ERDNASE

Discuss general aspects of Genii.
Bob Coyne
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bob Coyne » January 7th, 2019, 10:27 am

jkeyes1000 wrote:
Bill Mullins wrote:
Bob Coyne wrote:You can view frequency of usage over time of "gift of the gab" and "gift of gab" in the Google Books NGram viewer.


And doing so shows that from the early 1800s, until just before WW2, "gift of the gab" is more common that "gift of gab".

In the Library of Congress's Chronicling America digitized newspaper database, "gift of gab" show up on 2837 newspaper pages and "gift of the gab" shows up on 558.

"Gift of the gab" is used in King Koko by Prof. Hoffmann and The Gambling World: Anecdotal Memories and Stories of Personal Experience in the Temples of Hazard and Speculation by Rouge et Noir (1898).


I am wondering, Bill, whether you inadvertently transposed the stats. In your comment you seem to be affirming rather that "gift of the gab" occurs less frequently than "gift of gab".


The stats seem to point in different directions. Perhaps this is a case where the genre and format affects the language, with newspapers and books having different levels of formality and editing guidelines, readership, layout constraints, etc.

In either case, neither phrase strikes me as obscure or unusual. And the Google NGram Viewer shows that "gift of the gab" was even more common back around 1890-1900 than it is today.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Leo Garet » January 7th, 2019, 11:02 am

Roger M. wrote:
Leo Garet wrote:Chris Wasshuber is entirely correct.

Wasshuber is entirely incorrect ... as he's saying the very opposite of what you're saying (and I happen to agree with you).

Faux Pas City. Oops Oops and Oops Again.

You're right. I'm right. Stating it how I did meant I was wrong.

I suffer from congenital Gift Of The Clumsy Fingers. My thinking apparatus suffers from glassy-eye syndrome too.
:roll:

Bill Mullins
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bill Mullins » January 7th, 2019, 11:21 am

jkeyes1000 wrote: I am wondering, Bill, whether you inadvertently transposed the stats.

I did not. NGram viewer shows "gift of the gab" to be more common; Chronicling America shows "gift of gab" to be more common.

Newspapers.com, delimited from 1600 - 1902, shows "gift of gab" as more common 5517 pages to 2338.

Genealogybank's newspaper collection, similarly delimited by date, has "gift of gab" leading 2441/692.

Google Books, 1600 - 1902, has "gift of gab" leading by 23 to 15.

But simple hit counts aren't really very useful, because they are so inaccurate. They miss many examples because the OCR on muddy microfilm don't catch many examples, and they probably are more inaccurate on longer phrases than on short ones (which would bias in favor of "gift of gab".)

Plus, the algorithms that do the searches and report the hits are wonky. Google Books did not report Erdnase in the 15 hits for "gift of the gab" when you do a date-delimited search in Google Books Advanced Search. But if you simply put ["gift of the gab" Erdnase] into Google Books search, it comes right up.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Richard Kaufman » January 7th, 2019, 12:13 pm

Mr. Keyes has been permanently banned.
Subscribe today to Genii Magazine

Pete McCabe
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Pete McCabe » January 7th, 2019, 4:34 pm

I have the gift of gab. I got it when I kissed the Blarney stone. This is not a joke, by the way.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Roger M. » January 7th, 2019, 6:55 pm

Pete McCabe wrote:I have the gift of gab. I got it when I kissed the Blarney stone. This is not a joke, by the way.


You have highlighted the salient point Pete ... which is that the phrase is entrenched in history, such that legend has long stated that by kissing the Blarney Stone one acquires ...(wait for it) .... "the gift of the gab"!

The specific legend as it's directly associated with kissing the Stone and the phrase "gift of the gab" is posited to date back to somewhere around 1800.
Of course the phrase is still in use today, indeed my mother used in on a regular basis (until her passing a couple of years ago) in order to describe to me how she viewed my ability to go on endlessly about pretty much anythingl :)

The ultimate point being only that the phrase is an incredibly popular one, both in Erdnase's day, up on through to January 2019.
And that the phrase is neither "unusual" or "highly uncommon" as is the basis for CW's current newsletter write-up.

http://www.irelandseye.com/blarney/blarney.shtm

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Pete McCabe » January 9th, 2019, 5:03 pm

Just to add one more data point, I am 58, an English teacher and writer, and I went to Blarney Castle in Ireland and kissed the Blarney stone. And I have never heard or read "the gift of the gab." I have only ever heard of "the gift of gab." Not sure if that's part of what you all are arguing about or not.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bill Mullins » January 9th, 2019, 5:08 pm

New newsletter from Chris today. Does he even read the forum anymore?

