California, Summer 2005
Meade Layne was a key figure in the post-war evolution of Spiritualism and its transformation into what became known as Ufology. His many seances, held in San Diego, resulted in reams of material on hundreds of topics, including the Shaver Mystery. At the very same time, Ray Palmer hit his stride (and possibly his zenith) as a pulp-fiction editor by directing the infamous "Shavery Mystery"... positing his old/new age sci-fi metaphysics to an eager, growing audience.
Palmer's readership was recovering from the psychic trauma of a war of massive scope and destruction. In times of uncertainty, Americans often sought the council of those with contacts on the other side... to console their troubled hearts and minds. But this time the "other side" was the Shaver Mystery, and its dire, doomsday message.
New-age spiritualists claiming contact with higher intelligences were now lining up. But these guys had a new twist: they had ridden in "flying saucers." Men like George Van Tassel (who held seances under a giant rock in the California desert to converse with alien entities) and George Adamski (a hot dog stand owner near Mt. Palomar, became a flying saucer guru for thousands of followers) fed the public's hunger for psychic security in a new atom age, cold war America...for this world and the next.
It was no surprise, then, at the height of the Shaver Mystery era, that Meade Layne should ask his contacts from another dimension -- the VAU COMMUNICATORS -- about Shaver's most disturbing aspect of the Shaver Mystery: deros.
Layne's small group of seance seekers eventually became the Borderland Sciences Research Foundation. And when Layne moved on to bigger and better things, Riley Crabb assumed leadership of the organization until the mid-1980s.
Here is where we step in. On October 13, 1985 we drove CA Highway 101 to Vista, California...destination: the Borderland Sciences Research Foundation headquarters. We'd recently heard of Riley Crabb's decision to embark on an open-ended trip to Australia, but not before he'd handed over the organization (complete with library) to our friend and fellow Shaver Mystery buff Thomas Brown.
Vincent Gaddis was there that October day, as was Richard Horton, former Scientologist and long-time Shaver friend from the Wisconsin farm days. The BSRF headquarters was a treasure trove of occult, metaphysical, flying saucer and "spritist" materials gathered for more than 40 years by Layne, and then Crabb.
It was there in Vista, near Oceanside, that Tom showed us some "lost" Shaver Mystery ephemera: the May/June 1947 ish of "Round Robin," a vintage mimeographed, stapled newsletter featuring two articles about the Shaver Mystery; one by founder Meade Layne, the other by noted author Vincent Gaddis. "Round Robin" is now an impossible-to-find publication of the post-war occult/flying saucer scene. Tom then showed us the articles: The Dero-Queero and the Spiritualistic Interpretation and The Shaver Mystery...DOOMSDAY ON THE HALFSHELL (Okay -- so we added the part about Doomsday). On returning to Northern California with said newsletter in hand, we immediately published the articles in Shavertron's Fall 1985 ish. Twenty years later, we're reprinting those "lost" articles in this, our 2005 update of Shavertron.com.
Another year has passed since the last update of Shavertron. We're trying to keep up with new SM developments while re-printing some of the old classics. Naturally, we're keeping regular Shavertron features like Theo Paijmans' Mundus Subterraneus and articles on W.G. Bliss and his continuing research into Universal Imagery. And don't forget to check out (takes a while to download) our updated Pulp Fiction art section. Our thanks to Matt Trotter, Jean-Luc Rivera and Brian Tucker for contributing to that.
Rather than assemble an entirely new site, as we did in July 2004, (when we archived the entire first website as a "back issue") we're trying something different -- and easier for ye editor. We'll continue to add material, but as the contents lengthen, we'll archive the features at the bottom of the page.
"Yeah, sure...take the easy way out, Toronto, don't strain yourself...don't overdue it!" Yep, you've guessed it! Time takes it's toll, so we're taking an easier and more realistic path. In fact, we're thinking about buying a teardrop trailer and hitting the road to see the Brown Mountain Lights, among other things. We've been publishing Shavertron since 1979, when the first two-page cut-and-paste went out in the mail. We're still here in California...unless it sinks under the Pacific. If our server goes down with us, Shavertron will be relegated to the dustbin of history. But the Shaver Mystery will survive.
We're grateful to Doug Skinner, who recently published an article on Shaver and the mystery in FATE magazine (June 2005, www.fatemag.com). His mention of this website brought a number of new readers. It was heartening to see Shaver's mug back on the cover of a national magazine again.
We had a pleasant chat that same month with Phyllis Galde, the new Editor/publisher of FATE, who acknowledges FATE's connection to the post-war era, Ray Palmer and the Shaver Mystery. "Let's help keep the mystery alive," said Phyllis. She also mentioned she is taking FATE back to it's roots, where it all began.
Ah, and speaking of Doomsday as we were a few paragraphs back, it continues to maintain its favored position in the news. We could get it from our poisoned environment (a most likely outcome); or the magnetic shift of the poles (a new study recently revealed that the poles are indeed wandering from their old sites); or how about a rogue asteroid (hmm, why not?); or global warming; or a rampant bird virus; and last and hardly least, our tried and true standby: atomic warfare of undetermined origin. Actually, atomic war pales next to our other potential doomsdays. In any case, we hope to keep Shavertron going for another 100 years, minimum.
You might want to join the Shaver Mystery Discussion group. This is one way you can keep abreast of the latest developments, hear from other SM fans and receive special notices on new posts to the web site.
Thanks for reading...
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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 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 and artists like W.G. Bliss, John Keel, Jim Pobst, Brian Tucker, Doug Skinner, Tal, Timothy Green Beckley (Mr. UFO), Mary Martin (The Hollow Hassle), Branton (Bruce Walton) and Gene Steinberg did what they could to keep the S'Mystery going.
The SM eventually merged with watercooler chit-chat about UFOs, abductions and government conspiracies, all of which were a big part of the Shaver Mystery. In 1947, however, the Shaver Mystery was a bizarre topic of household conversation (probably at cocktail time). Today it's obscure sci-fi history...though we do admit it is being rediscovered by a new bunch of oddity seekers.
If you're feeling adventuresome, write an article on your S'Mystery research. Post something to the discussion group. The Shaver Mystery may have died, but it isn't dead yet.