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A Maine Bookstore Owner Nightmarishly Loses His Stephen King Collection

A Maine Bookstore Owner Nightmarishly Loses His Stephen King Collection

If you’ve read or seen or heard whispers of any Stephen King stories, you know one thing for sure: Maine is a hotbed of fictional nightmares. Unfortunately, that tried-and-true theme in King’s writing came true for one fan this past week, when Bangor, Maine resident Gerald Winters saw his King collection ruined by a water main break.

Winters’ collection of rare King works, including seven original manuscripts and a large number of first- and limited-edition novels, was destroyed Tuesday, January 16 after a water main broke outside Gerald Winters & Son, his rare book store. It took Winters, who recently relocated to Maine from Thailand, literally decades (two of them) to amass those written works. The manuscripts included King’s first strikes at “Trucks” (or, as it later became known in film form, Maximum Overdrive); “Dolan’s Cadillac,” which originally appeared as installments in King’s monthly newsletter; and The Eyes of the Dragon, a fantasy novel and one of King’s rare departures from horror.

Winters’ story would already be tragic enough were it limited to King artifacts alone. But it gets sadder; the bookshop proprietor lost books by other luminaries as well. In addition to the destruction of first editions of Pet Sematary and other King classics, Winters’ collectors’ items by other authors—namely J.R.R. Tolkien and George R.R. Martin—met their untimely end. It’s a story that would make any book lover tear up, and judging from the coverage in the Bangor Daily News, Winters, who was literally up to his waist in water in the aftermath of the flooding, is no exception. The shop owner wasn’t fielding phone calls from his family or customers; in his words, he “[didn’t] even want to talk to them,” because he didn’t know what to say.

King himself offered this condolence: “As a book lover (and sometime collector), my heart goes out to Mr. Winters, and I’ll do what I can to help him regroup.”

Some stories can leave you speechless for good reasons. This, tragically, isn’t really one of those. Here’s hoping that Winters can rebuild from the approximately ten percent of inventory he still has on hand.

What pop culture artifact could you not stand to lose? Let us know in the comments.

Image: Facebook/Winters & Son

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