W.D. GANN (June 6, 1878 - June 18, 1955)
William Delbert Gann is a major subject of research among both traders and astrologers, his works still being surrounded with a lot of mysteries that make them appealing for those who like deep investigations.
His biography which can be summarized in a few words : firstborn of eleven children, deeply religious , legendary trader (although his fortune is debatable, he left an Estate of $ 250,000 in 1955, according to some sources, or about the equivalent of $ 2.2M today), a prolific author who has never clearly revealed his methods, but he clearly made a lot of money selling courses on the subject . He announced in a book published in 1927 an air war between the United States and Japan and anticipated the market crisis in 1929, coining the work “Black Friday”, which he saw happening in September 1929. Close call ! To dive a bit deeper into the subject, W.D. Gann was :
W.D. Gann was an avid reader of the Bible, that he advised to read 3 times. He saw in it a coded Book which gave the key as to how the cycles are built in the cosmos. According to him, all the cycles are in the Bible you just have to know where to look.
He writes in TTTA p.83: “The Bible is the BOOK of all books, and if we only study it and understand it, we can gain a proper knowledge of all things. I believe it the duty of any man who understands science and mathematics and the cycle theory, and knows what is coming, to warn the people in order that they may prepare for trouble ahead."
W.D. Gann personally thought Ezekiel was a good place to start investigating cycles. He even claims to have made a prediction about cotton price using a verse mentioning a flood. Finding a relationship between Ezekiel and Mississippi in 1927, that is unexpected, no explanation was provided, but someone called Bonnie Lee Hill found the reasoning behind it.
W.D. Gann travelled to England, declaring to the The Ticker & Investment Digest: “I spent nine months working night and day in the Astor Library in New York and in the British Museum of London, going over the records of stock transactions as far back as 1820”. According to many, he also travelled toEgypt and India in search of ancient writings on mathematics, astrology and a sacred science around golden proportions and numerology.
A successful trader
W.D Gann started his own brokerage firm in 1903 (“W.D. Gann and Co.”) at the age of 25 and ended up as a Wall Street legend in his lifetime. He never claimed to have made 50M$ though, this legend started after his own death and was found in marketing material. Interviewed in 1909, he even said:
"For the past ten years I have devoted my entire time and attention to the speculative markets. Like many others, I lost thousands of dollars and experienced the usual ups and downs incidental to the novice who enters the market without preparatory knowledge of the subject."
W.D Gann disguised as Robert Gordon in TTTA claims to have made his greatest discovery in August 8, 1908, the “Master Time Factor”.
Shortly after that, he gave that famous interview to the ancestor of the Wall Street Journal (The Ticker & Investment Digest ), where an associate of him, Mr. William E. Gilley, an Inspector of Imports is quoted saying:
"One of the most astonishing calculations made by Mr. Gann was during last summer  when he predicted that September Wheat would sell at $1.20. This meant that it must touch that figure before the end of the month of September. At twelve o'clock, Chicago time, on September 30th (the last day) the option was selling below $1.08, and it looked as though his prediction would not be fulfilled. Mr. Gann said, 'If it does not touch $1.20 by the close of the market it will prove that there is something wrong with my whole method of calculation. I do not care what the price is now, it must go there.' It is common history that September Wheat surprised the whole country by selling at $1.20 and no higher in the very last hour of trading, closing at that figure."
I have only seen one complete and detailed explanation of this $1.20 level. A very interesting piece of research by the way.
The Ticker reported then followed his trades for a month and concluded: “During the month of October, 1909, in twenty-five market days, W D Gann made, in the presence of our representative, two hundred and eighty-six transactions in various stocks, on both the long and short side of the market. Two hundred and sixty-four of these transactions resulted in profits ; twenty-two in losses” , that’s a rate of 92 % winning trades in one month...
This seems to accredit the thesis that he had already finalized his method, but his courses and books have kept evolving throughout his life.
W.D. Gann also featured in a “Morning Telegraph” article in December 17, 1922, reporting “Wall Street Scientist Forecasted Top of Bull Market 1-Year in Advance” and subtitled “His Indications Uncanny”.
An obscure Author
If W.D. Gann had a martingale, it has not been clearly written down (nor clearly explained to his son, who ended their business association in the late 1940’s, because he had little faith in astrology). He therefore left with many secrets.
