Charles Dickens’ The Haunted House

The Haunted House (in two chapters) by Charles Dickens (1859)

Tuesday’s Tale of Ghosts    November 21, 2017

Have you ever thought of early morning as the most ghostly time? Dickens creates a spooky yarn in this odd story: a hooded woman with an owl, a one-eyed tramp named Joby, and a haunted house in the full of autumn. Perfect for a Thanksgiving ghostly read. Lively, Victorian,  spooky storytelling, and compelling in this portmanteau style story.

“A house that was shunned by the village, to which my eye was guided by a church spire some half a mile off—a house that nobody would take.  And the natural inference was, that it had the reputation of being a haunted house.”

So, our narrator gets his sister and friends to spend the night and discover the ghosts within.  The thing about this story is that Dickens co-wrote it with five collaborators (Elizabeth Gaskell and Wilkie Collins among them), for his weekly series in All the Year Round. The book has 8 chapters and each written by a different author.

The chapters in the book are the following: “The Mortals in the House” (Charles Dickens); “The Ghost in the Clock Room” (Hesba Stretton); “The Ghost in the Double Room” (George Augustus Sala); “The Ghost in the Picture Room” (Adelaide Anne Procter); “The Ghost in the Cupboard Room”  (Wilkie Collins); “The Ghost in Master B’s Room” (Charles Dickens); “The Ghost in the Garden Room” (Elizabeth Gaskell); “The Ghost in the Corner Room” (Charles Dickens).

 

You can read Dickens’ two chapters  The Mortals in the House  and The Ghost in Master B’s Room here:

 

 

Read Dickens’ two chapters at Gutenberg.org

Listen to the audio (1 hour) on YouTube.com.  

Check out the full book on Amazon.com.

 

 

 

“An idea, like a ghost … must be spoken to a little before it will explain itself.”  Charles Dickens

Biographical highlight:  A Dinner at Popular Walk was Dickens’s first published story. It appeared in the Monthly Magazine in December 1833.  He adopted the soon to be famous pseudonym Boz. Dickens’s first book, a collection of stories titled Sketches by Boz, was published in 1836.

Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free reading. This is a compendium of over 200 short stories by more than 100 famous storytellers of mystery, supernatural, ghost stories,  suspense, crime, sci-fi, and ‘quiet horror.’ Follow or sign up to join me in reading two short stories every month. Comments are welcome.

 

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Kirkus Mystery & Thrillers Reviews

Books & Such    Bibliophilica   NewYorkerFictionOnline

 Lovecraft Ezine   Parlor of Horror

HorrorNews.net   Fangoria.com   

Slattery’s Art of Horror Magazine   Chuck Windig’s Terrible Minds

HorrorAddicts.net     Horror Novel Reviews    HorrorSociety.com     

Monster Librarian      HorrorTalk.com 

 Rob Around Books      The Story Reading Ape Blog

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

 

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

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GREYLOCK Wins Best Book Award, American Book Fest, 2017

I am very happy to announce …
GREYLOCK wins Best Book Award by American Book Fest 2017. 14th Annual Book Awards: Winners and finalists traverse the publishing landscape: Wiley, McGraw-Hill, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, St. Martin’s Press, Penguin Random House, Hachette Book Group, Rowman & Littlefield, New American Library, Forge/Tor Books, John Hopkins University Press, MIT Press and hundreds of independent houses. Jeffrey Keen, President and CEO of American Book Fest said this year’s contest yielded over 2,000 entries from mainstream and independent publishers, which were then narrowed down to over 400 winners and finalists.
“In Greylock, Paula Cappa has written a smart, entertaining supernatural thriller, in which a composer with a damning secret battles a ballerina scorned, while an embittered messenger from the Otherworld demands to be heard. Think Stephen King meets Raymond Chandler with a score by Tchaikovsky. The author’s passion for both the arts and the natural world shines through on every page, while a mysterious composition from old Russia, combined with the majestic songs of the Beluga whale, form the thematic backdrop of the story. Briskly paced and yet lovingly detailed, this novel was a genuine pleasure to read.” —David Corbett, award-winning and best-selling author of The Mercy of the Night.

