In what will surely come as frightful news to horror fans, a cache of rare Stephen King books, manuscripts and memorabilia was destroyed when a burst pipe flooded the basement of a shop in Bangor, Maine.
As Emily Burnham of the Bangor Daily News reports, the Gerald Winters and Son bookshop lost “tens of thousands of dollars” worth of merchandise in the flood, which affected several businesses in King’s hometown. The store specializes in rare King memorabilia, but also boasts signed copies of books by the likes J.R.R. Tolkien and George R.R. Martin. Gerald Winters, the shop’s proprietor, told Burnham that around 2,000 books were destroyed, as were seven original King manuscripts for novels like Eyes of the Dragon and Dolan’s Cadillac.
Winters has spent the past 20 years collecting King works and memorabilia, and in 2016, he fulfilled his dream of opening a rare bookshop in Bangor. He told Burnham that he had recently moved the bulk of his inventory to the basement while reorganizing the store. When the flood hit, there was nothing he could do to save his collection.
"I looked down the stairs and I saw the water level rising up to the stairs,” Winters said in an interview with WGME. “I would have drowned in the water if I tried to have gone down."
On Facebook, Winters shared photos of the havoc wreaked by the burst pipe: boxes strewn amid the muck, waterlogged pictures of King and a poster of Pennywise, the terrifying clown from It, slathered in grime.
“I am here 20 hours a day alone, trying to recover as many Stephen King and Tolkien pieces as I can,” he wrote in the post. “Several original manuscripts have been recovered last night and I am still looking for more.”
King told Burnham of the Bangor Daily news that he was “horrified” to hear about the flood and wants to lend a hand. “As a book lover, my heart goes out to him,” the author said. “I will eventually reach out and see if I can help in any way.”