He instead said one has to work hard to understand his methods and clearly said he gave encoded information (particularly in " Tunnel Thru The Air " in 1927 , that he recommended to read 3 times). The many courses he sold for high price tags for the time, are filled with aphorisms, but the examples are sometimes wrong, weak in their accuracy or contradict indications. He advised anyway to really think about what he said and never stopped his research himself.
W.D. Gann went to Miami, Florida towards the end of his life, in 1950, where he and his partner Ed Lambert founded the Lambert-Gann Publishing Company.
On June 14, 1955 he succumbed to Cancer in the Methodist Hospital in Brooklyn, New York at the age of 77 and was buried in the Green-Wood Cemetery located also in Brooklyn.
Ed Lambert kept selling “Gann material” for years, which were subsequently acquired by a gentleman named Billy Jones in the 1960s. Jones was the one responsible for compiling all of Gann’s works into two instructional courses that were entitled, “The W.D. Gann Commodity Course,” and “The W.D. Gann Stock Market Course.”
One can find these original courses on the official website http://www.wdgann.com/ for hefty prices. A lot of pirate copies are also floating around.
W.D. Gann has been reported to announce peace in 1918 (but that’s not verified), he anticipated the crisis of the 30s and a great air war in between Japan and the USA... etc. So he correctly perceived the major events of his time, while most astrologers predicted Second World War would not happen.
Extracts of his 1929 Annual Stock Forecast, published in November 1928:
The history of the stock market has always been that it discounts prosperity and that in doing so prices always advance too far. In other words, the stock market runs too far ahead of prosperity and the first decline is only a readjustment back to what stocks should sell according to their merit and investment return. Then, when business depression sets in and earnings start to show a falling off, stock prices continue to go lower, discounting unfavorable business conditions.
August – one of the most important months for change in trend. Many stocks will start on their long down trend. 7th to 8th – quite important; 16th to 17th important; 23rd to 24th important, 29th to 30th of minor importance.
A great deluge and panicky decline will follow the top at this time, resulting in a "Black Friday" in September.
September 2nd to 3rd important; 16th to 17th important, should be bottom of a panicky decline. 21st to 24th important for top; 27th and 28th important for bottom of a big break.
So we have to pay attention to what he says when he speaks about astrology ... Some examples from the TTTA novel :
Chapter 7 "Tunnel Thru The Air " (1927) , we read: "It shows That wars are not yet over and Europe That Will Have troublesome circumstances, and in fact , the Entire world must yet pass thru a very evil Between 1926 period and 1932. It aussi Confirms "both the major and minor cycles whieh Indicate That The years 1928 and 1930 to 1932 are to be years of famine , depressing business conditions, and panic , not only in Europe , the aim in the United States . Maximum The evil of the great 1000 -year cycle, will not be completed until 1932 to 1934 Will bring serious problems to the United States. Another bad period for the United States Will Be 1940 to 1942. "
And Chapter 17, " Robert Believed That he Knew Understood the cycle and the number of years , months and days Referred to in Daniel's prophecies . That Calculated from March 1931 , until, the end of June , 1932 Would Be troublesome times for the United States . Depression , war and panic Would bang over the DESTINIES of His Country” . "
Some astrologers may think that with the Uranus square Pluto, he had no great merit, but he wrote in 1927 and Pluto was discovered in February 1930 ! Unless you consider that W.D. Gann had read the French Abbe Charles Nicoullaud , who had mentioned in 1897 a planet named Pluto which existed beyond Neptune (in “The Manual of spherical and judicial astrology”, Paris, Vigot , 1897, page 316).
Gann also mentions the prophecy of Malachi and Atlantis in this novel, proof that he was well acquainted with esoteric writings.
A Chartist and Numerologist
There are two schools of thought about W.D. Gann: some say he was first and foremost a chartist and other that he was first and foremost an astrologer. I think he was both, but his methods do not work well without astrology. Even his technical analysis relied on astrology / astronomy with some geometrical properties.
According to W.D. Gann, Tops and Bottoms are related mathematically and astronomically.
Patrick Mikula made a Herculean task on Gann books, even comparing the 1941 and 1951 versions of Master Stock Trading to discover subtle differences ... His analysis of Gann’s technique on Eclipses and Hexagrams , based on dozens of examples, is a great job.