He said, "Some folks took issue with me calling the phrase "gift of the gab" uncommon. However, nobody has offered data to support their claims." Bob Coyne used Google N-Gram, and I reported statistics from several text databases on the relative use of "gift of the gab" vs "gift of gab." Both contain real data.

Then Chris linked to a Google N-Gram comparison of the two variants of the phrase. Without any credit to Bob or myself for having done exactly that. As if it were a new and original idea. (this from the guy who discussed plagiarism only two newsletters ago)

He said "Some commented that 'gift of gab' is more common. As the graph shows this is only true for usage in books for the most recent 30 years or so." It is also true when you consider data from assorted newspaper databases, like Chronicling America and Newspapers.com (which Chris will use and cite when they support his theses, but apparently ignores when they don't).

"Gift of the gab" is not a commonly used phrase. But it is not so uncommon, that if one sees it in a 1902 book and also in an 1870 book of similar subject matter, that one should assume that the author of the 1902 book copied it from the 1870 book (which is a summary of the argument that Chris is making). It shows up in newspapers, in magazines, and in books from the years immediately preceding 1902, and if one assumes that Erdnase was well-read (which Chris has asserted often), then it would be entirely expected that he had run across the phrase in some place or another. It is in two slang dictionaries, for example: Albert Barrère's A dictionary of slang, jargon & cant . . . (1897); and in James Maitlan'd's The American Slang Dictionary (1891) published in Erdnase's own Chicago. It appears (at least) 14 times in the Chicago Tribune in the years before 1902.

"But, Bill" you say, "Erdnase used the phrase in the exact same context that Steinmetz did -- when he was discussing patter! Wipe the scales from your eyes -- he must have cribbed it!" The discussion of patter is the only place in the book that it makes sense to use "gift of the gab". Why would you use it when talking about shifts, or stacking decks? That it appears in similar context doesn't add anything to the argument.

Chris also says "Now with this importance of "The Gaming Table" for Erdnase in mind, further consider that the author of the book was called Andrew Steinmetz. That is an Andrew S. -> Andrews. Could it be that Erdnase adopted the pseudonym 'Andrews' from the first name of the author of the book he so loved? As a kind of homage to the author of the book? I think it is possible. I actually think that this is a pretty sound explanation for the possible pseudonym Andrews."

I am truly glad that Chris has finally come to accept that "S. W. Erdnase" is in fact a reversal of "E. S. Andrews", and has nothing to do with the German translation of "earth nose".

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Tom Sawyer » January 16th, 2019, 3:33 am

Hi All,

Above there is a bit of discussion from Bill Mullins relating to the chronology of the first appearance of two of Professor Hoffmann’s books, namely Tricks With Cards (as published by Warne) and More Magic. I thought I would toss in a few remarks.

The Warne book’s full title is Tricks With Cards: A Complete Manual of Card Conjuring. It seems pretty certain that the first edition was published in late 1889. And the first edition of More Magic was published in late 1889, even though the first edition bore the date 1890 on the title page. I think all of the foregoing is consistent with what Bill said. The following details address the first publication of certain parts of More Magic.

The main card material in More Magic appears near the front of the book, in Chapters II through VI.

All but (basically) three chapters of the book were serialized in Every Boy’s Magazine, and also appeared partly in Every Boy’s Annual for 1888 and partly in Every Boy’s Annual for 1889.

Interestingly, Chapters II through VI were included within Every Boy’s Annual for 1888. Even more interestingly, that volume appears to have been published in or around October 1887. The normal practice in that era was for Every Boy’s Annual to be designated with the year that followed the year of publication.

Boiled down, this all means that virtually all of the card material in More Magic was originally published about two years before Warne’s Tricks With Cards was originally published.

The serialized material of More Magic was not identical to the corresponding material in the book version. I have not specifically compared the card material of the two (as far as I can recall), but I presume that there are small differences. I know that some material toward the beginning (before the card material) is very different.

As I discuss in my Professor Hoffmann and His Conjuring Serials of 1872-1888 (page 128), it is quite possible that the serialization of More Magic began in late 1886.

