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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » A turn of the page » » The Hunt for Erdnase (4 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Leo H
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On Sep 12, 2022, Chris wrote: All of that is pure conjecture, a hypothesis, just as the reverse spelling idea is, just as my nickname theory is. None of these have to be how Erdnase came up with his pen name. Why should Erdnase use character juggling at all? It is much more likely he simply came up with the name Erdnase without any discernible mechanism. Take a look at the more than 600 pen names collected on Wikipedia. I think there is only one or two who derived their pen name through an anagram. 99% of authors who decide to use a pen name use very different ways to come up with their pen names. The a priori likelihood of Erdnase anagramming his real name is therefore extremely low. David Alexander's chain of arguments which led him to believe the author anagrammed his name is merely his opinion, an assumption. An assumption is not evidence. It contributes nothing to the case of Sanders.


An assumption is not evidence...and yet the coincidence of the perfect anagram spelling of Erdnase, coupled with the coincidence of Sanders experimenting with anagrams of his own name are undeniable. You can't deny the coincidences. Here's another coincidence: Sanders was less than 500 miles from Chicago in Duluth, Minnesota the winter of 1901-02, when Erdnase was in Chicago to work on the book. He was a train ride away from the city, knew Chicago well, and had ordered stationery from there so he was familiar with printers in that town.

Coincidence, upon coincidence, upon coincidence...but let us use your own words and substitute your name for David Alexander, and Gallaway for Sanders:

Chris Wasshuber's chain of arguments for Gallaway are merely his opinion, an assumption. An assumption is not evidence. It contributes nothing to the case of Gallaway.

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Chris
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It is not an assumption or opinion that Gallaway was a circus performer (no performing background for Sanders is known; yet we know Erdnase did perform magic). It is not just an assumption that Gallaway wrote textbooks, self-published them, copyrighted them, put the price on the title page, and provided his work address on the copyright form, just as Erdnase did (Sanders never did any of these). It is not an assumption that Gallaway had magic and gambling books in his library including a first edition of EATCT (no magic or gambling books are known to have resided in Sanders' library). It is not an assumption that Gallaway was fluent in German which explains that he could read the German sources found in EATCT (Sanders did study German at university but it is unknown how fluent he was and thus it is unknown if he could have read those German magic books). It is not an assumption that Gallaway worked at James McKinney during the time the book was self-published there. (We don't know if Sanders was in Chicago during the winter of 1901, let alone if he had any contact with James McKinney).

As you can see there are a lot of facts known of Gallaway which match what we know about Erdnase. If we drop all the assumptions made about Sanders one is left with a person who gambled. That is it. Not a whole lot left after all the assumptions are removed. Further, there are discrepancies that suggest Sanders can't be Erdnase. He does not match the illustrator's physical description. Sanders is too tall and has the wrong complexion. Also, Sanders does not write his technical prose like Erdnase does, not even close. Why anybody could seriously think Sanders is Erdnase is quite the mystery to me.
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Leo H
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You must have misunderstood Smith's recollections about Erdnase. Smith was at least six feet tall and remembered looking down at Erdnase. Sanders was five feet tall at the age of fourteen so he most likely he grew another few inches at most. Nothing more than 5'7 or 8, so a 6 foot tall man would have had to look down at him.

You have mistakenly referred to the The Expert as a technical manual, when in reality it's more than that. It contains humor, satirical vernacular speech, and facetiousness. These are elements of writing you don't encounter in serious technical manuals. You should know that. Sanders wrote serious technical manuals, but also utilized slang, humor, and dialect when writing about his college friends. I have yet to see any of this type of writing from Gallaway where he exhibits humor through slang, dialect, and facetiousness.

It is an assumption to believe that Gallaway is Erdnase because he was circus performer. It is an assumption to believe Gallaway is Erdnase because he owned a copy of The Expert. It is an assumption to believe Gallaway is Erdnase because he owned books on gambling. It is an assumption to believe Gallaway is Erdnase because he was in the printing business. It is an assumption to believe Gallaway is Erdnase because it might have been a nickname given to him by family members and friends.

