My Current Read: A 1978 Bestselling Haunted House Novel by Anne Rivers Siddons—A Favorite Book of Stephen Kings’!

The House Next Door by Anne Rivers Siddons

It doesn’t matter what other people think. Not any more.

Our friends are going to think we have taken leave of our senses, and we are going to lose many of them.

This is the sort of thing that engenders mild teasing or pleasurable gasps of not-quite-believing fear when it is kept within the bounds of the group. It is something else entirely now that we have spread it out for all the world to see. That isn’t done in our set. It lacks taste, and though we don’t use the word, class.

Worst of all, we have believed the unbelievable and spoken the unspeakable. Yes, we will lose our friends. We cannot worry about that either.

For the Harralson house is haunted, and in quite a terrible way.

(from The House Next Door)

Praise for The House Next Door:

“Spellbinding…. You will not be able to put down this book.” —Dallas Times Herald

“Haunting.” —The New York Post


The House Next Door is a horror novel written by Anne Rivers Siddons. It was first published by Simon & Schuster and quickly became a New York Times bestseller. The novel is told from the point of view of Colquitt “Col” Kennedy, a well-to-do middle-aged woman who lives with her husband Walter in a quiet, affluent Atlanta neighborhood. They learn from a neighbor that a contemporary home is going up on the lot next to theirs. Colquitt and Walter are dismayed at their loss of privacy and quiet, but resigned to the inevitable. They meet the architect and owners shortly after learning about the home, see the plans, and decide it’s a beautiful house.

The Prologue

Click images below to enlarge…

Soon, Colquitt suspects a terrible force resides in the house next door.In just under two years, three owners—the Harralsons, Sheehans, and Greenes—have their lives destroyed by scandal, madness, and murder while living in the home. Even those who only visit the house—including Colquitt and Walter—find themselves the victims of shocking tragedy. The pair decide to go public with their story—and risk their own reputations and careers—to warn others about the house’s dangerous power. However, the house is now powerful enough to protect itself. By telling the world, the Kennedys have summoned its dangerous wrath.

A Stephen King Favorite?

38B0B7AD-8C48-4965-8E73-16B6DB0F3783Yep. The House Next Door is one of five horror novels selected and Introduced by horror master Stephen King for The Stephen King Horror Library (see photo inset).

In his non-fiction book on horror in our culture, Danse Macabre, King writes at length about Siddons’ novel, calling it a contemporary ghost story with Southern Gothic roots; and one of the best genre novels of the 20th century. King’s extensive synopsis is supplemented by a detailed statement written by Siddons herself that reveals some of the novel’s themes.


SPOILER ALERT!

A Blog Review & Link to Buy the Book

Source: http://markwestwriter.blogspot.com/2014/03/the-house-next-door-by-anne-rivers.html

The House Next Door by Anne Rivers Siddons, A Review by Mark West

In a new edition of the occasional series, I want to tell you about a book that I’ve read and loved, which I think adds to the horror genre and that I think you’ll enjoy if you’re a fan. Of course, this book is now 36 years old so it might be that I’m the last one left who hasn’t read it…

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A Reblog: Bringing Neglected Classics Back into Print—The Valancourt Classics Catalogue… some great horror & mystery thrillers return from … the grave …

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Young Frankenstein, the Play. Photographer/Actors unknown (Pinterest).

Rise, I say! Rise! Give my creature LIFE!!

I get a little excited, I guess, when publishers bring back awesome books we’ve forgotten about—or never knew about due to their having been published before our time!

Valancourt Books is doing just that, and here is a nice article on the subject with juicy details, from our buds over at Black Gate (an intensely cool website). And check out these revamped covers (below are 8 of them I liked)!

I’ll also include buying info below for those of you who like to build your own horror library.

Hey, life is short; only read the good stuff.

SW🌱

The Article

https://www.blackgate.com/2014/11/27/bringing-neglected-greats-back-into-print-the-horror-catalog-of-valancourt-books/

The Covers

Click in thumbnails to enlarge…

 

 

Where to Buy

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“The Vengeance of Nitocris”—a Vintage Creepy Story by Tennessee Williams, 1928

The Vengeance of Nitocris

Thomas Lanier “Tennessee” Williams, 1928

Originally published in Weird Tales Magazine, August 1928.