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Blackbird Has Spoken. Neil Gaiman’s Amusing Noir

The Case of the Four and Twenty Blackbirds  by Neil Gaiman (1984)

Tuesday’s Tale of Mystery, Reading Fiction Blog

November 7, 2017

Four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie. You remember that nursery rhyme known as Sing a Song of Sixpence by Mother Goose? The king is in the counting house, the queen is in the parlor and that sorry maid is hanging out the clothes and lost her nose.

Come meet Jack Horner, a private dick (Raymond Chandler influence going on here) and a murder victim named Dumpty. Dumpty’s sister, Jill (Jack and Jill), wants to find the murderer and hires Horner.

I sat in my office, nursing a glass of hooch and idly cleaning my automatic. Outside the rain fell steadily, like it seems to do most of the time in our fair city, whatever the tourist board says. Hell, I didn’t care. I’m not on the tourist board. I’m a private dick, and one of the best, although you wouldn’t have known it; the office was crumbling, the rent was unpaid and the hooch was my last. 

This is not your usual short story.  Neil Gaiman’s use of nursery rhyme characters, tongue-in-cheek clichés, and the bizarre is beyond amusing. I liked his little twists and intrigue.  Gaiman wrote this clever short when he was just 24 years old. This mix of noir, murder, and a delicious dark ending is a thoroughly entertaining 25-minute read.

 

 

Neil Gaiman’s books and stories have been honored with 4 Hugos, 2 Nebulas, 1 World Fantasy Award, 4 Bram Stoker Awards, 6 Locus Awards, 2 British SF Awards, 1 British Fantasy Award, 3 Geffens, 1 International Horror Guild Award and 2 Mythopoeic Awards.

 

 

 

Read the short story at Neilgaiman.com

Listen to the audio (26 minutes) on YouTube.com. 

 

And here’s a real treat. Listen to the musical version (13 minutes) of The Case of the Four and Twenty Blackbirds, producted by BMI Musical Theater Workshop. Music by Cheeyoung Kim/ Words by Tony Oblen.

Pretty cool! Click here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uZU7vMQrnv4

 

 

Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free reading. This blog is a compendium of over 200 short stories by more than 100 famous storytellers of mystery, supernatural, ghost stories,  suspense, crime, sci-fi, and ‘quiet horror.’ Follow or sign up to join me in reading two short stories every month. Comments are welcome.

 Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Kirkus Mystery & Thrillers Reviews

Books & Such    Bibliophilica   NewYorkerFictionOnline

 Lovecraft Ezine   Parlor of Horror

HorrorNews.net   Fangoria.com   

Slattery’s Art of Horror Magazine   Chuck Windig’s Terrible Minds

HorrorAddicts.net     Horror Novel Reviews    HorrorSociety.com     

Monster Librarian      HorrorTalk.com 

 Rob Around Books      The Story Reading Ape Blog

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

 

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Haunter of the Dark: A tale of woe for Halloween

The Haunter of the Dark   H.P. Lovecraft (1935)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror    October 24, 2017

 

Gulf of night. Shroud of dust …

“I see it—coming here—hell-wind—titan-blur—black wings …”

We are in Providence, Rhode Island. Robert Blake, a writer and painter, is currently writing a novel on a witches cult in Maine. In his newly rented room, his desk window gives him a view of a vacant and deserted  ‘ould church on Federal Hill. This is a man wholly devoted to dream, terror, and superstition. The dark church fascinates him and his imagination begins to take over. Or is it his imagination? He decides he must go inside this church to investigate the crumbling black spires and mesmerizing windows that seem to keep calling him.