To be clear, the last-named book is not the same as the Routledge book called Tricks With Cards, which was basically material extracted from Modern Magic.

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

Bill Mullins
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bill Mullins » March 3rd, 2019, 12:38 am

Interesting article about using anti-plagiarism software to identify a source document for Shakespeare.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bob Coyne » March 3rd, 2019, 3:41 am

Bill Mullins wrote:Interesting article about using anti-plagiarism software to identify a source document for Shakespeare.

Yes, very interesting...great how a new source can be found even at this late date, after a couple centuries of digging and research.

The relation between Shakespeare's texts and their sources is fascinating. He took plots and text from various sources, some easily identified, and others much more questionable. And the relation between those sources and his work naturally bleeds into the whole question of who actually wrote the plays, since some of the sources were in other languages and would have required knowing those languages, travel to foreign countries, etc...something the man from Stratford probably couldn't have done. In addition, comparisons can be made between the writing of various authorship candidates and Shakespeare's texts.

Also, with Shakespeare there are various versions of his own texts...good and bad quartos for various plays, as well as the First Folio itself. And there's lots of debate over whether certain quartos are earlier versions that he rewrote, or edited down for performance, or "memorial reconstructions" made by actors later, as well as issues of collaboration. Plus, there's debate over whether certain passages in the plays and sonnets have topical references to events or people of the day. It's all similar to Erdnase authorship question, but on a larger scale and more complicated due to the amount of text involved. And despite having been combed over by so many scholars, there are still as many questions as answers!

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Jason England » March 4th, 2019, 7:28 pm

Bill,

I didn't read the article. Did it conclude Edward Galloway wrote Shakespeare? Has anyone searched lists of his possessions to see if he owned a copy of Shakespeare's complete works?

Jason

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bill Mullins » March 4th, 2019, 9:34 pm

Jason England wrote:I didn't read the article. Did it conclude Edward Galloway wrote Shakespeare?


People that believe that the plays were written by Shakespeare are Stratfordians, since Willie the Shake was from Stratford-upon-Avon. If you credit them to Devere, the Earl of Oxford, you are an Oxfordian.

If you believe that the plays were written by Edward Gallaway, who was from Delphos, OH, then you are a Doophus.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Leo Garet » March 5th, 2019, 7:25 am

Bill Mullins wrote:
Jason England wrote:I didn't read the article. Did it conclude Edward Galloway wrote Shakespeare?


People that believe that the plays were written by Shakespeare are Stratfordians, since Willie the Shake was from Stratford-upon-Avon. If you credit them to Devere, the Earl of Oxford, you are an Oxfordian.

If you believe that the plays were written by Edward Gallaway, who was from Delphos, OH, then you are a Doophus.


Let's not forget Marlowe. He gets everywhere.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Jonathan Townsend » March 5th, 2019, 4:01 pm

Is there some background for Houdini writing (or having directed some writing) as N. Osey?

Conjuror's Monthly: Notes from Our Special European Correspondent - Herr. N. Osey [German Notes]
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Jonathan Townsend » March 6th, 2019, 6:14 pm

More about Mahatma here: viewtopic.php?t=18528
and in particular:
Volume 5, #3 - Sept. 1901 - 10pp - Selbit on Cover. Column From Our Special European Correspondent. N. Osey. This was Houdini. Love the N. Osey = Nosey.
That's pretty close to when "Expert..." went to the printer. Right on the nose? :D
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time

Bill Mullins
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bill Mullins » March 7th, 2019, 10:51 pm

If you go to the Library of Congress to search the copyright history of a work, you are directed to a huge 3x5" card index, like an old-style card catalog. The LoC has scanned these cards. One of them may be of interest.

Image

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Leonard Hevia » March 7th, 2019, 11:34 pm

This is an incredible find! Mullins pulled another rabbit out of his hat! Does the handwriting on this index card match W.E. Sanders' handwriting? With the small sample photo depicting that 1896 notebook list of camping supplies from the September 2011 issue of Genii--the answer is yes!

Not much to go on from that notebook list, but there are uncanny similarities. The number sevens and nines from both samples have a long similar drop. Now look at the the bottom of the camping list where it says "5 Undershirts." The cursive letter "h" is a close match to the cursive "h" in the word "Chicago" from the index card. There is also a match in the "h" from "Lamp Chimney" in the notebook.

