Hal Chibbett

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(February 19, 1900 – February 23, 1978)

Harold Stanley Walter 'Hal' Chibbett was a UK fan from London active in the 1940s. He attended the Eastercon in 1944 and was a member of the Science Fiction Association (SFA) and much later the BSFA. Bill Temple described him in Novae Terrae #26 as the 'London Branch's amateur magician and spook-hunter'. Gus Willmorth writing in Fan Slants #2 in 1944 said he was 'of middle age and interested in psychic research. He conducts chain letters on various allied matters.'

Just old enough to join, he served in the Royal Flying Corps during the First World War. He became fascinated by spiritualism and related subjects. His friend Sid Birchby wrote after his death, '[I]n the course of about 50 years he met and often worked with nearly every one in the British occult field. Crowley, Harry Price, Kuda Bux the fire-walker, Sammy Soal, Mrs Goldney and many others were amongst his acquaintances'.

He is mentioned as a new member of the SFA in Novae Terrae #18 in November 1937 and #21 notes him ('Mr. H. S. W. Chibbett, Secretary of 'The Probe[1]') as among 'the distinguished s-f personalities who have promised to attend' the Second British Convention in 1938 although there is no evidence that he was present.

He continued to attend SFA meetings in London during the Second World War, sometimes with his wife, fellow fan Lily Chibbett, and they both attended the Bombcon gathering in September 1941. He was credited with introducing the chain letter to London fandom but that turned out to be a mistake and he had rather borrowed the idea from Arthur C. Clarke and imported it to The Probe. Reportedly he was the basis for 'Harry Purvis' in Clarke's Tales from the White Hart. During the war he served as a fire-watcher.

In 1946 he attended at least one London British Fantasy Society group meeting although it's not clear that he was a member and he was present at the Whitcon in 1948. He retained some contact with fandom thereafter. In his dairies, Bill Temple recalls meeting Hal and Lily along with other old-time fans and pros at a party organised by Arthur C. Clarke in north London in November 1961. He joined the BSFA in 1969

He published a handful of short stories including three pieces in the John Carnell-edited collection Jinn and Jitters (1946) and one in Weird Tales as well as articles in non-genre publications Flying Saucer Review and Fate. He worked for the Inland Revenue, retiring in 1965, although on his letterhead he gave his profession as 'psychical research'.


Person 19001978
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  1. Both a psychic research organisation and its journal.