Real Name: Ralph Halley
Identity/Class: Normal human magic user (1950s Era)
Group Membership: None
Affiliations: Helen Halley (wife)
Enemies: Dr. Springer, Dr. Springer's cat (name unrevealed)
Known Relatives: None
Base of Operations: His wife's mansion, somewhere on the North American seacoast
First Appearance: Amazing Detective Cases#12/5 (May, 1952)
Powers/Abilities: A student and practitioner of black magic, Ralph Halley could apparently transform himself into "different things", including a mouse (see comments).
(Amazing Detective Cases#12/5 (fb) - BTS) - The past of Ralph Halley is unknown, but at some point he married the wealthy Helen, then he began to acquire and study a number of arcane books on the occult, and eventually learned a spell to transform himself. Helen became concerned that her husband had been driven mad from his knowledge of sorcery, and she feared that he would try to kill her so he could inherit her money.
(Amazing Detective Cases#12/5 (fb)) - One night, Helen saw a mouse--she was certain that it was Ralph, because there were no mice in her home, and Ralph knew she was deathly afraid of the rodents. The mouse chased her throughout her mansion and trapped her against the terrace guardrail (with only the pounding surf on the rocks far below); just then, a servant--Matthews--came into the room, and the mouse scampered away.
(Amazing Detective Cases#12/5) - Helen went to Dr. Springer's office just as the doctor was leaving for the day. She told him about Ralph practicing black magic and changing himself into a mouse; but as he listened to Helen's outlandish story, Dr. Springer could only humor her--obviously, the poor woman was deranged. The angry Ralph came storming into the office and scolded his wife. After apologizing to Springer for his outburst, Ralph explained that Helen was not supposed to leave the house and that she was under a doctor's care for a bad case of nerves. Then Ralph's attention was diverted to Springer's usually gentle office cat, who fiercely growled at Ralph Halley--Springer had never seen his cat react to anyone like that before; Ralph brutally swatted the feline with his cane. Controlling his temper (with great difficulty), Springer told Ralph that striking his pet was quite unnecessary, but Ralph only explained that he couldn't stand cats. When the Halleys left his office, Springer was bothered by how frightened Helen appeared, and was concerned that her domineering husband would probably institutionalize her. Later, Springer phoned Helen to check on her welfare, and she assured him she would be alright because she finally thought of a way to protect herself. Late that night, Springer was awakened by a phone call from Lieutenant Hanscom of the police department. Hanscom told him Mrs. Halley requested that he come over to her house immediately because Mr. Halley was dead. Springer dressed and hurriedly drove to the Halley home and found the mansion full of police. After seeing Ralph's dead body, Springer asked how it had happened, and Hanscom informed him that something delivered a terrific blow to Ralph Halley's neck and broke it; but it was a complete mystery as to how this happened: No weapon was found, the servants all had the night off, and there was no way that someone as small as Mrs. Halley could have broken the neck of anyone as big and strong as her husband. As the investigation continued, Springer began looking through some of the books in Halley's library, all of which dealt with the subject of black magic. Springer thumbed through one of the tomes and noticed a spell: "How To Change Into Animal Forms". Then Springer's attention was drawn to the policeman who was still examining Halley's body, because the cop found something curious under the corpse--a sprung Ketchum mouse-trap. Dr. Springer and the policemen could only look on in dumbfounded silence...
Comments: Created by uncredited writer, and Mike Sekowsky & Jim Mooney (art).
Helen only said to Dr. Springer that Ralph could "change himself into different things"--she was never specific about any of the transformations (other than a mouse) that he may have attempted; for that matter, Ralph was never actually shown changing into a mouse--this was only implied in the story by the book of spells, the sprung mouse-trap by his body, and the manner of his death. But I'm guessing Ralph's powers were rather limited (or else he was pretty stoopid!); otherwise, why didn't he just change himself into something larger--a lion, a tiger, or a rabid dog? If he wanted to scare his wife to death, then surely she'd have been just as frightened by any of those (if not more so) as she would have been by a mouse.
It was never explained exactly what kind of doctor Springer was, what his specialty was, or why Helen Halley consulted him--I'm guessing maybe he was some kind of paranormal investigator (like Rex Lane) (...which would explain why Mrs. H went to him for help). Is it just me, or does anyone else think Doc Springer looks a little like Dr. Stephen Strange?
When Dr. Springer was looking through Halley's book collection, I noticed one of the titles--although it was faded and obscured, it appeared to be a copy of the Necronomicon.
And a BIG Thank You to The Horrors of It All for the scans!
Profile by John Kaminski.
Ralph Halley has no known connections to:
Dr. Springer has no known connections to:
The petite and wealthy wife of Ralph Halley, she was deathly afraid of mice. She became alarmed when her husband began practicing black magic and learned how to transform himself into a mouse. She feared that Ralph was trying to scare her to death, so she went to Dr. Springer and told him of her plight, but Ralph tracked her to Springer's office and escorted her back home. Springer later phoned Helen to check up on her welfare, and she assured him that she would be alright because she had thought of a perfect way to protect herself.
--Amazing Detective Cases#12/5
Dr. Springer was leaving his office for the day when Helen Halley entered and began telling him a fantastic story of how her husband Ralph was practicing black magic. She claimed Ralph changed himself into a mouse and was trying to scare her to death. Later that night, Springer was called out to the Halley home after Ralph was found dead. While looking through Ralph's collection of occult books, Springer found a spell for changing oneself into animal form, and he began to have second thoughts on Mrs. Halley's allegations.
--Amazing Detective Cases#12/5
Amazing Detective Cases#12/5, p4, pan2 (main image)
Other Appearances: None
Last updated: 04/09/10
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