The Brown Hand by Arthur Conan Doyle (1889) Since this week is Doyle’s anniversary birth date, May 22, let’s celebrate this author by reading more of his work.
Tuesday’s Tale of Terror May 20, 2014
Sir Dominick Holden is a distinguished Indian surgeon. He lives with his wife in Rodenhurst on an estate. During an English autumn, his nephew, Dr. Hardacre, our narrator, visits him in Rodenhurst. Hardacre is also a member of the Psychical Research Society with a special interest in the supernatural. Sir Dominick confides in Hardacre that he is struggling with a case of nerves from something that is surely haunting his laboratory.
Hardacre enters the laboratory and observes a shelf filled with glass jars containing anatomical specimens of patients: organs, cysts, bones, etc.
Sir Dominick asks his nephew, “It would be a great kindness upon your part if you would consent to spend the night in this apartment.” Hardacre agrees. He shuts the laboratory door behind him, lies down on the settee and in a rigid and absolute silence he observes a three-quarter moon streaming through the windows until he drifts off. A shuffling sound awakens him.
The Brown Hand is one of A.C. Doyle’s stories that can be traced to his avidly following the psychical research of the 1870s and 1880s. Doyle read more than 60 books on the subject, attended séances regularly, and was a friend of Harry Houdini. The image featured here is of Doyle with ghosts goggles from the Society of Psychical Research in 1896. The goggles became part of Dr. Cagliostro’s Cabinet of Curiosities’ investigations of a series of mysterious events at The Castle of Läckö in 1943.
Doyle became a believer in spiritualistic phenomena and wrote fourteen supernatural short stories and four supernatural novels. Of course, he’s most famous for his detective novels, Sherlock Holmes. But today, we are focusing on his supernatural stories.
You can read the full text of The Brown Hand at Ebooks Adelaide.edu
Listen to The Brown Hand in audio here by Librivox. Roger Clifton does an outstanding dramatic reading.
As a bonus, I’m adding more stories to this week’s post, Selecting a Ghost, 1883, subtitled The Ghosts of Goresthorpe Grange. The D’Odds’ family feudal mansion does not have a ghost. Ah, what’s a country mansion with no ghost? Mr. D’Odd genuinely wants a ghost for his castle. He is so driven to achieve this, he hires a ghost-dealer who promptly arrives with a curious black bag. And the ghost hunting begins.
Read this very entertaining little ghost story at SSHF.com
You might want to experience Doyle’s first published story The Mystery of Sasassa Valley in 1879, a fantasy about the fluorescence of diamonds.
Do you have a favorite Doyle story? Please post your thoughts, suggestions, comments.
Arthur Conan Doyle May 22 1859 – July 7, 1930
The Official Web Site of Arthur Conan Doyle: SherlockHolmsOnline.org
Other Reading Web Sites to Visit
For Authors/Writers: The Writer Unboxed
Don’t forget to view the INDEX above for more free classic authors of Tales of Terror