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

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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

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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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Sinister Snow, Silent Ice

Conrad Aiken vs. Haruki Murakami

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror    August 12, 2014

What do you fear most about snow and ice? Fear of being buried in snow so deep you can’t breath? Fear of snow trapping you far away from others? Maybe you have a  fear of ice freezing you to death. Or what about the horror of  falling through the ice? And maybe these are just symbolic of other fears like a loved one freezing you out, or loneliness, insanity, emotional imprisonment.  I don’t often do themes, but this week I grew thirsty for something chilling for August’s dog days of summer. So, let’s cool down with some secret snow and a very compelling ice man.

Two shorts for you this week: one old and one new by very different writers—Conrad Aiken who brings you into the inner world of the mind, and Haruki Murakami who brings you outside the world of reality. Both stories explore life as it freezes and isolates. Both stories disregard realism, but not reality.

 

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Silent Snow, Secret Snow   by Conrad Aiken (1934)

Young Paul Haselman, twelve years old, is daydreaming about snow. He becomes obsessed with the falling of snow, the silence of it, and its mysterious secret world. He thinks a lot about the Arctic. When his bedroom begins to fill up with snow, the mystery goes deep, challenging reality and imaginary worlds. This story is filled with symbolism and operates on several levels of psychological complexities, imagination, and madness. Have you ever walked in the snow with muffled steps? That eerie sound of being alone in a deep white world? Here is a taste of Aiken’s unforgettable prose:

The snow was laughing: it spoke from all sides at once: it pressed closer to him as he ran and jumped exulting into his bed.

 “Listen to us!” it said. “Listen! We have come to tell you the story we told you about. You remember? Lie down. Shut your eyes, now—you will no longer see much —in this white darkness who could see, or want to see? We will take the place of everything . . . Listen—”

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Listen, the author says. Can  you hear snow falling? Is it soothing or threatening?

Read Silent Snow, Secret Snow at VQRonline.org.

 

You can watch the film (Rod Serling’s Night Gallery). This version is on the Twilight Zone Network, produced by Gene Kearney.

 

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Conrad Aiken (1869-1973) was a poet and novelist, not known for horror literature, but this story certainly fits as one of the most mysterious tales and has been widely anthologized in many horror and fantasy books.

 

 

 

 

The Ice Man   by Haruki Murakami (1991)

 

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In this short story a young woman falls in love with an ice man. When stories have a magical power like this one, you won’t forget it.

“I first met the Ice Man at this ski resort hotel. I guess that’s the kind of place one ought to meet an Ice Man.” …

Don’t you ski? I asked the Ice Man, trying to sound as casual as possible. He slowly raised his head. He had an expression on his face like he could a hear the sound of wind blowing from incredibly far away. He looked at my face with eyes like that.”

It would a crime to reveal any more about this amazing story. Surrealist fiction can sweep you away into a delicious world. I’ve featured it here today because while this is not horror, it is about the present, the past, and the future in a fantastical and highly mysterious way. The complexity of loneliness, and becoming ‘frozen’ are themes that this author Murakami handles with such beauty, I found myself in awe. There is no missing the fear growing inside the complexities.

You can read The Ice Man here at Tab.spyang.com

Want more of Murakami? His collection of short  fiction is in Blind Willow, Sleeping Willow on Amazon.com

The Ice Man was published by The New Yorker in 1991. Murakami is an award-winning contemporary Japanese author, his works translated into fifty languages. In an interview at The Paris Review (The Art of Fiction) he spoke about his writing:

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“The good thing about writing books is that you can dream while you are awake. If it’s a real dream, you cannot control it…. In my books and stories, women are mediums, in a sense; the function of the medium is to make something happen through herself.”

 

His latest book, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage is newly released by Knopf.

 

HERE’S SOME NEWS …

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My latest adventure has been to review books on Amazon.com. I now have over 50 book reviews of fiction, horror, short stories, and nonfiction. Stop by if you like to read reviews. And if you like my book reviews, be sure to hit the YES “Was This Review Helpful to You” button.

My reviews are not plot synopses or character sketches. They are usually short capsules of my personal experience with a story.

 Paula Cappa Reviews on Amazon

I also post on Goodreads. I invite you to friend me there!

 

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Bibliophilica

Horror Novel Reviews    Hell Horror    HorrorPalace

 Monster Librarian  Tales to Terrify       Spooky Reads

 Lovecraft Ezine      Rob Around Books    The Story Reading Ape Blog

 Sirens Call Publications

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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True Detective HBO Series: Plagiarism or Fair Use?