In both samples the dot over the letter "i" is a bit to the right above the next letter in the word. In the index card the dot is over the letter "c" in "Chicago." Now look near the top of the camping list where it says "2 shirts." The dot in the letter "i" is above the letter "r".

I wish I had more samples of Sanders' handwriting to compare with the index card. The writing in the notebook is more loose and sloppy compared to the careful and deliberate work in the index card, but that's to be expected. Given the sloppiness of the notebook writing, it's even more fascinating that there are uncanny similarities.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bill Mullins » March 7th, 2019, 11:49 pm

I believe these cards were prepared by people who worked in the Copyright Office in DC. No reason to think that Sanders was there in Feb 1902 . . .

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Leonard Hevia » March 7th, 2019, 11:52 pm

Bill Mullins wrote:I believe these cards were prepared by people who worked in the Copyright Office in DC. No reason to think that Sanders was there in Feb 1902 . . .


Did you compare both handwriting samples? If you are correct, we have two people that wrote in cursive similarly.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bill Mullins » March 8th, 2019, 12:04 am

Leonard Hevia wrote: If you are correct, we have two people that wrote in cursive similarly.


A phenomenon I have run into before.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Leonard Hevia » March 8th, 2019, 12:26 am

Bill Mullins wrote:
Leonard Hevia wrote: If you are correct, we have two people that wrote in cursive similarly.


A phenomenon I have run into before.


In other words, the person at the copyright office who filled out that Oz application wrote in a style similar to Jamieson?

Bob Coyne
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bob Coyne » March 8th, 2019, 12:36 am

Leonard Hevia wrote: I wish I had more samples of Sanders' handwriting


As Bill says, I would assume that the handwriting on that card is from the copyright office.

But here are a couple photos with samples of Sanders' handwriting, which are interesting to see in any case. They're from his thesis and/or his summer camp report.

http://www.cs.columbia.edu/~coyne/sanders-handwriting-finis.jpg
http://www.cs.columbia.edu/~coyne/sanders-handwriting-thesis.jpg

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bob Coyne » March 8th, 2019, 2:25 am

Speaking of Sanders...I recently discovered some new passages he wrote. In 1895, Sanders took over the compilation, editing and publishing of Volume 2 of Contributions to the Montana Historical Society, due to the illness of the previous editor. The volume consisted of reminiscences, diaries, and other documents pertinent to Montana's early history. The Introduction to the volume was unattributed but almost surely written by Sanders, given his primary role in preparing the volume and the numerous overlaps (stylistic and topic-wise) with his other known writings (see below). In addition to the Introduction, Sanders also wrote a few extended footnotes throughout the volume.

The new texts add some very interesting topical, linguistic, and thematic correspondences with Erdnase.

1) In other writings, Sanders refers to gambling games (faro, etc). Here he alludes to a particular sleight of hand manoevre (while describing fallacious accounts of Montana's history):
"the literary huckster ... has PALMED OFF upon us our own alleged history."

2) In a footnote about Captain William Clark(e), Sanders discusses the varied spelling of Clark's name (with and without the "e") and declares that "A SIMILAR MUTATION in the spelling of names is illustrated in many OTHER INSTANCES beside this." This is yet another example of Sanders' strong and recurrent interest in names and arrangements of letters (and, by extension, anagrams). And perhaps it is also a sly, covert reference to the particular MUTATION from "WE Sanders" to "ES Andrews" to "SW Erdnase."

3) One passage in the Introduction closely mirrors Erdnase's often quoted rant against "self-styled 'Ex-Professionals'" and instead targets "self-constituted 'historians'". In both phrases they a) mock a professional class (historians/card cheats), b) reinforce an ironic tone by using scare quotes, and c) use almost identical hyphenated adjectives sharing the same lead word: "SELF-styled" vs "SELF-constituted".

In addition, the two passages correspond in several other ways (detailed below). Here are the two passages with relevant words in CAPS.

Erdnase: SELF-STYLED "EX-PROFESSIONALS" have regaled the PUBLIC with ASTOUNDING DISCLOSURES of their former wiles and wickedness, and have proven a wonderful KNOWLEDGE of the subject by exhuming some ANTIQUATED MOSS-COVERED RUSES as well known as NURSERY RHYMES, and even these extraordinary revelations are calmly dismissed with the assertion that this or that artifice is employed; in nowise attempting to explain the process or give the DETAIL of the action mentioned. If TERRIFIC DENUNCIATION of erstwhile associates, and a DIATRIBE on the awful consequences of gambling are a criterion of ability, THESE PURIFIED PRODIGALS must have been very dangerous companions at the card table.

