Mysteries of the Invisible

The Horla  by Guy de Maupassant  (1887)
Tuesday’s Tale of Terror   August 25, 2015

 

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“I began to see myself through a mist in the depths of the looking-glass,

in a mist as it were through a sheet of water …”

 

The mysterious invisible. Unfathomable powers. Phantoms from the void. This short story may be a psychological horror story—de Maupassant’s most famous story—but it is also a masterpiece of suspense and a finely constructed narrative by a writer who was institutionalized shortly after the publication. The Horla in French means “the outsider there.”

Sanity vs. doubts of sanity, vs. insanity vs. a real phantom. Our protagonist has an irritation of the nerves. He lives alone, unmarried, and begins to have recurring nightmares of a creature crushing and choking him in his bed night after night. Rest and relaxation make no improvement. Soon enough we find that an invisible being is feeding on milk and water inside the bedroom and slowly but surely taking possession of our sad and tormented young man.

There’s a line in this story that struck me:  “When we are alone for a long time we people the void with phantoms.”   I especially like how de Maupassant makes the reader feel that everything happening is false and at the same time makes you feel that everything is real. What a writer!

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de Maupassant published over 300 short stories and 6 novels.  H.P. Lovecraft found inspiration  from The Horla for his The Call of the Cthulhu.

 

 

 

 

 

“I entered literary life as a meteor, and I shall leave it like a thunderbolt.” –Guy de Maupassant

 

Read the short story at Gutenberg.org (Scroll down to The Horla)

 

Listen to the audio at Librivox on YouTube.com

 

Watch the 1963 film (a loose adaptation), starring Vincent Price, “Diary of a Madman” on YouTube.

 

 

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Bibliophilica       Lovecraft Ezine     HorrorAddicts.net  

Horror Novel Reviews    Hell Horror    HorrorPalace

HorrorSociety.com        Sirens Call Publications

Monster Librarian   Tales to Terrify       Spooky Reads

HorrorNews.net     HorrorTalk.com

Rob Around Books     Sillyverse    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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If Whales Could Be Ghosts

If whales could be ghosts.  

What would be their song?

 

 

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We normally don’t think of whales as ghosts. But, why not?  Science theorizes that ghosts  might be remnants of the naturally occurring electromagnetic fields of the physical body. If there are parallel dimensions, and science cannot prove there isn’t, maybe whale ghosts can exist, and not just in fiction. This photo by Aftab Uzzaman caught my eye and inspired me to rethink the idea of whale ghosts./“One humpback blows mist. Another dips deeper. A lone gull hovers. I was there in this remote corner of Alaska to watch the drama unfold. It was a privilege. Life has been a privilege. People. Precious moments.” –Aftab Uzzaman.

Photo courtesy of Flicker, Creative Commons, by photographer Aftab Uzzaman “The Moment.”

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Would you like to meet a beluga whale in the White Sea in Russia?  Click here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t0ZucGzWAh8   (22 seconds)

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Many of you here know of my research going on the past few years: beluga whales, Russia, poems,  folklore,  history, a  bit of mythology, and classical music.  If  we mix  these elements with the mysterious supernatural, what kind of a story do you think would evolve? More posts to come on whales, music, and the supernatural. Meantime …

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What do you think of whale ghosts?

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(Image Creative Commons)

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A Devilish Trap

The Open Window  by Saki (1910)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror  August 18, 2015

 

This is an ever so brief ghost tale with a dash of madness and a subtle underbelly of evil. Psychological, supernatural, and mysterious. Saki (H.H. Munro) writes this story, I think, to play with the reader’s imagination. Some readers find it humorous, others dig deeper for a more sinister force, wondering if a devilish trap is really going on. Others claim irony, in the Greek sense of “dissimulation,” a literary technique where the writer intends his meaning to be understood differently from what he overtly says. How would you interpret The Open Window?

 

Frampton Nuttel (love that name!) has just arrived for his stay at Sappleton House in the country for a rest because of his “nervous exhaustion.” Hopeful for a few quiet days, he meets the young Vera—a sweet and charming teen. The window, actually a door, is left open (I won’t tell you why) despite the coldness of the air, and the fireplace is burning.

