Thursday, April 23, 2020

Notes: Patricia Squires

Patricia Squires published only one book, The Ghost in the Mirror and Other Ghost Stories (London:  Frederick Muller, 1972).  A paperback edition appeared the following year, and a translation into French in 1975. Besides the uncredited cover illustration, there are chapter-heads to each of the stories, clearly by the same artist. (The style looks familiar, but I can't attach an artist's name to it. Anyone?) 

The book collects nine stories told to Squires by the people of Sussex, where she lived.  But these are not the usual hasty oral accounts of experiences with the supernatural, but crafted tales based on the folk stories. There is also a four page Introduction by the author in which she notes that she has been collecting ghost stories for twenty years.
Chapter-head to the third tale
I was looking for first-hand ghost stories--not the old ones that had been handed down from father to son, not those that were more likely the product of the imaginations of the local wits than genuine manifestations; but tales of inexplicable events, fully-documented and authentic. And, above all, they had to be unique, unusual.

The stories in this book are of that kind, and they cannot easily be refuted. They have been checked, double-checked, and cross checked.
 Squires also discusses her views on sensitives, ghosts and poltergeists, while scorning the confirmed sceptics who ridicule the supernatural.

The blurb about the author, printed on the rear flap of the dust-wrapper, states "Patricia Squires is married to the well-known occult writer E. Squires England and lives in Sussex." I don't know how "well-known" E. Squires England was as an occultist, but I can find only two short stories by him, "The Dancing Leaves" in London Mystery Selection no. 90 (1971) and "The Toll of Justice" in the same magazine two issues later (no. 92, 1972).

Of course both the "Squires" and "England" were adopted names.  Patricia Squires was born Sylvia Patricia Deegan at Yapton near Arundel, Sussex, on 18 September 1936, the daughter of George Richard Henry Deegan, a maintenance and decorating contractor, and his wife Lillian, nee Talbot. The girl switched her first and middle names and was thereafter known familiarly as Patricia.  She married Eric Ball (1926-1976) on 17 December 1955, and they had two daughters. I traced her up to 2009 when she was living in West Sussex, and presumably still is.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

James Cary Hawes

James Cary Hawes (b. Millersburg, Kentucky, 2 December 1891; d. Kenton, Kentucky, 5 December 1935)

James Cary Hawes was the second of three sons of Albert Cary Hawes (1859-c.1901), a pig iron manufacturer, and his wife Martha ("Mattie") Hawes (1863-1936), nee Butler.  Albert Cary Hawes was the son of Brigadier General James Morrison Hawes (1824-1889) of the Confederate States of America.

The family lived in Chicago for a number of years.  In 1902, after the death of her husband, Mattie Hawes moved back to Kentucky. According to his draft registration card from June 1917, James Cary Hawes was then working as a clerk at a lumberyard in Chicago.  He is listed as having the physical debility of being a hunchback.

His only known fiction is the story "The Crystal Ball" published in the 1 August 1919 issue of The Thrill Book.  It is a rather flat situation comedy--wherein a film actor, in debt to his boss, faces a series of contrived situations in order to get out of debt.  These include arranging a quick marriage to become his dying aunt's heir, as well as dealing with a series of ladies claiming to own a valuable diamond (known as the Crystal Ball) which had been stolen yet somehow comes into the actor's possession. The situation ends ridiculously, as the actor's girlfriend has staged the whole situation to delay any marriage until her own acting contract, which specifically forbade her from marrying, expired at midnight. The boss then buys screen rights to the scenario. 

Hawes is also known to have contributed to The Spectator: A Weekly Review of Insurance.

Monday, April 6, 2020

Notes: Arnold Federbush

Houghton Mifflin, 1973
Arnold Federbush published two novels, The Man Who Lived in Inner Space (Houghton Mifflin, 1973) and Ice! (Bantam, 1978). The Man Who Lived in Inner Space concerns a man crippled by an explosion at a chemical factory who becomes an ocean dweller after learning to breathe in the ocean depths. This brings him to meditations on consciousness and the interconnectedness of everything. Ice! describes a rapidly returning Ice Age that descends upon New York City, presaging in a number of ways the disaster film The Day After Tomorrow (2004).

Federbush was born in New York City on 16 March 1935, the son of Isadore Federbush (the manager of a manufacturer of ladies underwear, according to the 1940 US Census), and his wife Sarah, both emigrees from Russia. Arnold had two older sisters. He received a B.A. from Washington Square College of New York University, and an M.A. in Theater Arts from UCLA, where he made a student film called 111th Street (1963). He worked as a film writer and film editor (e.g., on the TV movie I'm a Fool (1977) starring Ron Howard). He wrote a screenplay adaptation of the 1965 autobiographical novel Manchild in the Promised Land by Claude Brown, but it was never produced, the same fate met by his screenplay for his own novel The Man Who Lived in Inner Space
Bantam, Mass market original

Federbush died of cancer in Los Angeles on 4 September 1993. A third novel, reportedly on spontaneous human combustion, was left unfinished.

Sunday, April 5, 2020

A New Type of LKW Entry Format

So far I've posted nearly 150 entries on this Lesser-Know Writers blog, all using a particular encyclopedia-styled format. Meanwhile, two of my desks (I regularly use five) have become hugely overstacked with (among other things) papers and books for planned entries that I haven't yet written up. The reasons for not writing these entries up vary, but often it has something to do with some information lacking that is vital to keeping up with the overall format--it could be the smallest fact, or date, or something larger. In order to share this research, I've decided to add a second alternative format in which I will post entries on this blog. I am not abandoning the main encyclopedia-styled format, but a looser less-complete format is necessary in order to share the information I have. To date I have used the author's main byline as the title to a post on that person. I will continue to do this for entries in the encyclopedic format. The newer looser-styled entries will still contain the author's byline in the title, but the title will also include at the start the word "Notes" followed by a colon and the usual byline of the subject.

As always, comments are welcome, as is additional information from readers. Occasionally I have been asked where I got certain facts on some lesser-known figure. Most of the vital statistics about people's lives come from various genealogical databases (some subscription), and there really isn't a good or useful way to cite such things, so I've not bothered. However, if I've used some printed source, however uncommon, I usually make mention of it. For many of these LKW there are no printed sources (save maybe book reviews) because no one has written about them before.