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I. OSIRIS IS AVENGED

Hushed were the streets of many peopled Thebes. Those few who passed through them moved with the shadowy fleetness of bats near dawn, and bent their faces from the sky as if fearful of seeing what in their fancies might be hovering there. Weird, high-noted incantations of a wailing sound were audible through the barred doors. On corners groups of naked and bleeding priests cast themselves repeatedly and with loud cries upon the rough stones of the walks. Even dogs and cats and oxen seemed impressed by some strange menace and foreboding and cowered and slunk dejectedly. All Thebes was in dread. And indeed there was cause for their dread and for their wails of lamentation. A terrible sacrilege had been committed. In all the annals of Egypt none more monstrous was recorded.

Five days had the altar fires of the god of gods, Osiris, been left unburning. Even for one moment to allow darkness upon the altars of the god was considered by the priests to be a great offense against him. Whole years of death and famine had been known to result from such an offense. But now the altar fires had been deliberately extinguished, and left extinguished for five days. It was an unspeakable sacrilege.

Hourly there was expectancy of some great calamity to befall. Per-haps within the approaching night a mighty earthquake would shake the city to the ground, or a fire from heaven would sweep upon them, a hideous plague strike them or some monster from the desert, where wild and terrible monsters were said to dwell, would rush upon them and Osiris himself would rise up, as he had done before, and swallow all Egypt in his wrath. Surely some such dread catastrophe would befall them ere the week had passed. Unless—unless the sacrilege were avenged.

But how might it be avenged? That was the question high lords and priests debated. Pharaoh alone had committed the sacrilege. It was he, angered because the bridge, which he had spent five years in construct-ing so that one day he might cross the Nile in his chariot as he had once boasted that he would do, had been swept away by the rising waters. Raging with anger, he had flogged the priests from the temple. He had barred the temple doors and with his own breath had blown out the sacred candles. He had defiled the hallowed altars with the carcasses of beasts. Even, it was said in low, shocked whispers, in a mock ceremony of worship he had burned the carrion of a hyena, most abhorrent of all beasts to Osiris, upon the holy altar of gold, which even the most high of priests forbore to lay naked hands upon!

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“Strawberry Spring”—a Creepy Tale of “Springheel Jack” by Stephen King, 1975

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Detail from “Strawberry Spring”—a painting by James R. Eads. (http://jamesreads.tumblr.com/post/80105686132)

Strawberry Spring

Stephen King

Originally published in the University of Maine literary journal, Ubris in 1968.

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Springheel Jack.

I saw those two words in the paper this morning and my God, how they take me back. All that was eight years ago, almost to the day. Once, while it was going on, I saw myself on nationwide TV—the Walter Cronkite Report. Just a hurrying face in the general background behind the reporter, but my folks picked me out right away. They called long-distance. My dad wanted my analysis of the situation; he was all bluff and hearty and man-to-man. My mother just wanted me to come home. But I didn’t want to come home. I was enchanted.

Enchanted by that dark and mist-blown strawberry spring, and by the shadow of violent death that walked through it on those nights eight years ago. The shadow of Springheel Jack.

In New England they call it a strawberry spring. No one knows why; it’s just a phrase the old-timers use. They say it happens once every eight or ten years. What happened at New Sharon Teachers’ College that particular strawberry spring…there may be a cycle for that, too, but if anyone has figured it out, they’ve never said.

At New Sharon, the strawberry spring began on 16 March 1968. The coldest winter in twenty years broke on that day. It rained and you could smell the sea twenty miles west of the beaches. The snow, which had been thirty-five inches deep in places, began to melt and the campus walks ran with slush. The Winter Carnival snow sculptures, which had been kept sharp and clear-cut for two months by the sub-zero temperatures, at last began to sag and slouch. The caricature of Lyndon Johnson in front of the Tep fraternity house cried melted tears. The dove in front of Prashner Hall lost its frozen feathers and its plywood skeleton showed sadly through in places.

