My new book is coming this December from Wick Press. Check it put! And follow Wick Press on wordpress to stay up to date!
For your reading pleasure this Halloween weekend, here is a selection of ghost stories from the archive. (I’d suggest starting with either the Collier or the Gallant, both of which are brief and eerie.)
- “Mr. Mackenzie’s Last Hour,” by Sylvia Townshend Warner, March 5, 1949
- “Invitation to a Ghost,” by Richard Lockridge, September 9, 1950
- “Are You Too Late, Or Was I Too Early?,” by John Collier, April 14, 1951
- “A Private Ghost,” by Joyce Cary, November 10, 1956
- “Avizandum,” by Robert Henderson, September 2, 1967
- “From the Fifteenth District,” by Mavis Gallant, October 30, 1978
- “The Making of More Americans,” by Maxine Hong Kingston, February 11, 1980
- “Carried Away,” by Alice Munro, October 21, 1991
- “The Glass House,” by Chris Adrian, January 10, 2000
- “The Juniper Tree,” by Lorrie Moore, January 17, 2005
The entire stories—and the complete archives of The New Yorker, back to 1925—are available to digital subscribers. (Non-subscribers can purchase the individual digital issues.)
Courtesy: Jon Michaud, a novelist and head librarian at The Center for Fiction.
Table of Contents
Introduction (Australian Ghost Stories) • (2010) • essay by James Doig
The White Maniac: A Doctor’s Tale • (1867) • short story by Mary Fortune
Spirit-Led • (1890) • short story by Ernest Favenc
A Haunt of the Jinkarras • (1890) • short story by Ernest Favenc
The Mystery of Major Molineux • (2010) • short fiction Australian by Marcus Clarke
The Bunyip • (1891) • short story by Mrs. Campbell Praed [as by Rosa Campbell Praed]
Lupton’s Guest: A Memory of the Eastern Pacific • (2010) • short fiction by Louis Becke
The Haunted Pool: A Tale Of The Blue Mountains • (2010) • short fiction by Edward Wheatley
A Colonial Banshee • (1906) • short fiction by Fergus Hume
The Devil of the Marsh • (1893) • short story by H. B. Marriott Watson [as by H. B. Marriott-Watson]
The Accursed Thing • (2010) • short fiction by Edward Dyson
The Third Murder: A New South Wales Tale • (2010) • short fiction by Henry Lawson
The Death Child • (1905) • short fiction by Guy Boothby
A Strange Goldfield • (1904) • short story by Guy Boothby
Sea Voices • (2010) • short fiction by Roderick Quinn
The Cave • (1932) • short story by Beatrice Grimshaw
The Cave of the Invisible • (1939) • short story by James Francis Dwyer
Hallowe’en • (2010) • short fiction by Dulcie Dreamer
We Came Back Haunted
Ernest Rhys, 1921
In my recent Ghost Book (The Haunters and the Haunted,1921), M. Larigot, himself a writer of supernatural tales, collected a remarkable batch of documents, fictive or real, describing the one human experience that is hardest to make good. Perhaps the very difficulty of it has rendered it more tempting to the writers who have dealt with the subject. His collection, notably varied and artfully chosen as it is, yet by no means exhausts the literature, which fills a place apart with its own recognised classics, magic masters, and dealers in the occult. Their testimony serves to show that the forms by which men and women are haunted are far more diverse and subtle than we knew. So much so, that one begins to wonder at last if every person is not liable to be “possessed.” For, lurking under the seeming identity of these visitations, the dramatic differences of their entrances and appearances, night and day, are so marked as to suggest that the experience is, given the fit temperament and occasion, inevitable.
One would even be disposed, accepting this idea, to bring into the account, as valid, stories and pieces of literature not usually accounted part of the ghostly canon. There are the novels and tales whose argument is the tragedy of a haunted mind. Such are Dickens’ Haunted Man, in which the ghost is memory; Hawthorne’s Scarlet Letter, in which the ghost is cruel conscience; and Balzac’s Quest of the Absolute, in which the old Flemish house of Balthasar Claes, in the Rue de Paris at Douai, is haunted by a dæmon more potent than that of Canidia. One might add some of Balzac’s shorter stories, among them “The Elixir”; and some of Hawthorne’s Twice-Told Tales, including “Edward Randolph’s Portrait.” On the French side we might note too that terrible graveyard tale of Guy de Maupassant, La Morte, in which the lover who has lost his beloved keeps vigil at her grave by night in his despair, and sees—dreadful resurrection—“que toutes les tombes étaient ouvertes, et tous les cadavres en étaient sortis.” And why? That they might efface the lying legends inscribed on their tombs, and replace them with the actual truth. Villiers de l’Isle Adam has in his Contes Cruels given us the strange story of Véra, which may be read as a companion study to La Morte, with another recall from the dead to end a lover’s obsession. Nature and supernature cross in de l’Isle Adam’s mystical drama Axël—a play which will never hold the stage, masterly attempt as it is to dramatise the inexplainable mystery.
Among later tales ought to be reckoned Edith Wharton’s Tales of Men and Ghosts, and Henry James’s The Two Magics, whose “Turn of the Screw” gives us new instances of the evil genii that haunt mortals, in this case two innocent children. One remembers sundry folk-tales with the same motive—of children bewitched or forespoken—inspiring them. And an old charm in Orkney which used to run:
“Father, Son, Holy Ghost!
Bitten sall they be,
Bairn, wha have bitten thee!
Care to their black vein,
Till thou hast thy health again!
