This is another one of those mysterious men that show up once in a while, yet remain almost completely unknown to most people. Talk about protecting your privacy! You may not know him, but I'll bet you are familiar with some of his work.
Photo credit: British Authorities
It’s not uncommon for writers to publish works of literature under a pseudonym, but few of them went to greater lengths to conceal their identity than a mysterious author named “B. Traven.” Over the course of two decades, B. Traven published 12 novels and several short stories under this pseudonym. His most famous novel is probably The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, a 1927 adventure story that was eventually adapted into an acclaimed, Academy Award–winning film starring Humphrey Bogart. Yet in spite of writing such an iconic piece of work, Traven managed to take the secret of his true identity to his grave. When he died in 1969, he left behind a will claiming his real name was “Traven Torsvan Croves” and that he was born in Chicago in 1890. However, there is no evidence that anyone named Traven Torsvan Croves actually existed.
It is believed that B. Traven spent the early part of his life living in Europe, as many of his works were written in German before they were translated into English. Traven wrote most of his novels while living in Mexico and worked hard to maintain his privacy. He limited his interactions with other people, and very few photographs of him exist.
There are many theories about who Traven might be, but the best candidate is Ret Marut, a German actor who disappeared after fleeing Europe in 1924. Shortly afterward, B. Traven started publishing his novels in Mexico. Marut was also known for being very protective about his identity, and it is speculated that he previously lived under a different name before he became an actor. Were Ret Marut and Traven Torsvan Croves the same person? Whatever the real truth, the identity of B. Traven continues to remain a mystery.
It always amazes me at how many true mysteries you can find over at Listverse, where I got this one. They really do a good job.
Coffee out on the patio this morning. Plenty of sunshine, I hope!