacy, why would an announcement throw anybody into a "tizzy"?

But if candidates continue to be proposed and rigorously defended with absolutely no serious evidence presented, and no chance that they were Erdnase, it serves nobody.

The quote from Richard that could cause concern might be "Whether it is true or not, time will tell".
If the presentation of the candidate can't be accompanied by enough evidence to be "true" ... perhaps presenting the candidate is premature?

Personally, I'd never hold on for dear life to my current belief that Erdnase was a gambler if I was shown enough credible evidence to prove that he was an amateur magician.

If Genii Magazine is involved in the presentation of this new candidate, I hope you'll hold the authors feet to the fire in terms of evidence Richard ... IMO the search for Erdnase has been somewhat degraded by the plethora of "claims" that Erdnase has been found ... despite nothing at all resembling evidence being presented to support such claims.

I would add too, that for me, quality evidence would have to include a believable explanation for the anagram S.W. Erdnase.
Failing that explanation, the evidence would have to be a "smoking gun" the provenance of which could be tracked back to confirm its authenticity.

User avatar
Richard Kaufman
Posts: 24123
Joined: July 18th, 2001, 12:00 pm
Favorite Magician: Theodore DeLand
Location: Washington DC
Contact:

Re: ERDNASE

Postby Richard Kaufman » May 12th, 2018, 10:05 pm

I have nothing to do with the "new" candidate, nor am I (at this time) presenting him.

The "tizzy" part regards the identity of the person.

It is not "my" candidate, and I have yet to be convinced that the person is a viable suspect. But knowing who it is, I am certainly open to the possibility.
Subscribe today to Genii Magazine

Bill Mullins
Posts: 4738
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Huntsville, AL

Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bill Mullins » May 13th, 2018, 2:05 am

Richard Kaufman wrote:Erdnase was neither a gambler nor a card cheat. He was a magician.
That is a definitive statement from which I will not be shaken.
There is much evidence in the text of the book to back this up.


And yet, Erdnase mentions on several occasions having played cards for money (often losing), but never once mentions having personally performed a magic trick.

Leonard Hevia
Posts: 1687
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Favorite Magician: Dai Vernon, Frank Garcia, Slydini, Houdini,
Location: Gaithersburg, Md.

Re: ERDNASE

Postby Leonard Hevia » May 13th, 2018, 11:39 am

Bill Mullins wrote:And yet, Erdnase mentions on several occasions having played cards for money (often losing), but never once mentions having personally performed a magic trick.


He definitely played in gambling houses and often losing as Bill points out, but I think he was an amateur magician who also performed for family, associates, and friends, much like most of us do today. There are passages in the Legerdemain section that hint at some performing experience. He gives the reader tips after the effect is taught to maximize the deception. This tells us he might have actually performed them for live audiences. For example in "The Traveling Cards" now known as "Cards Up the Sleeve," the reader gets a few pointers after the explanation:

The hand that holds the deck should be extended as the cards are commanded to pass. Using both sleeves gives excuse for changing the deck from hand to hand, creating favorable and natural opportunities for palming, and also preventing the spectators anticipating which hand will produce the cards until it is too late.


The word "natural" in this context makes one realize that a young Vernon internalized this word and made it his mantra.

Bill Mullins
Posts: 4738
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Huntsville, AL

Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bill Mullins » May 19th, 2018, 12:45 pm

Potter & Potter sold a 1st edition copy this morning for $6500 plus fees ($7800). A copy of Ritter's Treatise on Advantage Card Playing and Draw Poker went for $14,400.

User avatar
Richard Kaufman
Posts: 24123
Joined: July 18th, 2001, 12:00 pm
Favorite Magician: Theodore DeLand
Location: Washington DC
Contact:

Re: ERDNASE

Postby Richard Kaufman » May 19th, 2018, 2:09 pm

Bill Mullins wrote:
Richard Kaufman wrote:Erdnase was neither a gambler nor a card cheat. He was a magician.
That is a definitive statement from which I will not be shaken.
There is much evidence in the text of the book to back this up.


And yet, Erdnase mentions on several occasions having played cards for money (often losing), but never once mentions having personally performed a magic trick.


That's because he didn't want anyone to know he was a magician, and wanted everyone to think he was a card cheat.
Subscribe today to Genii Magazine

Joe Mckay
Posts: 1378
Joined: April 13th, 2008, 6:56 am
Favorite Magician: Lubor Fiedler
Location: Durham, England

Re: ERDNASE

Postby Joe Mckay » May 19th, 2018, 2:18 pm

Richard published a theory once that T. Nelson Downs was actually Charles Jordan.

