Thrown out of the academy in Ingolstodt after attempting (successfully) to create animate life from the grafted body parts that my assistant Igor gathered in graveyards, I next became a historian and biographer and delved into popular culture, popular religion, and science. Topics I’ve covered include the escapologist Harry Houdini; early mesmerists and their diabolical powers; the Amazing Zancigs, mind-readers extraordinaire; Richard Shaver, the outsider artist and pulp magazine creator of “I Remember Lemuria”; Allen Funt, the madcap genius behind “Candid Camera”; and the strange amusement park rides of the early twentieth century that offered customers an imaginary burial and visit to Heaven and Hell. My books include, The Man from Mars: Ray Palmer's Amazing Pulp Journey, a 2014 Locus Award Finalist, and Wonder Shows: Performing Science, Magic, and Religion in America. I also have published scholarly articles, as well as humor and fiction in the Atlantic and other magazines. A past fellow at the Smithsonian, I am currently at large in California.