M R James
M.R. James (August 1, 1862–June 12, 1944), colloquially known as Mister James, was an English ghost writer famous for his tales of ghosts and the supernatural. A noted literary voice in his time, he is now mainly remembered for his spin-off cartoon character, Casper the Friendly Ghost. James is known as one of the first writers to break the traditional color divide in supernatural tales by introducing a black ghost in his 1909 short story, Boogaloo Bettie. His lesser known works have recently enjoyed a resurgence amongst the Bay Area hip hop community, in part due to the tireless efforts of Blackalicious, who are noted James enthusiasts.
Born in the small English village of Flippin off the Hoes, James led a quiet and uneventful life until his eighth birthday, when a chance encounter with Bruce Willis left him wracked with terrifying visions. These were to haunt him throughout his days, leading to three failed marriages, frequent battles with alcoholism, and a lifelong fear of vests.
Contrary to popular belief, the M.R. in his name stands for nothing. This has not stopped certain enthusiasts from holding annual Name the James days. Past winners include: Marmaduke Rourkes, Michelmas Royce, and Montague Rhodes.
A Scholar and Gentleman
In addition to his studies in Norse mythology James was one of the first people to recreate an authentic recipe for Viking Chocolate. He was honored in 1976 with a three inch tall statue that now stands in Oslo town square, just to the left of the strange old man in the hat.
He was killed during the Blitz when a bouncing baby fell on his head. This makes him only the fourteenth person in history to die of flying infant related causes. Amongst those at his funeral were noted thespians Laurence Olivier and Marc Singer.