What if …  this church was previously a place of devil worship, something along the lines of the Starry Wisdom sect back in 1877? The members of the Church of Starry Wisdom believed in the Haunter of the Dark. Who is the Haunter? He is summoned from the black gulfs of chaos, a powerful evil that was banished by light.

What if … inside this dark and shadowy church there existed a glowing crystal, an ancient artifact known as the Shining Trapezohedron that could summon evil power, summon an actual creature, out of depths of time and space?

What if … this evil creature knew all things?

 

 

And what if  … this Haunter of the Dark knew YOU were watching it?

This story is said to be the last story written by Lovecraft, part of the Cthulhu Mythos, and  is a sequel to “The Shambler from the Stars” by Robert Bloch. I consider it to be one of Lovecraft’s best for prowling around an abandoned church and exploring leftover cults. It is classic horror, a foreboding story, perfect for a Halloween read. The writing is 5-star with evocative images, atmospheric, and high suspense.

 

 Note on Starry Wisdom: The cult was founded in Providence, Rhode Island circa 1844 by the archaeologist and occultist Professor Enoch Bowen. The cult used a sacred relic known as the Shining Trapezohedron to summon the Haunter of the Dark, who demanded outrageous sacrifices in return for limitless knowledge of the universe. The cult had a membership of 200. More  at MeasureLesseons: https://measurelesseons.wordpress.com/pulling-the-strings/church-of-starry-wisdom/ 

 

 

Read the short story at HPLovecraft.com.

Listen to the audio (1 hour), read by the famous David McCallum, and wonderful for your Halloween party. Go to The Haunter of the Dark at   YouTube.com 

“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.”  H.P. Lovecraft

 

Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free reading. This is a compendium of over 200 short stories by more than 100 famous storytellers of mystery, supernatural, ghost stories,  suspense, crime, sci-fi, and ‘quiet horror.’

Follow or sign up to join me in reading two short stories every month. Comments are welcome.

  

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Kirkus Mystery & Thrillers Reviews

Books & Such    Bibliophilica   NewYorkerFictionOnline

 Lovecraft Ezine   Parlor of Horror

HorrorNews.net   Fangoria.com   

Slattery’s Art of Horror Magazine   Chuck Windig’s Terrible Minds

HorrorAddicts.net     Horror Novel Reviews    HorrorSociety.com     

Monster Librarian      HorrorTalk.com 

 Rob Around Books      The Story Reading Ape Blog

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

 

 

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Diagnosis of Death: Ambrose Bierce’s Cryptic Adventure

The Diagnosis of Death  by Ambrose Bierce  (1909)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror   October 10, 2017  READING FICTION BLOG

From a scientific perspective, ghosts are considered to be possible manifestations of electromagnetic energies of human consciousness. We all have consciousness; nobody doubts that. So any kind of ghost story attracts me because I’m always looking to verify that our consciousness exists after death and therefore ghosts are a reality. The supernatural is both real and fictional to me and probably why most of my own writings deal with the reality of ghosts and the mysterious world beyond. Life after death has endless possibilities to explore. When writing my novels or short stories,  I find the research to be the most thrilling part: for example I discovered there are ghosts in music when writing my novel Greylock.

Some physicists believe that consciousness exists in a quantum state after the body dies. The 6-minute video below, Consciousness Lives in Quantum State After Death: Physicists Claim is a fascinating presentation from prominent physics researchers at such institutions such as Cambridge University and Princeton University.

https://youtu.be/7AAcYDXYwdc ]

 

While proof of ghosts is debatable (most agree that science and physics cannot account for everything in our universe), in fiction we can cross the scientific line, dismiss all the debates, and slip into our human imagination and just believe.

