- Robert E. Howard, genealogy, racial memories & Sam Walser.

    As promised in the first and second installments of Dwelling in Dark Valley, this third production is once again mostly biographical in nature. The focus this time is not on Howard himself, but on his ancestry, more particularly on his "ancestor" Samuel Walser, often described by Howard as a Viking and a red-bearded giant, a fitting companion to his Vanir and AEsir warriors.

   Readers not familiar with REH's biography and ancestry will have at least recognized the name: in late 1935, Howard began collaborating to Frank Armer's line of "Spicy Pulps", and wrote his yarns under the pseudonym of his ancestor.
    Howard's "spicy" stories are not great literature, far from it, but these pulps paid well and promptly. At a time when Howard was desperately trying to secure money so as to meet the expenses incurred by his mother's declining health, they did help keep the bank account positive.
    Several tales of "Wild Bill Clanton", written by "Sam Walser", appeared in Spicy-Adventure Stories, and "Sam Walser" even had the honor to be cover-featured, as shown in this example taken from the September 1936 issue.

    Behind the ghost of "Sam Walser, spicy-stories writer", was a real man, of whom Howard evidently knew very little, even if he learned a bit more about him as the years went by.
    In fact, and as we are about to see, it was mostly Howard's imagination that made a "red-bearded giant" of the real Samuel Walser.
    It was also his fancy that made of him a "Viking" just off Skaggerack.
    But it was Howard's insufficiently-conducted research - not his imagination - that made of Sam Walser one of his ancestors...