The Shaver Mystery

(Editorial by Ray Palmer)

THE mystery deepens, During the past two months, a new trend in "warnings" sent to us has become apparent. Ordinarily we pay no attention to warnings or threats because they are usually the work of cranks. However, these new warnings are unusual, since they come from people who are otherwise reliable.

To mention only one, with the specification that it is typical, we quote the latest issue of The Round Robin, edited by N. Meade Layne, M.A., of 3615 Alexia Place, San Diego, 4, California. (According to its own definition, it is "a bulletin of contact and information for students of psychic research and parapsychology.) ". . . from our present knowledge it (Amazing Stories' Shaver Mystery) is probably undesirable and even dangerous. We say this with all possible seriousness and emphasis. Let the Dero alone. Above all, do not try to reproduce any type of apparatus or 'machine'."

The italicized portion is what interests us most. That warning has been repeated almost verbatim from at least a dozen isolated sources, but ALL of them are from so-called "psychic" people or organizations. For instance, we got one letter from a "medium" who said she'd gotten a communication from the "spirit world" concerning the dero, and repeated the warning. Pay no attention to them! Stop publishing the stories! Don't even think of them!

This, in spite of the fact that these "mediums" and so on asked the following questions of their "informants": 1— Do the dero exist? 2— Are they flesh and blood? 3— Do they live in caves? 4— Do the machines exist? The answer in each case was a POSITIVE YES.

Let's analyze this situation: first, the "spirits" (your editor has never seen or heard one) tell us Shaver is right. Then they tell us to cease paying any attention to the dero whatsoever. This is a contradiction in terms and in logic. It's like saying: "Yes, there is an atom bomb; and to defend yourself against it, turn your back." We say, humbly suggestive, that even if you do turn your back, the atom bomb will blow hell out of you!

BUT, say the "spirits," the dero are only poor dumb idiots, harmless in themselves, but they are suckers for "obsession" and "possession" by "evil spirits," who are the REAL villains in the piece.

Ha! So there we have it. The SPIRITS tell us not to pay any attention to the SPIRITS who are obsessing the dero so as to take a crack at us through material means by machines built by the dero as conceived of by the SPIRITS. In other words, pay no attention to that club in my hand, I ain't gonna use it! Trust me; that leer on my face is only a smile upside down! Turn your back so I can't use my club!

May we pause to bellow loudly: "BUNK!"?

Since so many of our other readers have said they believe in the dero's existence, we'll just add the "spirit" voices to our file of "believers." All right, the dero are real; they do have machines; they do live in caves. If this is true, then why the inconsistency of advocating an "ostrich" attitude toward them? Unless. . .

Yes, UNLESS these "spirits" doing this "communicating through mediums" ARE the DERO, and they only pose as spirits to make us believe it is hopeless to reach them because how can you fight a ghost? But they "admit" there are real dero (because we already know too much about that to deny it) who really are not at fault be cause they are just helpless sub-humans controlled by "spirits," and if we ignore 'em, the "spirits" won't be able to get enough ectoplasm or some darn thing and will evaporate or something.

We believe Meade Layne is sincere, and we believe the mediums are sincere. They call it "speaking through entrancement" — but aren't they really referring to what Shaver tells us is "ray control" from the cavern machines? Aren't these messages (if they can be proved) PROOF of the real existence of Shaver's RAYS? Let's be practical, and take the REALISTIC EXPLANATION before we adopt the "ghost" explanation and find ourselves with an "answer" nobody has understood in any age? Real people in real caves with scientifically possible machines are certainly a more logical explanation than a "spirit" — and at that, a "spirit" who himself admits the dero exist as REALITY.

NOW, before everybody goes off half-cocked, let's get to the next interesting item concerning a "spirit." We have actually contacted a "spirit." We give you his idea of himself. We do not know that he is a "spirit." He says so. Anyway, he gave us a machine; or at least the schematic and instructions for building and use of such a machine. He specifically tells us it is to combat the dero ray machines, and tells how it combats — by shattering the crystals which create the "wave" on which the voices (and other things) carry.

