A Haunting Suspense

The Presence by the Fire   by H.G. Wells (1897)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror     September 16, 2014

imagesThe early fiction of H.G. Wells includes a number of “uncollected stories,” and The Presence by the Fire is one that most readers (even most Wells’ fans) have never read. This somewhat sentimental ghost story was rediscovered years ago at the old British Museum Library (1990s?). Romantic love stories of the supernatural are often on my list and this one, although predictable, is a ghostly experience that reminds me of old world drama. It’s a 15-minute read, heartfelt and haunting.

Reid’s wife Mary is dying. At her deathbed, he is torn to pieces, as he knows he must let her go. She utters a last farewell to him and he hangs on through the last breath she takes in this world. How does he cope with Mary gone from his life? Perhaps his love is so strong that he can draw his departed Mary back into this world.

images-1   “The firelight played upon her face.”







Read H. G. Wells’ short story The Presence by the Fire at StoryPilot.com



Speaking of ghosts …

JBPriestleyHave you read any of the stories by novelist and playwright J.B. Priestley (1894-1984)? The Old Dark House is a haunted house tale (nowhere to be found online in text) but is a film (1931) with Boris Karloff, Charles Laughton, Gloria Stuart (1 hour, 10 minutes), directed by James Whale (director of Frankenstein).

The film is black-and-white vintage spookery, shadows and candlelight, beating rain and thunder. Travelers are driven off the road from violent rain and wind and must find shelter in a storm-battered castle in Wales. There is a warm fire, weird and cranky caretakers in a castle with no beds … and, Morgan a savage who is loose on the property, a mysterious voice upstairs, a madman kept behind a locked door, and murder. Okay, so cliché after cliché saturates this story and it’s full of melodrama, but if you like the old style movies, this classic is one that harkens back like old wine, a bit musky on the palate but after a glass or two, it’s fun and interesting.

J.B. Priestley is considered to be the “sage of English Literature” and is famous for his book Man and Time (published as a companion to Carl Jung’s Man and His Symbols), a book about the metaphysics of time, which I’m actually reading now as part of my research for my new novel (working title Greylock). He is an unusual author who writes about time-slips of past, present, and future.


7122C7BZD9L._AA160_I did find a text (an excerpt) of The Old Dark House (original title Benighted) in The Mammoth Book of 20th Century Ghost Stories, edited by Peter Haining on Amazon.com. This anthology has some terrific old ghost stories by authors Henry James, Jack London, Daphne du Maurier, Ruth Rendell, Agatha Christie, Fay Weldon and Muriel Spark and more (and almost none of these stories are free online).



You can watch the film The Old Dark House on YouTube Cynykyl Video

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.


Filed under classic horror stories, fiction, ghost stories, Ghosts, horror, horror blogs, quiet horror, short stories, tales of terror

3 responses to “A Haunting Suspense

  1. I too was not aware of this story. Thanks for bringing me up to date.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jay

    Hi Paula,
    I’m bookmarking this one. I am a big fan of HGW, but you are right, I have not read and was not even aware of this story. I’ve read a ton (only a slight exaggeration) of HGW and, of course, enjoy his short stories too. A local book discussion group recently read War of the Worlds so I got to relive that great landmark work this year. I may be the only kid on my block – or on any block around here – that has read his massive “Experiment in Autobiography” (very interesting and entertaining) and less known novel like “Tono-Bungay.”

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s