FYI, for my readers:

The debate about plagiarism vs. artistic license is  often a dicey situation. I loved HBO’s True Detective, and when I learned that the character Rusty Cohle was based from the writings of weird fiction writer Thomas Ligotti, I was even more intrigued. But I only learned about Ligotti’s influence in the script from an interview of the screenwriter Nic Pizzolatto, not from watching the show, since there’s no reference to Ligotti in any episodes or credits.

Recently, I came across a fascinating post about plagiarism concerning True Detective. This is a really heated debate about what is legally plagiarism, morally wrong, or fair use.  Check out these two posts on August 4 and 5 on Lovecraft Ezine:

Just how much borrowing of words and phrases from a copyrighted published work is considered fair use? What do you think?

Aug 4: http://lovecraftzine.com/2014/08/04/did-the-writer-of-true-detective-plagiarize-thomas-ligotti-and-others/

Aug 5: http://lovecraftzine.com/2014/08/05/nic-pizzolattos-homage-to-ligotti-right-and-wrong-vs-the-law-and-the-courts/

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I have a particular interest in this kind of thing since in my own work, The Dazzling Darkness, I have two characters exploring the philosophies of Ralph Waldo Emerson, speaking Emerson’s words and taking on his thinking. In every case, I cite Emerson as the source and was advised to do so by legal counsel: if the text is in the public domain (which all are), I could use it noting the source. And if not in the public domain, I would have to get (pay for) permissions. So, how does Pizzolatti get away with his character Rusty Cohle spouting (or in some cases paraphrasing) Ligotti’s thinking, words, phrases from his book The Conspiracy Against the Human Race (which is likely not in the public domain)? Hmmm. Curious, don’t you think?

 

If you are interested in reading a short story of Thomas Ligotti, check out Mrs. Rinaldi’s Angel here on my March 11, 2014 Tales of Terror post. Ligotti is a iconic American writer, winner of  Bram Stoker Awards, British Fantasy Award, and had published numerous stories, screenplays, poems and nonfiction (The Conspiracy Against the Human Race).

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Ghost in the Machine

Midnight   by Jack Snow  (1946)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror   August 5, 2014

 

images-1Do you believe in the theory of a ‘Ghost in the Machine,’ as British philosopher Gilbert Ryle coined the term in describing Descartes’ mind-body dualism (mind distinct from the body)? This is the belief that there is a non-biological entity underlying consciousness (the soul or spirit). Neuroscientists will argue that we are solely our physical brains trapped inside our own heads and nothing more than that. Jack Snow’s story Midnight brings up the questions: Are we sometimes operated by otherworldly phantoms—if we desire to call them up? Is there an immaterial realm we might tap into—if we desire to enter?

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What if there is a ghost in the human machine? And what if that ghost has evil powers?

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Meet John Ware who believes that the stroke of midnight has otherworldly powers and he wants in. He has an insatiable craving to know and experience evil directly. Ancient cults and their powerful secrets do not frighten him. So, he adventures into the darkest of realms. In his chamber is an old clock as tall as any person and owned by various Satanists, wizards, and alchemists. John stands before this clock at the stroke of midnight, his body etched with cabalistic markings, chanting unhuman phrases, and dancing grotesque gyrations as he steps into this mysterious band of time.

Do you think time ever stops?

Or are the grains of time an eternal abyss of madness? Tick-tock.

 

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Jack Snow (1907-1956) has written some twenty short stories and spectral tales as well as a fiction series called Oz Universe.

You can read Midnight at StoryOfTheWeek: scroll to download the PDF.

 

DO YOU LIKE TO READ SHORT STORY ANTHOLOGIES?

Every once in a while I come across a newly released anthology that I really like. Most of the time I’m in the old books but here a new anthology edited by Richard Thomas, The New Black. The selection of authors is impressive if  you’d like to experience some of today’s dark fiction writers.

The New Black is a collection of twenty neo-noir stories exemplifying the best authors currently writing in this dark sub-genre. A mixture of horror, crime, fantasy, science fiction, magical realism, and the grotesque—all with a literary bent—these stories are the future of genre-bending fiction.

REVIEW: “The New Black ought to be the New High Standard for dark fiction anthologies. It’s loaded with intelligence and talent. Every one of the pieces in this extraordinary compilation is worthy of your full attention.”   —Jack Ketchum

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On Amazon.com

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Bibliophilica.com

Horror Novel Reviews   Hell Horror    HorrorPalace

 Monster Librarian  Tales to Terrify       Spooky Reads

 Lovecraft Ezine      Rob Around Books    The Story Reading Ape Blog

     The Gothic Wanderer   Sirens Call Publications  The Fussy Librarian

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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