Palmer, Raymond Alfred (1910–1977)
Entrepreneur publisher of occult and science-fiction magazines,
who first published the series of stories in Amazing Stories
known as the Shaver Mystery. He was born August 1, 1910, in
Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Palmer began writing science fiction as
a teenager, sold his first science-fiction story in 1930, and three
years later had founded the Jules Verne Prize Club.
At age 28 Palmer became editor of Amazing Stories, which
had just been bought by the Ziff-Davis Company. He transformed
Amazing Stories by colorful editing, utilizing old and
new science-fiction writers, and even writing much of the magazine
himself under various pseudonyms such as G. H. Irwin,
Frank Patton, and A. R. Steber. He is said to have boosted circulation
from 25,000 to over 185,000. Although there were
waves of protests from readers at the Shaver Mystery, Palmer’s
successor Howard Browne ended the series when he took over
Amazing Stories in 1949. He later edited Fantastic Adventures for
Ziff-Davis.
With fellow writer Curtis Fuller, Palmer also launched Fate
Magazine a pocket-size pulp specializing in occultism. The
first issue in spring 1948 contained an article by Kenneth Arnold,
‘‘I Did See the Flying Disks,’’ which launched the flying
saucer craze in North America. Palmer followed up with his
own book on saucers, written in collaboration with Arnold.
With his unique flair for popular fantasy, Palmer started his
own publication business from a dairy farm in Amherst, Wisconsin.
In his magazines Flying Saucers and Search he generated
a new mythology about saucers coming from holes in the polar
ice caps. Palmer also promoted the medium Mark Probert and
the New Age bible, ‘‘Oahspe.’’ He died August 15, 1977, after
suffering several strokes.
Sources
Arnold, Kenneth, and Ray Palmer. The Coming of the Saucers
A Documentary Report on Sky Objects that Have Mystified the World.
Boise, Idaho; Amherst, Wis.. The Authors, 1952.
Clark, Jerome. The Emergence of a Phenomenon UFOs from the
Beginning through 1959. Vol. 2, The UFO Encyclopedia. Detroit
Omnigraphics, 1992.
‘‘Ray Palmer Dies.’’ Fate 30, no. 12 (December 1977) 53.

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