Truth Will Come To Light, By James Elliot
Many years ago when the late Prof. Otto Maurer conducted his magical store in the basement at 321 Bowery, New York City, a Spanish magician by the name of Robertus (who had played South America, but who has long since been dead, and whom Imro Fox, the comic conjurer, knew personally) walked into Maurer’s establishment and vanished a card to the rear of his hand, and then apparently produced it from the air immediately afterwards much to the amazement of Maurer as he himself related to me with his own lips.
My friend, Mr. Adrian Plate, who is unusually well posted upon all matters appertaining to practical magic, told me the same story as Maurer related to me, but what I wished to know was the name of that card manipulator.
When Imro Fox was playing Springfield, Mass., I called upon him to renew old acquaintances, and during our conversation he gave me the information which I desired.
The artist’s name was Robertus, but where or from whom Robertus obtained this sleight I do not know or is there any way of ferreting out the mystery.
From the foregoing information I have at all times considered Robertus as the inventor of this sleight although of this I am not absolutely certain, but as this is as far back as I can obtain absolute facts I will call it the Robertus card sleight.
Independently I discovered the same sleight, but Robertus was the first in the field
I invented the reverse back hand card palm and the various combination sleights which depend upon the same, and had them years before they were known to other performers, and I was the first to do them before the public. Some performers think it was Servais Le Roy who first introduced the reverse back hand card palm to European audiences. This is a mistake, for it was T. Nelson Downs who first did the sleight in Europe. Barney Ives was the artist who taught both of them this sleight in all its finer details.
As all the above statements are true I trust that you will publish the same before your large family of Sphinx readers.
(Note: Dr. James Elliott, 1874 to 1920. From The Sphinx, Volume 9, Number 4, June 15, 1910. Photography of Dr. Elliott from the collection of Michael Claxton.)