The Realm of the Unreal by Ambrose Bierce
Tuesday’s Tale of Terror March 4, 2014
Our story begins with two men, Mr. Manrich and Dr. Dorrimore who is from India. The doctor is a Hindu juggler. Hindu jugglers are famous for swallowing fire and swords, charming snakes, and especially their disappearing acts. Chemistry, optics, psychology, and magnetism all play their roles. Dr. Dorrimore’s skills are quite exceptional and if you stumbled upon the good doctor on a dark night in a chill fog, you might feel unsettled sitting next to him.
Manrich begins his narrative with his traveling by horse and buggy to Newcastle …
“The hills are wooded, the course of the ravine is sinuous. In a dark night careful driving is required in order not to go off into the water. The night that I have in memory was dark, the creek a torrent, swollen by a recent storm…. Suddenly I saw a man almost under the animal’s nose, and reined in with a jerk that came near setting the creature upon its haunches.”
Manrich claims this is not a love story, and it is not. He is engaged to the lovely Miss Curray. But after he sees Dr. Dorrimore with Miss Corray, the juggler performs his most sinister performance in an abandoned cemetery.
Come meet thaumaturgist, Dr. Dorrimore.
The mysteriousness of this story has high suspense with disappearances and shocking presences to test any man’s sanity. I found these themes to parallel the mysteriousness of the author’s death. Historical accounts are that Ambrose Bierce disappeared in 1914 without a trace after crossing the border into Mexico. Theories abound of his being killed in the war to committing suicide, or, as one theory fictionalized: Bierce is a wizard and still alive trapped in another world … or realm. You can read about these theories concerning his death at Biercephile.com
“As to me, I leave here tomorrow for an unknown destination.”
— The last line of the last letter from Ambrose Bierce,
December 26, 1913
Read The Realm of the Unreal at Online Literature.com.
Listen to the audio at Librivox Recording
Other Reading Web Sites to Visit
For Authors/Writers: The Writer Unboxed