A Haunting Suspense

The Presence by the Fire   by H.G. Wells (1897)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror     September 16, 2014

imagesThe early fiction of H.G. Wells includes a number of “uncollected stories,” and The Presence by the Fire is one that most readers (even most Wells’ fans) have never read. This somewhat sentimental ghost story was rediscovered years ago at the old British Museum Library (1990s?). Romantic love stories of the supernatural are often on my list and this one, although predictable, is a ghostly experience that reminds me of old world drama. It’s a 15-minute read, heartfelt and haunting.

Reid’s wife Mary is dying. At her deathbed, he is torn to pieces, as he knows he must let her go. She utters a last farewell to him and he hangs on through the last breath she takes in this world. How does he cope with Mary gone from his life? Perhaps his love is so strong that he can draw his departed Mary back into this world.

images-1   “The firelight played upon her face.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read H. G. Wells’ short story The Presence by the Fire at StoryPilot.com

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Speaking of ghosts …

JBPriestleyHave you read any of the stories by novelist and playwright J.B. Priestley (1894-1984)? The Old Dark House is a haunted house tale (nowhere to be found online in text) but is a film (1931) with Boris Karloff, Charles Laughton, Gloria Stuart (1 hour, 10 minutes), directed by James Whale (director of Frankenstein).

The film is black-and-white vintage spookery, shadows and candlelight, beating rain and thunder. Travelers are driven off the road from violent rain and wind and must find shelter in a storm-battered castle in Wales. There is a warm fire, weird and cranky caretakers in a castle with no beds … and, Morgan a savage who is loose on the property, a mysterious voice upstairs, a madman kept behind a locked door, and murder. Okay, so cliché after cliché saturates this story and it’s full of melodrama, but if you like the old style movies, this classic is one that harkens back like old wine, a bit musky on the palate but after a glass or two, it’s fun and interesting.

J.B. Priestley is considered to be the “sage of English Literature” and is famous for his book Man and Time (published as a companion to Carl Jung’s Man and His Symbols), a book about the metaphysics of time, which I’m actually reading now as part of my research for my new novel (working title Greylock). He is an unusual author who writes about time-slips of past, present, and future.

 

7122C7BZD9L._AA160_I did find a text (an excerpt) of The Old Dark House (original title Benighted) in The Mammoth Book of 20th Century Ghost Stories, edited by Peter Haining on Amazon.com. This anthology has some terrific old ghost stories by authors Henry James, Jack London, Daphne du Maurier, Ruth Rendell, Agatha Christie, Fay Weldon and Muriel Spark and more (and almost none of these stories are free online).

 

 

You can watch the film The Old Dark House on YouTube Cynykyl Video
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Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Bibliophilica       Lovecraft Ezine

Horror Novel Reviews    Hell Horror    HorrorPalace

HorrorSociety.com       Sirens Call Publications

 Monster Librarian  Tales to Terrify       Spooky Reads

 Rob Around Books    The Story Reading Ape Blog

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free Tales of Terror classic Authors.

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Ghosts Who Wander

The Wood of the Dead by Algernon Blackwood (1906)

 Tuesday’s Tale of Terror    September 9, 2014

 

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Let’s think that time has no existence. Past and future exist in the present. Pain and pleasure are one in the same. Author Algernon Blackwood brings us to this timelessness in The Wood of the Dead. A traveler is wandering the countryside and comes across an “old rustic” man and a maiden of loveliness. He pursues the mystery  about the village ghost who lives in the woods.

 

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“Instantly the shadows closed in upon me and “something” came forward to meet me from the centre of the darkness. It would be easy enough to meet my imagination half-way with fact, and say that a cold hand grasped my own and led me by invisible paths into the unknown depths of the grove …”

 

If you’ve been following this blog, you know how much I appreciate a well-written ghost story. And if you have read any of my own ghost short stories or my ghostly novel The Dazzling Darkness, you know how important ghosts are to me personally. Blackwood is truly a mentor for me because he explores human consciousness, not just the ghost of humans.

 

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Algernon Blackwood is an author who writes artfully of fear and ghostly beauty at the same time. He is likely one of the most prolific  and impressive writers of  ghost stories that you’ll find. I read Blackwood whenever I want a moody story that will conjure vivid images and provide a supernatural adventure with compelling ghosts. He knocks on the ghostly thoughts within all of us and leaves impressions that  last long after you’ve closed the book.

