The Ghostly Rental by Henry James (1876)
Tuesday’s Tale of Terror January 13, 2015
A rambling old house on a lonely road. A drooping elm beside it and a stretch of apple trees all gnarled. A deepening dusk. As the last of the sunset disengages, the fading light touches the small window panes and twinkle there fantastically.
“The house is simply haunted.”
The idea of being haunted by a house is a curious one. And deeply curious is our protagonist, a divinity student who carries Pascal’s little book of Thoughts in his pocket. He is intrigued by this stately house that he just happens to stumble across on his evening walk.
Subtext: the immortality of the soul. Henry James’ ghost stories are psychological stories and apparitional. We all know Turn of the Screw where James infers we do not always know what we see or see clearly what may be the truth. James wrote The Ghostly Rental before he wrote Turn of the Screw (1898) and it reflects a lot about the modern spiritualism of that time. There is a real ghost here and you will meet her.
But first, we meet Captain Diamond. Are you fond of walking in cemeteries?
This is a creepy rocking-chair read and perfect for a gray winter’s day.
Read the short story (PDF) at Encyclopaedia.com/ebooks.
This story was produced into a film in French and Russian (1965). You can visit the website at Klubkrik.ru/2012
Other Reading Web Sites to Visit
For Authors/Writers: The Writer Unboxed
Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free Tales of Terror classic authors.