 

In the short film below, Michael Sheen (currently on the Showtime hit Masters of Sex) gives a memorable performance.

 

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Saki had a reputation as a master of the short story form, often compared to O.Henry and depicted as a minor satirist of the Edwardian period. He produced four volumes of short stories, most notable for their wit and surprise endings. You can read more of his works at Gutenberg.org, including The She-Wolf, Laura, and The Cobweb.

 

 

 

Read the short story here at EastOfTheWeb.com.

Listen to the audio by Librivox.org on YouTube.

 

Watch the film The Open Doors, starring Michael Sheen on YouTube.com

 

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Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Bibliophilica       Lovecraft Ezine     HorrorAddicts.net  

Horror Novel Reviews    Hell Horror    HorrorPalace

HorrorSociety.com        Sirens Call Publications

 Monster Librarian   Tales to Terrify       Spooky Reads

HorrorNews.net     HorrorTalk.com

 Rob Around Books     Sillyverse    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.

WATCH FOR UPCOMING NEWS ON THE RELEASE OF MY NEW SUPERNATURAL MYSTERY

GREYLOCK

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Poe Stories Read by Vincent Price

Greetings,

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I couldn’t resist sharing this link with you. If you love to listen to supernatural stories, this collection from Open Culture.com (via Spotify, free)  has five hours of Edgar Allan Poe stories read by Vincent Price.  The Raven, The Haunted Palace, the City in the Sea, and much more.  Enjoy this bonus from yours truly for August.

 

http://www.openculture.com/2015/08/5-hours-of-edgar-allan-poe-stories-read-by-vincent-price-basil-rathbone.html

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Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Bibliophilica       Lovecraft Ezine     HorrorAddicts.net  

Horror Novel Reviews    Hell Horror    HorrorPalace

HorrorSociety.com        Sirens Call Publications

 Monster Librarian   Tales to Terrify       Spooky Reads

HorrorNews.net     HorrorTalk.com

 Rob Around Books     Sillyverse    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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“Have You Found the Yellow Sign?

The Yellow Sign  by Robert Chambers

(The King In Yellow Collection, 1895 first published by F. Tennyson Neely.)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror    August 11, 2015

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[The King in Yellow (known for its legendary kingdom of Carcosa, an ancient, cursed city beyond time on the shores of Lake Hali), was a forbidden play, which was said to induce despair, strange visions, and madness in those who read it.]

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Stories have great effects on our minds, our dreams, perhaps even our very lives. Do symbols  have real power or are they just harmless images?

In The Yellow Sign, artist Scott spies a figure in the churchyard below his studio window.

At the same moment he raised his head and looked at me. Instantly I thought of a coffin-worm. Whatever it was about the man that repelled me I did not know, but the impression of a plump white grave-worm was so intense and nauseating that I must have shown it in my expression, for he turned his puffy face away with a movement which made me think of a disturbed grub in a chestnut.”

His model, Tessie, sees the churchyard figure too. She recounts a dream she had about a hearse with a driver who looks much like the figure in the churchyard. Finding affection for Scott, Tessie gives him an amulet, the “yellow sign.” Did she know this symbol was said to represent disease and decay or worse, insanity?

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Did Tessie  know that when she found a book on Scott’s shelf, The King in Yellow and read it, that she might be in danger?

“Song of my soul, my voice is dead;

Die thou, unsung, as tears unshed

Shall dry and die in

Lost Carcosa.”

 

 

 

This is probably one of the most disturbing stories yet on this blog. H.P. Lovecraft read this book in 1927 and used the motif in his Whisperers in the Dark story (Cthulhu Mythos). Countless authors (Raymond Chandler, Stephen King, Robert Heinlein to name a few) have been inspired by Chamber’s King in Yellow stories. And the highly successful True Detective HBO series ( 2014 ) had several references to The King in Yellow and Carcosa.

You can read The Yellow Sign here at EastOfTheWeb.com.