 

 

Come into the Wood of the Dead and you’ll see what I mean.

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Read The Wood of the Dead at ReadBookOnline.net

 

A Woman’s Ghost Story is another of Blackwood’s stories that I liked. Read A Woman’s Ghost Story at Gutenberg.org (scroll to choose page 108)

 

 

 

Librivox Recordings of Algernon Blackwood short stories (The Woman’s Ghost Story, The House of the Past, The Empty House, Wendigo, The Occupant of the Room, and other shorts). Choose “Short Ghost and Horror Story Collection 020” at bottom of page for title selections for audio versions:

  http://article.wn.com/view/2014/03/15/Horror_writer_Algernon_Blackwood_turns_145_today_so_read_the/

 

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Bibliophilica       Lovecraft Ezine

Horror Novel Reviews    Hell Horror    HorrorPalace

HorrorSociety.com       Sirens Call Publications

 Monster Librarian  Tales to Terrify       Spooky Reads

 Rob Around Books    The Story Reading Ape Blog

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free Tales of Terror classic Authors.

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Bronze Medal Awarded to The Dazzling Darkness

Greetings!

Update  here … Readers’ Favorite has awarded the Bronze Medal to The Dazzling Darkness in supernatural fiction, 2014. Readers’ Favorite one of the most popular reading web sites (Alexa ranking at 40,000 US, and 158,000 Global). I’m so proud to have my novel on their site with a 5-star review and to be awarded their BRONZE MEDAL  (https://readersfavorite.com/book-review/12326).

Still only $2.99 on Amazon for Kindle and under $16.00 in paperback published by Crispin Books.
ReadersFavoriteJPCERTIFICATEAward-b448f5705bbadb7235495bfca6e8fdd3 DazzlingDarknessCappa_7Final4DT GothicAwarddazzlingdarknesscappa_7final4 2014-bronze

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The Supernatural at the Old Manse

Between the Darkness and the Dawn,   Whistling Shade Literary Journal 2013 

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror   September 1, 2014

 

old_manseThis holiday weekend I’m off, but still wanted to give you a tale of terror, so how about a historical ghost story from … yours truly.

Do you believe in synchronicity? Synchronicity is the experiencing of two or more events as meaningfully related. Do you believe in ley lines? Lines of energy, or energy grid, between ancient monuments or natural bodies of water, rocks, mountains, Stonehenge, Pyramids, etc., discovered by archaeologist Alfred Watkins (many scientists debate the existence of ley lines). Still, many believe ley lines are scientifically verifiable and are sacred earth energies where spirits can enter the earth’s atmosphere–and that we are naturally drawn to these ley lines.

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In Between the Darkness and the Dawn, Edward Fane is a ley line hunter, on an adventure to locate the ghost of Nathaniel Hawthorne at the Old Manse in Concord, Massachusetts. Hawthorne and his wife Sophia lived at the Old Manse during the time he wrote Mosses From An Old Manse. What Edward discovers when he tests for ley lines at the Old Manse is not just the ghost of Hawthorne, but an experience within a ley line that reveals a shocking encounter with the past and a little piece of history.

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What’s most interesting to me is that when I wrote this short story back in 2010 and 2011, I had no idea there were ley lines discovered and confirmed at the Old Manse in Concord. During the creative writing process the ley lines just naturally appeared in the story. Two years later, upon visiting the Old Manse in October 2013 to drop off the Whistling Shade Literary Journal copies for their gift shop, I met with the director of the Old Manse. He had read my story and asked me how I knew ley lines were discovered on the property because it had not been publicized. The truth is, I didn’t know it. At least not in my own conscious mind, but then synchronicity often functions at the subconscious level. I gave a real chuckle to myself when the director showed me where the ley lines on Hawthorne’s property were confirmed (across the back lawn near a favorite rock where Nathaniel and Sophia often sat for tea). Of course, I probably don’t have to tell you that the reason they had the property and house tested for ley lines was because of the supernatural events that are frequently occurring at the Old Manse.

 

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You can read Between the Darkness and the Dawn here at Whistling Shade Literary Journal.

