ERDNASE

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Ryan Matney
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Ryan Matney » January 28th, 2009, 12:29 am

This is all getting a little too 'bible code' for me.

If Erdnase turns out to be a secret Templar/Freemason/Gliterati who left clues in the pyramid leading to the ark of the covenant and an acrostic in the ledgerdemain section explaining jesus's lost years...well, won't we feel silly for thinking it was all just a bunch of card tricks.

On the other hand, George Lucas might be interested in the rights to all of this since he is dry as a bone for ideas.
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Carlo Morpurgo » January 28th, 2009, 12:44 am

This is how I would have done it for a book cover

http://tinyurl.com/cnce6y

(click on photos for a larger view)

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Joe Pecore » January 28th, 2009, 7:07 am

Is the Conjuring Arts version of the title page exactly how it looked in the self-published first edition in 1902?
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Jonathan Townsend » January 28th, 2009, 7:57 am

Ryan, you're missing it. Check the reference to "calendar" and then recall the claim of completeness. Given that at least one of strategies used by real card players of the time, "the spread addition", was not detailed in the book it follows that there is also at least one day in the year to be explored by those how know.
Also note the use of the word "science" in the title when the book contains no hypotheses, experimental design or citations to earlier works. From this the magical nature of the work is made plain to even the uninitiated. And so the good book opens the very gates of time to the cognoscenti. More to be found if you carefully note the values of the cards displayed and the seemingly odd repetitions of less than informative poses in the illustrations.

Kindly do not take the name of Fred (or Al) in vain lest you get smited with gross misfortune or bring such upon others. Hallowed be E. S.

Joe - the theory that the book spontaneously appeared without an author is ill suited to public discourse.
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Carlo Morpurgo » January 28th, 2009, 12:49 pm

David Alexander wrote:I decided to have a bit of fun and show that nearly anything can be spelled out if you want to apply special rules.



Did you apply special rules when you read "W.E. Sanders" inside S.W. Erdnase? or is that a standard rule?

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby NCMarsh » January 28th, 2009, 1:46 pm

W.E. Sanders is an anagram of S.W. Erdnase, and -- yes -- it sticks to the "standard rules" of an anagram.

I don't know if, at the end of the day, either is more likely to be correct (it is entirely possible, and highly likely, that there are no intentionally coded clues to the author's identity...I think it would be funny, given the decades of effort and scrutiny, if that were the case)

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Carlo Morpurgo » January 28th, 2009, 2:28 pm

Imperfect anagrams are also "standard rules", used in the past to create pen names - this is proven....
The whole point is whether there is other strong evidence associated to a rule. Dismissing a potential rule in itself is not a valid argument in my opinion, that was my point. Even anagrams (valid ones) can be many.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby David Alexander » January 28th, 2009, 7:15 pm

Carlo,

I've been writing about "W.E. Sanders" as an anagram of "S.W. Erdnase" for over nine years. Where ya been?

I understand, more or less, the rules for creating regular anagrams. I know there are a few pen names created by "imperfect anagrams" but those may be special cases. I would appreciate you laying out the rules for "imperfect anagrams" and the source you are citing.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Carlo Morpurgo » January 28th, 2009, 9:49 pm

David Alexander wrote:Carlo,

I've been writing about "W.E. Sanders" as an anagram of "S.W. Erdnase" for over nine years. Where ya been?

I understand, more or less, the rules for creating regular anagrams. I know there are a few pen names created by "imperfect anagrams" but those may be special cases. I would appreciate you laying out the rules for "imperfect anagrams" and the source you are citing.


I've been on and off about this subject, but I knew that yours was an anagram....I was making a point that you cannot dismiss any rule only on the basis that it is more or less attractive. What counts is the supporting evidence.
my background "forbids" me to make a distinction between "regular anagrams" and "imperfect anagrams", defined e.g. by allowing to change (add or substitute or eliminate) one or more letters. The rule is the rule, it's only our mind that finds it more attractive when we do not change any letter, as opposed to one, or when we read straight as opposed to zig-zag.

