An Excerpt: from “One Who Saw” a Ghost Story by A. M. Burrage, 1931

(This story was first published in the author’s 1931 collection Someone in the Room.)

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Art by “Seth” from the “A Ghost Story for Christmas” edition of “One Who Saw” by A. M. Burrage, published by The Haunted Bookshop in 2015. (The Haunted Bookshop published four other vintage titles in the series of small hand-cut, French-flap editions: “The Diary of Mr. Pointer” by M. R. James; “The Signal-Man” by Charles Dickens; “Afterward” by Edith Wharton; and “The Crown Derby Plate” by Elizabeth Bowen.)

“Crutchley had been five days at the hotel when something strange happened. It was his custom to undress in the dark, because his windows were overlooked by a dozen others and, by first of all turning off the light, he was saved from drawing the great shutters. That night he was smoking while he undressed, and when he was in his pyjamas he went to one of the open windows to throw out the stub of his cigarette. Having done so he lingered, looking out.

The usual unnatural stillness brooded over the garden square, intensified now by the spell of the night. Somewhere in the sky the moon was shining, and a few stray silver beams dappled the top of the north wall. The plane tree stood like a living thing entranced. Not one of its lower branches stirred, and its leaves might have been carved out of jade. Just enough light filtered from the sky to make the features of the garden faintly visible. Crutchley looked where his cigarette had fallen and now lay like a glow-worm, and raised his eyes to one of the long green decrepit seats. With a faint, unreasonable thrill and a cold tingling of the nostrils he realized that somebody was sitting there.

As his eyes grew more used to the darkness the huddled form took the shape of a woman. She sat with her head turned away, one arm thrown along the sloping back of the seat, and her face resting against it. He said that her attitude was one of extreme dejection, of abject and complete despair.

Crutchley, you must understand, couldn’t see her at all clearly, although she was not a dozen yards distant. Her dress was dark, but he could make out none of its details save that something like a flimsy scarf or thick veil trailed over the shoulder nearest him. He stood watching her, pricked by a vague sense of pity and conscious that, if she looked up, he would hardly be visible to her beyond the window, and that, in any event, the still glowing stub of cigarette would explain his presence.

But she did not look up, she did not move at all while Crutchley stood watching. So still she was that it was hard for him to realize that she breathed. She seemed to have fallen completely under the spell of the garden in which nothing ever stirred, and the scene before Crutchley’s eyes might have been a nocturnal picture painted in oils.

Of course he made a guess or two about her. At the sight of anything unusual one’s subconscious mind immediately begins to speculate and to suggest theories. Here, thought Crutchley, was a woman with some great sorrow, who, before retiring to her room had come to sit in this quiet garden, and there, under the stars, had given way to her despair.

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Art by “Seth” from the “A Ghost Story for Christmas” edition of “One Who Saw” by A. M. Burrage, published by The Haunted Bookshop in 2015.

 

I don’t know how long Crutchley stood there, but probably it wasn’t for many seconds. Thought is swift and time is slow when one stands still watching a motionless scene. He owned that his curiosity was deeply intrigued, and it was intrigued in a somewhat unusual way. He found himself desiring less to know the reason of her despair than to see her face. He had a definite and urgent temptation to go out and look at her, to use force if necessary in turning her face so that he might look into her eyes. If you knew Crutchley at all well you must know that he was something more than ordinarily conventional. He concerned himself not only with what a gentleman ought to do but with what a gentleman ought to think. Thus when he came to realize that he was not only spying upon a strange woman’s grief, but actually feeling tempted to force himself upon her and stare into eyes which he guessed were blinded by tears, it was sufficient to tear him away from the window and send him padding across the floor to the high bed at the far end of the room.

But he made no effort to sleep. He lay listening, waiting for a sound from the other side of those windows. In that silence he knew he must hear the least sound outside. But for ten minutes he listened in vain, picturing to himself the woman still rigid in the same posture of despair. Presently he could bear it no longer. He jumped out of bed and went once more to the window. He told himself that it was human pity which drove him there. He walked heavily on his bare feet and he coughed. He made as much noise as he was reasonably able to make, hoping that she would hear and bestir herself. But when he reached the open window and looked out the seat was empty.

Crutchley stared at the empty seat, not quite crediting the evidence of his eyes. You see, according to his account, she couldn’t have touched that loose gravel with her foot without making a distinct sound and to re-enter the hotel she must have opened a door with creaking hinges and a noisy latch. Yet he had heard nothing, and the garden was empty. Next morning he even tried the experiment of walking on tiptoe across the garden to see if it could be done in utter silence, and he was satisfied that it could not. Even an old grey cat, which he found blinking on a window ledge, made the gravel clink under its pads when he called it to him to be stroked.