 

 

Visit the Old Manse Web site, Concord, Massachusetts.

 

 

 

Please leave a comment! I’d love to hear  your reaction to this short story.

 

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Bibliophilica       Lovecraft Ezine

Horror Novel Reviews    Hell Horror    HorrorPalace

HorrorSociety.com       Sirens Call Publications

 Monster Librarian  Tales to Terrify       Spooky Reads

 Rob Around Books    The Story Reading Ape Blog

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free Tales of Terror classic Authors.

 

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5-Star Book Review for Night Sea Journey, Amazon Reviewer

5 STARS from Amazon Book Reviewer Karen Ruggerio
NIGHT SEA JOURNEY, A Tale of the Supernatural
Buy at Amazon US      Buy at Amazon UK     Buy at Barnes & Noble

“I am new into the supernatural world, and this was one of my first books in the genre. I must say, it wasn’t at all what I expected and I actually really enjoyed it. The twists and turns kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time, and I didn’t want to put it down for a second. It has a lot of elements to it, aside from the supernatural aspect. It contains suspense, a bit of horror, thrill, and some romance as well.

Kip is haunted by a dark nocturnal visitor. A winged creature invades her dreams, and it frightens her. When this dream is described, it is amazing. Makes you jump out of the your seat. She turns to Raymond for help, who is an exiled priest. Readers try to figure out whether or not Raymond will be able to help her, and what will develop from it. Their storyline is interesting, one that I personally couldn’t get enough of.

This is a simple read, makes you want to keep turning the pages. Highly recommend.”

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Synopsis

Night Sea Journey is a tale of the supernatural, a quiet horror novel with paranormal apparitions, plenty of romance, psychological twists——and murder.

Kip Livingston lives alone in Abasteron House on Horn Island and is a talented painter with an inspired imagination. But she is haunted by a dark nocturnal visitor. Each night while Kip sleeps, a winged creature with greedy teeth invades her dreams and drags her to the bottom of a ghost-grey sea.

For help, she turns to exiled priest Raymond Kera, who falls for her seductive charms. Can Raymond save her from this dream demon? Or will Kip have to save herself?

From the author of The Dazzling Darkness, this supernatural thriller is a gripping mystical, exquisite story, a dreamy tale that delves deep into uncharted waters and will keep your mind racing.

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The Last Breath

Night and Silence  by Maurice Level (1932)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror   August 26, 2014

 

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There is something frightening and yet beautiful in the last breath a person takes before leaving this world. If you’ve ever witnessed that moment of a loved one, there’s no forgetting it, ever.

 

images-1In Night and Silence we have a story of three people: an old crippled woman and her two brothers: one a deaf-mute and the other blind. The literary symbolism here is captivating and poignant.

The three siblings were known to be inseparable, united in deep affection and dependency, and living in a hovel—presumably in the streets of France. One night, the sister dies peacefully in the arms of her brothers. She dies without a single cry as the deaf-mute looks on and the blind brother clasps her hand inside his.

“Without a sound she passes into eternal silence.”

She is placed inside her coffin in their small hovel. The brothers light candles, pray for her, and kiss her goodbye. When one sees without hearing, or hears without seeing, is illusion created? Or something else?

 

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Author Maurice Level is known for his fiction termed  conte cruel, emotional and gruesome tales. He is certainly a forgotten and obscure writer these days. Night and Silence appeared in Weird Tales in 1932. More of his short stories are on Amazon.51YrUctG26L

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read Night and Silence at Gutenberg Australia.net

(There are three of Level’s short stories here: A Last Kiss; Night and Silence; A Madman. Scroll down half way to find Night and Silence. I can also recommend the other two stories (flash fiction length), especially The Last Kiss, a rather savage love story.

 

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Bibliophilica       Lovecraft Ezine

Horror Novel Reviews    Hell Horror    HorrorPalace

HorrorSociety.com       Sirens Call Publications

 Monster Librarian  Tales to Terrify       Spooky Reads

 Rob Around Books    The Story Reading Ape Blog

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free Tales of Terror classic Authors.

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Unlocking Forbidden Gates: Lovecraft’s Thrilling Non-Mythos Stories

Pickman’s Model   by H.P. Lovecraft (1927)

Tuesday’s Tales of Terror   August 19, 2014

 

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This week is the anniversary birth date of H.P. Lovecraft (August 20th).