Mend thou in God’s name!”
INSIDE ISSUE #176
TWILIGHT OF THE GODS Series creators Bryan Fuller and Michael Green bring Neil Gaiman’s American Gods to network television. Plus: Vincenzo Natali on directing Crispin Glover, Dark Horse’s American Gods comic and a look back at Gaiman’s novel. By Andrea Subissati, Pedro Cabezuelo and Jess Peacock
THE GREAT AND SECRET SHOWMAN The life and legacy of cultural boogeyman Anton Szandor LaVey on the 20th anniversary of his death. Plus: the occult in fashion and a few words with 3teeth frontman Lex. By Sean Plummer, Benoit Black and Andrea Subissati
THE WONDER FEARS The Watcher in the Woods director John Hough takes us back to the Disney movie that traumatized a generation of tots. Plus: a look at Disney’s dark side. By Amy Seidman and Paul Corup
CHAINSAW AND DAVE’S CLASS REUNION Summer School’s lovable gorehounds celebrate 30 years of the characters who made being a horror fan cool. Plus: a dossier of horror devotees. By Jeff Szpirglas and Tal Zimerman
NOTE FROM UNDERGROUND Andrea says hello.
POST-MORTEM Letters from fans, readers and weirdos
DREADLINES News highlights, horror happenings
THE CORONER’S REPORT Weird stats, morbid facts and more
NEEDFUL THINGS Strange trinkets from our bazaar of the bizarre
CINEMACABRE The latest films, the newest DVDs and reissues feat. The Void
THE LATE-NITE ARCHIVE I Bury the Living
BOWEN’S BASEMENT The Horror of Party Beach
BLOOD IN FOUR COLOURS Comics feat. Not Drunk Enough
THE NINTH CIRCLE Book reviews feat. John Cornell’s Chalk
THE FRIGHT GALLERY The spooky works of Eric Millen
THE GORE-MET Human Pork Chop and Dr. Lamb
AUDIO DROME Music reviews feat. new album from Ghoultown
PLAY DEAD Game reviews feat. Resident Evil 7: Biohazard
CLASSIC CUT The Cat and the Canary
Source and Buying Info:
The Fascination of the Ghost Story
An Essay by Arthur B. Reeve, 1919
What is the fascination we feel for the mystery of the ghost story?
Is it of the same nature as the fascination which we feel for the mystery of the detective story?
Of the latter fascination, the late Paul Armstrong used to say that it was because we are all as full of crime as Sing Sing–only we don’t dare.
Thus, may I ask, are we not fascinated by the ghost story because, no matter what may be the scientific or skeptical bent of our minds, in our inmost souls, secretly perhaps, we are as full of superstition as an obeah man–only we don’t let it loose?
Who shall say that he is able to fling off lightly the inheritance of countless ages of superstition? Is there not a streak of superstition in us all? We laugh at the voodoo worshiper–then create our own hoodooes, our pet obsessions.
It has been said that man is incurably religious, that if all religions were blotted out, man would create a new religion.
Man is incurably fascinated by the mysterious. If all the ghost stories of the ages were blotted out, man would invent new ones.
For, do we not all stand in awe of that which we cannot explain, of that which, if it be not in our own experience, is certainly recorded in the experience of others, of that of which we know and can know nothing?
Although one may be of the occult, he must needs be interested in things that others believe to be objective–that certainly are subjectively very real to them.
The Psychic in Literature
Dorothy Scarborough, PhD
War, that relentless disturber of boundaries and of traditions in a spiritual as well as a material sense, has brought a tremendous revival of interest in the life after death and the possibility of communication between the living and the dead. As France became nearer to millions over here because our soldiers lived there for a few months, as French soil will forever be holy ground because our dead rest there, so the far country of the soul likewise seems nearer because of those young adventurers. The conflict which changed the map of Europe has in the minds of many effaced the boundaries between this world and the world beyond. Winifred Kirkland, in her book, The New Death, discusses the new concept of death, and the change in our standards that it is making. “We are used to speaking of this or that friend’s philosophy of life; the time has now come when every one of us who is to live at peace with his own brain must possess also a philosophy of death.” This New Death, she says, is so far mainly an immense yearning receptivity, an unprecedented humility of brain and of heart toward all implications of survival. She believes that it is an influence which is entering the lives of the people as a whole, not a movement of the intellectuals, nor the result of psychical research propaganda, but arising from the simple, elemental emotions of the soul, from human love and longing for reassurance of continued life.
“If a man die, shall he live again?” has been propounded ever since Job’s agonized inquiry. Now numbers are asking in addition, “Can we have communication with the dead?” Science, long derisive, is sympathetic to the questioning, and while many believe and many doubt, the subject is one that interests more people than ever before. Professor James Hyslop, Secretary of the American Society for Psychical Research, believes that the war has had great influence in arousing new interest in psychical subjects and that tremendous spiritual discoveries may come from it.
Literature, always a little ahead of life, or at least in advance of general thinking, has in the more recent years been acutely conscious of this new influence. Poetry, the drama, the novel, the short story, have given affirmative answer to the question of the soul’s survival after death. No other element has so largely entered into the tissue of recent literature as has the supernatural, which now we meet in all forms in the writings of all lands. And no aspect of the ghostly art is more impressive or more widely used than the introduction of the spirit of the dead seeking to manifest itself to the living. No thoughtful person can fail to be interested in a theme which has so affected literature as has the ghostly, even though he may disbelieve what the Psychical Researchers hold to be established.