Notes From the Underground

Ye Ed

Ever wondered how many magazines Ray Palmer invented during the "Palmer Publications" era? Our NYC correspondent Doug Skinner took inventory, and came up with his latest contribution to SHAVERTRON called "Foraging Through Palmer's Forum." Doug managed to score a hefty lot of Forum magazines from Ebay, and has generously shared some of the contents, as well as his thoughts on Palmer Publications. More FORUM segments will follow as Doug sifts through these gems.

Have many of you noticed that nothing has changed on this web site for a long time? (At least, until December 2002). Or maybe you were being nice by not mentioning it. Nobody on the YahooGroups list has said anything about it. In fact, there hasn't been a peep out of anyone on the list in months...more than a year, in fact. There are still the occasional sign-ups, so there ARE people out there who want to be on the list, silent or not. We had a wacky romp on the list about two years ago, before Microsoft decided to start charging to use THEIR group list. Once we changed over to Yahoo, suddenly everyone got quiet.


Oh, and I'm fomenting a new article myself: on Shaver's thoughts on "accidental" images that appear in nature. This is different than his rock book imagery - he does draw a line between the two. So if anyone has thoughts or insights on this topic, please email them to me (though I won't hold my breath - you may never get to read the article)!

So. Where does the Shaver Mystery stand in the Great Scheme of Things in 2003?

Well, get ready! Sell all your spelunking gear, forget about locating that elusive portal to the Underworld for proof of Dero aggravations, and start hunting for Shaver's missing artwork! Richard Sharpe Shaver is on his way to becoming a 21st Century celebrity artist, though he still hasn't shaken the image of a paranoid schizophrenic crackpot science-fiction writer. It's called Outsider Art, and Shaver is considered one of them. The odder the artist, the more valuable the art, is how it's been explained to me. I dunno. I liked his stuff when nobody could give it away back in the 1980s. In fact, Shaver DID give it away. His wife, Dottie, burned some of it after he died. Not all of it, thankfully. Some of it still exists (though Shaver, being as poor as he was, often used cardboard boxes and construction to paint on, which is not the most archival material). Since I havent touched the Shavertron web site in months, I swear to you I am going to start right now by posting a great new article on the recent exhibits of Shaver's artwork. There were TWO shows in this year alone; one in New York and one in Los Angeles. Brian Tucker, THE man behind the Shaver exhibition scene, has written an article just for Shavertronabout these shows…where they appeared, what appeared and why. Brian also included links to recent reviews of Shaver's art in the article. Hell, Shaver was even reviewed in the New York Times!

This is where the Shaver Mystery is edging now: toward Shaver's artistic roots. It is something Ray Palmer never would have imagined. Well, maybe he considered it a tiny bit when he published Shaver's color plates on the Rock Books in The Secret World.

Nearly everyone who followed the Mystery in its heyday has pretty much died off. Even second generation Shaver Mystery buffs like me are not getting any younger. I have no clue what the third or fourth generation SM fen are like. Maybe they will post something on the discussion group and we will find out. Maybe we can still hash out queries about the Dero and Tero and what they may be up to. Maybe George W. Bush is a Dero for all I know. I know Dick Cheney is.

In keeping with our policy to bring you only the most obscure Shaver materials, we have published Shaver's lost ms. "The Dog Who Was a Princess" fairy tale, which was rejected by Fantasy and Science Fictionmagazine in the early 1970s. This is a unique, and sarcastic as always, Shaver piece illustrated with hand-tinted rock photos.

Background for new readers:

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 in the mid 1970s. We finally stopped publishing Shavertron in 1992 because most readers of the Shaver Mystery were long gone (mostly dead) with few to take their place.

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

But in 1947, the Shaver Mystery was a bizarre topic of household conversation, whereas today it's obscure sci-fi history...though we have to admit it is being rediscovered by a new generation of oddity seekers. The SM eventually melded with water cooler chit-chat about UFOs, abductions and government conspiracies, all of which were a big part of the Shaver Mystery.

If you're REALLY feeling adventurous, write a new article on your SM research. Post something to the discussion group. The Shaver Mystery hasn't died out yet! Richard Toronto, Halloween 2002

Issue 1