Here are facts--not assumptions:

1. W.E. Sanders is a perfect anagram of S.W. Erdnase--an interesting coincidence.
2. Sanders experimented with anagrams of his own name as a boy--another coincidence.
3. Sanders was close to Chicago the winter of 1901-02--yet another coincidence.
4. Sanders frequented gambling establishments, and actually gambled--as Erdnase did--what a coincidence.

These facts cannot be waved away by you.
Chris
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On Sep 13, 2022, Leo H wrote:
You have mistakenly referred to The Expert as a technical manual when in reality it's more than that. It contains humor, satirical vernacular speech, and facetiousness. These are elements of writing you don't encounter in serious technical manuals.


It is true that generally speaking one does not encounter Erdnase-like expressions in technical writing. That is an aspect that makes Erdnase so unique and so special. However, one does encounter the same characteristics in the technical writing of Gallaway. That is why Gallaway writes his technical prose like Erdnase but Sanders does not. That is why Gallaway's case is so strong and Sanders' is not. Gallaway not only writes his technical prose like Erdnase, but he also publishes it like Erdnase (self-published, copyright registered, price on the title page, business address as a contact address).
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Leo H
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On Sep 13, 2022, Chris wrote: Gallaway writes his technical prose like Erdnase but Sanders does not. That is why Gallaway's case is so strong and Sanders' is not. Gallaway not only writes his technical prose like Erdnase, but he also publishes it like Erdnase (self-published, copyright registered, price on the title page, business address as a contact address).


You are way off. Gallaway didn't write like Erdnase at all. At all. Present to me at least just one example of dialect vernacular writing from Gallaway. Show me that Gallaway wrote satirical sentences imitating a Negro, Irishman, or some other minority group. I defy you to produce this piece of evidence from Gallaway.
Chris
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Why would that be the most important part linguistically to identify Erdnase? Many authors wrote passages in such a dialect in those days. Before you can even argue how close Gallaway matches Erdnase you would have to read Gallaway's technical prose, which you haven't. Let me know once you have done so. Then we can continue the discussion. Alternatively, you could read the linguistic analysis done by Dr. John Olsson. His conclusion is that Gallaway is very likely Erdnase and Sanders certainly is not. Sanders was the farthest away linguistically from Erdnase from all the people he analyzed. Anybody who doubts Dr. Olsson's credentials should read his obituary here https://www.iafl.org/obituary-olsson/
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Leo H
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On Sep 14, 2022, Chris wrote:
Why would that be the most important part linguistically to identify Erdnase? Many authors wrote passages in such a dialect in those days. Before you can even argue how close Gallaway matches Erdnase you would have to read Gallaway's technical prose, which you haven't. Let me know once you have done so. Then we can continue the discussion. Alternatively, you could read the linguistic analysis done by Dr. John Olsson. His conclusion is that Gallaway is very likely Erdnase and Sanders certainly is not. Sanders was the farthest away linguistically from Erdnase from all the people he analyzed. Anybody who doubts Dr. Olsson's credentials should read his obituary here https://www.iafl.org/obituary-olsson/


In other words--you cannot produce any evidence whatsoever of vernacular speech from Gallaway's published writings--at all. Then to cover for that you trivialize this example as unimportant. Yet as you point out, vernacular speech was a common feature in writing back in those days. You would think we'd see something of that nature from Gallaway, but we don't.

You keep returning to that quack Dr. OLsson again, and again. It's your fallback routine to justify why Sanders doesn't appear to write like Erdnase. You are way off on that. The only Sanders writing sample you submitted to that quack was the mining engineering materials Sanders had published. But I already reminded you that technical prose will omit informal writing like humor, slang, and vernacular speech. Sanders wrote material that reads like Erdnase, you just didn't submit that to the quack.

I will not spend a dime of my hard earned money to read anything Gallaway wrote. Feel free to submit a link with his prose.
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