Regarding sources...I think I kinda started citing some sources in this very thread, where ya been? Unfortunately no one really took it seriously, so I stopped. Look at what I wrote here somewhere in the past few months, I can't recall.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby David Alexander » January 28th, 2009, 11:26 pm

Carlo Morpurgo wrote:[
I've been on and off about this subject, but I knew that yours was an anagram....I was making a point that you cannot dismiss any rule only on the basis that it is more or less attractive. What counts is the supporting evidence.
my background "forbids" me to make a distinction between "regular anagrams" and "imperfect anagrams", defined e.g. by allowing to change (add or substitute or eliminate) one or more letters. The rule is the rule, it's only our mind that finds it more attractive when we do not change any letter, as opposed to one, or when we read straight as opposed to zig-zag.


Carlo, I think you're pulling my leg.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Carlo Morpurgo » January 29th, 2009, 9:29 pm

David Alexander wrote: Carlo, I think you're pulling my leg.


Actually I wasn't.... I really do believe that your anagram is just as worth as the various Fred zig-zagging. Also, as I understand it the name Fred came about before the pyramid thing, not afterwards.

Carlo

ps. I know my opnion here counts near nothing, since I am not in the loop, but I am still puzzled about this pyramid. Why on earth did he decide to split those words and make the third line longer?

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby David Alexander » January 30th, 2009, 12:41 am

Carlo sees the regular anagram as worth the same as the zig zagging "Fred." I leave that opinion to others to try and figure out the logic behind it, but I'll comment on the idea of "imperfect anagrams" which someone else correctly observed was "too Bible code" for them.

Carlo writes: my background "forbids" me to make a distinction between "regular anagrams" and "imperfect anagrams", defined e.g. by allowing to change (add or substitute or eliminate) one or more letters. The rule is the rule

Well, in my view rules need to make sense, so lets apply Carlos rule of imperfect anagrams to the nine letters of S.W. Erdnase and see what sort of "imperfect anagram" we can find.

Carlos rule states we may change, add, substitute or eliminate one or more letters, so if we keep the S and change the W for an L, change the ERD for CLE, change a few more letters and move a couple of others around we end up with nine letters that spell S.L. Clemens or Mark Twain, who some suspected to writing the Expert in the first place.
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Reason: Removed a paragraph as the post was already sufficiently absurd to make the point.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Carlo Morpurgo » January 30th, 2009, 8:39 am

Believe me, I got your point. What you are saying is obvious. I could tell you that you that even perfect anagrams will generate many more names than yours, and I can reiterate that the rules of permuting letters as opposed to choosing a subgroup and permuting those, or even changing one letter and then permuting, are all arbitrary. You prefer perfect anagrams since the rule is simpler, just like you most likely prefer to the number 1 as opposed to the number 23433.39823376. I think we can continue like this forever. But I will just quote what I wrote in an earlier exchange on this topic (in this thread)

"True, even Alexander or Gardner or Dai Vernon all have "Erdna" inside them, so they can be made into Erdnase by changing a few letters and anagramming the rest. But the point is that it was a common practice to create pseudonyms by modifying a few letters of the real name <i.e. using imperfect anagrams>. This alone isn't proof of anything but if other evidence comes into place you can't ignore it. Likewise, you can't use your argument alone to disprove the documented cases of such anagrams being used by past authors."

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Jeff Pierce Magic » January 30th, 2009, 9:39 am

Jeff Pierce Magic wrote:I'm wondering about the origins of the Erdnase Change. It seems to be widely know that this sleight is a creation of Houdini. Richard Harch writes elsewhere:
"According to an article in The Magic Wand by Victor Farelli on the sleight, which had been shown to Farelli by Houdini, it was first published by P. T. Selbit in his Magician's Handbook in 1901, with credit to Houdini, but without Houdini's permission. Farelli also says that Houdini said Selbit's description was incorrect and taught Farelli the proper handling, which he gives in his article. Thanks to askalexander.com for making such questions relatively easy to research!"