Is it possible that T. Nelson Downs (1867-1938) was Erdnase as well?

Maybe T. Nelson Downs was an incredible genius who published under multiple names?

Leonard Hevia
Posts: 1687
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Favorite Magician: Dai Vernon, Frank Garcia, Slydini, Houdini,
Location: Gaithersburg, Md.

Re: ERDNASE

Postby Leonard Hevia » May 19th, 2018, 3:38 pm

Joe Mckay wrote:Richard published a theory once that T. Nelson Downs was actually Charles Jordan.

Is it possible that T. Nelson Downs (1867-1938) was Erdnase as well?

Maybe T. Nelson Downs was an incredible genius who published under multiple names?


I don't believe that Downs fits Marshall's description since he was a fairly tall and robust man. He was also a voracious seeker of underground card moves and always a step behind Vernon, who was at the vanguard. He would hardly have been a good candidate to have authored The Expert.

User avatar
Zenner
Posts: 111
Joined: September 30th, 2008, 8:49 pm
Favorite Magician: Al Koran
Location: Derbyshire, England

Re: ERDNASE

Postby Zenner » May 19th, 2018, 8:05 pm

Richard Kaufman wrote:
Bill Mullins wrote:
Richard Kaufman wrote:Erdnase was neither a gambler nor a card cheat. He was a magician.
That is a definitive statement from which I will not be shaken.
There is much evidence in the text of the book to back this up.


And yet, Erdnase mentions on several occasions having played cards for money (often losing), but never once mentions having personally performed a magic trick.


That's because he didn't want anyone to know he was a magician, and wanted everyone to think he was a card cheat.


Correct - it was a ruse to sell a book.

And he didn't have to say that he performed tricks, his writing of the book shows that he could do tricks and he actually did a few for Marshall D. Smith before posing for the illustrations. Q.E.D.?

Bob Coyne
Posts: 498
Joined: January 26th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Favorite Magician: Charlies
Location: Montclair, NJ

Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bob Coyne » May 19th, 2018, 11:51 pm

Zenner wrote:
Richard Kaufman wrote:
Bill Mullins wrote:
And yet, Erdnase mentions on several occasions having played cards for money (often losing), but never once mentions having personally performed a magic trick.


That's because he didn't want anyone to know he was a magician, and wanted everyone to think he was a card cheat.


Correct - it was a ruse to sell a book.

And he didn't have to say that he performed tricks, his writing of the book shows that he could do tricks and he actually did a few for Marshall D. Smith before posing for the illustrations. Q.E.D.?

Last time I checked, declaring Q.E.D. requires some sort of bulletproof argument, not speculation stated as fact.

Also, just doing tricks for Smith doesn't make him primarily magician. Plus, he told Smith that he was a former card shark, and Smith described him as "the real article" and said that "he was honest with me." It's impossible to know for sure if that's the case, but given that it matches the focus of the book, it seems like a good default assumption to make.

observer
Posts: 325
Joined: August 31st, 2014, 5:32 am
Favorite Magician: Harry Kellar - Charlie Miller - Paul Rosini - Jay Marshall
Location: Chicago

Re: ERDNASE

Postby observer » May 20th, 2018, 12:06 am

Bob Coyne wrote:...just look at what he emphasizes. In the legerdemain section (less than half of the book), over half is concerned with sleights. He describes patter as only needing to be some bit of "nonsensical clap-trap," and overall there's comparatively little about performance issues that concern a magician, even within the actual tricks themselves.


So … Erdnase was actually Ed Marlo?

Roger M.
Posts: 1322
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm

Re: ERDNASE

Postby Roger M. » May 20th, 2018, 2:00 am

To declare Erdnase a de facto magician when we have absolutely no idea who he is borders on a bit silly.

Keeping an open mind until we collectively take some sort of major step forward in identifying Erdnase might be the better idea?

performer
Posts: 2592
Joined: August 7th, 2015, 10:35 pm

Re: ERDNASE

Postby performer » May 20th, 2018, 1:42 pm

I am positive it was a magician. I have led a somewhat wicked life and have met various wicked people, a few of whom were card cheats. Contrary to mythical perceptions they were not the romanticized picture one would imagine at all. They tended to be a little uncouth and would never in a million years have had the intellect and writing ability to put together a well written book like the Erdnase one. The moves they used were few and crudely executed. I know they worked well enough but they were hardly finished technique.

