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“The Legend of Bluebeard” by Sae Jung Choi.

The Legend of Bluebeard is a centuries-old folk tale made popular in 1697 by fairy-tale author Charles Perrault. A classic example of psychological and serial-killer horror tropes, Bluebeard tells the tale of a rich nobleman who is also a violent killer, recognized, feared, and hated due in part to his blue beard—that, and, perhaps, the unnatural, rather macabre habit he has of brutally murdering and saving the corpses of his wives. Wife #8, though, is still alive when we come to the story.

One day, Bluebeard sets out on a little trip, leaving Wife #8 the keys to all the rooms in the castle—including the one room which he insists she never enter. We learn that Bluebeard subjected each of his former wives to the very same “key-to-the-forbidden-room test”. Wife #8, being unable to resist the temptation, becomes curious; so, she unlocks the door to the forbidden room.

The Horror! Inside, she discovers the tortured, mutilated corpses of Bluebeard’s former wives—some crumpled, some hanging, but all extremely dead. Wife #8 drops the key in her haste to leave the horrible room. When Bluebeard returns home, early, and discovers the key, he confronts Wife #8 about it and makes a promise to her that she will suffer the same fate as all of his previous wives.

(Art by Sae Jung Choi)

The Greatest Ghost Stories Ever Told in Two Volumes (ed. Sanguine Woods), 2017 & 2018

My new book is coming this December from Wick Press! Just in time for the ghost story for Christmas tradition. I’m excited and hope you will be too! Click here for more info…

 

Haint-Blue Shudders

My new book is coming this December from Wick Press. Check it put! And follow Wick Press on wordpress to stay up to date!

Source: The Greatest Ghost Stories Ever Told in Two Volumes (ed. Sanguine Woods), 2017 & 2018

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A Nice Little List of Ghost Stories (1949 – 2000) from The New Yorker

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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.

“Signal”, a Ghost Story by John Lanchester, The New Yorker, 2017

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Signal, a Ghost Story

John Lanchester, 2017

 


Read an interview with John Lanchester regarding this story from the New Yorker…

https://thesanguinewoods.wordpress.com/2017/05/12/on-ghost-stories-a-modern-take/


 

I tried to give the children an etiquette lesson while we were waiting at King’s Cross on December 30th.

“You aren’t allowed to ask for the Wi-Fi password before you say hello,” I said. “That’s the main thing.”

“Uncle Mike won’t care,” said Toby, who was nine.

“He’s nice,” said Mia, who was seven.

“Both of those things are true,” I said. “Uncle Mike is nice, and he wouldn’t care, but this is a life lesson. It’s just not what you do. You say hello, you chat for a bit, and then you ask for the Wi-Fi password. It’s just one of the rules.”

“Fear? That’s the other guy’s problem,” Toby said. We had recently let him stay up too late to watch “Trading Places,” and this line had made a profound impact.

Michael wasn’t my oldest friend and he wasn’t my closest friend, but he was older than any of the ones who were closer and closer than any of the ones who were older, so he had a special status, as part of the furniture of my life, the kind of friend who when you’re asked how you met you have to think for a while to remember. What he certainly was, though, unequivocally and by a huge margin, was my richest friend. Michael was loaded, seriously and unambiguously loaded. He was the kind of rich that even other people who were rich considered rich. He had made the money himself. It was all the more impressive because Michael seemed barely to have noticed. His peers and friends and rivals and colleagues were all amazed by the fact that Mike was now some kind of gazillionaire, but it didn’t seem to make much impression on Michael himself.

He’d drifted through Cambridge doing something scientific—engineering or maths, I think it was. I’d always thought that, like me, he was going to be an academic, but Michael had got a first and then stumbled into the City, and then shuffled or ambled through an escalating series of jobs in finance before “going off to try something a bit different,” and at that point it became clear that he had ascended to some new stratosphere of international wealth. The first sign was when he invited us to join him on holiday for a week, and that turned out to mean a helicopter pickup in Battersea taking us to a private jet at Northolt, taking us to a yacht the size of a municipal tennis facility, and a week’s cruising in the Med. And still it was never clear how Michael had done what he’d done. This was a characteristic that had been salient from the time we first met, at university, his ambient, all-purpose, omnidirectional vagueness. It was a well-meaning vagueness, but it could also be highly irritating, and there were certain situations in which it more or less guaranteed disaster, such as anything involving social life.

