What is that eerie shrieking coming from Spider Hollow night after night? Does it have anything to do with that crazy old hermit and his band of cats living there? Rumors about the old man run rampant. No one has befriended him in all of these years. Everyone fears him. And then there is the question of how could he still be living. He was over seventy years of age when he entered Spider Hollow and that has been over seventy-five years ago. That would make him over one hundred forty years old. That couldn't be. And then a twelve-year-old boy named Ben Parsons stumbles onto Moss Lathrop's (the old hermit) shack one day when he is exploring. Ben befriends him and makes secret treks to Spider Hollow to talk with him. Ben shivers sitting in the old clapboard shack deeply in the bowels of Spider Hollow. His old friend is preparing "nature man's" stew for him. It is a terrible, black and bitter concoction. Cats loom everywhere in the dark room. They lie on shelves, lurk from dark corners, cower, and some are ready to pounce. Especially, Moss's favorite cat, Evil. Ben likes to visit his old friend because he willingly listens to his troubles. Ben feels as if he doesn't have any friends. And his other concern is that his father has been out of work for months. After several trips to the hollow the old man trusts Ben and feels that he is his one and only friend after seventy-five years. And because of this trust he makes a startling pronouncement. Moss Lathrop (the old hermit) is actually the Imperial Wizard of Halloween. Ben is doubtful at first but throughout the rest of the book he becomes a true believer. And when he does, his life improves. He finds new friends, his father suddenly goes back to work, and the mean bully that has hurt so many people and animals gets his just reward. You will be astonished when you discover the penalty the Imperial Wizard of Halloween has meted out to Harley Fuller, the bully. It's just safe to say that he now is one of the voices shrieking night after night in the depths of Spider Hollow!
Used availability for Nolan Carlson's The Wizard of Halloween
October 2012 : USA Paperback