There was just too much detail and too many sleights described in that book for it not to be a magician. It wouldn't surprise me in the least that the author had never played a game for money in his life. Now, I didn't say it didn't happen. I am merely saying that I would not be in the least bit surprised if it did.

It reminds me of all those silly books written on so called "cold reading" which are written by people that have never done a paid reading in their lives.

I can almost guarantee that the Erdnase book has been far more useful to magicians that it ever has been to card cheats.

performer
Posts: 2592
Joined: August 7th, 2015, 10:35 pm

Re: ERDNASE

Postby performer » May 20th, 2018, 1:54 pm

Richard Kaufman wrote:I have nothing to do with the "new" candidate, nor am I (at this time) presenting him.

The "tizzy" part regards the identity of the person.

It is not "my" candidate, and I have yet to be convinced that the person is a viable suspect. But knowing who it is, I am certainly open to the possibility.



I have always thought that Vernon himself wrote it! I know that is impossible because of the date he was born but perhaps he learned how to do time travel!

Bob Coyne
Posts: 498
Joined: January 26th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Favorite Magician: Charlies
Location: Montclair, NJ

Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bob Coyne » May 20th, 2018, 6:11 pm

performer wrote:I am positive it was a magician. I have led a somewhat wicked life and have met various wicked people, a few of whom were card cheats. Contrary to mythical perceptions they were not the romanticized picture one would imagine at all. They tended to be a little uncouth and would never in a million years have had the intellect and writing ability to put together a well written book like the Erdnase one. The moves they used were few and crudely executed. I know they worked well enough but they were hardly finished technique.

There was just too much detail and too many sleights described in that book for it not to be a magician. It wouldn't surprise me in the least that the author had never played a game for money in his life. Now, I didn't say it didn't happen. I am merely saying that I would not be in the least bit surprised if it did.

It reminds me of all those silly books written on so called "cold reading" which are written by people that have never done a paid reading in their lives.

I can almost guarantee that the Erdnase book has been far more useful to magicians that it ever has been to card cheats.

I don't think it's possible to generalize and say all card cheats or all magicians follow the same pattern. In *every* profession there are bunglers and hacks. And there are also those who are continual students and innovators in an attempt to reach the highest level of craft or artistry. Hence Erdnase's "ever failing efforts to devise a perfect shift." He billed himself as "Expert" at the card table...that shows an emphasis on the art itself.

Plus there's a spectrum from professional/full-time to professional/part-time to amateur. Many of the most creative and technically skilled magicians aren't full-time professionals. Erdnase may well have been a part-time (or former) card cheat and amateur magician. Whatever his exact status, it seems clear from the book that he had real and varied experience at the card table. Aside from all the technical details in the sleights and how to use them (eg on how to deal with the cut, etc), he even reveals a little about his personal experience of winning and losing (e.g. "we bucked the tiger voluntarily and censure no one for the inevitable result", "close application and study of the game", "Hazard at play carries sensations that once enjoyed are rarely forgotten", etc).

performer
Posts: 2592
Joined: August 7th, 2015, 10:35 pm

Re: ERDNASE

Postby performer » May 21st, 2018, 8:37 am

Yes, there may be a tiny, tiny, tiny percentage of skilled card cheats with a vast knowledge of sleight of hand.. However, I can assure you they are in the distinct minority. VERY distinct minority! Less than 5% is my estimation. Magicians are the ones who have all the knowledge of those fancy techniques. And magicians tend to be mamby pamby type individuals who don't have the mentality to lie, cheat and steal. They are fascinated by the methods but wouldn't dare use them in a game themselves. And they are probably too honest to anyway which of course some might consider to be a major failing in life.

You don't have to be psychic like myself to know that book was written by a magician. Magicians tend to be intelligent individuals (even though their performances are often deficient). You can tell by how well that book was written that the author is intelligent. Card cheats are too rough and ready for scholarly well written treatises. And they certainly would have no knowledge of all those fancy and overly numerous sleights in the Erdnase book. I repeat, they tend to know only one or two moves. Perhaps three at the very most. If they know more than that the odds are they are a magician.

Of course he was a magician (and why does everyone take it for granted it was a he?). The evidence jumps right out at you. Too many sleights, too well written, a magic section and the artist recalling some card tricks performed for him.

He may well have been a cheat too for all I know but generally speaking magicians who cheat at cards are too mamby-pamby for that sort of thing. In any event it is perfectly obvious to me that whoever the hell he was, there is little doubt he knew a lot about magic.