This was shaping up to be another of those occasions. Michael had “bought a little place,” as he put it, which, after he mentioned the address and I did a certain amount of cyberstalking, turned out to mean an estate of several thousand acres in North Yorkshire. The previous owner had suddenly died and the estate had been sold, in the flattering and far from accurate language of the only newspaper report, to a “mystery financier.” Michael had invited us to go up for New Year’s Eve about a month earlier and Kate and I couldn’t resist, despite knowing that, while the setting was guaranteed to be amazing, from the social point of view it was likely to be chaotic, or hard work, or both. On the other hand, we knew that halfway through the alleged holidays we’d be hallucinating with fatigue, and three days with someone else looking after our lovely but exhausting little ones would feel like the kind of thing that should be available on the National Health Service.

The trip up north felt like punishment for our hubristic attempt to change holiday routine. King’s Cross was a maelstrom. The stress was magnified by the fact that Michael had said, by text, only that we’d be met at the station, without saying exactly where or by whom. Network Rail seemed to pride itself on displaying platform information at the last possible moment, so we were quivering like greyhounds as we waited to run to the train. Toby and Mia hadn’t eaten and were holiday-cranky, and were demanding a trip to the Harry Potter Shop and to Platform 9¾. We didn’t know what we’d be doing at the house, or how fancy it would be, and as a result had overpacked. It was a perfect storm of travel stress and bad omens. Kate looked at me.

“This is a look of mute reproach,” she said.

“Yep,” I said. “Sorry. We’ll wait for the platform info, get to our seats, and hope it sorts itself out at the other end.”

“Unless he just forgot.”

“No, he never forgets,” I said, which was true: Michael might mis- or dis-organize things, but he never plain forgot them.

The rest of the journey was both better and worse than I had expected. There were as many people standing as sitting, and when I say standing I mean lurching, swaying, listening to music at the perfect volume to irritate everyone within a five-metre radius. Add to that overheating, an unexplained twenty-minute delay after Peterborough, and two motion-sickness-prone children. We got off at York and, in the general mayhem, Kate found a driver carrying a sign with a misspelled version of our surname. The subsequent ninety-minute car trip through the Yorkshire dark, stopping only twice, for children’s pee and vomit breaks, was a week at Jumeirah Dubai by comparison.

The driveway of Michael’s big house was so long that even after we got there it took a while to get there. The four of us came out of the cold into a double-height entrance hallway, to be greeted by no one at all, apart from a very, very tall man, at least six feet five, who was looking at his mobile phone as if he was struggling to get reception, and more interested in that than in any other form of human interaction. His response to a family of four bursting through the door was to do nothing except scowl at us, then drift toward the side hallway. The rudeness was compounded by an air of complete coldness and disconnection, as if he couldn’t have cared less whether we lived or died.

“Hello,” Toby said. “Very nice to meet you. My name is Toby. How do you do? Also, would you mind awfully telling me the Wi-Fi password?”

While Kate and I spluttered and glared at our firstborn, the man continued to walk away and vanished around the corner. Silence settled in the entrance hall of the big house. There was a stag’s head on the far wall. Large portraits of formally dressed people from previous centuries frowned from above the unlit fireplace. Presumably, they were ancestors of the previous owner. The unwelcoming, inhospitable, eerie quiet loomed and grew. It seemed, for a moment, as if we didn’t really exist. It seemed, for a moment, as if coming here for the holiday had been a very bad idea indeed.

Then, as in a farce, from the other side of the hall came four members of the household staff in uniform; a smartly dressed couple in early middle age arguing heatedly in French; and our host, who was carrying a pair of roller skates and a copy of a book called “Option Volatility & Pricing,” by Sheldon Natenberg, thickly interleaved with Post-it notes.