Well, he slept indifferently that night, and in the morning, when the chambermaid came in, he asked her who was the sad-looking lady whom he had seen sitting at night in the garden.”

-End of Excerpt-


The story is available for $.99 at Amazon in a small, nicely designed and illustrated digital format, part of A Ghost Story for Christmas series of five IMG_6590stories designed and illustrated by “Seth” (inset: cover by “Seth” 2015):

 https://www.amazon.com/A.M.-Burrage/e/B00IORS3AU/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_ebooks_1

The story is also included in Volume 1: Waxwork & Other Stories by A. M. Burrage (Burrage Press 2013)—the first of 10 volumes (see inset of three covers and link below) that collect Burrage’s short fiction work in both print, and affordable digital editions ($5.99 at Amazon; publisher: Burrage Press, 2013):

https://www.amazon.com/Waxwork-Other-Stories-M-Collection-ebook/dp/B00GJQ9Q2M/ref=pd_sim_351_4?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=K4Z8V7MW80PC46GF5WXZ

The other 9 volumes in the series can be purchased via the authors Amazon page here (all 10 volumes have identical covers, but cast in a different pastel shade (see inset images below):

Click here to buy all 10 volumes of the collected supernatural stories of A. M. Burrage

About the Author

Alfred McLelland Burrage was born in 1889. His father and uncle were both writers, primarily of boy’s fiction, and by age 16 AM Burrage had joined them and quickly became a master of the market publishing his stories regularly across a number of publications. By the start of the Great War Burrage was well established but in 1916 he was conscripted to fight on the Western Front, his experiences becoming the classic book War is War by Ex-Private X. For the remainder of his life Burrage was rarely printed in book form but continued to write and be published on a prodigious scale in magazines and newspapers. His supernatural stories are, by common consent, some of the best ever written. Succinct yet full of character each reveals a twist and a flavour that is unsettling…..sometimes menacing….always disturbing. In this volume we bring you – The Waxwork, The Case of Mr Ryalstone, One Who Saw, The Running Tide, The Oak Saplings, The Blue Bonnet, Through The Eyes Of A Child, Mr. Garshaw’s Companion, The Cottage In The Wood, The Strange Case of Dolly Frewan & The Sweeper.

The Sugar Fuck Sensation, A Bitchin Urban Poem

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(Tumblr)

The Sugar-Fuck Sensation

(A 1-Minute Poem)

I’ve discovered the boobie-doobie
time machine. The glossy
skin-flick magazine. Wet buzz,
effervescent upper. The schplooge
I want to have for supper.
In youth, it was summer fling in
frosty glass on beach-sand, babe-hunting
bikini chicks—midlife finds the chick a
dick—in a lick, the chick with a dick
(you pick). It’s almost better than
S&M. It fucks my stress. It gropes
my sin. An alternative to wank-a-whacking.
And, sometimes, even ass-smacking.
I horde it. Crave it. I misbehave it.
I’ll never live without this—
obsession, possession, this sandpail
confession. Preoccupation,
Sugar-Fuck sensation—I’ve tried but can’t
explain it. But, then, ‘Love is an endless
mystery, for nothing can contain it…’
Talk to Mama,
Baby.

– Mrs. maudlin, 2017

(from Mrs. Maudlin’s Bitchin Urban Poetry)

(C)2017. All Rights Reserved.

Unearthed, an Anthology of Classic Mummy Stories, ed. Johnston & Shorn (Egypt Exploration Society, 2013)

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Unearthed

An Anthology of Classic Mummy Stories

Edited by Johnston & Shorn for the

Egypt Exploration Society, 2013


Unearthed resurrects eleven classic tales of the mummy, selected by John J. Johnston (Vice-Chair, Egypt Exploration Society) and Jared Shurin.

These stories date back to the middle of the 19th century, and many have not been republished for almost two hundred years. They have all been carefully edited and formatted to accurately represent their original publication quality.

Unearthed comes complete with “Going Forth by Night” (2013 BSFA finalist), a comprehensive introduction from John J. Johnston, outlining the complete pop cultural history of the mummy, from its first appearance in print to its latest appearance on screen.

This volume is published in partnership with Egypt Exploration Society, the UK’s oldest independent funder of archaeological fieldwork and research in Egypt, dedicated to the promotion and understanding of ancient Egyptian history and culture.