 

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The King in Yellow is Robert Chamber’s masterpiece and most famous story.  He wrote over 70 novels and other collections of short stories.  Chambers took the name Carcosa from Ambrose Bierce’s story An Inhabitant of Carcosa (originally published in 1886).  Some say the term “Carcosa” is a magically charmed name.

 

 

 

 

 

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Listen to the audio of Bierce’s An Inhabitant of  Carcosa

at Librivox audio at YouTube.com.

Or read it at South San Francisco Library at  SSF.net

 

 

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For those who wish to read short stories in The King in Yellow, go to Gutenberg.org .

 

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

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HorrorNews.net     HorrorTalk.com

 Rob Around Books    Sillyverse    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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What’s a Music Phantom?

No short story this week. I’ve been finishing the editing on my supernatural novel Greylock, a  dark mystery with phantasms, murder, betrayal, and romance. And yep, you guessed it, this forthcoming novel is about the mysterious power of whale songs in the life of a Russian musician Alexei Georg. Do you believe in music phantoms?

Today, I  have something fascinating  about the  songs of whales.

Have you ever heard a whale sing? How about a whale duet? Biologist Katy Payne has been studying whale songs for years. When she saw spectograms of humpback whale calls, she began to notice their musical structure — what looked like melodies and rhythms. Want a listen?

Click  here:  “It Took A Musician’s Ear to Decode the Complex Song in Whale Calls,” posted on NPR web site.

 

In Greylock, Alexei seeks the songs of the beluga whales who live in the White Sea in Russia:

 

 

So, what is a music phantom?

Watch for more posts on the upcoming release of Greylock.

Bye for now!

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Free-stock Illustration.com

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The Lost Ghost

The Lost Ghost by Mary Wilkins Freeman (1903)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror    July 28, 2015

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Stephen King once said, “We need ghost stories because, in fact, we are ghosts.”

It was a dreadful little face, with something about it which made it different from any other face on earth, but it was so pitiful that somehow it did away a good deal with the dreadfulness. And there were two little hands spotted purple with the cold, holding up my winter coat, and a strange little far-away voice said: ‘I can’t find my mother.’

“‘For Heaven’s sake,’ I said, ‘who are you?’

 “Then the little voice said again: ‘I can’t find my mother.’ ”

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Two sisters are living in an old country house with a ghost. But this is not your usual ghostly apparitions.  Mary Wilkins Freeman wrote the most emotional and hypnotic ghost story in The Lost Ghost. Our story begins with two women in rocking chairs discussing their beliefs about ghosts. Mrs. Meserve recounts a story of when she was a student and boarded with two spinsters in a lovely but haunted house. I challenge you to read this and not weep. The audio below is the best!

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Read The Lost Ghost at East of the Web.com

 

Listen to the audio by Librivox on YouTube.com

 

 

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In The Southwest Chamber, we have two sisters, Amanda and Sophia, who are running a boarding house. Aunt Harriet has died in the southwest bed chamber. This is a homespun, charming, and yet sinister little tale. Again, Mary Wilkins Freeman lures you in with a comfortable and enchanting setting that turns wicked.

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Read The Southwest Chamber at Readbookonline.com

 

 

imgresMary Wilkins Freeman lived in Brattleboro, Vermont during the late 1800s-1930 and became famous for depicting women living in rural villages of New England. After years of writing with no financial payment, she sold her first story The Beggar for $10.  She became a prolific writer, published fifteen volumes of short stories, fifty uncollected stories and essays, fourteen novels, three plays, three volumes of poetry, and eight children’s books. In 1926 she was awarded the William Dean Howells Gold Medal for Fiction by the American Academy of Letters, and later that year she was inducted into the prestigious National Institute for Arts and Letters.

 

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Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Bibliophilica       Lovecraft Ezine     HorrorAddicts.net  

Horror Novel Reviews    Hell Horror    HorrorPalace

HorrorSociety.com        Sirens Call Publications

 Monster Librarian   Tales to Terrify       Spooky Reads

HorrorNews.net     HorrorTalk.com

 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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