“The four-fifteen,” Michael said. He hadn’t forgotten that we were arriving, but he had forgotten that we would be arriving at that exact moment, so he was too distracted to greet us or smile or say hello. “Pickup at, say, four-thirty,” he said to himself. “Ninety minutes across the moors. A few extra minutes for other journey variables. Six-thirty.” He looked at his watch. “Yes!” And then suddenly there was the sweet smile and the abrupt sense of warmth and intimacy, which was why, after all, people did love him. “Yes!” he said and hugged Mia and then Toby and then Kate and me. He hugged like a natural non-toucher who had taken professional instruction in how to overcome his instincts and hug, and then found, greatly to his own surprise, that he liked it. Which, in fact, was what he was, and the reason I know is that I gave him the course, “I Hate Hugging: Overcoming Your Fear of Intimacy Through Touch,” as a fortieth-birthday present.

After that, everything became better. I don’t mean better from the social point of view, because Michael still didn’t know how to introduce people, and, that evening, as we tried to work out who was who, it became clear that he had done exactly what we suspected, and invited an essentially random group consisting of us, a large selection of work acquaintances who didn’t know one another, and a few people he’d barely met but had asked at the last minute.

Read the story in The New Yorker, free, here…

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/04/03/signal-john-lanchester

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Australian Gothic Stories, 1867 a 1939, ed. James Doig, TOC

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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

The Fiddle is the Devil’s Instrument and Other Forbidden Knowledge— a Hellish Collection of “Lovecraftian” Stories by Brett J. Talley

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Now THIS cover could sell a book. Check out the new anthology of creepy stories in the devilish cuddler vein edited by author Brett J. Talley. It’s available for your FREE Kindle for PC, ios, Android, and tablets, at the link below…

About Brett J. Talley

“A native of the South, Brett Talley received a philosophy and history degree from the University of Alabama before moving to witch-haunted Massachusetts to attend Harvard Law School. When people ask, Brett tells them he writes for fortune and glory. But the truth is the stories in his head simply refuse to stay put. Brett loves every kind of fiction—from horror to literary to historical to sci-fi—as long as there are fantastic characters with a compelling purpose. There’s still magic to be found in fiction, the mysterious and the unknown still beckon there, and the light can always triumph over the darkness, no matter how black the night may be.

Brett writes when he can, though he spends most of his time working as a lawyer so that he can put food on the table. That is, until the air grows cool and crisp and fall descends. For then it is football time in the South, and Brett lives and dies with the Alabama Crimson Tide. Roll Tide”

– Text / Author Photo from author’s Website: https://brettjtalley.com

Check out Brett’s other stories and novels, here…

Short Stories

Reviews of My Books

Get Brett’s story “The Chamber” free, here…

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/126695

Order The Fiddle is the Devil’s Instrument anthology, here…

Year’s Best Weird Fiction Is Here to Stay! See the New Cover & TOC from Volume 4!

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Art: Alex Andreev. Design: Vince Haig.

Wow. It’s hard to believe it’s been FOUR years! I began following this series of anthologies with the publication of Volume One, edited by author Laird Barron. Three spectacular volumes later (links below), Undertow books, one of our favorite publishers here at The Sanguine Woods, has revealed the new cover* and the Table of Contents from Volume 4 in its annual series: Year’s Best Weird Fiction—and of course we are excited to share these with our readers!

We cannot say enough about how important it is to support publishers who are all about publishing the highest quality fiction being written today—especially independent publishers in this age of publishing monopolies and corporate marketing mayhem (remember You’ve Got Mail?)

Read more about Year’s Best Weird Fiction here…

So, please visit Michael Kelly proprietor and owner, and his team, over at Undertow; and don’t forget to get your back issues of the first three volumes of Year’s Best Weird Fiction!

Year’s Best Weird Fiction, Volume 1, ed. by Laird Barron & Michael Kelly…

Year’s Best Weird Fiction, Volume 2, ed. by Kathe Koja & Michael Kelly…

Year’s Best Weird Fiction, Volume 3, ed. by Simon Strantzas & Michael Kelly…