Bob Coyne
Posts: 498
Joined: January 26th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Favorite Magician: Charlies
Location: Montclair, NJ

Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bob Coyne » May 21st, 2018, 9:44 am

Some of the moves he developed himself are specifically for magic. So obviously he was a magician of some sort. I'm just saying he seems to have been an amateur magician. I see no reason to think he was a professional or full-time magician, as some have been saying.

And, just as he developed his own sleights for magic, he developed even more for gambling. e.g. Why would he develop all that jog shuffle stuff for culling and stacking unless for the card table? Sure it can be applied to magic too, but that's not it's primary purpose. Likewise, in his system of palming he says "we consider these methods the best for palming the top cards after a shuffle." Or in his quote that "the resourceful professional failing to improve the method changes the moment" he's concerned with undetectably using the shift to negate the cut. It's all in a card table context. And then, in addition to all the gambling sleights and nuances, he describes his own evolution learning the trade ("bucked the tiger", etc). So it seems clear that he was very experienced at the card table.

He may have come to gambling through magic or vice versa. I don't see the contradiction other than the need to avoid doing card tricks to people he's playing with cards with. If the writer was Sanders (as I think was likely), then we have evidence of both gambling and doing magic.

User avatar
Zenner
Posts: 111
Joined: September 30th, 2008, 8:49 pm
Favorite Magician: Al Koran
Location: Derbyshire, England

Re: ERDNASE

Postby Zenner » May 21st, 2018, 10:12 am

Bob Coyne wrote:Some of the moves he developed himself are specifically for magic. So obviously he was a magician of some sort. I'm just saying he seems to have been an amateur magician. I see no reason to think he was a professional or full-time magician, as some have been saying.


WHO SAID THAT?

I said that all the clues point to Edward D. Benedict, who HAD BEEN a professional magician in the 1880s. All these Johnny-come-latelies are just saying that a was "a magician", and that covers everything from a chap who knows a few card tricks up to a full-time professional illusionist! As far as I am aware, Tony Georgio was the first to say that Erdnase was a magician; there may have been others.

Bob Coyne wrote:And, just as he developed his own sleights for magic, he developed even more for gambling. e.g. Why would he develop all that jog shuffle stuff for culling and stacking unless for the card table? Sure it can be applied to magic too, but that's not it's primary purpose. Likewise, in his system of palming he says "we consider these methods the best for palming the top cards after a shuffle." Or in his quote that "the resourceful professional failing to improve the method changes the moment" he's concerned with undetectably using the shift to negate the cut. It's all in a card table context. And then, in addition to all the gambling sleights and nuances, he describes his own evolution learning the trade ("bucked the tiger", etc). So it seems clear that he was very experienced at the card table.

He may have come to gambling through magic or vice versa. I don't see the contradiction other than the need to avoid doing card tricks to people he's playing with cards with. If the writer was Sanders (as I think was likely), then we have evidence of both gambling and doing magic.


You have evidence of him gambling and you have evidence that he made a note of a mathematical card trick. You have no evidence that he ever did that mathematical card trick and you certainly have no evidence that he could do any of the sleights in Expert, let alone have the knowledge to write the book. And don't forget that Erdnase demonstrated card tricks for Smith and then posed for the illustrations. OF COURSE HE WAS A MAGICIAN!

Bob Coyne
Posts: 498
Joined: January 26th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Favorite Magician: Charlies
Location: Montclair, NJ

Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bob Coyne » May 21st, 2018, 11:00 am

Zenner wrote:You have evidence of him gambling and you have evidence that he made a note of a mathematical card trick. You have no evidence that he ever did that mathematical card trick and you certainly have no evidence that he could do any of the sleights in Expert, let alone have the knowledge to write the book. And don't forget that Erdnase demonstrated card tricks for Smith and then posed for the illustrations. OF COURSE HE WAS A MAGICIAN!

It's a very small jump from Sanders writing the details of a card trick to inferring that he actually did the trick. And buying six decks of cards for a relatively short trip strongly suggests he was practicing card sleights (for magic and/or gambling).

Of course Erdnase did magic. How else would he write a section on magic that included his own sleights? That doesn't mean he was primarily a magician or a professional/full-time magician. If you're happy with him being an amateur magician, then there's no disagreement.