 

 

 

The Diagnosis of Death

Our narrator, Hawver, tells us a story of his visit while renting Dr. Mannering’s  vacant summer house in Meridian.  Dr. Mannering was known to be skilled in precisely forecasting a person’s death. An odd skill and maybe a gifted one. Come with Hawver and spend the night in Dr. Mannering’s study, where a life-size portrait of Dr. Mannering does the haunting. You might not believe in ghosts like Hawver, then again, you might consider this story to be a treasure that adventures into the realm of the unknown.

 

 

 

 

 

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Read the short story online at TheLiteratureNetwork.

Listen to the 10-minute audio The Diagnosis of Death, narrated by Otis Jiry on  YOUTube.com .

 

 

 

 

 

Nicknamed Bitter Bierce, Ambrose Bierce authored over 90 short stories, fifty in supernatural.  He is remembered for making the human psyche the ultimate source of horror. One of his most famous works is The Devil’s Dictionary. Interestingly, most of his fiction gained popularity after his death. He disappeared in the Mexican wilderness in 1913. The fate of his body is unknown to historians. Visit the Ambrose Bierce Project for resources and more. Visit the Ambrose Bierce official website.

 

Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free reading. This is a compendium of over 200 short stories by more than 100 famous storytellers of mystery, supernatural, ghost stories,  suspense, crime, sci-fi, and ‘quiet horror.’ Follow or sign up to join me in reading two short stories every month.

Comments are welcome.

 

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Kirkus Mystery & Thrillers Reviews

Books & Such    Bibliophilica   NewYorkerFictionOnline

 Lovecraft Ezine   Parlor of Horror

HorrorNews.net   Fangoria.com   

Slattery’s Art of Horror Magazine   Chuck Windig’s Terrible Minds

HorrorAddicts.net     Horror Novel Reviews    HorrorSociety.com     

Monster Librarian      HorrorTalk.com 

 Rob Around Books      The Story Reading Ape Blog

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

EZindiepublishing

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Filed under classic horror stories, fiction, ghost story blogs, Ghosts, Gothic fiction, Gothic Horror, haunted houses, Hauntings, horror, horror blogs, mysteries, paranormal, pulp fiction, quiet horror, Reading Fiction, READING FICTION BLOG Paula Cappa, short stories, short story blogs, supernatural fiction

Peculiar Spirit of the Skies

The Shadow: A Parable   by Edgar Allan Poe (1835)

 Tuesday’s Tale of Terror    September 12, 2017

 

In the city of Ptolemais, seven men meet at night in a closed chamber.  They are drinking purple wine. An unquiet glare of the seven lamps penetrates. Inside the chamber is a shrouded body.

Olinos is our narrator:  “YE who read are still among the living; but I who write shall have long since gone my way into the region of shadows.”

 

This is a 12-minute read with a thrilling edge. It has been called a “rhapsody of gloom” and is one of Poe’s early stories. Great prose!

 

 

Read the short story here at Xroads Virginia Eduction web site.

Listen to the audio (8 minutes) on You Tube.com.

More stories at  eapoe.org  

 

 

 

Poe is credited for defining the short story form.  He created the first recorded literary detective, Dupin,  in “The Murders in the Rue Morgue.” Poe was known to be obsessed with cats,  and often wrote with a cat on his shoulder.  His cat Catterina died the same day as Poe. In 1848 the author attempted  suicide. Some time later he posed for this daguerreotype.

 

 

 

 

Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free reading. This is a compendium of over 200 short stories by more than 100 famous storytellers of mystery, supernatural, ghost stories,  suspense, crime, sci-fi, and ‘quiet horror.’ Follow or sign up to join me in reading two short stories every month. Comments are welcome.

