B. F. FISCHER
Real Name: Benjamin "Ben" Franklin Fischer
Occupation: Writer, Psychic, Paranormal Researcher
Known Relatives: None known
Base of Operations: Mobile
First Appearance: Legend of Hell House (1973)
History: Benjamin "Ben" Franklin Fischer is an English psychic and medium, considered by paranormal researchers of the 1940s as "one of the top ten psychics of the Twentieth Century."
Born in 1925, Fischer lived a simple unassuming life with his family in an unrevealed town near San Francisco, California. His father named him after Benjamin Franklin, but he was mostly an abusive father to Ben before abandoning him. His mother was a Spiritualist who both encouraged and supported his abilities. Notoriety about his powers became public after his family home became known as a locally known "haunted house," and scientists came to his home to investigate the activity. Their research lead to the conclusion that Fischer was at the center of the activity. Considered a prodigy, he was placed in boarding school where professors and scientists both tested and documented activity around him. Because of the attention around him, Ben tended to be withdrawn and anti-social, a trait that continued well into his adult years. Although friendly and cordial, he tended to prefer being alone than the presence of others.
In 1940, eleven-year-old Fischer accompanied a scientific investigation into the Belasco House near Caribou Falls, Maine. Considered "the Mount Everest of Haunted Houses," the location had not had a successful investigation since a failed attempt in 1933. Fischer was accompanied by a small team of experts, including psychic investigator Professor Gerald Finley, physicist Dr. Anton Graham, head of the Chemistry Department at Oxford Professor Edmund Rand and psychic medium Grace Lauter. Not much is known about the investigation, but each member of the team suffered debilitating and fatal accidents. Lauter inexplicably jumped off a balcony to her death and shattered her legs, Graham crawled out of the house suffering from a stroke, Rand became paralyzed in an accident on site and Finley was crippled in an accident and committed to an asylum. Traumatized by the combination of activity and accidents in the house, Fischer wandered out of the house in a fugue state and found naked on the front step in the fetal position, refusing to have anything to do with the house for thirty years. Retuning to his family home in California after three months in the hospital, his once impressive psychic skills seemed to have disappeared or had waned considerably. Afterward, he spent thirty years drifting from job to job as a farm hand, door to door salesman and janitor.
In 1970, Fischer was one of two psychics with Spiritualist Florence Tanner suggested by businessman Rolf Deutsch to physicist Dr. Lionel Barrett in a renewed investigation at the Belasco Mansion. Deutsch was in ill health, and expected Barrett's research would be able to confirm existence of an afterlife. Although disinterested, Fischer refused his request for several months, but with his fortunes dwindling, he finally gave in and accompanied Barrett with his wife and Tanner back to the house. Although Barrett was aware his psychic ability had diminished since his youth, he was well aware that Fischer's presence was mostly mercenary. He was only there for the money from Deutsch.
With Tanner supplying the sole psychic investigation into the house side by side with Barrett's scientific approach, Fischer responded to the case nostalgically and fatalistically. His psychic senses closed off, he spent his first few days drinking alcohol, only becoming intrigued when Tanner detected the spirit of Daniel Belasco, the alleged son of the house's creator. in the house. After poltergeist activity and psychic attacks on her, Fischer became involved in trying to protect her, but after she was seemingly possessed by Daniel's spirit, he took it upon himself to take her from the house. However, when faced with Barrett's scientific process of dissipating the energies in the house, Tanner tried to destroy his equipment. after being stopped by Barrett, she fled into the house trying to protect the spirits in harm, only to be fatally crippled when a huge crucifix in the chapel collapsed and broke her back. Barrett soon fell victim to his equipment exploding into his face, throwing him twenty feet through the house.
As Ann descended into paranoia and delusions, Fischer eventually deduced that there was only one spirit in the mansion, that of Daniel's father, Emeric Belasco, who was using the extensive psychic energies in the house to give the illusion of a much worse haunting. With his remaining psychokinetic ability, he blasted a hole in the back wall of the house's chapel and exposed Belasco's hidden sanctum which had been lined in lead to protect him from Barrett's machine. With its defense's broken, Fischer reactivated Barrett's machine and used it to "clean" the mansion of its considerable psychic residue.
Returning home, Ben learned that Deutsch had passed during the investigation and that his son was refusing to pay Barrett's team any money owed them. Although Barrett's widow sued Deutsch's son for money promised, the matter was of little interest to Ben. Emboldened by his victory, he began dabbling in paranormal research again on his terms as an adult, not the terms by his would-be peers. In the early 1980s, he became aware of another psychic prodigy like himself named Dennis Rafkin, and became a mentor to him, becoming a stabilizing presence in the young man's life.
Sadly, Fischer started suffering from ill health in the early Nineties; he passed away in his sleep on October 13, 1998. His funeral was attended by Rafkin, Dr. Anil Sleevemore, William Collins and Dr. James Harvey among other peers and colleagues.
Case Files: Belasco House
Powers/Abilities: Benjamin Franklin Fischer possesses an innate sensitivity to psychic activity as well as a latent ability to cause psychokinetic activity ("poltergeist activity"). This ability allows him to sense paranormal activity in the form of spirits and in some occasions read the psychic imprint of a structure's history from the psychic energies left by the inhabitants in its history. At the age of fifteen, he could manifest ectoplasm and produce spirits in the visible spectrum. Unlike Florence Tanner, although he could detect the presence of spirits, he could not perceive messages from them, but he could mentally place shield himself to block himself from psychic stimuli. In his youth, he was also capable of causing psychokinetic activity ("poltergeist activity") on a conscious and unconscious level, resulting in events occurring on a probable (but not improbable) level. However, in his adulthood, he could channel it into basic events, like shattering windows and throwing around physical objects.
Comments: B. F. Fischer is a character created by writer Richard Matheson in the book, "Legend of Hell House." In the film version, he was played by actor Roddy McDowell. The rest of the cast was played by Pamela Franklin (Florence Tanner), Clive Revill (Dr. Lionel Barrett) and Gayle Hunnicutt (Ann Barrett).
It should be noted that while Matheson's novel places the Belasco Mansion in Caribou Falls, Maine, the movie version places it somewhere in England.
Dennis Rafkin is a fictional psychic played by actor Matthew Lillard in "Thirteen Ghosts" (2002)
Dr. Anil Sleevemore is a fictional psychic researcher played by actor Brian George on "That's So Raven" (2002-2007) and "Raven's Home" (2017-2020).
William Collins is the fictional son of Barnabas and Angelique Collins from the TV series "Dark Shadows" (1965-1972).
Dr. James Harvey is a fictional doctor played by Bill Pullman in the movie, "Casper" (2005).