(1907-1975) US author, author of some sf stories (some under the House Name Paul Lohrman) but now remembered almost exclusively for his hoax-like sequence of Shaver Mystery stories, presented as based on fact, published in Raymond A Palmer's Amazing Stories 1945-1947, beginning with "I Remember Lemuria" in March 1945 (see Theosophy). It brought over 2500 letters in response, and the sequence boosted Amazing's circulation though at the same time alienating many fans; the June 1947 Amazing was an all-Shaver issue.
Most of these pieces were collaborations, first with Palmer, and later with other writers including Greye La Spina and Chester S Geier. A selection of the "articles" was published as I Remember Lemuria & The Return of Sathanas (coll 1948); the Shaver Mystery sequence, beginning with The Shaver Mystery, Volume One (coll 2011), assembles similar material. Shaver continued to release the same sort of fiction/nonfiction briefly in Other Worlds (still as Palmer's protégé), and enjoyed a further comeback in Palmer's small-circulation The Hidden World in 1961. Essentially these "articles" comprise a series of messages from an Underground world and, von Däniken-like, establish a new, conspiracy-oriented, highly lurid history and Cosmology in which humans (it transpires) have long been manipulated by "deros" – short for detrimental Robots, malign Secret Masters – through various Psi Powers.
Shaver's writings were likely influenced by the fiction of A Merritt, particularly The Moon Pool (fixup 1919). Until the end of his life he maintained that he genuinely believed what he wrote. The time periods when he believed he had been exploring the cavern world he had actually spent in mental hospitals. In the 1960s he developed a reputation as an outsider artist after discovering "photographs" of cavern dwellers in the rocks on his property and using them as a basis for his paintings. [JC/PN/LW]
see also: Hollow Earth; Paranoia; Pseudoscience; SF Magazines.
Richard Sharpe Shaver
born Berwick, Pennsylvania: 7 October 1907
died Summit, Arkansas: 5 November 1975
The Shaver Mystery
about the author
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