A Wrong Corrected

Regarding misinformation and the use of Jeff's name out of context in the book, Alexander, The Man Who Knows, by David Charvet, from the research of John Pomeroy, 2004.

"A lie told often enough becomes the truth."
-Lenin (1879-1924)

...But pictures are better

by Jeff Smith

In the 1990's I was contacted by, now deceased, author John Pomeroy for information about Soapy Smith for a book he was writing on Claude Alexander Conlin, a well know magician of the early twentieth century. His co-author was David Charvet.  

John and I continued to communicate about his theory that one of the men standing by Soapy Smith in a photograph was possibly that of Conlin. In 2005, I learned that John and David used my words, in a letter written to John back in the 1990's, out of context in order to aid in an outlandish theory of theirs that Claude Alexander Conlin had shot Soapy Smith on July 8, 1898. In their book, Alexander-The Man Who Knows, 2004, I am used as a footnote reference. In the reference, it appears that I agree with his theory. This is simply and positively untrue. The Smith family has known for years who killed Soapy and it was not Conlin.

Here's how David and John did it

In a phone conversation, John claimed that he had paid for some expensive computer analyzations to be performed between known photographs of Claude Alexander Conlin, and the man standing next to Soapy inside Jeff Smith's Parlor. I believed him, and sent him a letter of congratulations for his scientific discovery that Conlin had been a member of the Soapy Smith gang while in Skagway, Alaska. John never discussed or disclosed his theory to me, about Conlin having shot Soapy Smith.

For years, because of what John had stated was an
undeniable truth, I believed that the man's identity, standing near Soapy in a photograph, had been scientifically proven to be that of Claude Alexander Conlin. I continued to disclose this information for years in public talks, interviews and a few published articles. There was one major problem.

John Pomory most probably lied to me

No computer analyzation of photographs, or reliable evidence, has been produced and nothing was published about it in their book. I feel I was duped into supporting an outlandish theory. I cannot, and will not accept falsehoods, especially when my name is involved as a reference. I have spent too many years researching the life and death of Soapy Smith to stand idly by while someone uses my own words, out of context, to give credence to ridiculous theories. All writers and historians should be aware that when they make outright false statements in a published work, it can come back to haunt them. Furthermore, if it is discovered that information was intentionally falsified then the remaining information in their work (past, present and future work as well) become subject to suspicion. It can ruin a reputation.

If you wish to purchase a nice, honest and well-researched historical scrapbook on the life and magic of Claude Alexander Conlin, I strongly suggest the book,


by Darryl Beckmann
(published in 1995 but comes with a very recently published, 50 page addendum)

Order your copy here  Market Magic Shop
Or go to
Magic Posters
(and click on "Alexander")

Quotes on history and historians

That Frank Reid may not have been the only person to shoot Soapy is accepted by quite a few folks today, but to imply that Conlin had something to do with Soapy's death is simply a fabrication and a fairy tale.It certainly doesn't give the reader much confidence in the myriad other 'facts' presented in the book.
-"Silverking" (from the Magic Cafe forum, regarding thebook,
Alexander Conlin, The Man Who Knows, by David Charvet 7/1/2007

Generally, I suppose there are at least three types: sentimental pap (which I find stomach turning), unfounded speculative filler (much different from reasonable and logical editorial attempts at interpretation), and false filler. The last for me is not just a supreme disservice but a crime against history.

-Art Petersen, publisher, historian (6/20/2007)

People want make-believe to be like reality while wanting reality to be like make-believe.
-Jeff Morey, historian (8/3/2007)

One owes respect to the living, but to the dead, only the truth.
                                                                                        - author unknown

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