 

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Kirkus Mystery & Thrillers Reviews

Books & Such    Bibliophilica   NewYorkerFictionOnline

 Lovecraft Ezine   Parlor of Horror

HorrorNews.net   Fangoria.com   

Slattery’s Art of Horror Magazine   Chuck Windig’s Terrible Minds

HorrorAddicts.net     Horror Novel Reviews    HorrorSociety.com     

Monster Librarian      HorrorTalk.com 

 Rob Around Books      The Story Reading Ape Blog

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

EZindiepublishing

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Filed under classic horror stories, fiction, ghost stories, ghost story blogs, Gothic fiction, Gothic Horror, Hauntings, horror, horror blogs, literary horror, quiet horror, Reading Fiction, short stories, short story blogs, soft horror, supernatural fiction, supernatural mysteries

Frequenter of Graveyards: Skulls

Barbed Wire and Brown Skulls by Loren Eiseley  (Original title People Leave Skulls With Me, 1951)

Tuesday’s Tale of Mystery  August 29, 2017

Are you fascinated by skulls? Some people believe skulls are Nature’s sculptures. Or maybe, speaking philosophically,  life’s true face is a bony skull. I am drawn to crystal skulls and have  a lovely pink one on my writing desk (an inspiration for writing my novel The Dazzling Darkness, which features a crystal skull).

These days we can read a lot about crystal skulls being a doorway to deeper understanding about ourselves and our planet. The  famous crystal skull named Sha Na Ra  (or known as Max) is one of the few crystal skulls in the world that has been scientifically examined and proven to be truly ancient. Skeptics abound, of course. But just taking the idea of skulls—human or crystal—we have an abundance of facts and fiction that continue to attract readers and stir our imagination as more than just art.

 Max

Today we have a story about a human skull, a subtle haunting, and a collector in Loren Eiseley’s Barbed Wire and Brown Skulls. Come meet Uncle Tobias and the brown skull.  Eiseley takes us on a personal visit.

“I could see Uncle Tobias’s long-hidden relic staring back vacantly at me through the glass door of the cabinet. It would never tell its secret, but it had one. It had a secret and so had Uncle Tobias.  And I? Perhaps I was a keeper of secrets.”

 

 

 

 

Author Loren Eiseley was an American anthropologist, educator, philosopher, and natural science writer, who taught and published books during the 1950s to 1970s. His scientific and nature writings are contemplative with a poetic style.

 

 

 

 

 

Read Barbed Wire and Brown Skulls at Story of the Week, scroll down to PDF or GoogleDoc for full read:  http://storyoftheweek.loa.org/2017/08/barbed-wire-and-brown-skulls.html 

Here’s a quick peek into the mind and philosophy of  Loren Eiseley: The Star Thrower.

The Star Thrower, by Loren Eiseley

Once upon a time, there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work. One day, as he was walking along the shore, he looked down the beach and saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself at the thought of someone who would dance to the day, and so, he walked faster to catch up.

As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, and that what he was doing was not dancing at all. The young man was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects, and throwing them into the ocean. He came closer still and called out “Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?”

The young man paused, looked up, and replied “Throwing starfish into the ocean.”

“I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?” To this, the young man replied, “The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them in, they’ll die.”

Upon hearing this, the wise man commented, “But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can’t possibly make a difference!”

At this, the young man bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he said, “It made a difference for that one.”

 

Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free reading. This is a compendium of over 200 short stories by more than 100 famous storytellers of mystery, supernatural, ghost stories,  suspense, crime, sci-fi, and ‘quiet horror.’ Follow or sign up to join me in reading two short stories every month. Comments are welcome.

 

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Kirkus Mystery & Thrillers Reviews

Books & Such    Bibliophilica   NewYorkerFictionOnline

 Lovecraft Ezine   Parlor of Horror

HorrorNews.net   Fangoria.com   

Slattery’s Art of Horror Magazine   Chuck Windig’s Terrible Minds

HorrorAddicts.net     Horror Novel Reviews    HorrorSociety.com     

Monster Librarian      HorrorTalk.com 

 Rob Around Books      The Story Reading Ape Blog

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

EZindiepublishing

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Filed under crystal skull, fiction, ghost story blogs, Hauntings, horror blogs, mysteries, quiet horror, Reading Fiction, short stories, skulls, The Dazzling Darkness