Now if this is true then Selbits book would have had to make it's way across the pond and into the hands of magicians in the states within months of EATCT being published. In 1901 Houdini was not widely known in the states but somewhat famous in the UK. When he finally returned to the states in 1902 EATCT was already published.
At the least this give credence to the idea that Erdnase did not write the magic section. Was Harto in the UK in 1901?

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Jim Maloney » January 30th, 2009, 10:08 am

Well, Selbit's book isn't necessarily the only way someone could have learned it. Houdini was touring the US before heading to Europe in 1900. It's not entirely unlikely that he could have shown the move to others in that time frame.

A few years ago, I had written a very very basic program to run a stylometric analysis on some text I was looking into. At some point, I want to dust that off an run the two sections of Erdnase through it to see if there is any significant difference between the writing style in each.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Jeff Pierce Magic » January 30th, 2009, 10:23 am

Jim, I don't think Houdini had much success in the US before 1902. It stands to reason that Selbit, being form England, learned it directly from Houdini during his 1901 tour. EATCT came out in 1902 before Houdini returned to the states, so that would say to me that someone was in England in 1901 and learned it from Houdini or Selbit. Did this give much time for it to get back to the states for Erdnase to learn it and then include it in Expert, or did someone else write the magic section, who learned it from either of these two? I would imagine that in 1902 it took months for items to come across the pond to the states. The time frame looks wierd to me, thats all. Also did I not read somewhere that Houdini came up with the move in 1901? I could be totally wrong here.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Jim Maloney » January 30th, 2009, 11:08 am

Houdini was on the Orpheum circuit -- one of the largest vaudeville circuits -- in 1900. And success or no, he was working in the US from the early 1890's, doing a card act. It's not entirely unlikely that he shared the move with others during that time period. (Depending on when he first came up with it, of course -- the 1901 date you cited may simply be because that's when Selbit's book was published.)

Nate Leipzig's reputation stretched out to England while he was still living in Detroit -- and that was when he was just hanging around backstage at the Temple Theater, before he even considered becoming a professional magician.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Richard Hatch » January 30th, 2009, 11:27 am

Houdini, successful or not in the US before leaving for England, was extremely well connected with the magic community and surely showed his move around. Which is how Selbit got it for his 1901 book. Moves propagate within our small community fairly quickly. But Selbit's book also reached the States quickly and could well have been read by Erdnase while preparing his book. Frederick J. Drake advertised copies of Selbit's book in 1901, before they hired Bill Hilliar to plagiarize it. Since they were the first reprinters of Erdnase, it is not too much of a stretch to imagine he might have gotten the book from them - a general public source - or from any of the many magic stores carrying it. Harto was not in England at the time, in fact was touring with a Wild West show. In my opinion, it is unlikely that Harto had anything to do with Erdnase's book, though I take seriously the claim that he corresponded with the author and may have been working with him on a sequel to it.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Richard Kaufman » January 30th, 2009, 1:18 pm

Is the change published in one other place prior to Erdnase aside from Selbit? It might also be credited to Houdini in Gaultier (1914) but can't recall.
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Richard Hatch » January 30th, 2009, 3:05 pm

The change is in Gaultier, shown to him by Houdini. The earliest publication of the move might be in an expose article Houdini himself collaborated on, in THE NEW PENNY MAGAZINE, no. 120, volume X, under the title "The "New Change" Trick and How it is done". There is no text describing the move, just three photos of Houdini's hands apparently performing the change. This is reproduced on page 73 of THE WIZARD EXPOSED. Anyone know the exact date of that issue (the book says circa 1901) and the date of publication of Selbit's book (which sold out in a few weeks time, according to Selbit in the second edition of 1902. There was a third edition in 1904, so it was clearly a very successful publication)? Most of this information is from Busby's chapter in THE MAN WHO WAS ERDNASE on the provenance of the material in Erdnase, which is very interesting.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Jim Maloney » January 30th, 2009, 3:39 pm

Richard Hatch wrote:Anyone know the exact date of that issue (the book says circa 1901) and the date of publication of Selbit's book (which sold out in a few weeks time, according to Selbit in the second edition of 1902.