Lovecraft is held in high regard as a horror author even though he’s been called a racist and a sexist, accused of writing poor dialogue, overwriting his narratives—sinking into purple prose, Oh those adjectives!—convoluting his plots, and failing to create real-life characters that might breathe on the page. Some readers complain, his stories are too bleak, nihilistic, disgusting, and they don’t “get” it. And then there are those who called him one of the “truly great bad writers,”  “a master of the macabre,” “a writer of powerful and evocative language.”  Joyce Carole Oates said Lovecraft had “incalculable influence on succeeding generations of writers of horror fiction.” Stephen King  credits Lovecraft as the single largest figure to influence his fiction writing. No one can deny Lovecraft was a pioneer who fused supernatural with sci-fi, changing the landscape of horror forever. He created gods and worlds like no one else. And to think Lovecraft saw only one book of his work published in a small run before his death at age 46.

Of course Lovecraft did some things wonderfully right, actually lots of that going on or we wouldn’t still be reading him. I’d be curious to see the percentage of people who still read Poe vs. Lovecraft stories today. A quick look on Amazon sales rankings shows Poe is still outselling Lovecraft. I read Lovecraft stories for his atmospherics, isolation, madness, despair, high imagination, his visionary ideas and themes, and the most unsettling way that he opens that gate to the big FEAR OF THE UNKNOWN.  Am I trading off some technically faulty writing for a thrilling story? No writer is perfect in all aspects of this creative art, not even Poe who sometimes had dense and wooden prose and was no stranger to clumsy sentences—Oh those adjectives! For me and for many readers, it’s the imaginative force of a story that is so compelling.

What I don’t read him for is the alien god-creatures or his cosmic horrors, but that’s just me. I’m not a big mythos fan (Great Old Ones, Cthulhu [which is now a stuffed toy for kids. Really?]), as I prefer Lovecraft’s more conventional supernatural tales. My favorites are The Music of Erich Zann and Dreams in the Witch House. Today I’m spotlighting Lovecraft’s non-mythos stories and begin with Pickman’s Model (1927). This story, like many Lovecraftian stories, unlocks that forbidden gate.

 

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Richard Upton Pickman is an artist in Boston who is said to know “the anatomy and the physiology of fear.” Most galleries and clubs refuse to exhibit his horrific, graphic paintings, especially the one titled Ghoul Feeding. Pickman claims he wants to paint “human ghosts.” And so he does, and much more.

If some painters are motivated to draw the beauty of life, why not some motivated to draw the terror of life? Pickman paints in the dark cellar of his house, away from all daylight where his inspiration is the thickest. And so our narrator, Thurber, takes us down the cellar steps into Pickman’s studio. There is more here than just morbid art or demonic portraits. There are faces … and tunnels and …. what Lovecraft loved to write about …. “the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability.”

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If you are going to enjoy reading Lovecraft, keep in mind that HP was also a poet and loved history, so he naturally employed an antiquated style of language. You are reading a master of horror with a rich imagination, telling you stories that will likely resonate a wave in your own imagination. This is the secret to reading Lovecraft: surrendering your own imagination into his—surrender to his images, his language, his descriptions, his characters who struggle to grasp at the line between reality and the supernatural, and let it bled out into the deepest dark world. That is, if you have the courage.

 

Read Pickman’s Model at HP Lovecraft Archives

Listen to the audio (30 minutes) at Archive.org

Below is a list of non-mythos titles, and if you have any additions please post in the comments. I’m sure there are more.
Cool Air
Dreams in the Witch House
Herbert West: Re-Animator
In the Vault
Picture in the House
The Alchemist
The Cats of Ulthar
The Evil Clergyman
The Moon-Bog
The Music of Erich Zann
The Outsider
The Statement of Randolph Carter
The Street
The Thing on the Doorstep
You can access all these stories at HP Lovecraft Archives

 

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Bibliophilica       Lovecraft Ezine

Horror Novel Reviews    Hell Horror    HorrorPalace

HorrorSociety.com       Sirens Call Publications

 Monster Librarian  Tales to Terrify       Spooky Reads

 Rob Around Books    The Story Reading Ape Blog

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free Tales of Terror classic Authors.

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