Monday, March 17, 2014

The Shaver Mystery - The Herschensohn letters

One can often find gems in the letters pages of old comics and pulp magazines.  The letter writers, often as children, later turn up as fiction writers in their own right decades later.

The Shaver Mystery generated a swell of reader's letters to Amazing Stories, which was probably the reason that Shaver was so prominently featured, much to the chagrin of science fiction purists who started their own campaigns against the inclusion of Shaver and his deros.

One young science fiction fan who didn't care for the Shaver Mystery was the famously mild-mannered Harlan Ellison, who supposedly got an admission from Palmer that the whole thing was a hoax during a friendly conversation in an elevator.

The letters pages of Amazing Stories soon filled with readers giving their own accounts of their interaction with the deros.  Some were borderline psychotic, others were full-blown psychotic, and some, like the one below, were clearly just written as a gag.

Two teenage brothers, Wesley and Bruce Herschensohn, sent in 40 rambling pages of information relayed to them by their dead pet turtle.  Sure.  An excerpt about how the Japanese are moon men plotting in underground bases in Cambodia and Korea was printed in the June 1945 edition of Amazing stories.

Wes Herschensohn later used his fertile imagination as an animator for Walt Disney, Hanna Barbera, and Filmation.

Bruce Herschensohn used his keen insight into Asian politics as a foreign policy author and official in the Nixon and Reagan administrations.

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