The best I can see for The New Penny Magazine is that it was a weekly magazine and the volumes were split by quarter. It started in October 1898, so volume 10 would put it about February 9th, 1901, assuming a consistent schedule.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Eric Fry » January 30th, 2009, 7:38 pm

Just curious. How did Farelli's description of the move differ from Selbit's?

I have no reason to doubt that Houdini originated the move. It sounds like Farelli says as much. But I notice that the wording in Selbit's "The Magician's Handbook" doesn't quite say that Houdini originated the move. It says: "For the knowledge of the movement I am indebted to my friend Mr. Harry Houdini ..."

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Richard Kaufman » January 30th, 2009, 9:43 pm

That would be how a credit might have been given, if one was given at all at that time.
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Richard Hatch » January 31st, 2009, 1:26 am

Gaultier says (in the Hugard translation published by Fleming): "We do not know whether Mr. Houdini was the inventor of this method, but it was by him that we first saw it done during one of his visits to Paris." (p. 112. Cf. p. 127 of the French edition). According to Silverman, Houdini's first visit to Paris was in November 1901 (he went a month before his December engagement to practice his French).

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby David Alexander » January 31st, 2009, 9:43 am

Jim Maloney wrote:
Richard Hatch wrote:Anyone know the exact date of that issue (the book says circa 1901) and the date of publication of Selbit's book (which sold out in a few weeks time, according to Selbit in the second edition of 1902.


The best I can see for The New Penny Magazine is that it was a weekly magazine and the volumes were split by quarter. It started in October 1898, so volume 10 would put it about February 9th, 1901, assuming a consistent schedule.

-Jim


Jim,

Was The New Penny Magazine sold in the United States?

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Jim Maloney » January 31st, 2009, 10:10 am

The publisher, Cassel and Company, was UK based, but it appears that they did have a New York office, so it is likely that it was distributed here.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Richard Hatch » January 31st, 2009, 12:21 pm

It seems extremely unlikely that Erdnase would have chanced across the 3 photos in THE NEW PENNY and reconstructed the move from them. More likely that he was either shown the move, or, as Busby argues, learned it from the Selbit book.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby David Alexander » January 31st, 2009, 12:38 pm

What is the earliest the Selbit book could have been available in the United States ?

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby David Alexander » January 31st, 2009, 12:41 pm

Interesting to imagine a meeting between Houdini, then just a hard working act, and Erdnase, also an unknown, trading card moves.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Jonathan Townsend » January 31st, 2009, 12:54 pm

Let's add Vernon to that mix - showing around a card change he had just discovered on his own after a relative had shown him the basic card change - kids do that you know. Can we place Houdini in Canada around that year as well? Makes for a nice symmetry with the "trick that fooled Houdini". I guess that would make Houdini the author and "erdnase" the ghost writer... that works from the story/myth perspective.
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Richard Hatch » January 31st, 2009, 1:40 pm

The September 1901 issue of Mahatma has Selbit on the cover and the story mentions he is putting "the finishing touches" on his Handbook. It is advertised in the January 1902 issue from the Mahatma offices (curiously, the advertisement states: "Original European Edition - Not a reprint") for $1.00. We know from the copyright application that the Expert was at the printer by mid-February 1902, so that does seem to be a very small "window" for the author to have been influenced by Selbit's book, unless this section was hastily added at the last moment, as some have argued. Any earlier notices of availability of the book in the States?