Purchase Unearthed, here…

Table of Contents

  1. Going Forth by Night, an Introduction
  2. The Mummy’s Foot by Théophile Gautier (Trans. by Lafcadio Hearn)
  3. Some Words with a Mummy by Edgar Allan Poe
  4. Lost in a Pyramid by Louisa May Alcott
  5. The Ring of Thoth by Arthur Conan Doyle
  6. Lot No. 249 by Arthur Conan Doyle
  7. The Unseen Man’s Story by Julian Hawthorne
  8. A Professor of Egyptology by Guy Boothby
  9. The Block of Bronze by Herbert Crotzer
  10. The Story of Baelbrow by E. and H. Heron
  11. The Vanished Mummy by Charles Bump
  12. The Death-Bridal of Nitocris by George Griffith
  13. Contributors
  14. The Egypt Exploration Society
  15. Acknowledgements

The Book of the Dead, an Anthology of New Mummy Stories, ed. Jared Sharon (Egypt Exploration Society, 2013)

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The Book of the Dead

Edited by Jared Sharon for the

Egypt Exploration Society, 2013


“The first complete anthology of new and specially commissioned short stories addressing [the mummy]”

– An Encyclopedia of Mummies in History, Religion, and Popular Culture (2014)

The Book of the Dead addresses the most fascinating of all the undead: the mummy. The mummy can be a figure of imperial dignity or one of shambling terror, at home in pulp adventure, contemporary drama, or apocalyptic horror. The anthology is published in collaboration with the Egypt Exploration Society, the UK’s oldest independent funder of archaeological fieldwork and research in Egypt, dedicated to the promotion and understanding of ancient Egyptian history and culture.

This anthology includes nineteen original stories of revenge, romance, monsters and mayhem, ranging freely across time periods, genres and styles. The stories are illustrated by Garen Ewing, creator of The Adventures of Julius Chancer and introduced by John J. Johnston, Vice Chair of the Egypt Exploration Society.


Table of Contents

  1. Introduction: “Some Words from an Egyptologist” by John J. Johnston (Egypt Exploration Society)
  2. “Ramesses on the Frontier” by Paul Cornell
  3. “Escape from the Mummy’s Tomb” by Jesse Bullington
  4. “Old Souls” by David Thomas Moore
  5. “Her Heartbeat, An Echo” by Lou Morgan
  6. “Mysterium Tremendum” by Molly Tanzer
  7. “Tollund” by Adam Roberts
  8. “The Curious Case of the Werewolf that Wasn’t, The Mummy that Was and the Cat in the Jar” by Gail Carriger
  9. “The Cats of Beni Hasan” by Jenni Hill
  10. “Cerulean Memories” by Maurice Broaddus
  11. “Inner Goddess” by Michael West
  12. “The Roof of the World” by Sarah Newton
  13. “Henry” by Glen Mehn
  14. “The Dedication of Sweetheart Abbey” by David Bryher
  15. “All is Dust” by Den Patrick
  16. “Bit-U-Men” by Maria Dahvana Headley
  17. “Egyptian death and the afterlife: mummies (Rooms 62-3)” by Jonathan Green
  18. “Akhenaten Goes to Paris” by Louis Greenberg
  19. “The Thing of Wrath” by Roger Luckhurst
  20. “Three Memories of Death” by Will Hill

Accolades

Finalist, Shirley Jackson Awards (Edited Anthology)

Finalist, Sidewise Awards (Short Form – Adam Roberts’ “Tollund”)

David Thomas Moore’s “Old Souls” selected for The Year’s Best Australian Fantasy and Horror (ed. Liz Gryzb and Talie Helene).

Maria Dahvana Headley’s “Bit-U-Men” and Maurice Broaddus’ “Cerulean Memories” received Honorable Mentions for The Year’s Best Horror (ed. Ellen Datlow).

Extras

Read Headley’s story “Bit-U-Men”, free, here…

http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/bit-u-men/

Read Paul Cornell’s story “Ramesses on the Frontier, free, here..

http://www.tor.com/2013/10/28/ramesses-on-the-frontier/

Additional Reading:

Joahn J. Johnston’s “Unearthing The Book of the Dead” on Tor.com:

http://www.tor.com/2013/06/27/unearthing-the-book-of-the-dead/

http://www.jurassic-london.com/the-book-of-the-dead.html%5D

 

 

Lost in a Pyramid & Other Classic Mummy Stories, ed. Andrew Smith

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Lost in a Pyramid & Other Classic Mummy Stories

Selected by Andrew Smith
The British Library
October 2016

“As he rushed madly and wildly through the night, he could hear a swift, dry patter behind him, and could see that this horror was bounding at his heels, with blazing eyes and one stringy arm out-thrown.”

