Richard Sharpe Shaver

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(Redirected from Shaver Mystery)

Richard Sharpe Shaver (b. 1907 Berwick, Pennsylvania, d. 1975 Summit, Arkansas) achieved notoriety in the years following World War II as the author of controversial stories which were printed in science fiction magazines, (primarily Amazing Stories). The controversy stemmed from the fact that Shaver and his editor/publisher Ray Palmer claimed Shaver's writings, while presented in the guise of fiction, were fundamentally true.

Shaver's storiesóand all they claimed to explainówere promoted by Palmer as "The Shaver Mystery". Shaver wrote of tremendously advanced pre-historic races who had built cavern cities inside Earth before abandoning Earth for another planet. Those ancients also abandoned some of their own diseased offspring here, who degenerated over time into a population of mentally impaired sadists known as Dero--short for detrimental robots. These Dero still lived in the cave cities, according to Shaver, kidnapping surface-dwelling people for meat and using the fantastic "ray" machines that the great ancient races left behind to project tormenting thoughts and voices into our minds. Shaver claimed first-hand knowledge of the Dero and their caves.

Between 1945 and 1949, letters poured in attesting to the truth of Shaver's claims (tens of thousands of letters, according to Palmer): the correspondents, too, had heard strange voices or encountered denizens of the hollow Earth. Fred Crisman, later to gain notoriety for his role in the Maury Island Incident and the John F. Kennedy Assassination, was among those claiming to have had run-ins with the Deros. "Shaver Mystery Club" chapters sprang up in several cities. Many in the community of science fiction fans felt compelled to publicly condemn the Shaver Mystery as "the Shaver Hoax." The controversy gained some notice in the mainstream press at the time, including a mention in Life magazine.

In the 1960s and 70s, now living in obscurity, Shaver looked for physical evidence of the bygone pre-historic races. He found it in certain rocks, which he believed were "rock books" that had been created by the great ancients, and embedded with legible pictures and texts. For years he wrote about the rock books, photographed them, and made paintings of the images he found in them to demonstrate their historic importance. He never succeeded in generating much attention for his later findings during his lifetime, but in recent years, there have been exhibits of Shaver's art and photographs.

Shaver's Dero have also appeared in SubGenius mythology and are prominent in the work of artist Jermaine Rogers.

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