Michael Howell, who lived in Dudley in the West Midlands, was educated at Dudley Grammar School bfore he went on to study medicine at the University of Birmingham. He qualified in 1954 and then, during the course of his national service, became medical office in the 22nd Battalion Grenadier Guards. After specializing in children's diseases for a time, he made the decision in 1960 to go into general practice, in which he continued until his death in 1986.Peter Ford, who lives at Longhope in Orkney, served as national serviceman in the Royal Artillery in Malaya. He then worked in publishing as an editor in London for twelve years before becoming a freelance writer and editor, specializing in editorial consultancy and co-authorship. He has written for collectors and has an interest in the history of popular entertainment. He wrote, with Max Hall, The Fool on the Hill, the autobiography of the great comedian, and Rings and Curtains: Family and Personal Memoirs, with the veteran acrobat and actor Jack Le White.Michael Howell began his research into the life of Joseph Merrick, the Elephant Man, with the idea of writing an article. His findings eventually led to his collaboration with Peter Ford. They also worked together on a recasting of Merrick’s story for children and a collection of documentary medical detective stories called Medical Mysteries (retitled The Ghost Disease in its paperback edition).