Shottle Bop

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"Shottle Bop" is a fantasy short story by American writer Theodore Sturgeon, first published in 1941 in the magazine Unknown.[1] It has been said to be the source of all "odde shoppe" stories; and even if not that, of many.[2]

The protagonist discovers a mysterious shop – "The Shottle Bop", between Twentieth and Twenty-first Streets, on Tenth Avenue in New York City – which has bottles containing all manner of strange things. The proprietor dislikes his pompous attitude, paralyzes him by spraying him with the essential oil from the hair of a Gorgon's head, and only releases him after extracting a grudging apology. The proprietor then mixes up a strange potion, saying it will, when drunk, "cure" him and give him a "talent".

The protagonist returns home and, after initial reluctance, drinks the potion. He discovers that he can now see and talk with ghosts; although they cannot see him. When he goes back to look for the shop, it is not there. He sets himself up as a psychic investigator: a business at which he is highly successful, with the aid of unseen disembodied assistants.

He taunts some of his low-life former associates with his success. They round on him; but he persuades one of them to spend the night in a haunted house, for a bet. That night, the effects of the potion wear off.[2][3]


  1. ^ Joshi, S. T.; Dziemianowicz, Stefan R. (2005). Supernatural Literature of the World: An Encyclopedia, Volume 3, P–Z. Greenwood Press. p. 1088. ISBN 978-0-313-32777-3. 
  2. ^ a b Davidson, Avram, ed. (1983). Magic for Sale. New York: Berkley Publishing Group. p. 161. ISBN 0-441-51535-5. 
  3. ^ D'Ammassa, Don (2006), "Shottle Bop", Encyclopedia of Fantasy and Horror Fiction, p. 319, ISBN 978-0-8160-6192-1