A mummy disappears from its sarcophagus in the dead of night; a crazed Egyptologist entombs a beautiful young woman; a student at Oxford reveals the terrible secrets of an ancient papyrus. These are among the twelve tales from the golden age of the mummy story collected here—stories that still cast a spell with their different versions of the mummy’s curse, some chilling, others darkly romantic and even comic. This enthralling collection is introduced by Andrew Smith, a leading expert on ghost stories and Victorian gothic.


From the publishing house of the British Library comes Lost in a Pyramid & Other Classic Mummy Stories, a collection of twelve tales selected and edited by Andrew Smith—a knowledgeable reference of Nineteenth Century Gothic English Literature—and originating from the Golden Age of Egyptian-based British horror between 1869 and 1910. The first origins of this type of story are said to have come from the British strategic interest in the Suez Canal and its discoveries uncovered in Egyptian tombs. Some of these writers are known to many, such as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, author of the world famous Sherlock Holmes stories, Louisa May Alcott, writer of Little Women, and Sax Rohmer, author of the Fu Manchu series of books; however, there are also some more obscure offerings and those which, hitherto, have never seen the light of day.

The beautifully understated cover artwork is by Rawshock Design.

Contents & Brief Snopses of the Stories

  1. In Lost in a Pyramid, or the Mummy’s Curse, by Louisa May Alcott, an archaeologist and his daughter become lost in an Egyptian tomb and burn whatever is to hand, to ensure their rescue – including a Mummy protectively clutching tiny seeds.
  2. In A Night With King Pharaoh, attributed to Baron Schlippenback, KSL, two British explorers are tricked and left to die in the depths of an Egyptian pyramid.
  3. In My New Year’s Eve Among the Mummies, by Grant Allen, an explorer has a restless night and so explores the tomb he should be entering the next day with his expedition, only to stumble upon the long-dead pharaoh and his gathering enjoying a grand banquet.
  4. In Professor Petrus, by Justin Huntly McCarthy, an aged adventurer tells a young man setting out on a similar path in life, of his encounter with an expert on historical Egyptian culture, and his obsession with discovering the man’s dark secret.
  5. In The Curse of Vasartas, by Eva M. Henry, a traveller takes the newly discovered Mummy of an archaeologist to England, but soon receives a desperate message to return it to Egypt on pain of his friend’s life and that of his daughter in England.
  6. In Lot No. 249, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, a mature student at Oxford University has an Egyptian mummy in his rooms, which he purchased at auction. An associate warns a young student about the man, but it isn’t until individuals who have crossed the man are attacked by a barely seen figure that he begins to realise the danger he is in from the man and his possession.
  7. In The Unseen Man’s Story, by Julian Hawthorne, a young traveller is advised to visit certain parts of Egypt and to seek out a very unusual individual. The strange man tells him he was born to serve an ancient queen.
  8. In The Story of Baelbrow, by Kate and Hesketh Prichard, a resident ghost becomes notorious, much to the amusement of the owner of the house, until it begins to seriously hurt people, and a friend determines to get to the bottom of its origins.
  9. In The Mysterious Mummy, by Sax Rohmer, an antiquity from an Egyptian collection on display in a London museum, mysteriously disappears. Is this part of an ancient curse or something much more mundane?
  10. In The Dead Hand, by Hester White, an officer in the British army, acquires the hand of an Egyptian mummy; and so begins a string of bad luck.
  11. In A Professor of Egyptology, by Guy Boothby, a Greek professor hypnotizes a British lady and takes her to an Egyptian tomb, where she experiences a personal link to the ancient past.
  12. In The Necklace of Dreams, by W. G. Peasgood, we are told a story of ancient Egypt relating to a rare antiquity, which still holds a dangerous power in the present.

I am not only a long-time lover of horror fiction but particularly enjoy the formal writing style of the nineteenth and early twentieth century. I have several leather bound collections, including H.P. Lovecraft, Edgar Allan Poe and M.R. James. So any new collections along these lines are always welcome. In fact, it’s a shame this isn’t in hardback. The format here is to say a little about what is known of the author of the individual tale. My only quibble is that right afterward, almost as an introduction to the story, the plot points are mentioned which rather spoils the magic of uncovering the outcome yourself. I found myself reading each short story first before going back to the editor’s comments. In this manner, even the synopses above are my own interpretations.

