Mary Shelley, Conjuring Her Ghost on February 1st.
Tuesday’s Tale January 30, 2018
Mary Shelley’s ghost is ever-present. And we are breathing life back into her ghost in 2018. As literary ghosts go, we hear stories of Hemingway haunting his Key West home with his typewriter tapping away; Ben Franklin’s statue sometimes walks along the Philadelphia streets; Poe is said to haunt his favorite bar in Baltimore and the staff leave out a glass of whiskey for him at closing time; Dylan Thomas has been seen drinking at the White Horse Tavern in New York.
But for our esteemed Mary Shelley, where is her ghost these days? Shall we conjure her back to us on the anniversary of her death, February 1st?
Mary Shelley died February 1, 1851. And all this year, 2018, we are marking the bicentennial of her greatest novel Frankenstein, published January 1818. There are global celebrations going on (Global Frankenstein Celebrations), blogs, events, podcasts, and radio shows, all commemorating this woman writer of horror and mother of science fiction. We have a wealth of conscious thought active about her life, her triumphs, her stories, and her literary powers. And February is Women In Horror Month.
Did you know that Mary Shelley, and her husband, were highly intrigued on the use of electricity to animate human limbs? At the time of the writing of Frankenstein, an alchemist named Johann Konrad Dippel, was reported to have robbed graves and performed experiments on corpses at Frankenstein Castle (Burg Frankenstein). This castle sits above the Rhine Valley on Odenwald, a mountain in southern Germany, near the city of Darmstadt. More here about Mary Shelly and Frankenstein Castle at ExploringCastles.com.
More on Castle Frankenstein and the Shelleys in my earlier blog, Feb. 2016: “A Lump of Death.”
Mary Shelley wrote lots of short stories, several which you can read featured on past dates on this blog by clicking the title:
The Invisible Girl, October 15, 2013
The Mortal Immortal, February 26, 2013
Transformation, February 4, 2014
The Last Man February 8, 2016
On Ghosts, October 15, 2013
And here’s a short one you probably haven’t read: The Evil Eye, free read at Gutenberg.netAustralia.
Because I love ghost stories, I wrote a ghost story about Mary Shelley, Beyond Castle Frankenstein, published in the anthology Journals of Horror, Found Fiction, edited by Terry M. West, published by Pleasant Storm Entertainment. [Available at Amazon.com ( https://www.amazon.com/Journals-Horror-Terry-M-West/dp/1508805725 ) ]. Here’s a peek into my short story: A letter is found written by Mary Shelley. Mary recounts a night when she attempts to conjure up the ghost of her dead husband, poet Percy Bysshe Shelley.
Mary Shelley is buried in St. Peter’s Churchyard in Bournemouth, Dorset England. Read her biography here at The Poetry Foundation.org.
“I busied myself to think of a story, — a story to rival those which had excited us to this task. One which would speak to the mysterious fears of our nature, and awaken thrilling horror—one to make the reader dread to look round, to curdle the blood, and quicken the beatings of the heart. If I did not accomplish these things, my ghost story would be unworthy of its name.” (Introduction to Frankenstein, 1831)
Watch the adaptation of Frankenstein, 2004, with William Hurt, PART 1.
And Part 2.
[Image by Esao Andrews oil on wood, 2010. Young Mary Shelley. Visit Andrews website here.]
“Life and death appeared to me ideal bounds, which I should first break through,and pour a torrent of light into our dark world.”
Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free reading. This is a compendium of over 200 short stories by more than 100 famous storytellers of mystery, supernatural, ghost stories, suspense, crime, sci-fi, and ‘quiet horror.’ Follow or sign up to join me in reading two short stories every month. Comments and LIKES are welcome.
Other Reading Web Sites to Visit
For Authors/Writers: The Writer Unboxed