Friday, June 5, 2015

Percy B. Prior (?-?)

Hobbyist, Author, Poet
Born ?
Died ?

Who was Percy B. Prior? Here's a start:

Percy B. Prior is an Australian writer from Sydney who is in close contact with the splendid work Rotary is doing there. (The Rotarian, Jan. 1931)
Was he the writer for Weird Tales? Well, he was interested in weird things:
Wanted snapshots of all kinds of strange, odd, or unique things, such as happenings, freaks of nature, old and historic scenes, birds and animals, etc. For these will exchange good quality postage stamps or city and beauty snapshots in return. Percy B. Prior. 15 Philpott Street. Marrickville. N.S.W. (The World's News, Nov. 28, 1928)
Maybe he was a kind of Charles Fort or Robert Ripley of Down Under. So what did he write? Here's a partial list:
  • "A Song of Thanksgiving" (1916)
  • "It Pays To Hatch Early" (article) in American Poultry Journal (Mar. 1921)
  • "A Serviceable Bench Stop" (article) in The Popular Science Monthly (Feb. 1922)
  • "To Our Flag" (poem) in The Newcastle Sun (Apr. 17, 1923)
  • "Dreams of Youth" and "My 'El Dorado'" (poems) in The Newcastle Sun (May 8, 1923)
  • "Why the Cake Fell" (article) in The Farmer's Wife (Sept. 1926)
  • "Strange Farms" (article) in Complete Novel Magazine (Feb. 1927)
  • "'Here Is My Heart'" (short story) in Sweetheart Stories (Feb. 28, 1928)
  • "Canberra: Will It Become the Real Capital of Australia?" (article) in The Rotarian (Oct. 1928)
  • "Useful Hints on Flashlight Photography for the Novice with a Camera" (article) in Camera Craft (1929)
  • Four-part series on Australian Aborigines in The Afro-American (beginning July 6, 1929)
  • "Concerning Ostrich Feathers" (article) in Wild West Stories and Complete Novel Magazine (Dec. 1929)
  • "Radio Around the World" (article) in The Rotarian (Apr. 1934)
  • "Christmas Again" (poem) in Anniston Star (Dec. 21, 1943); West African Advent Messenger (Dec. 1959); Australasian Record and Advent World Survey (Dec. 12, 1960)
  • "Sweetheart, You Are My Guiding Star"
Prior also had a good run in Weird Tales with three stories published in less than a year in 1927-1928. And he was a hobbyist, including being a philatelist and a photographer. And that's all I know about the man who was perhaps the only native Australian to contribute to Weird Tales.

Percy B. Prior's Stories in Weird Tales

"The El Dorado of Death" (July 1927)
"When the Dead Return" (Dec. 1927)
"The Tree-Man Ghost" (Mar. 1928)

Further Reading

"The Tree-Man Ghost" was reprinted in 100 Ghastly Little Ghost Stories edited by Stefan Dziemianowicz, Robert Weinberg, and Martin H. Greenberg (1993). It's a fine little tale and may very well have been based on a traditional Scottish ghost story.

Copyright 2015 Terence E. Hanley

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