What really surprised me here is the lack of diminishing returns. In other words, how many variations on a theme of Egyptian curses and mummies coming to life can you have? Well, the answer is quite a few, it seems, and this is testament to Smith’s eclectic mix which has been gathered together here with more than a little thought and balance in mind.

I enjoyed immensely the reading of these classics from the golden era. My fear is that younger people than me, who have grown up expecting constant action, whizzes and bangs, will sadly and short-sightedly find anything from this era wanting. Many of this era’s tales take a page or two to get started, as one gentleman tells another gentleman about a third gentleman’s gentleman friend who told him about a strange event! The Sherlock Holmes stories are from this period setting (except for the contemporary Sherlock series) and are still adapted for TV on a regular basis, so it proves subject matter from these times still have relevance.

This book took me back to my childhood when little books on shop spindles depicting Uncanny, Suspense, Eerie or Creepy Horror seemed much more common. Innocent days.

I found that I preferred the mystery-related versions present in stories eight and nine. The final story doesn’t involve a mummy, and the tale before it only in the loosest sense. But I found it didn’t matter; the collection is more than welcome, all the same. So, in conclusion, this is a damn fine read which should attract the regular horror buffs and fans of the halcyon days of Hammer Films. I look forward to any subsequent horror or mystery collections from the British Library in a similar vein.

Pick up your copy here…

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0712356177/fictiondb

(Sources: The Guardian, The British Library, Amazon)

The Poetry of the Lyric: Lisa Marie Presley, Lights Out (+Vid Link)

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Lisa Marie Presley, daughter of Elvis Presley debuted as a singer/songwriter with her album To Whom It May Concern and the single “Lights Out”.

Lights Out

You were a million miles behind.
And I was crying every time I’d leave you;
Then I didn’t want to see you.
I still keep my watch two hours behind…

Someone turned the lights out there in Memphis.
That’s where my family’s buried and gone.
Last time I was there I noticed a space left,
Next to them there in Memphis
In the damn back lawn.

I didn’t know that I was in the crowd.
Oh, well…The fresh-cut grass stopped growing;
Everything on my shelf has fallen.
I still keep my watch two hours behind…

Someone turned the lights out there in Memphis.
That’s where my family’s buried and gone.
Oh, and I, last time I was there I noticed a space left,
Next to them there in Memphis
In the damn back lawn.

Was that a bridge I was crossing?
Somewhere I stopped walking.
I guess I fell off on my own.

I heard all the roads—they lead to Memphis.
Except for the one I’m stumbling down.
Oh, and I, I’ll be damned if I ever get this
Little son of a bitch from Memphis.
Well it’s all there I guess…
And I haven’t forgot.


Vid Links

Official Video

Live


Lisa Marie Presley released her debut album, To Whom It May Concern, on April 8, 2003. It reached No. 5 on the ”Billboard” 200 albums chart and was certified gold in June 2003. The album’s first single, “Lights Out”, reached No. 18 on the Billboard Hot Adult Top 40 chart and No. 16 on the UK charts.

Lisa Marie Presley (born February 1, 1968) is an American singer-songwriter. She is the only child of singer/actor Elvis Presley.

As sole heir to Elvis’ estate, Presley is the owner of Graceland, the Memphis mansion where her father lived, now a major tourist attraction. She has conducted a long career in the music business and has issued several albums and videos. Her work as vocalist and lyricist has ranged across country, blues and folk.

IMG_4082“Lights Out” is from the Album, To Whom It May Concern. The song was co-written by Glen Ballard, Clif Magness, & Lisa Marie Presley

(Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Universal Music Publishing Group, The Bicycle Music Company)

The Poetry of the Lyric: Joshua Radin, Today (& link 2 vid)…

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Joshua Radin.

Today

Shoe laces untied, you can dry your eye.
Perfect shadows lie behind us.
And this is the day I make you mine.

The way your hair lies,
Sometimes unrecognized.
All the way from Nice today on a train…

Nothing to say but there’s still time.
You are the one
I’ve been waiting for today.

And here comes the sun.
It’s been beating more today.

Lately I’ve lost my tongue.
Today you found my song.
Unknown our love…has grown.

And I thank God you came along.
And you are the one
I’ve been waiting for today.

And here comes the sun.
It’s been beating more today.

You look right through me;
There was no one else.
I sat beside you
and became myself…
Today.

You are the one
I’ve been waiting for today.

And here comes the sun;
It’s been beating more today.

– Joshua Ryan Radin