Vintage Horror: “The Beckoning Fair One” by Oliver Onions, 1911

f2bbae68bf0335095be4e13221d4467bTHE BECKONING FAIR ONE

Oliver Onions, 1911

THE THREE OR four “TO Let” boards had stood within the low paling as long as the inhabitants of the little triangular “Square” could remember, and if they had ever been vertical it was a very long time ago. They now overhung the palings each at its own angle, and resembled nothing so much as a row of wooden choppers, ever in the act of falling upon some passer-by, yet never cutting off a tenant for the old house from the stream of his fellows. Not that there was ever any great “stream” through the square; the stream passed a furlong and more away, beyond the intricacy of tenements and alleys and byways that had sprung up since the old house had been built, hemming it in completely; and probably the house itself was only suffered to stand pending the falling-in of a lease or two, when doubtless a clearance would be made of the whole neighbourhood.

It was of bloomy old red brick, and built into its walls were the crowns and clasped hands and other insignia of insurance companies long since defunct. The children of the secluded square had swung upon the low gate at the end of the entrance-alley until little more than the solid top bar of it remained, and the alley itself ran past boarded basement windows on which tramps had chalked their cryptic marks. The path was washed and worn uneven by the spilling of water from the eaves of the encroaching next house, and cats and dogs had made the approach their own. The chances of a tenant did not seem such as to warrant the keeping of the “To Let” boards in a state of legibility and repair, and as a matter of fact they were not so kept.

For six months Oleron had passed the old place twice a day or oftener, on his way from his lodgings to the room, ten minutes’ walk away, he had taken to work in; and for six months no hatchet-like notice-board had fallen across his path. This might have been due to the fact that he usually took the other side of the square. But he chanced one morning to take the side that ran past the broken gate and the rain-worn entrance alley, and to pause before one of the inclined boards. The board bore, besides the agent’s name, the announcement, written apparently about the time of Oleron’s own early youth, that the key was to be had at Number Six.

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Story #3: “The Woman at Seven Brothers” by Wilbur Daniel Steele, from The Greatest Ghost Stories Ever Told, ed. by Sanguine Woods, 2017

The Woman at Seven Brothers

Wilbur Daniel Steele¹, 1908

“You—you see,” said I, “she’s cleared the rip there now, and the music’s gone. You—you hear?”

“Yes,” said she, turning back slow. “That’s where it stops every night—night after night—it stops just there—at the rip.”

When she spoke again her voice was different. I never heard the like of it, thin and taut as a thread. It made me shiver, sir.

“I hate ’em!” That’s what she said. “I hate ’em all. I’d like to see ’em dead. I’d love to see ’em torn apart on the rocks, night after night. I could bathe my hands in their blood, night after night.”

I tell you sir, I was innocent. I didn’t know any more about the world at twenty-two than some do at twelve. My uncle and aunt in Duxbury brought me up strict; I studied hard in high school, I worked hard after hours, and I went to church twice on Sundays, and I can’t see it’s right to put me in a place like this, with crazy people. Oh yes, I know they’re crazy—you can’t tell me. As for what they said in court about finding her with her husband, that’s the Inspector’s lie, sir, because he’s down on me, and wants to make it look like my fault.

No, sir, I can’t say as I thought she was handsome—not at first. For one thing, her lips were too thin and white, and her color was bad. I’ll tell you a fact, sir; that first day I came off to the Light I was sitting on my cot in the store-room (that’s where the assistant keeper sleeps at the Seven Brothers), as lonesome as I could be, away from home for the first time, and the water all around me, and, even though it was a calm day, pounding enough on the ledge to send a kind of a woom-woom-woom whining up through all that solid rock of the tower. And when old Fedderson poked his head down from the living-room with the sunshine above making a kind of bright frame around his hair and whiskers, to give me a cheery, “Make yourself to home, son!” I remember I said to myself: “He’s all right. I’ll get along with him. But his wife’s enough to sour milk.” That was queer, because she was so much under him in age—’long about twenty-eight or so, and him nearer fifty. But that’s what I said, sir.

