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Haining, Peter (1940-)

Haining, Peter (1940-)

British novelist, writer on occult subjects, and anthologist of horror stories. Born April 2, 1940, in Enfield, Middlesex, England, Haining was educated in Buckhurst Hill, England. He worked as a journalist and magazine writer (1957-63) and successively as editor, senior editor, and editorial director of New English Library (1963-72) in London. Since 1972 he has been an editorial consultant, writer, and anthologist. He is a member of the International Association of Poets, Playwrights, Editors, Essayists and Novelists (PEN).

Haining's family lived for many generations in Scotland, but he now resides in the "witch county" of Essex, England. His research into witchcraft and black magic resulted in a ritual curse from a group of devil worshipers in London, but that did not interfere with Haining's literary success. He claims that one of his ancestors was burned at the stake for possessing a "book of spells," and his publication The Warlock's Book (1972) is said to include materials based on records of this ancestor.

Haining's investigation of a desecrated graveyard in Essex led to his first book, Devil Worship in England (1964), coauthored with A. V. Sellwood. Since that time he has written or edited several titles annually. His early vampire anthology, The Midnight People (1966), also known as Vampires at Midnight, has been frequently reprinted. His work has covered the fields of occultism, science fiction, fantasy, and horror. Most memorable among Haining's almost 100 titles are Anatomy of Witchcraft (1972), Ghosts: An Illustrated History (1974), The Craft of Terror: Extracts from the Rare and Infamous Gothic "Horror" Novels (1966), A Circle of Witches: An Anthology of Victorian Witchcraft Stories (1971), The Necromancers: The Best of Black Magic and Witchcraft (1971), The Hashish Club (1974), The Sherlock Holmes Scrapbook (1974), The Edgar Allen Poe Bedside Companion (1980), The Vampire Terror (1981), and Shades of Dracula (1982). Haining edited The Complete Ghost Stories of Charles Dickens (1982), Vampire! (1984), The "Doctor Who" File (1986), Elvis in Private (1987), and Supernatural Tales of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1987).

Sources:

Ashley, Mike. Who's Who in Horror and Fantasy Fiction. London: Elm Tree Books, 1977.

Melton, J. Gordon. The Vampire Book: The Encyclopedia of the Undead. Detroit: Visible Ink Press, 1994.

Reginald, Robert. Science Fiction and Fantasy Literature, 1975-1991. Detroit: Gale Research, 1992.

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Haining, Peter 1940-2007 (Peter Alexander Haining)

Haining, Peter 1940-2007 (Peter Alexander Haining)

OBITUARY NOTICE—

See index for SATA sketch: Born April 2, 1940, in Enfield, Middlesex, England; died of a heart attack, November 19, 2007. Journalist, anthologist, editor, and author. Haining wrote dozens of books in his lifetime, mostly nonfiction, but his name is probably associated most often with the dozens of thematic anthologies of short stories he collected. Haining worked for a few years as a journalist, and the news stories that he uncovered led to his earliest books, from Devil Worship in Britain (1964) to Sweeney Todd: The Real Story of the Demon Barber of Fleet Street (1993). He spent nearly ten years on the editorial staff of the book publisher New English Library before turning to the freelance life, where he thrived. Haining's output over the next thirty-five years was prolific (more than 300 titles altogether) and wide-ranging. While he wrote about historical events, popular culture, film stars, pulp magazines, vampires, serial killers, television series, ancient myths and legends, and the miscellaneous and strange-but-true oddities that captured his fancy, he returned again and again to the occult, the supernatural, and the macabre. Whether his story collections were classified as horror, science fiction, mystery, or general fiction, Haining attempted, as he once explained, to present anthologies organized like novels, "with a beginning, middle, and end," and possessing a cohesive development of a central theme. He never SEEMED to run out of topics. One of his earliest collections was The Gentlewomen of Evil: An Anthology of Rare Supernatural Stories from the Pens of Victorian Ladies (1967); among the more recent are The Wizard's Den: Spellbinding Stories of Magic and Magicians (2001). Hundreds—perhaps thousands—of fiction writers living and dead are represented in his popular collections. Haining's own writings toward the end of his life seem to reflect an interest in World War II, as in The Banzai Hunters: The Small Boat Operations That Defeated the Japanese, 1944-5 (2006).

OBITUARIES AND OTHER SOURCES:

BOOKS

Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology, 5th edition, Gale (Detroit, MI), 2001.

PERIODICALS

Times (London, England), January 5, 2008, p. 72.

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