Obviously, this "spirit" is not of the opinion of the other spirits. He wants us to stand up and fight. We take his ectoplasm with salt, but we like his guts. Our radio department (Radio News' staff of experts) looked the gadget over, and pronounced it okay. That is, it does at this end what is claimed for it, but whether or not it smashes any dero ray machine crystals, we don't know.

Mr. Shaver agrees with your editor that there may be spirits (in fact he says he has been shown "spirits" artificially kept alive in machines after the death of the body, but that eventually they "evaporate" or vanish). Maybe that's why the spirits don't want machines built? Even the dero cage 'em in machines! To be entirely fair, we will agree that there are spirits. But let's NOT confuse them with the dero. Mr. Shaver says he does not believe there is a life after death; your editor prefers to believe there is. But we both agree that the life we are living now is the one to live at the moment. Don't worry about being a spirit until you are one; and then, keep away from the dero!

Any Spiritualist will tell you that the spirits are dumb, idiotic, low-charactered, foul-mouthed, and indelicate as a rule. Some are smart, most are not. So far, their record for giving valuable information in their communications is much worse than that of the dero, or the tero. Let's stand on the record. And the next time you hear somebody relating a "psychic" experience, you can ask yourself two questions: 1— Could it be caused by real people with machines rather than ghosts? 2— What good is it?

In both this spirit thing and the dero thing, let's decide once and for all that what we want is FACT that can be SUFFICIENTLY PROVEN. Not even the opinion of the most learned SCIENTIST is worth a hoot if it is an opinion. An opinion is not a fact.

Meanwhile, let's advance on the theory that the dero are real people in caves and try to prove or disprove it. What constructive work could we do in either direction if we just summarily "opined 'twere spooks" and then did nothing about it?

WE HAVE just received a letter from L. Taylor Hansen, He is alive and well, and except for an incident in which he was trapped in quick-sand from which he had to be rescued by friends, everything is well with him. He tells us that he has quite interesting information for us, confirming some of his published and unpublished articles about the American Indians of the dead past. He gave us no information as to where he had been. Welcome back, Mr. Hansen, but next time don't worry us so.

LET us speak for a moment of what we'll call "coincidence" for want of a better term — although we think you'll agree calling this a coincidence is stretching a fact pretty thin.

One day we got a letter from a friend of ours named "Joe" which came through a friend of ours named "John." The letter was a warning that your editor was the object of a plot to kidnap him, but that exposure of the plot might serve to cause its abandonment, because of the dero's absolute need for secrecy. (The kidnaping never came off, of course.) About the same time Mr. Shaver wrote that he'd been told by a cave woman that a dero meeting under London and Berlin had been held to determine what to do about us. Your editor was to be investigated. One result was a "plot" to kidnap both your editor and Mr. Shaver, together with our entire families; and to cover up the kidnaping, trained doubles for all of us were to be substituted and the world would never know that we had been kidnaped and that the people in our place were dero living a role. The plan was abandoned some time later as "unfeasable." (Probably because in these days of meat shortage, it would be impossible to explain where all the ham came from, for anyone who proposes to act the part of your editor will have to be "ham" in the fullest sense of the word!) Anyway, there are the facts; you explain 'em.

AN ADDED note came through from the "caves" saying: "American Surface Magazine Tells About Us." This headline was, reputedly, published in a "foreign" paper. Mr. Shaver believes a foreign "cave" paper is refered to. (Note: All these bits of info come to Mr. Shaver by means of telaug ray operated by tero in the caves, and are almost always "scrambled" by dero "watch ray" to make them unintelligible. That is, inane conversation is superimposed until it is almost impossible to understand what is being conveyed, except at rare intervals when the "guard ray" is caught napping.)

As presented in Amazing Stories, June 1946.
(Meade Layne's brief response was published in the Round Robin for July 1946.)

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