Walter Gibson's Biography (Books)
Walter Brown Gibson (September 12, 1897 - December 6, 1985) was an American author and professional magician, best known for his work on the pulp fiction character The Shadow. Gibson, under the pen-name Maxwell Grant, wrote "more than 300 novel-length" Shadow stories, writing up to "10,000 words a day" to satisfy public demand during the character's golden age in the 1930s and 1940s. He authored several novels in the Biff Brewster juvenile series of the 1960s. He was married to Litzka R. Gibson, also a writer, and the couple lived in New York state.
Gibson wrote more than a hundred books on magic, psychic phenomena, true crime, mysteries, rope knots, yoga, hypnotism, and games. He served as a ghost writer for books on magic and spiritualism by Harry Houdini, Howard Thurston, Harry Blackstone, Sr., and Joseph Dunninger. Gibson wrote the comic books and radio drama Blackstone, the Magic Detective. starring a fictionalized version of Harry Blackstone.
Gibson introduced the "Chinese linking rings" trick in America, and invented the "Nickels to Dimes" trick that is still sold in magic stores to this day. He "wrote extensively on Houdini and his escape tricks and sleight-of-hand," and became involved after Houdini's death with Houdini seances. Houdini was known as much for his investigations into - and exposure of - false mediums, and after his death, his wife Bess held seances for ten years in an attempt to contact the deceased magician. She then passed this role on to Gibson, who for many years helped preside over the Houdini Seances in the 1970s and 1980s at New York's Magic Towne House with such well-known magicians as Milbourne Christopher, Dorothy Dietrich, Bobby Baxter, and Dick Brooks. Before Gibson died, he passed on the responsibility of doing the Houdini Seances to Dorothy Dietrich, of the Houdini Museum in Scranton, Pennsylvania.
Under the pen name Andy Adams, Gibson is credited with writing at least five of the twelve novels in the Biff Brewster juvenile adventure and mystery series for adolescent boys: Brazilian Gold Mine Mystery, Mystery of the Mexican Treasure, Mystery of the Ambush in India, Egyptian Scarab Mystery, and Mystery of the Alpine Pass.
With his wife Litzka R. Gibson (nee Gonser), he co-wrote The Complete Illustrated Book of the Psychic Sciences (Doubleday, 1966), a 404-page book which explains how to practice many popular forms of divination and fortune-telling, including astrology, tasseography, graphology, and numerology. Litzka wrote her own books on topics as diverse as palmistry, dancing, and personal hygiene, sometimes under the pen-name Leona Lehman.
Gibson wrote a Batman prose story which appeared in Detective Comics #500 (March 1981).