Erdnase’s true identity is one of the enduring mysteries of the magic community. Martin Gardner has proposed that a small-time con man named Milton Franklin Andrews was the author (S.W. Erdnase spelled backwards is E.S. Andrews, lending support to the theory that Andrews was the author’s last name). Others argue against Andrews being Erdnase because the known examples of his writing are very much inferior to the polished writing of The Expert at the Card Table.
Some argue that Erdnase was probably a well educated, locally prominent individual, hiding behind an alias to protect his social standing. The most prominent individual mentioned in this regard is a mining engineer named Wilbur Edgerton Sanders, proposed by magician and private detective David Alexander. (Note that „W.E. Sanders“ is an anagram for „S.W. Erdnase“.)
Research for an upcoming documentary has uncovered correspondence between noted physicists and authors Stanley Wesley Stratton and Robert Andrews Millikan on the subject of conjuring and crooked gambling. In 1896 Stratton suggested a textbook on the subject. Further evidence suggests that Millikan and Stratton hired Professor Hoffman to write the book based (partly) on notes they provided.
S.W. Erdnase is the author of The Expert at the Card Table, a book detailing sleight of hand and cheating techniques using playing cards and in continual publication since 1902.
Bücher von S.W. Erdnase:
- The Expert at the Card Table
1995. Dover Publications. ISBN 0-486-28597-9