Marcus Childermass is an American educator, teaching at Princeton. He is the father of Professor Roderick Childermass.


We first learn of Marcus as the designer of the Childermass clock, commemorating the death of (presumably) his brother, Lucius. Later we learn he taught literature at Princeton and was apparently taken by the work of Tobias Smollett for he named all four of his sons after characters from his books (The Chessmen of Doom; 6). Described as a meticulous, fussy man (The Spell of the Sorcerer's Skull; 166); it is later revealed that Marcus earned three Ph.D.s – in philosophy, history and literature – and instilled in his children a passion for learning (The Bell, the Book, and the Spellbinder; 62-64).


Professor Marcus Childermass shares the same first name as Professor Marcus, as portrayed by Alec Guinness in one of Bellairs' favorite films, 1955's The Ladykillers[1].


  1. "John Bellairs's Favorites."  Haverhill Gazette (Dec. 28, 1985).