Sanders/intro: That UNBLUSHING VISIGOTH, the literary HUCKSTER with his SECOND-HAND wares, has BROKEN IN upon our sleeplessness, JARRED COARSELY on our sensibilities, usurped without invitation or consent the most responsible and solemn position which our CIVILIZATION has created and in which every CITIZEN has an interest, and has PALMED OFF upon us our own alleged history. These literary commercial travelers seize EXTANT INFORMATION without reference to its RELIABILITY to give currency to wares of UNIMPORTANT or APOCRYPHAL QUALITY [...] His mission is fulfilled when he tumbles into one kaleideoscopic mass what has been said, without reference to what has occurred. Such is our SELF-CONSTITUTED "HISTORIAN" and of such quality is his ALLEGED "History."

Both passages describe a set of shameless and self-promoting HUCKSTERS who have HOODWINKED the PUBLIC with old, subpar INFORMATION in an aggressive/crude/deceptive MANNER.

THE HUCKSTERS (shameless/sanctimonious):
- self-constituted "historian" VS self-styled "ex-professionals"
- unblushing visigoth; literary huckster VS purified prodigals

THE INFORMATION (old and subpar):
- second-hand wares; extant VS antiquated moss-covered ruses as well known as nursery rhymes
- unreliable; apocryphal; unimportant; alleged VS no explanation of the process; lacking detail

THE PUBLIC
- every citizen; civilization VS the public

THE MANNER (aggressive, crude, and deceptive)
- broken in; jarred coarsely; palmed off VS terrific denunciation; diatribe; astounding disclosures (ironic)

Also note the similarity between:
Sanders: JARRED COARSELY on our SENSIBILITIES [in Intro above]
Erdnase: EXTREMELY GALLING to their aristocratic SENSIBILITIES. [in Exclusive Coterie]

4) In Montana Historical Society Contributions Volume 2, Sanders included an errata correcting a spelling mistake, in text he had written, where INCOGNITA in TERRA INCOGNITA was misspelled INCOGNITO. Sanders tellingly makes this error while describing a "venturesome life" where the "chiefest delight" is in "overcoming dangers," a close parallel to Erdnase's description of a gambler's "delight" in "making the hazard." This suggests the possibility that INCOGNITO was a Freudian slip, revealing that Sanders operated incognito under pseudonyms (e.g. Erdnase and/or Andrews) in order to hide his true identity.

A comparison with Sanders' other writings and the Introduction are given here (http://www.cs.columbia.edu/~coyne/erdna ... vol2-intro). In addition, the fuller document has been updated over the past several months and contains many other new interesting correspondences between the two writers.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Jack Shalom » March 8th, 2019, 8:55 am

Bob,

Does Erdnase use PALMING OFF a card, as opposed to just PALMING a card, anywhere?

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bob Coyne » March 8th, 2019, 11:07 am

Jack Shalom wrote:Bob,

Does Erdnase use PALMING OFF a card, as opposed to just PALMING a card, anywhere?


Yes, several times:

- hand and palm off the extra cards without fuss or unusual
- middle, then palm off and hand the deck to the spectator to
- Should the performer wish to palm off the selected card
- (Shift and palm off card.)
- Place palmed card on top and palm off eight or ten more with it in right hand,
- (When this is done, shift, palm off, and hand deck to be

Bill Mullins
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bill Mullins » March 8th, 2019, 11:31 am

Leonard Hevia wrote:
Bill Mullins wrote:
Leonard Hevia wrote: If you are correct, we have two people that wrote in cursive similarly.


A phenomenon I have run into before.


In other words, the person at the copyright office who filled out that Oz application wrote in a style similar to Jamieson?


That's my best guess.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bill Mullins » March 8th, 2019, 12:01 pm

Leonard Hevia wrote:In both samples the dot over the letter "i" is a bit to the right above the next letter in the word. In the index card the dot is over the letter "c" in "Chicago." Now look near the top of the camping list where it says "2 shirts." The dot in the letter "i" is above the letter "r".


