Ellison Water Bombing Incident

A legendary incident based on disputed facts.

The usual version of the story (recounted in Fancyclopedia 2 under Door) says that Jim Harmon, after being waterbagged by Harlan Ellison at the MidWestCon in 1954, swarmed up to Ellison's room demanding entrance, and, when Ellison rolled a firecracker under the door, slammed his fist thru the panel in the best Col. Renwick tradition. The hotel manager threatened arrest, but a collection from the pros was made to pay for it. ($35).

But Dr. Gafia reports (see full details under Midwestcon Incident) that the truth is that Harlan didn’t waterbag anyone, he emptied a pitcher of water out his window so the “splat” would get the attention of Harmon and others who were, in Harlan’s opinion anyway, being loud and obnoxious. Since they were across the courtyard, not a drop got on any of them, but Harmon, who was inebriated, took umbrage anyway, charged up the stairs and knocked down Harlan’s door.

The story was undoubtedly helped along in its rise to general notoriety by Ellison's leadership of Seventh Fandom, a group widely regarded as loud and obnoxious.