The Case of the Missing Manuscript

Shavertron Nor Cal Headquarters
Winter 2018

Just when we think we've posted everything we have on the Shaver Mystery, history and rampant disorganization in the Shavertron Archive proves us wrong.

While hunting for old photos unrelated to the Shaver Mystery, an orange folder appeared after 40 years of oblivion. On opening it, we found a typed ms. titled "Manuscript on Richard S. Shaver."

The ms. came from a Florida man -- L. Frank Hudson. He claimed to know things about Shaver worthy of us hiring him as a professional researcher. He emphasized that his lips were sealed until he got a check. We may have found his name indirectly through the "Yeti Newsletter," which was active in the early 1970s, but this is only conjecture at this late date. Its editor published one of Shaver's fanzine articles at some time during the late 1960s or early 1970s. The fact that we did NOT use this manuscript reflected our doubts about Hudson's facts.

After re-reading his ms. in 2018, our suspicion was confirmed. Not only were there gross misspellings throughout the ms, he also spelled Shaver's name three different ways! Hudson did not include proof reading as part of the deal. This begs a question: if he couldn't spell Shaver's name correctly, what else did he get wrong?

Nevertheless, Hudson did seem to be in contact with Shaver to some degree.

We suckered into it. What we got in return was an essay on Washington, DC tunnels and heaps of self praise for Hudson's prowess as a researcher. Nevertheless, there were a few oddities worthy of note. Whether these anomalies were due to Hudson misremembering what Shaver told him, or Shaver rewriting his life story to fit the "Yeti Newsletter's" editorial policy is hard to say. Shaver was known for revisionist history, depending on who was interviewing him -- something he learned while dealing with asylum doctors and pulp fiction editors.

Especially of interest is Shaver's (or Hudson's) description of the dero and tero as "hairy creatures that smelled awful." This is a description of Sasquatch, not Shaver's dero and tero. Any Shaver fan can tell you what those look like, and they aren't Yetis.

The story of Shaver's descent to the Underworld is different too. Gone is Shaver's original yarn about the jail cell where Nydia the blind tero woman appeared via telaug to whisk him away to the Underworld. Gone is the motorboat that sailed Shaver through an opening in a cliff face. In Hudson's version, Shaver finds his ray people somewhere in Pennsylvania, sans jail cell, sans Nydia.

And so we will add this version of Shaver's story to the other two versions we already have.

As we said, we have no idea how much of this ms. is Hudson, and how much is really Shaver.

The only two letters we received from Hudson were in the orange folder, and we reproduce one of them to show Hudson's high opinion of his prowess as a researcher, and his hints of Shaver secrets he would reveal as soon as a check arrived in his mailbox. Note in his letter that the offer of a 20-page ms. for $25 (that's $80.35 in 2018 dollars) turned out to be 10 pages with very little Shaver. If this was his attempt to convince us to send more money for further Shaver research, he must have thought we were ripe to buy the Brooklyn Bridge.

In our age of Fake News, we decided to confirm Hudson's claim of a "L. Frank Hudson Research Room" at Florida Southern College. Back in the stone age of 1980, this would have required a written query and weeks waiting for a reply. Now, with email, we confirmed his claim almost instantly. A note from Gerrianne Schaad, an archivist at Florida Southern College Library confirmed that, "Florida Southern does not have any Hudson papers, nor a room dedicated to him." This was received January 29, 2018.

At the time, we decided not to use Hudson's ms. in Shavertron, but now we've reconsidered. We hereby reprint it 40 years after the fact as a Shavertron artifact. On Hudson's side of the ledger, he did author and co-author a handful of books, mostly about treasure hunting on the Florida gulf coast. They are still available on Amazon.

Our books, War Over Lemuria, and Shaverology, a Shaver Mystery Home Companion have laid out the RS Shaver and Ray Palmer story in great detail. If you have read either of these books, you have a good grip on Shaver's life history and can evaluate the manuscript for yourself.

The image of Shaver as a "nuisance" is at odds with our own experience. During the years we corresponded with Shaver, we did not receive one phone call from him or sense that he was twisting our three arms to finagle free publicity. In fact, getting information out of Shaver was often a tough job, as he did not volunteer much of his personal history. Of course, it is possible Shaver may have considered us unworthy of the effort to twist our arm?