Sunday, November 11, 2007

48 Years for an Autograph?

This is easily one of the strangest stories about John that we’ve heard: someone uses the checkout card from the back of a library book (presumably owned at one point by the University of Chicago) as a bookmark and finds that John Bellairs checked the book out on November 10, 1959 – 48 years ago yesterday.

Adding to the mystique is that it was an Algernon Blackwood anthology, something we can easily see John enjoying (our favorite of his tales is Secret Worship - we do recommend it, just not after midnight...).

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Researching Bellairs the Boy Scout

In a 1990 article with the Haverhill Eagle-Tribune, when asked about his childhood, John Bellairs noted that he was somewhat of a loner until he made some "lifelong friends in the Boy Scouts."

We know John was a member of Marshall Boy Scout Troop 112 in 1951, and that some of his Scouting experiences snuck into his books over the years. Take the story of Johnny Dixon, also a member of Troop 112: he goes off to Scout camp and also meets a lifelong friend in Byron Ferguson [The Mummy, the Will and the Crypt]. Camp Chocorua was probably influenced by his attendance at Camp T. Ben Johnston on Sherman Lake outside Augusta, Michigan, itself about 8 miles west of Battle Creek.