One of Worrell’s three Weird Tales cover appearances
Author, Everil Worrell
Worrell’s daughter recounted that her parents “had the walls of their apartment decorated with the art work for her stories and the covers of issues of Weird Tales. When I was born (1928), however, they thought they’d better take the pictures down because they didn’t want to frighten the baby!”
– Jeanne Eileen Murphy, Worrell’s daughter, from a biography of the author that appeared in the first edition of Robert Weinberg’s Weird Tales Collector in 1977.
I wanted to introduce you, fellow lover of “the weird”, to a long-overlooked writer of quality short fiction, Everil Worrell (1893-1969), who, beginning in 1926, was a regular contributor to Weird Tales magazine. Worrell’s perhaps most well-known story “The Canal” mixes fishermen, vampires, and murky water to make an intoxicating brew. The story first appeared in Weird Tales in December 1927; and was later made into a TV episode on Rod Serling’s popular series, Night Gallery (see end of this post).
Everil Worrell wrote no less than 19 stories for Weird Tales and made the cover three times: “The Bird of Space” (September 1926) with art by E.M Stevenson; “The Gray Killer” (November 1929) with art by C.C. Senf; and “Once There Was a Little Girl” (January 1953) with art by Frank Kelly Freas. Having published stories in Weird Tales between 1926 and the mid-1950s, when the publication first gave up the ghost, Worrell is considered the magazine’s most frequent contributor over such a long expanse of time.
[More information on the life and death of Everil Worrell can be found here: http://tellersofweirdtales.blogspot.com/2012/02/everil-worrell-1893-1969.html; and https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=pv&GRid=90458037&PIpi=161705790. In the event that the Internet site URLs above should ever become inactive, I have included the bipgraphical information contained therein at the end of this post under Further Reading.]
Cover of the 1977 first edition of Robert Weinberg’s Weird Tales Collector
Everil Worrell began regular appearances in Weird Tales in 1926. It’s hard to verify how many stories she wrote in total—twenty four titles are known. Nineteen of them certainly appeared in Weird Tales between 1926 and 1954; one under the pen-name Lireve Monet. As “Everil W. Murphy” she contributed two stories to Ghost Stories*, a U.S. pulp magazine published between 1926 and 1932.
*[Ghost Stories published both original tales and reprints, including reprints of stories by Margaret Oliphant, Agatha Christie, and Charles Dickens. The magazine even published a Robert E Howard story, “The Apparition in the Prize Ring” aka. “The Spirit of Tom Molyneaux”, under the name John Taverel; the story is one of two Howard stories about African-American boxer Ace Jessel, aka. the “ebony giant”.]
You can find more biographical details at the informative Tellers of Weird Tales site here:
A collection of Worrell’s stories has yet to be published. They can be found, one by one, at least many of them, in vintage anthologies; and online as magazine scans / PDFs.
Weird Tales September 1926, Worrell’s first cover appearance.
Worrell’s fiction made the cover of Weird Tales three times, starting with that September 1926 story ‘The Bird of Space” (pictured), which isn’t bad considering this was during her first year with Weird Tales.
Her last appearance was in the March 1954 issue, only a few months before Weird Tales gave up the ghost for the first time in the 1950s (Weird Tales was picked up again, and is still going strong today)—giving Worrell one of the longest-running professional relationships with the magazine of any of its “regular” writers.
Weird Tales was picked up again and continued in print, with some interrupted years, until at least 2014. See:
Interestingly, the appearance of “The Canal” in September 1926 coincided with the publication of Henry S Whitehead’s story, “The Projection of Armand Dubois”. A month later, another of Worrell’s stories, “Cattle of Furos”, appeared in Weird Tales at the same time as another of Whitehead’s well-known stories: “Jumbee”.