ERDNASE

Discuss general aspects of Genii.
Rick Ruhl
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Rick Ruhl » August 22nd, 2011, 6:05 pm

Marty Demarest wrote:Carlo's recent exploration of the "Erdnase Triange," along with some interesting blog posts by Tom Sawyer (http://rulebooklets.wordpress.com) have started me thinking about coincidences.

David Alexander pointed out that at some point, endless coincidences become irrational. And I agree with him.

I also agree with many posters on this forum that many congruities between W.E. Sanders and S.W. Erdnase could be coincidences.

But no person is a series of discrete qualities. Each person is a aggregate of those qualities.

Take a sample group of every man alive in America ca. 1901. Then have those who were writers stand up. (Then everyone sit down.) Then have those who had self-publishing skills stand up. (Sit down again.) Then have those whose names have a realationship to S.W. Erdnase stand up... Etc.

Each time a different group of men would stand. Coincidences.

But if you have all the writers stand. Then ask those who don't have self-publishing skills to sit. Those whose names don't have a relationship to S.W. Erdnase sit... Etc.

You'd be left with a single group. Very, very small. Coincidence?

A coincidence is rare enough. But as coincidences aggregate, the rarity exponentiates. More than becoming irrational, it becomes unique.



Could it be that since we may have found the author, it's much easier to 'reverse engineer' the hidden anagrams and clues in the book, since we have a name to go by.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Jonathan Townsend » August 22nd, 2011, 7:08 pm

+1 "The Erdnase Triangle"
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Roger M.
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Roger M. » August 22nd, 2011, 7:19 pm

We've had the name of Sanders to go by for the past decade though.
These were waiting to be discovered since David Alexander first gave us the name.

This is just excellent research, and keen observation IMO.

.............and apparently more to come shortly!

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby El Harvey Oswald » August 22nd, 2011, 7:39 pm

"You'd be left with a single group. Very, very small."

what's "small"? 10? 100? 1000? "small" when finding subgroups from among millions of people -- subgroups defined by criteria not altogether common, but not rare, either -- is a pretty big number next to what "small" is relative to the resources of the magic community to determine the identity of a long-dead person who left few clues.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Carlo Morpurgo » August 22nd, 2011, 7:53 pm

Carlo Morpurgo wrote:
I tried the calculation myself, without the additional constraint that the lines can't slide outside the margins, and I came up with 0.012 (assuming that lines have 38, 29, 33...9, words in them)




there was a small typo in my numbers...the correct answer should be 0.055. More interesting (and difficult) is the calculation WITH the line constraint...if I have time I'll try some toy version later, just to see how much smaller the numbers get.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Rick Ruhl » August 22nd, 2011, 10:58 pm

Roger M. wrote:We've had the name of Sanders to go by for the past decade though.
These were waiting to be discovered since David Alexander first gave us the name.

This is just excellent research, and keen observation IMO.

.............and apparently more to come shortly!


Just seems to me things are falling into place...

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Carlo Morpurgo » August 23rd, 2011, 12:38 am

Jonathan Townsend wrote:+1 "The Erdnase Triangle"


Yeah, I guess "triangle" or "trapezoid" would be a bit more appropriate, although I see it more in terms of blocks stacked on top of each other....

El Harvey Oswald
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby El Harvey Oswald » August 23rd, 2011, 1:31 am

" the odds are very great AGAINST it happening, which makes it much more likely to have been done purposefully."

Intuitively, perhaps; but probability doesn't assign causation that way.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Rick Ruhl » August 23rd, 2011, 1:35 pm

I was looking at a map of 1902 Chicago.

It seems the corner of Congress and State Street where Smith and Erdnase met, was only a block or two from the Chicago Board of Trade.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Marty Demarest » August 23rd, 2011, 4:25 pm

Roger M. wrote:It's disappointing to read that some think Sanders candidacy is "nonsense".

Making broad or definitive statements in either direction doesn't help the search at all.


I tend to agree with you Roger. (Just catching up... This discussion is really moving along.)