And when night came the fog came with it, moving silent and white along the narrow college avenues and thoroughfares. The pines on the wall poked through it like counting fingers and it drifted, slow as cigarette smoke, under the little bridge down by the Civil War cannons. It made things seem out of joint, strange, magical. The unwary traveller would step out of the juke-thumping, brightly lit confusion of the Grinder, expecting the hard clear starriness of winter to clutch him…and instead he would suddenly find himself in a silent, muffled world of white drifting fog, the only sound his own footsteps and the soft drip of water from the ancient gutters. You half expected to see Gollum or Frodo and Sam go hurrying past, or to turn and see that the Grinder was gone, vanished, replaced by a foggy panorama of moors and yew trees and perhaps a Druid-circle or a sparkling fairy ring.

The jukebox played ‘Love Is Blue’ that year. It played ‘Hey, Jude’ endlessly, endlessly. It played ‘Scarborough Fair.

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The Short Fiction of Aleister Crowley

Vaguely Dissimilar

“Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.”

The interesting thing about Aleister Crowley is that he really believed this. We don’t consider him a fiction writer (at least not primarily), but he went and did it for a while, because he could do whatever and whenever. So he wrote fiction, but only between 1908 and 1922, that’s merely fifteen years from his prolific and incredibly versatile mind. This was an era when he approached the literary world as a critic and writer, although at first quite reluctantly (“I had an instinctive feeling against prose; I had not appreciated its possibilities,”  he wrote, later admitting that“the short story is one of the most delicate and powerful forms of expression”). He wasn’t only a writer, but he still made sure that his legacy includes a large collection of miscellaneous prose, now presented in a prestigious (and…

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To Walk the Night–A Vintage Horror Novel by William Sloane…Keep the Light On!

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To Walk the Night

William Sloane

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Art by William Rose for a later pb edition (Pinterest).

‘The form in which this narrative is cast must necessarily be an arbitrary one. In the main it follows the story pieced together by Dr Lister and myself as we sat on the 

terrace of his Long Island house one night in the summer of 193–. But in retelling it I have not tried to follow exactly the wording of our conversation. To do so would leave many things obscure to readers who did not know Selena, Jerry, and the rest of us. Therefore I have allowed myself the liberties of adding certain descriptions of people and places, and of attempting to suggest now and again the atmosphere of strangeness, even of terror, which was so much a part of my life while these events were in progress.

My belief is that this story is unlikely to attract much attention. Essentially it is concerned with people whose very names, with one exception, are unknown to the general public. One of them is now dead and another is alive merely in the physical sense of the word. The evidence which I can bring forward in support of its truth is almost wholly indirect, and psychological rather than circumstantial.

With some hesitation I submitted galley proofs of this book to Alan Parsons, who worked on the LeNormand case from its beginning. The letter he sent in reply is confidential, and I am not free to print it here. Thanks, however, to valuable suggestions from him the presentation of the facts has been revised in several places, and where my narrative touches upon the evidence in the official records it is at least accurate. Its interpretation, of course, is entirely Dr Lister’s and mine. What Parsons may have thought of it I cannot tell for certain. But some weeks ago, in making a final check on the transcripts of parts of the evidence, I went to his office at New Zion. When his secretary brought me the case folders I observed that she took them out of a file drawer labeled “closed.”

I am not sure that it is wise to make this story a matter of public record. Dr Lister and I have hesitated before doing so. Our ultimate decision is based upon the belief that it is never expedient to suppress the truth. We do not expect it to secure immediate acceptance. There are some experiences which are alien to everyday life; they are “doomed for a certain term to walk the night” before the mind of man either recognizes them for what they are or dismisses their appearance as fantasy.’

Berkeley M. Jones
Long Island, 1954


And mind alone is never whole,
But needs the body for a soul.

– Struthers Burt: Pack-Trip: Suite


Chapter One: End of Evening

THE driveway began to dip to the long pitch of the bluff. The old taxi lumbered around curves and dropped heavily down the slope, its tires making a strong, harsh noise as they rolled over the gravel. The sound told me, without my having to open my eyes, how close we were to the house. Only a minute more to lie back in the refuge of this dilapidated sedan and be carried along without effort and without thought. Then the narcotic of traveling, of surrendering myself to the mere forward motion of train and automobile, would wear off. For twenty-five hundred miles and three days I had tried to imagine what I would do when the wheels under me stopped rolling and I should have to rouse myself to action.

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The Well

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via The Well