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5 Historic Hauntings: Are These the Most Frightening of All Time? You Be the Judge…

Haint-Blue Shudders

borley25The Haunting of Borley Rectory, England. Concept & Design by Woody Dexter. (Images unless otherwise noted: Pinterest)

It’s always fun to put ghost stories into Best Of categories. Well, here is a list of the “Top 5” of all time, one per century. What do you think?

Going back to the 1500s, which stories or legends of ghosts/hauntings stand out? Well, according to this list (historyextra.com), these were some pretty nasty hauntings—one in a church?!

I DO hope they were caught, trapped, exorcized…

The Top 5 Hauntings 1500-1999

scoganTitle Page to Scogan’s Scoggin’s Jests, 1666, 1866

Ghost Tale from the 16th Century

Anne Boleyn, whose headless ghost is rumoured to haunt the vicinity of the Tower of London and other locations, may be the most famous ghost of the 16th century. But instead I nominate a literary hoax ghost.

Following the Reformation, Protestant theologians dismissed ghosts as Catholic inventions, delusions and frauds…

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VINTAGE GHOST STORIES: “NO. 252 RUE M. LE PRINCE” (1896) BY RALPH ADAMS CRAM

7b0de8872cfcaa78505a63483d44b438 (Pinterest*)


When in May, 1886, I found myself at last in Paris, I naturally determined to throw myself on the charity of an old chum of mine, Eugene Marie d’Ardeche, who had forsaken Boston a year or more ago on receiving word of the death of an aunt who had left him such property as she possessed. I fancy this windfall surprised him not a little, for the relations between the aunt and nephew had never been cordial, judging from Eugene’s remarks touching the lady, who was, it seems, a more or less wicked and witch-like old person, with a penchant for black magic, at least such was the common report.

Why she should leave all her property to d’Ardeche, no one could tell, unless it was that she felt his rather hobbledehoy tendencies towards Buddhism and occultism might some day lead him to her own unhallowed height of questionable illumination. To be sure d’Ardeche reviled her as a bad old woman, being himself in that state of enthusiastic exaltation which sometimes accompanies a boyish fancy for occultism; but in spite of his distant and repellent attitude, Mlle. Blaye de Tartas made him her sole heir, to the violent wrath of a questionable old party known to infamy as the Sar Torrevieja, the “King of the Sorcerers.” This malevolent old portent, whose gray and crafty face was often seen in the Rue M. le Prince during the life of Mlle. de Tartas had, it seems, fully expected to enjoy her small wealth after her death; and when it appeared that she had left him only the contents of the gloomy old house in the Quartier Latin, giving the house itself and all else of which she died possessed to her nephew in America, the Sar proceeded to remove everything from the place, and then to curse it elaborately and comprehensively, together with all those who should ever dwell therein.

Whereupon he disappeared.

This final episode was the last word I received from Eugene, but I knewthe number of the house, 252 Rue M. le Prince. So, after a day or two given to a first cursory survey of Paris, I started across the Seine to find Eugene and compel him to do the honors of the city.

Every one who knows the Latin Quarter knows the Rue M. le Prince, running up the hill towards the Garden of the Luxembourg. It is full of queer houses and odd corners–or was in ’86–and certainly No. 252 was, when I found it, quite as queer as any. It was nothing but a doorway, a black arch of old stone between and under two new houses painted yellow. The effect of this bit of seventeenth-century masonry, with its dirty old doors, and rusty broken lantern sticking gaunt and grim out over the narrow sidewalk, was, in its frame of fresh plaster, sinister in the extreme.

I wondered if I had made a mistake in the number; it was quite evident that no one lived behind those cobwebs. I went into the doorway of one of the new hôtels and interviewed the concierge.

No, M. d’Ardeche did not live there, though to be sure he owned the mansion; he himself resided in Meudon, in the country house of the late Mlle. de Tartas. Would Monsieur like the number and the street?