However, strong opinions re. Erdnase are nothing new. I've read that Martin Gardner declared David Alexander's work to be "pure baloney!"

One of the pleasures I've had in doing this work is meeting many people who take Erdnase and his identity very, very seriously. It has genuinely been a delight. And one of the joys I'm finding in my further work on the subject is that it is allowing me to also write about these people. There are some big personalities in this little world!

But rancor doesn't help further the content of the discussion. Nor do closed minds. I was dismayed to read, on Thomas Sawyer's new Erdnase-blog (http://swerdnase2011.wordpress.com/), that he withdrew from publishing some of his work because of the spirit of the general discussion. I'm glad he decided to publish his work on Erdnase's identity, which in my opinion represents some of the most innovative thinking on the subject.

I can't say that I see the situation the same as Thomas did. (But when asked to publicly share my work for free, I do admit to having a response akin to "Nonsense!")

That said, I'm hoping the upcoming Erdnaseum proves to be full of enjoyable discussion and freely shared ideas. It should be fun.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Ryan Matney » August 23rd, 2011, 4:50 pm

Martin Gardner was a brilliant man, it's so hard for me to accept that he championed Andrews till the very end.

Whether you believe Marty's work that Sanders wrote Expert at the card Table or not, MD Smith's description of the man he met and the fact that Andrews wrote like a street thug convince me that Andrews could not ever have been Erdnase.
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Carlo Morpurgo » August 23rd, 2011, 4:59 pm

Marty Demarest wrote:That said, I'm hoping the upcoming Erdnaseum proves to be full of enjoyable discussion and freely shared ideas. It should be fun.


Marty, are there any plans regarding "Proceedings" of some sort?

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Roger M. » August 23rd, 2011, 5:23 pm

Marty Demarest wrote: I've read that Martin Gardner declared David Alexander's work to be "pure baloney!"


Marty, I've long felt that Gardner based a lot of the veracity of what he said about MFA being Erdnase on the boots on the ground research of Bart Whaley.

I'll go on record as saying that I think Bart Whaley is one of the finest researchers in magic history. His recent work on the true identity of "An Adept", the author of "A Grand Expose" is an example of his very fine style of research.

BUT......the above doesn't mean Gardner/Whaley can't be wrong about the identity of Erdnase......and in fact, I think most here would say that they were indeed quite wrong.
It doesn't mean Whaley isn't a fine researcher (and Gardner isn't a good friend, each of them supporting the others research).

Gardner would have to say DA's work was "pure baloney", simply because he and Whaley had made concrete decisions as to the identity of Erdnase, and then shared them with the public with absolutely no wiggle room to be corrected if they were eventually proven wrong, or had some serious push-back from those who may not believe MFA could have been Erdnase.

It's for the above reason that I keep "The Man Who Was Erdnase" as one of the cornerstone pieces of research on Erdnase........it's great research, but Gardner et al reached the wrong conclusion.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby El Harvey Oswald » August 23rd, 2011, 5:48 pm

alexander's work wasn't very compelling, in itself, and it often veered into weirdness. Marty Demarest, by contrast, is far more rigorous.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bill Mullins » August 23rd, 2011, 6:10 pm

Roger M. wrote: I'll go on record as saying that I think Bart Whaley is one of the finest researchers in magic history. His recent work on the true identity of "An Adept", the author of "A Grand Expose" is an example of his very fine style of research.


I knew that Whaley had done research on Gerrit Evans ("How Gamblers Win"), but was not aware of any work he'd done on "A Grand Expose". Is it published?

Roger M.
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Roger M. » August 23rd, 2011, 6:15 pm

WOW......you're absolutely correct Bill, total brain drain on my part.

Not "A Grand Expose", but indeed, How Gamblers Win.

I'm getting my Magicana re-release editions mixed up.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Roger M. » August 23rd, 2011, 6:23 pm

El Harvey Oswald wrote:alexander's work wasn't very compelling, in itself, and it often veered into weirdness. Marty Demarest, by contrast, is far more rigorous.

I find this post somewhat disrespectful.

