Tag Archives: Tom Brinkmann

Mae West and Criswell reach for the stars

spaceway6_1955In my book this cover of Spaceway Science Ficiton (June 1955) eclipses all prior. Painted by Paul Blaisdell, it’s based on a cover photo from the National Informer (July 1, 1962) taken during the production of the stage play Catherine Was Great.

Perhaps the most startling prediction from Criswell’s column: Mae West will become the first female president of the United States. All I can say is, stranger things have happened.

Spaceway Science Fiction April 1955

spaceway4_1955Criswell made the cover of Spaceway again in April 1955 with the ominous prediction “The Dying Planet.” Inside we learn he’s not talking about our planet, but Bellarion, a planet remarkably similar to Earth. Criswell predicts the alien planet’s fate will collide with ours as Bellarion leaves orbit, shooting across the depths of space only to arrive in our solar system where it will explode.

A second piece, attributed to Charles Wireman, provides a short biography of the famed psychic.

Perhaps Criswell’s greatest Spaceway triumph will follow, when he shares the cover with Mae West, on the final issue of Spaceway’s first run in June 1955. Stay tuned to this blog for future details!

Spaceway #1

spaceway_12_1953The first issue of Spaceway, Stories of the Future, debuted in December 1953. It did not yet include an article by Criswell, but when the noted prognosticator began writing for the magazine his presence would extend to the cover on more than one occasion.

“The Osilans” by Arthur J. Burks (serial), art by Arnold Walter
“Slaves of the System” by J.T. Oliver, art by Arnold Walter
“Re-Entrant” by Clyde Beck
“Spaceways to Venus” by Charles Eric Maine, art by Mel Hunter
“Frederick” by Atlantis Hallam
“Dominant Species” by E. Everett Evans, art by Arnold Walter
“The Revolt of the Scarlet Lunes” by Stanton A. Coblentz, art uncredited, but likely Arnold Walter
“Now You See Them—” by Gregory Francis
“The Glad Season” by Gene Hunter, art by Morris Scott Dollens

The introduction to Maine’s “Spaceways to Venus” was “Our feature novelet, by the author of the original ’Spaceways’ movie script, returns to first principles. Much modern science fiction has become so complicated that the new reader often has difficulty understanding it. But the plot of ’Spaceways to Venus’ is refreshingly fundamental: the romance of the conquest of space realistically portrayed.”

For more about Criswell in Spaceway, and his appearances in Fate magazine, and the Spaceways movie see Tom Brinkmann’s article, “Criswell Predicts,” in The Digest Enthusiast book four.

Spaceway Vol. 1 No. 1, December 1953
Fantasy Publishing Co. Inc.
Editor/Publisher: William L. Crawford
Associate Editor: Garret Ford
Cover: Mel Hunter

Criswell Predicts: Fate #6

fate_7_1949In the fourth issue of Fate, with Criswell’s first appearance, editor Ray Palmer writing as Robert N. Webster, promised the iconic prophet’s predictions would appear every month. But that prediction proved faulty. The column, “Criswell Predicts,” only appeared four times in Fate. The second, in the issue show here from July 1949, Vol. 2 #2, aka whole number #6.

Criswell Predicts: Fate #4

“The “Criswell Predicts” radio broadcast had preceded his writing of articles and columns and Criswell’s “87% correct” claim had been established by the time Ray Palmer wrote his editorial in this early issue of Fate. Palmer, writing as “Robert N. Webster,” seemed most concerned with the accuracy of Criswell’s predictions and stated, ‘We’re going to ‘keep score’ on
him and see whether or not he can live up to his reputation for correctness. Incidentally, Mr. Criswell will appear in FATE each month with predictions for the coming month, or with special prognostications that may apply.’ Criswell did not appear monthly as Palmer initially stated; he actually only wrote in the four issues listed here.”
Fate #4 Winter 1949
Fate #6 July 1949
Fate #18 March 1951
Fate #37 April 1953

Excerpt from “Criswell Predicts: Fate & Spaceway” by Tom Brinkmann, TDE4 June 2016

Beyond #18

Beyond Vol. 4 #19 Feb. 1971 or is it?

Beyond began as a digest-sized magazine in September 1968 and ran for a dozen issues. A year after its debut, #13 in September 1969, it became a full size publication (8.5” x 11”). The issue shown here self-identifies as Vol. 4 #19 February 1971. However, as Tom Brinkmann, expert on off-the-beaten-path magazines reports in TDE3, the March issue was actually #19, although it was mislabeled as #18!

What’s more, a full page advertisement in the edition shown here states, “Beyond returns to the popular digest size beginning with the March issue! 132 pages of psychic phenomena bigger & better than ever! On sale at leading newsstands Tuesday, February 2nd!”

Brinkmann reports no knowledge of issues beyond March, which was also full size.

Apollo 12: Mysterious Encounters With Flying Saucers

Saga May 1970

Excerpt from Tom Brinkmann’s “Mr. UFO: Timothy Green Beckley’s Paranormal Odyssey” from TDE3:

“Nineteen seventy seems to have been a pivotal year in Tim’s writing career, as he says of the Saga article, “I do believe it’s probably one of the most important in my career as a paranormal and UFO writer.” Tim had gone to Washington, DC to do research for the article. Throughout the 1970s, Tim was regularly writing articles for Saga UFO Report and for their “UFO Specials.” Tim also did an interview with Charles Berlitz, “Mr. Bermuda Triangle,” in Saga’s Bermuda Triangle Special Report 1977.

Search #91 May 1970

Search #91

Search #91

Tom Brinkmann describes the last section of Tim Beckley’s “World of the Off Beat” column from Search #91, in this excerpt from his profile piece in TDE3:

“…“Astrology and Murder” in which Tim interviewed Barbara H. Watters, a leading Washing
ton area astrologer and author of the book, The Astrologer Looks At Murder (1969). She believed ‘you can actually determine the real motives at work in criminal cases through the application of astro- logical forces.’ She had studied several high profile murder cases of which she found the infamous Lizzie Borden case of 1892 the most interesting; Watters had lived in Borden’s home town of Fall River, Massachusetts for twenty years. Lizzie Borden was never convicted of the murder of her parents for lack of evidence. Watters had done an astrological chart for Lizzie and had determined that she was guilty. Watters also came up with a motive—Lizzie had wanted to improve her station in life. As Watters stated, ‘She was born with four planets in the sign of Leo. Statistically, Leo is under-represented in the charts of murderers. But it is a proud sign which does not bear frustration with good grace.’ In her previously mentioned book, Watters also revealed the identity of Jack the Ripper.”