Monsieur would like them extremely, so I took the card that the concierge wrote for me, and forthwith started for the river, in order that I might take a steamboat for Meudon. By one of those coincidences which happen so often, being quite inexplicable, I had not gone twenty paces down the street before I ran directly into the arms of Eugene d’Ardeche. In three minutes we were sitting in the queer little garden of the Chien Bleu, drinking vermouth and absinthe, and talking it all over.

“You do not live in your aunt’s house?” I said at last, interrogatively.

“No, but if this sort of thing keeps on I shall have to. I like Meudon much better, and the house is perfect, all furnished, and nothing in it newer than the last century. You must come out with me to-night and see it. I have got a jolly room fixed up for my Buddha. But there is something wrong with this house opposite. I can’t keep a tenant in it,–not four days. I have had three, all within six months, but the stories have gone around and a man would as soon think of hiring the Cour des Comptes to live in as No. 252. It is notorious. The fact is, it is haunted the worst way.”

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We Are Still Here — A Serious Indie Fright Fest! I Loved it.

we-are-still-here-poster

SPOILER ALERT!

Wow. What a great film. Very scary. Odd in places, but I recommend it!

In 1979, after the tragic death of their son Bobby in a car accident, Anne (Barbara Crampton) and Paul Sacchetti (Andrew Sensenig) have decided to move to a new home in rural New England in the hopes that it will bring them some closure. Paul especially hopes that it will be therapeutic for Anne, as the death has hit her particularly hard and caused her to spiral into a deep depression. However, as soon as they arrive Anne starts claiming that Bobby is present in the house and a neighbor named Cat (Connie Neer) covertly warns them to leave the house. The house itself is also the focus of some controversy in the area, as it was built in the 1800s by the Dagmar family as a funeral home. The Dagmars were reportedly run out of the village after the townspeople discovered that they were swindling their customers by selling the corpses and burying empty caskets.

Undeterred, Anne invites her friends May and Jacob Lewis (Lisa Marie and Larry Fessenden), as they are both spiritualists and could help contact Bobby, as well as explain the strange supernatural occurrences happening in the house. Upon their arrival the two couples go out to eat, during which time the Lewises’ son Harry (Michael Patrick) arrives with his girlfriend Daniella (Kelsea Dakota) – Soon after arriving Harry is killed by an apparition on the basement stairs while Daniella watches. She flees the house in horror and drives away, only to be killed a short distance away. The Lewises and the Sacchettis head home, after which Cat’s husband Dave (Monte Markham) arrives at the restaurant, murders a waitress, and then angrily discusses the Dagmar house with the restaurant’s bartender, revealing that the house needs to feed every 30 years or the evil beneath it will search out fresh souls, potentially destroying the town.

Jacob eventually manages to convince a reluctant Paul to hold a seance with him while their wives are out. This ends with Jacob becoming possessed by the spirit of Lassander Dagmar (Guy Gane III), who reveals that they were never run out of town, rather the villagers used him and his family as a sacrifice to the evil under their home. Lassander, overcome with rage, then causes Jacob to kill himself. His wife May tries to flee, only to be killed by Dave, who has come to the house with the other townspeople, determined to give the darkness under the home what it wants. The Sacchettis then hear the voice of their son Bobby urging them to leave the house, and flee upstairs as Dave and the townspeople begin breaking into and entering the house. The spirits of the Dagmar family then proceed to violently murder every one of the townspeople in the house until only Dave, Paul, and Anne remain. Still intending to sacrifice them, Dave tries to kill Anne and Paul, but before he can do so, he is killed by Lassander’s spirit. As Paul and Anne stare at the carnage around them, the spirits of the family depart from the house, finally satisfied with their revenge. Still believing her son is in the home, Anne dazedly walks into the house’s cellar, followed moments later by her husband. As he peers down the stairs, Paul smiles slightly, then says “Hey Bobby”.