A Shaver Mystery Mystery

Two things we appreciate here at Bill Ectric’s Place are literary research and the Richard Shaver Mystery, so here’s a fun article by Marq Jonz, aka Mark Jones, from his Dero-influenced blog, The Abandondero.

"Shaver Welding Dero" - art by Mikey Georgeson inspired by Richard Shaver's account of welding equipment attuned to Dero mind-tamper

“Shaver Welding Dero” – art by Mikey Georgeson inspired by Richard Shaver’s account of welding equipment attuned to Dero mind-tamper

Excerpt:

The Internet Speculative Fiction Database (isfdb.com) lists “Return of a Demon” as Richard S. Shaver’s first published story.  Fantastic Adventures published the story, a weird tale, in its May 1943 issue.  The magazine credits the story to Alexander Blade, one of the house pseudonyms of its publisher Ziff-Davis Publications.  Given that twelve other writers used this same pseudonym, how sure can we be that Shaver wrote this story?

Read entire article

Enter Shavertron

Some of you know I like to lose myself in arcane archives, looking for unexplained mysteries and secret histories. Enter Shavertron, a website created by Richard Toronto, and a major influence on my novel-in-progress, Tamper.

The following is a direct quote from one of Mr. Toronto’s many editorials:

The original Shavertron was a fanzine devoted to the Shaver Mystery and the life and times of Richard Sharpe Shaver and his editor, Ray Palmer. This leaves the playing field wide open since the Shaver Mystery is rife with UFOs,  a race of evil weirdos living inside the earth,   mind control, a high-tech Elder Race pre-dating our history, abductions, conspiracies and, of course, the sci-fi pulp zine scene of the late 1940s.

“The ‘mystery” began in a 1945 issue of AMAZING STORIES magazine with an article titled “A Warning to Future Man.” Editor Ray Palmer and writer Richard Shaver collaborated from there to bring Shaver’s unusual cosmology into the world of sci-fi pulp zine literature.

The Shaver Mystery gasped its last breath when Shaver and Palmer died within two years of each other in the mid-1970s. We stopped publishing Shavertron in 1992 since most Shaver Mystery readers were gone (mostly dead) with few leftovers to take their place.

Writers like Jim Pobst, Brian Tucker, Doug Skinner, Tal, Timothy Greene (Mr. UFO) Beckley , Mary Martin (The Hollow Hassle), Branton, Bill Bliss and Gene Steinberg did what they could to keep the Mystery going.

The scene eventually merged with water cooler chit-chat about UFOs, abductions and government conspiracies, all of which were a big part of the Shaver Mystery. Back in 1947, the Shaver Mystery was a bizarre topic of household conversation (probably at cocktail time). Today it’s obscure sci-fi history…though it is now being rediscovered by a new circle of oddity seekers and outsider art buffs (Here and Here – Bill).