I'll concede similarity, but not so much that I think it's a match. Plus, there are some pretty big differences.
- The horizontal strokes at the top of the digit "7" are substantially different.
- The capital "C" ("Playing Cards" from the list, and "Chicago" from the index card) are very different.
- Lower case "b" are different ("Tobacco" vs. "Feb.")
- Capital "S" ("2 Shirts" vs. "S. W. Erdnase") are different

And compare docs provided by Bob. Again, some pretty big differences:
- Capital "S" ("Sanders" in thesis, vs ""S. W. Erdnase" in copyright index)
- Initial serif/loop of digit "2" ("230' high" in camp report, vs. "1902" in copyright index)

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Jonathan Townsend » March 8th, 2019, 1:29 pm

Who has the Houdini papers / correspondence from 1900-1901?

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Leonard Hevia » March 8th, 2019, 10:33 pm

Great find, Bob! The phrase "palmed off" is too close to magic or gambling to go unnoticed. Glad you added the new material to your Sanders document.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Brad Henderson » March 8th, 2019, 10:58 pm

The phrase palm off has been in use since 1822. So it’s use as a descriptor of dishonest actions would have been in the public vocabulary.

Do other magic/gambling books of or before that era refer to the SLEIGHT as palming ‘off’ or just palming?

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Brad Jeffers » March 9th, 2019, 12:19 am

The term palmed off as used by Sanders in the sentence "the literary huckster ... has PALMED OFF upon us our own alleged history" has really no correlation with the term "palm off" as used by Erdnase.

If we found a candidate had written something like "he had a sudden SHIFT in position regarding his vote in the upcoming election", we would not then say, "here he alludes to a particular sleight of hand maneuver", would we?

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bob Coyne » March 9th, 2019, 1:19 am

Brad Henderson wrote:The phrase palm off has been in use since 1822. So it’s use as a descriptor of dishonest actions would have been in the public vocabulary.

Do other magic/gambling books of or before that era refer to the SLEIGHT as palming ‘off’ or just palming?


Yes, clearly it's in the public vocabulary. If not, it would make no sense to use the term, given that the Introduction was written for the general public!

However, the choice of the term is an indication of some level of familiarity with cheating and sleight of hand, even if used metaphorically. This is similar to his other writings when he references gambling games such as faro and the shell game. And while these other terms are also all in the public vocabulary, they are significant because he chose to use them in the first place. None of these gambling or cheating references are determinative on their own, but cumulatively I think they add substantial weight to the totality of the evidence.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bob Coyne » March 9th, 2019, 1:49 am

Brad Jeffers wrote:The term palmed off as used by Sanders in the sentence "the literary huckster ... has PALMED OFF upon us our own alleged history" has really no correlation with the term "palm off" as used by Erdnase.

If we found a candidate had written something like "he had a sudden SHIFT in position regarding his vote in the upcoming election", we would not then say, "here he alludes to a particular sleight of hand maneuver", would we?

"Palmed off" is being used figuratively by Sanders. i.e. Literary hucksters are not literally palming off anything. And it derives this figurative meaning by the understanding (at least in a general way) of what it means literally (as a sleight). You understand one in terms of the other.

In contrast, the use of "shift" in your example doesn't derive its meaning from the sleight of hand move. Instead it's being used in the common/general sense of moving something from one position to another (whether that position is meant spatially or in some more abstract space of beliefs, as in your sentence).

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Brad Jeffers » March 9th, 2019, 4:24 am

Bill Mullins wrote: Martin Gardner speculated that Mark Twain might have written Erdnase

“Nothing seems to please a fly so much as to be taken for a currant; and if it can be baked in a cake and palmed off on the unwary, it dies happy.”
― Mark Twain

I guess the above quote adds one more notch to the Mark Twain theory.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Leonard Hevia » March 9th, 2019, 8:00 am

Brad Jeffers wrote:
Bill Mullins wrote: Martin Gardner speculated that Mark Twain might have written Erdnase

“Nothing seems to please a fly so much as to be taken for a currant; and if it can be: baked in a cake and palmed off on the unwary, it dies happy.”
― Mark Twain

I guess the above quote adds one more notch to the Mark Twain theory.