In addition to doing some card tricks, Erdnase also told Smith he was a former card shark. And Smith believed he was the "real article" and honest with him. So the actual contents and tone of the book plus Smith's recollections all support the conclusion that Erdnase manipulated cards at the gambling table. That doesn't preclude him from inventing and doing card tricks. It's not either/or.

performer
Posts: 2592
Joined: August 7th, 2015, 10:35 pm

Re: ERDNASE

Postby performer » May 21st, 2018, 1:54 pm

I have no idea who Erdnase was and in fact I don't really care. However, I would have imagined it would be fairly easy to figure out who he was but of course I must be wrong with all the various theories and speculation. Still, it seems to me that you should be looking for an amateur magician ( I do think it was an amateur rather than a pro for various reasons) who was very skilled with cards and even quite advanced for the time. He would be very likely to be well known in the world of magic because of what seems to be innovations ahead of their time. And someone who lived in Chicago (I vaguely seem to remember this is the city involved).

So who do you know who was skilled at card magic and around at the time and who lived in Chicago? Figure that out and you have your man.

Joe Mckay
Posts: 1378
Joined: April 13th, 2008, 6:56 am
Favorite Magician: Lubor Fiedler
Location: Durham, England

Re: ERDNASE

Postby Joe Mckay » May 21st, 2018, 5:34 pm

What about Dr. James William Elliott (1874 - 1920).

Is that a silly suggestion?

Pete McCabe
Posts: 2218
Joined: January 18th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Simi Valley, CA

Re: ERDNASE

Postby Pete McCabe » May 21st, 2018, 5:56 pm

I'm very surprised to hear people say that to be credible, a candidate's name must be "connected" in some way to the pseudonym S.W. Erdnase. If you were using a pseudonym for a serious reason, the last thing you would do is connect it to your name. To discount a candidate because his name doesn't anagram or whatever with Erdnase seems very silly.

Bob Coyne
Posts: 498
Joined: January 26th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Favorite Magician: Charlies
Location: Montclair, NJ

Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bob Coyne » May 21st, 2018, 7:08 pm

Pete McCabe wrote:I'm very surprised to hear people say that to be credible, a candidate's name must be "connected" in some way to the pseudonym S.W. Erdnase. If you were using a pseudonym for a serious reason, the last thing you would do is connect it to your name. To discount a candidate because his name doesn't anagram or whatever with Erdnase seems very silly.

The probability of a pseudonym spelling out another name backwards is extremely low and just wouldn't happen by chance. So if you find a pseudonym of that type you have to assume that the author chose the pseudonym deliberately for that purpose. The backwards name must have significance and be connected in some way to the author (the most obvious being that it is his actual name).

With Sanders, the backwards spelling cleverly masks his name (a different anagram). So he's protected, with no one figuring it out until recently. But he still gets the satisfaction of having his name embedded in the pseudonym.

performer
Posts: 2592
Joined: August 7th, 2015, 10:35 pm

Re: ERDNASE

Postby performer » May 22nd, 2018, 5:32 am

Joe Mckay wrote:What about Dr. James William Elliott (1874 - 1920).

Is that a silly suggestion?


Did he live in Chicago? Oh, but just a moment---I think I just remembered something as I type.
Oh dear! It probably wasn't!

I do remember reading that Vernon was extolling the book to him and he snorted that the bottom deal in the book wasn't very good! On the other hand perhaps he was criticizing his own book to throw Vernon off track! Alas, I think this unlikely. Pity. I would love it to be Dr Elliott! However, I bet it was someone equally well known in magic. I get a psychic vibe of it. Who I don't know because the vision is unclear.

User avatar
Zenner
Posts: 111
Joined: September 30th, 2008, 8:49 pm
Favorite Magician: Al Koran
Location: Derbyshire, England

Re: ERDNASE

Postby Zenner » May 22nd, 2018, 7:21 am

performer wrote:So who do you know who was skilled at card magic and around at the time and who lived in Chicago? Figure that out and you have your man.


We have more clues than that, Mark. We have a link to the name Dalrymple. He did business with James McKinney. He was about 40. He was well educated and wrote didactically. He did not have a foreign accent. He knew how to get a book published.

Combine all of the above details and they fit only one person out of all the candidates suggested so far. All that is missing is the fact that he was about 5ft 6ins tall. So far I have not been able to ascertain how tall my candidate was. If or when I do that then the final piece of the puzzle will be in place.

And yes, my candidate did have a link to a person named Andrews.

Don't forget the name folks - EDWARD DOUGLAS BENEDICT


Return to “General”