Charles Fulton Oursler (January 22, 1893 - May 24, 1952 New York City) was an American journalist, playwright, editor and writer. Writing as Anthony Abbot, he was a notable author of mysteries and detective fiction.
Oursler grew up in Baltimore, the poor son of a city transit worker. His childhood passions were reading and stage magic. He was raised in a devout Baptist family, but at fifteen he declared himself an agnostic. While still in his teens, he got a reporter's job for the Baltimore American and married Rose Karger. They had two children, but the marriage ended in divorce.
Oursler moved to New York City to edit The Music Trades. He freelanced for a variety of publications early on. His short stories appeared in The Black Cat, Detective Story Magazine, The Thrill Book, and especially Mystery Magazine. Many of his stories, like "The Magician Detective" (Mystery Magazine), incorporated magicians and magic into the plots.
In the 1920s Oursler aided Harry Houdini in his crusade against fraudulent mediumship. He even crusaded himself, under the pseudonym Samri Frikell. He was the author of the book Spirit Mediums Exposed (1930) which revealed the techniques of fraud mediums. John Mulholland wrote that Samri Frikell, was the pen name of Oursler when writing on the subject of magic and spiritualism. He made it by combining the names of two magicians, Samri Baldwin and Wiljalba Frikell.
He was Supervising Editor of the various magazines and newspapers published by Bernarr Macfadden from 1921-41. Macfadden urged him to drop the "Charles" from his name. He became editor of Liberty after Macfadden acquired it in 1931. In the fall of 1939, Fulton Oursler, when editor of Liberty, printed a piece in his magazine called "Alcoholics and God", which brought a rush of 800 frantic inquiries into the New York office of Alcoholics Anonymous (as it was to be known)...
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