Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Sunday, May 23, 2021


 In 1932, Richard Shaver was working in a factory when he began to hear the thoughts of his fellow workmen by way of a welding gun "by some freak of its coil's field attunements."  As an added langniappe, he also tuned into a torture session from some malign entities fronm the Earth's core.  At least that's what one version of the story went; Shaver would offer other explanations of the origin of the "Shaver Mystery." Shaver quit his job, became a hobo, and in 1934, was briefly hospitalized for psychiatric problems.

In 1943, Shaver wrote to Amazing Stories to tell the editor Ray Palmer that he had discovered an ancient unknown language called Mantong, the source for all human languages.  Palmer, always on the lookout for ways to shill his magazine, got in touch with Shaver.  Shaver submitted a manuscript to Palmer which Palmer rewrote and published the novella, titled "I Remember Lumaria," in the March 1945 issue.  The story introduced the evil "deros" to the science fiction reading public.  Over the next few years, a  number of stories in the "Shaver Mystery" were published, each purporting to be based on fact as revealed to Shaver, and the circulation of Amazing Stories climbed by about 50,000 copies a month.  A surprising amount of people became believers.  (Perhaps not so surprising.  Think Q-anon of today.)  Shaver spent his last few decades searching for ancient manuscripts written on rocks.  

Palmer claimed to believe Shaver and his tales of evil beings wreaking havoc on humans.  He went on to edit such magazines as Fate, Mustic, Search, and Flying Saucers from Other Worlds.  Palmer was at the forefront of the flying saucer craze and co-wrote The Coming of the Saucers with Kenneth Arnold.  He later promoted a man who claimed be actually be Jesse James, and who was not killed by Robert Ford.

Long John Nebel was a popular radio host who often used his show to dig into bazaar and unusual stories.  Here he interviews both Shaver and Palmer.

An interesting and strange conversation.  Make of it what you will.

1 comment: