Thursday, March 3, 2011

Who Was Fred S. Ellmore?

The blog, Me, Myself, and I, has an interesting sidelight on the identity of someone mentioned in Lucifer, September 1890. In the section, “Queries and Answers,” in that issue, Mme. Blavatsky was asked to comment on an account in the August 8, 1890, Chicago Tribune where Fred S. Ellmore, a young Chicagoan back from India, described some feats of legerdemain, including the Indian rope trick and the instantaneous growth of a mango tree, witnessed at Gaya. Even though the paper later revealed that the account was a fabrication by one of their writers, the story of the Indian rope trick took on a life of its own. As the blog points out:

Even H. P. Blavatsky was lured into it (September, 1890) never getting the “Fred S. Ellmore” punch line.
You see, Fred S. Ellmore was a pseudonym used by John Elbert Wilkie.
The inside joke being:
Fred S. Ellmore ==> Fred Sell More.

John Elbert Wilkie (1860–1934), an American journalist, later went on to head of the United States Secret Service from 1898 to 1911.

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