Not in its observation of the excellence of Marty's research (which indeed is excellent), but in the need to insult the memory of David Alexander.

Your post doesn't advance the topic in the slightest.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Richard Kaufman » August 23rd, 2011, 7:28 pm

I can assure you that David Alexander would not have been offended by the remark, and would have relished a fine argument about El Harvey's position.
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby El Harvey Oswald » August 23rd, 2011, 7:49 pm

"Your post doesn't advance the topic in the slightest."

commenting on the prior research having made silly leaps of logic doesn't "advance the topic"? but praising better, subsequent research by a living person on precisely the same topic does? i doubt very much that "the memory" of anyone feels much affront. and as RK suggests, people who publicly advance ideas with competing versions typically welcome chances to defend their positions. should we also dull our critiques of capitalism, in deference to "the memory" of adam smith? or does analytical pollysanism apply only to the relatively recently deceased?

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Roger M. » August 23rd, 2011, 8:14 pm

Please clarify what "silly leap of logic" you feel David thrust upon you?

Your recent inability to identify the layout of the title page aside, you seem short on facts and long on well written but uninformed opinion.........I'd like to know exactly what you feel was offered by Alexander that rates as "silly".

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Chris Aguilar » August 23rd, 2011, 8:21 pm

I felt the same way about D. Alexander's initial article from a decade+ ago. It was very interesting, but not completely compelling to me. Marty's research builds on and goes further in depth, making (in my view) a better overall case.

Expressing that notion isn't disrespecting D.Alexander or his work.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Roger M. » August 23rd, 2011, 8:39 pm

Sure Chris, whatever you say.

I found David's article compelling ten years ago, and found Marty's article equally compelling a week ago.

This passive/aggressive "playing of sides" however, is counterproductive........so I'll leave you and the rest of Marty's (probably unwanted) sycophants to chat amongst yourselves.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby El Harvey Oswald » August 23rd, 2011, 8:51 pm

"I'd like to know exactly what you feel was offered by Alexander that rates as "silly""

-that "eardnase" means "earth nose," in german, and is thus a coded reference to sanders' experience in mining;
-that by an absurd sequence of reconfiguration the phrase "artifice, ruse and subterfuge" yields "andrews artifice" (and, relatedly, his unfamiliarity with the fact that seemingly arbitrary differences in font sizes was fairly common in contemporaneous title pages).

finally, it is accurate that i initially thought that the point about the title page was offered with reference to the actual alignment of the title page, not after it was reconfigured. it was only conceivably an interesting point, meaningfully bearing on the identity, if it took the title page as it actually was; thus the assumption.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Richard Kaufman » August 23rd, 2011, 9:11 pm

We ALL agree to disagree.
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Pete McCabe » August 23rd, 2011, 9:56 pm

Not me.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Leonard Hevia » August 23rd, 2011, 10:57 pm

finally, it is accurate that i initially thought that the point about the title page was offered with reference to the actual alignment of the title page, not after it was reconfigured. it was only conceivably an interesting point, meaningfully bearing on the identity, if it took the title page as it actually was; thus the assumption

Mr. Oswald--based on your quote, you would have found it more interesting if Sanders' name was clearly vertically visible on the title page before Carlo changed the pyramid alignment? Wouldn't that have been too obvious a clue? As David wrote in his article (You did read it?), Erdnase had a "healthy ego" and was "shrewed beyond words." He wasn't going to make it easy to figure out his real identity. David also pointed out that Erdnase could have chosen an "impenetrable literay device" such as "Anonymous" or "A Reformed Gambler" to obliterate the trail, but he didn't. He left the trail open (barely) for those intelligent enough to figure it out.

Reading the title page backward to get "Cardtable Subterfuge And-ruse Artifice" as David suggested might initially seem a bit far fetched--but not impossible. Erdnase knew that investigators would read his name backwards to get E.S. Andrews. When you read the title page backwards, as David suggested, Erdnase seems to say "Gotcha, didn't I?" This is not at odds with Sanders' mischievous nature. Remember, he got caught stealing ore from a mine, and kept falling into debt each time he visited New York. Hmmm...