No it does not. Mr. Twain has not left behind a cumulative trail of evidence pointing to the The Expert as we see in the case of Sanders.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bob Coyne » March 9th, 2019, 10:06 am

Leonard Hevia wrote:
Brad Jeffers wrote:
Bill Mullins wrote: Martin Gardner speculated that Mark Twain might have written Erdnase

“Nothing seems to please a fly so much as to be taken for a currant; and if it can be: baked in a cake and palmed off on the unwary, it dies happy.”
― Mark Twain

I guess the above quote adds one more notch to the Mark Twain theory.


No it does not. Mr. Twain has not left behind a cumulative trail of evidence pointing to the The Expert as we see in the case of Sanders.

Exactly! There's a lot tying Sanders to gambling, cheating, magic, and card playing on top of all the other evidence (linguistic, biographical, interest in naming/wordplay/anagrams, etc.) This use of "palmed off" fits very nicely into it that set of evidence.

Personally, I find the mocking use of "self-constituted 'historians'" vs "self-styled 'professionals'" duping the public with their "second-hand wares" vs "antiquated moss-covered ruses" to be more significant new evidence than the use of the term "palmed off." But, however you weigh any individual correspondence, it's really the accumulation of all the evidence that makes the case so compelling (IMHO).

For reference, here are the gambling-oriented terms that Sanders employed in his writings: on the square, "make good," quit the game, faro, poker, shell game, roulette, cassino (misspelled same way as Erdnase), honorable dealing, palmed off. In addition, we know from letters/diaries that he bought a half dozen packs of playing cards for a trip; that he had gambling debts; that he wrote down the secret to a card trick; that he wrote about "seeing through" the tricks of an illusionist; and that he was a Montana resident, in close proximity to the magician Del Adelphia, the one person known to be friends with Erdnase.
Last edited by Bob Coyne on March 9th, 2019, 10:19 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Daniel Z » March 9th, 2019, 10:14 am

Re: ERDNASE
by Bob Coyne » 09 Mar 2019 08:06
For reference, here are the gambling-oriented terms that Sanders employed in his writings: on the square, "make good," faro, poker, shell game, roulette, cassino (misspelled same way as Erdnase), palmed off. In addition, we know from letters/diaries that he bought a half dozen packs of playing cards for a trip; that he had gambling debts; that he wrote down the secret to a card trick; that he wrote about "seeing through" the tricks of an illusionist; and that he was a Montana resident, in close proximity to the magician Del Adelphia, the one person known to be friends with Erdnase.


I don't have a horse (or a dog) in this race but I understand that the phrase "on the square" originates in Freemasonry and not gambling per se.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bob Coyne » March 9th, 2019, 10:32 am

Daniel Z wrote:I don't have a horse (or a dog) in this race but I understand that the phrase "on the square" originates in Freemasonry and not gambling per se.

That's interesting to know, but it doesn't change the fact that "on the square" is strongly gambling-related. And that's the clear sense in which Sanders uses it. Here's the relevant excerpt (from a poem he wrote about a classmate):

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

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

[...]
Your game is right and fair.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Brad Henderson » March 9th, 2019, 10:41 am

Bob Coyne wrote:
Brad Jeffers wrote:The term palmed off as used by Sanders in the sentence "the literary huckster ... has PALMED OFF upon us our own alleged history" has really no correlation with the term "palm off" as used by Erdnase.

If we found a candidate had written something like "he had a sudden SHIFT in position regarding his vote in the upcoming election", we would not then say, "here he alludes to a particular sleight of hand maneuver", would we?

"Palmed off" is being used figuratively by Sanders. i.e. Literary hucksters are not literally palming off anything. And it derives this figurative meaning by the understanding (at least in a general way) of what it means literally (as a sleight). You understand one in terms of the other.

In contrast, the use of "shift" in your example doesn't derive its meaning from the sleight of hand move. Instead it's being used in the common/general sense of moving something from one position to another (whether that position is meant spatially or in some more abstract space of beliefs, as in your sentence).


Bob, many people use the phrase ‘palm off’ in the context he uses for literary hucksters and I’m sure most have no understanding to its connections with gambling. (Just like many use the term on the square without being aware of its freemasonry connections.) That was my point - that this ‘turn of phrase’ was in the public eye and it’s not particularly relevatory that he uses it that way.

However, I am curious if the use of ‘palm off’ as erdnase used to describe sleights is perhaps uncommon compared to just ‘palm the top card’.

If erdnase uses palm off when the contemporary magic practice would be to use just ‘palm,’ we would have a signature at least by which to compare him to other magic writers who might be candidates.


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