Author, Religious Figure. Born in Clifton, near Bristol, the youngest son of Augustus William Summers, a prosperous banker and Justice of the Peace, he was educated at Clifton College and at Trinity College, Oxford, and then at Lichfield Theological College. His first post as a curate was at Bitton, near Bristol, but he was obliged to resign after being accused of interfering with the choirboys, although no charges were ever brought. In 1909, he converted to the Roman Catholic church, added "Alphonsus Joseph-Mary" to his list of names, and claimed to have been ordained as a priest, although his name never appeared on the clergy lists of Great Britain, and he celebrated the Mass only in private in his own country, although he performed the sacraments in public whilst abroad. From 1911 until 1926, he made a living by teaching English and Latin at a number of schools; but, in the latter year, he resigned from Brockley School to become a full-time writer. His first book, a collection of his poems, had appeared in 1907. He went on to write sixteen more, most of which reflect his interest in the occult. His best-remembered book is "Witchcraft and Black Magic" (1946), but others bear titles such as "The Vampire: His Kith and Kin", "The Vampire in Europe", and "The Werewolf." Summers was a close friend of Aleister Crowley; there is a vivid and memorable description of him in C.R. Cammell's biography of the Beast. Another of Summers' interests was Restoration drama. In 1914, he founded the Shakespeare Head Press, which re-printed many plays of the seventeenth century, along with his own prefaces; and, in 1919, he founded the Phoenix Society for the Production of Old Plays, for which he supervised the production of eighteen plays, as well as of a complete cycle of William Congreve's works. In "Who's Who", Summers gave among his recreations: "Travel; staying in unknown monasteries and villages in Italy; pilgrimages to famous shrines; the investigation of occult phenomena; ghost stories; talking to intelligent dogs, that is, all dogs." He died suddenly at his house at Dynevor Road in Richmond. When Hector Stuart-Forbes, who had been his secretary for many years, died two years later, he was buried in the same grave. For many years, it was unmarked; but, on the November 26, 1988, a tombstone was erected, bearing the inscription, "Tell me strange things", which is what Summers invariably said on meeting a new acquaintance.
Bio by: Iain MacFarlaine