I don't see anything improbable about the Erdnase/earthnose connection. If you were a mining engineer named W.E. Sanders who had studied the German language, and was fond of rearranging your name, wouldn't the name "S.W. Erdnase" make sense?

I keep going back to the photo of Sanders' writing desk in Marty's article. Why would anyone have a writing desk with a top that unfolds to two green baize-covered panels? Unless you needed the baize top for table riffle shuffling and other card work while you wrote your manuscript.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby El Harvey Oswald » August 23rd, 2011, 11:01 pm

kind of perilous proclaiming a perfect consensus.

i find sanders a more compelling candidate than andrews, or anyone else -- but without finding every last tortured construction of the available data compelling, and on the strength of demerest's analysis, not alexander's.

consistency: hobgoblin of small minds, and all

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Richard Kaufman » August 23rd, 2011, 11:04 pm

I think that green baize covered writing desks were common at that time. I've seen plenty of them in antique shows.
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby El Harvey Oswald » August 23rd, 2011, 11:16 pm

"Mr. Oswald--based on your quote, you would have found it more interesting if Sanders' name was clearly vertically visible on the title page before Carlo changed the pyramid alignment? Wouldn't that have been too obvious a clue?"

maybe; but it would have been more interesting. as actually constructed, it's too obscure, and too likely to have resulted from pure chance. likewise, assessments of a "healthy ego" are just too thin to be confirmation of something that, all things considered, is more unlikely than likely.

as for your infantile "(you did read it?)" aside, i obviously did. none of it is impossible -- so much so that i'd say sanders was erdnase. some of it, though, i don't find compelling, particularly where very attenuated word-play is attributed to sanders. congratulations on finding every last word of it accurate. chances are, though, some of it is in fact off them mark -- and it can be, without destroying the ultimate conclusion, which, now for the fifth time, i'm fully inclined to agree with.

but if it matters to you, i'd suggest that if someone is already convinced that it's sanders, you start pushing them the other way by insisting that the "earth nose" theory is plainly accurate. yes, it "makes sense," in that it logically coheres. i just don't think sanders engaged that particular association, which carried too much weight in the Alexander article. and the alexander article didn't exactly catch on as the demerest article has; so among the least controversial things that can be said is that demarest's presentation is far more persuasive. in that this exchange began with a visceral response that it was somehow "inappropriate" to be critical of Alexander, it seems that's what would continue to fuel it. alexander made a huge, important contribution, which also included some sub-scholarly speculation. demarest followed it up and sold me that sanders was erdnase. what more would you like?

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Leonard Hevia » August 23rd, 2011, 11:34 pm

what more would you like?

Correct use of capitalization for one thing. I find your complete dismissal of basic punctuation...well...infantile.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby El Harvey Oswald » August 23rd, 2011, 11:54 pm

but it's so heavy with hidden clues that way.

strong, substantive response, leonard. but capital letters aren't really "punctuation." i recognize that you guys with all your self-published houdini diatribes have to make things look "professional" by your own proofreading before going down to kinko's for binding; but i've perhaps gotten accoustomed to having people take care of non-substantive details like big letters and little letters. or are you appalled by the way the younger set don't read books and go all e.e. cummings on their message boards? either way, just keep working the "earth nose" angle and sounding as creative and intelligent as a politician.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Richard Kaufman » August 24th, 2011, 12:07 am

Gentlemen, please stop sniping.

El Harvey, you used to know where the caps key was. Please find it again.
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Leonard Hevia » August 24th, 2011, 12:08 am

Punctuation, grammar--you know what I mean. It isn't really about imitating a politician or being a professional. It's about correct writing skills and the fact that you are too lazy to utilize the shift key on your computer.

You probably aren't aware that when you write like this, it has the effect of..what is that word you are so fond of using...I keep seeing it in your posts...attenuating your messages.

Attenuate-to weaken or dilute.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Chris Aguilar » August 24th, 2011, 12:14 am

Roger M. wrote:This passive/aggressive "playing of sides" however, is counterproductive........so I'll leave you and the rest of Marty's (probably unwanted) sycophants to chat amongst yourselves.