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Jeff Pierce Magic » January 31st, 2009, 2:00 pm

Good catch Richard, that's what I figured although I had no concret info. I think we need to figure out when Houdini came up with the move.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby David Alexander » January 31st, 2009, 2:27 pm

Expert was being typeset in mid-December, 1901 or shortly thereafter. From the narrow window of opportunity it seems more likely that Erdnase learned it either directly from Houdini or from someone Houdini taught.

Was it part of Houdini's card act?

Another consideration is that Houdini could have had the move for years and only showed it to people backstage or at social gatherings or when meeting amateurs, but a clever fellow like Erdnase could have watched Houdini (or a student) do the effect several times, gone home and worked it out himself. The history of magic has plenty of instances like that.

And on Jon's insertion of the Vernon into the mix...he was SEVEN, Jon!

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Jeff Pierce Magic » January 31st, 2009, 10:37 pm

On page 216 of The Man Who Was Erdnase, the last paragraph of the first transformation it states that Houdini knew Harte at least 6 years before Expert was published. This gives erdnase more than enough time to have learned it fron HArte for inclusion in the book.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby David Alexander » January 31st, 2009, 10:50 pm

Jeff, it's been a while since I read the book. Is there a source cited for this or is it another of Busby's unsupported claims?

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Jeff Pierce Magic » February 1st, 2009, 1:01 am

David, he cited the paperback version only of Houdini: The Untold Story page 313-314 which includes a letter from Houdini to Harte fron 1923.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby David Alexander » February 1st, 2009, 1:07 am

Thanks, Jeff.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Eric Fry » February 1st, 2009, 5:16 am

I don't think there's a description of Houdini's card act in any of the biographies. My guess is it was a manipulative act of fancy cuts, shuffles, and back palming. Conceivably, color changes would fit that mode.

The well-known poster from the mid-1890s as the king of cards shows him doing ribbon spreads on his arms and one-handed shuffles. There's a photo of him making those shuffles. Then there's that film of him later in life doing a ribbon spread on his arm and back palming a fan of cards, which makes me think that might have been part of his early act.

Then there's his bombastic claim, in the introduction to the book about Elliott, that he and Elliott were on a par with each other as manipulators and that Houdini was one of pioneers of the back palm.

"At Kohl and Middleton (dime museum) on a Christmas and New Year I gave forty-four shows ... each performance lasting only 10 minutes. I am referring to this as a fact not generally known, and because for years I took a pack of cards in my hands at 10 o'clock in the morning, and until 10 o'clock at night they were constantly being mixed, shuffled and manipulated, and that is how the back and front palming, now known all over the world, was introduced to popularity."

There are early newspaper articles describing him as a card manipulator or sleight of hand artist. From 1899: "There is nothing that Mr. Houdini cannot do with the cards; he would like to have a game with Poker Davis while he is here ... and from what I saw of the performer's cleverness yesterday I will promise 'Poker' that he will see bigger hands and more of them than he could ever dreamed could come together in one evening."

The problem with assessing whether Houdini created a color change is that he was a chronic liar. But he was an intelligent man with a genuine interest in all facets of magic, and he was inventive in his specialties of escape and publicity, so it's not impossible that he invented a card move. I can't see how we can ever know the truth about it.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bill Mullins » February 2nd, 2009, 1:49 am

Another 1899 description goes as follows:
"Houdini, a noted Austrian sleight of hand artist, now touring the country, gives in the course of his entertainment an expose of a number of tricks by which the veteran gambler dupe his "easies." "

It then goes on to illustrate and describe a Kepplinger holdout.
"Houdini says there are only 20 of these in existence, and they cost $175 each." [Ft. Wayne News, 8/2/1899 p. 7]

And from the Portsmouth [NH] Herald, 9/20/1899, p. 5:
"One of Houdini's favorite tricks for the edification of newspaper men is an expose of the three-card monte game. . . The regulation crimp in the corner is there."

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Jonathan Townsend » February 2nd, 2009, 8:47 am

A quick sidebar about Houdini. He made comment about learning the cups and balls ... has there been any findings on his cups and balls work?


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