John Raymond, 53, a San Francisco free-lance writer, has corresponded personally with Caspar Weinberger, Erskine Caldwell, Dizzy Gillespie and about 200 other famous personalities. What's his secret?

In a studied 9-year-old's scrawl, Raymond has been sending letters like this one:

"Dear Mr. Weinberger:

"I'm 9 and my father named me Caspar. He died, so I didn't ask him why. You are the only other Caspar I ever heard of. I hate my name because the kids at school joke about it. Where did you get your name from? Will you be my friend? I sure need one.

"Your friend, Caspar Fox."

Defense Secretary Weinberger responded, reminding young "Fox" that Caspar was one of the wise men in the Bible.

Raymond said he received responses from 70 percent of the celebrities he wrote to.

Sen. Alfonse D'Amato (R-N.Y.) sensed something amiss when he received a letter from young "Alfonse Fox." He checked and found the return address was phony.

"He wrote me a note anyway," said Raymond. It said, "Dear Alfonse. I got your nice letter and want you to know I sympathize with your problem. But it's not your biggest problem. Your biggest problem is that if I ever get a hold of you I'll break your neck."

Raymond said that while he was writing his hoax letters he felt a little guilty. But now he is not sorry and hopes the people who wrote to him will not be angry. "It showed that people are really nice. They were all really interested in a kid with a name problem. All the letters have a gentle quality and it is amazing how they really opened up," he said.

Raymond plans to publish a book titled "Alias Caspar Fox: Fastest Pen in the West."