Passive/ aggressive?

Sycophants?

Not sure why you feel the need to be so negative Roger.

I just happened to agree with someone who doesn't share your opinion. I'd like to think we can all discuss this topic without resorting to such unwarranted nastiness / name calling.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby El Harvey Oswald » August 24th, 2011, 12:16 am

yearning to get back to grading papers, mr. h?

you don't like it when people don't capitalize. we get it. that's two posts. yet you seem fond of ellipses, and that fatuous "well" construction you carted out up above. here's another little hint for you: With just one syllable you can say "use" and get the same meaning as "utilize" -- albeit without advancing your pedantic jack-off persona.

again, i'm inclined to think sanders was eardnase. you?

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Chris Aguilar » August 24th, 2011, 12:17 am

I'm still not sold on the whole "Earth Nose" thing.

Seemed like a stretch with D.Alexander wrote about it and it still seems like a stretch.

Most of the other evidence strikes me as far more compelling.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby El Harvey Oswald » August 24th, 2011, 12:20 am

"El Harvey, you used to know where the caps key was. Please find it again."

ironic; i forgot to keep concealing my identity. For you, OK.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Carlo Morpurgo » August 24th, 2011, 12:24 am

El Harvey Oswald wrote:"I'd like to know exactly what you feel was offered by Alexander that rates as "silly""

-that "eardnase" means "earth nose," in german, and is thus a coded reference to sanders' experience in mining;
-that by an absurd sequence of reconfiguration the phrase "artifice, ruse and subterfuge" yields "andrews artifice" (and, relatedly, his unfamiliarity with the fact that seemingly arbitrary differences in font sizes was fairly common in contemporaneous title pages).


I've only been sporadically following the Erdnase discussion during the past several years, but I finally did read David's article for the first time, exactly two weeks ago. I then realized how much I was missing...there was a lot more going on than just the mere anagram.

In my opinion, David had a VISION that was pretty consistent and solid, and also the humility to admit that he did not yet nail Erdnase's identity in full ("we cannot say with certainty", "..much is left to be done", "Many questions remain unanswered", etc etc).

The "and ruse artifice" sounds perfectly reasonable to me, but only if Erdnase actually used the name "Andrews", as conjectured by David. If you accept that device, then the "earth nose" thing seems to me more of a coincidence than a plan, so I would not have used this argument to strengthen the theory (maybe as a side "fun fact"). Honestly I don't think that David made such a big deal out of this as you are claiming.

Likewise, I think it's not correct to use David's questionable "erd nose" idea in order to support the claim that the theory is not compelling, or silly. You have to look at the theory as a whole, the profiles of Erdnase/Sanders being the strongest points in my opinion. It makes a lot of sense, even before Marty's article, and now even more.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Carlo Morpurgo » August 24th, 2011, 1:01 am

Just to be precise, I meant to write:

Likewise, I think it's not correct to use David's questionable "erd nose" idea in order to support the claim that his work was not compelling.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Roger M. » August 24th, 2011, 1:10 am

El Harvey Oswald wrote:............ and the alexander article didn't exactly catch on as the demerest article has

You're simply wrong Mr. "Oswald".

In fact, David Alexanders article in Genii coincided with his presentation at the Los Angeles Conference on Magic History.
To say that it left the audience (an audience of the most senior representatives) somewhat breathless would be a serious understatement.

Along with Richard Hatch's presentation on the same topic, it was in effect all everybody was talking about post event, and in effect his original article and continued discussion helped drive this very thread for the past 9 years or so.

Really sir, to state that Alexanders article (written over a decade ago) "didn't catch on" betrays you as somewhat of an uninformed amateur........not somebody who should be positing inflexibly on subject matter they're mostly unfamiliar with.
While David Alexander and others in this thread have been keeping the polite (but vigorous) discussion going for the past decade, I can't help but note that your contributions began only a month ago.
Perhaps you should spend some more time investigating precisely what's gone on to date before you inadvertently make statements that are just patently wrong.


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