Category Archives: Dreams

Ashes and Cold Light

Wives of the Dead   by Nathaniel Hawthorne (1832)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror    October 6, 2015

Appletons'_Hawthorne_Nathaniel_Grave

On the verge of evening, in a rainy twilight, two sisters are united by the dead. They live in their homestead in Bay Province, Massachusetts. We are in the parlor of these two women who have just learned that their husbands have been killed on the same single day—one a seaman, the other a landsman.  Mary’s heartbreak is quite different from the feverish Margaret’s reaction. After the mourners leave them to retire for the night, and under the pall of sleep, these two widows discover another reality. There is a fierce knocking at the door, and Margaret is the first to arise and greet her middle-of-the-night caller.

 

788px-House_of_the_Seven_Gables_(1915)

I found the repeated mention of “light” to be significant elements in the story: “placing a lighted lamp upon the hearth” … “the cold light of the lamp threw shadows” …. “the lighted sorrows” … “dim light of the chamber.” Darkness (“a deluge of darkness overwhelmed”) is directly mentioned only once, but suggested in other places. If you are an avid reader of Hawthorne, you know every single word is weighted with precise telling.

imgres

Mysteries demand a solution. This mystery of atmosphere and grief goes beyond any ghosts or imaginations. Hawthorne was highly skilled at creating a “waking reality” in his stories (The Haunted Mind). In Wives of the Dead, he suspends us between reality and unreality. And he shrouds the reality, so we must think again. You may find this ending ambiguous. Some fictions reveal good ambiguity, others not so good. Was Hawthorne’s intent clear and the facts unclear creating a good ambiguity, or do you think it is the unreality that is the message in the tale?

Read the Wives of the Dead at EldritchPress.org.

Listen to the audio by Barrow Bookstore on YouTube.com. 

 

NHimagesAnother of Hawthorne’s lesser known short stories is Ethan Brand. This story takes place on Mount Greylock (my favorite mountain). Hawthorne visited there in 1838. The story themes are sin, redemption, damnation. Heart vs. intellect. Bartram is a lime-burner on Mt. Greylock. One night, while working at the kiln that burns limestone, Bartram’s young son, Little Joe, hears a haunting laughter “like wind shaking the boughs of the forest.” A mysterious man appears, Ethan Brand, who is on a quest to discover the “unpardonable sin.” What is this unpardonable sin and where does Ethan Brand find it? This is a devilish yarn, for sure.

EthanBrandimages

 

Hawthorne’s description here of the mountain is probably the best I’ve read about Mount Greylock.

“Old Greylock was glorified with a golden cloud upon his head. Scattered likewise over the breasts of the surrounding mountains, there were heaps of hoary mist, in fantastic shapes, some of them far down into the valley, others high up towards the summits and still others, of the same family of mist or cloud, hovering in the gold radiance of the upper atmosphere.”

Read Ethan Brand at the EldritchPress.org.

 

Greylock_in_December

 

Watch for the release of my supernatural mystery GREYLOCK on October 15, 2015.

Book Cover Reveal coming up this week!

///////

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Bibliophilica       Lovecraft Ezine     HorrorAddicts.net  

Horror Novel Reviews    Hell Horror    HorrorPalace

HorrorSociety.com        Sirens Call Publications    Books & Such

 Monster Librarian   Tales to Terrify       Spooky Reads

HorrorNews.net     HorrorTalk.com

 Rob Around Books     Sillyverse    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.

2 Comments

Filed under Dreams, fiction, haunted mind, Hawthorne, horror blogs, literary horror, Mt. Greylock, Reading Fiction, short stories, short story blogs, suspense, tales of terror

Night Terror in a Bleak Autumn

The Dream-Woman by Wilkie Collins (From Queen of Hearts) (1855)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror    April 29, 2014

.

OldEngland-vol2-p223-InnAtCharmouth-262x200A bleak autumn arrives.

Isaac Scatchard, a man of thirty-eight years, has been walking all day through the countryside and comes upon a small inn. He takes a room. The landlord happily closes and fastens the windows and doors, bids him a good night’s sleep. The unsnuffed candle burns down to issue a dull light as Isaac drifts off.

A strange shivering comes upon him.

 

“Between the foot of his bed and the closed door there stood a woman with a knife in her hand, looking at him.

He was stricken speechless with terror …”

tumblr_lfm9f307ia1qc21tao1_400

We have three narrators who tell this story of Isaac Scatchard in The Dream-Woman. We begin with a physician who is traveling with a lame horse and in need of a hostler, so he stops at an inn. We meet the landlord of the inn who tells us about poor old Isaac Scatchard, a hollowed, wrinkled man with grizzled hair—a man who sleeps only by the light of day. The physician wonders if there is  something wrong with Isaac’s brain that prevents the man from normal night sleeping.  He decides he must investigate. But investigate Isaac or the power of dreams?

.

imagesThe full story is told by Isaac’s mother, Mrs. Scatchard, in Chapter Three. She tells us that Isaac’s apparent nightmare of this dream-woman occurred at the precise time and date of Isaac’s birthday at 2 a.m. Superstitious dread or warning? What happens to Isaac? Does he dream of this woman again who tries to stab him?

Like Isaac, you might believe that dreams have power. And you might believe that the elements of dreams are not so frothy as to disappear upon waking. Is there a reality in dreams? Maybe  of prophecy? Or maybe the dream reality is more like destiny?

 

.

I adore dream elements in fiction and Wilkie Collins’ The Dream-Woman is a haunting story. You know this author from The Woman in White, The Moonstone; Frozen Deep is his most famous play that he co-wrote with Charles Dickens in 1857.  Collins was known for creating female characters that often showed a masculine side. He is certainly revered for his narrative power in this story. If you’ve ever heard the literary term “sensation genre,” this is the man who started it all.

Collins is one of many writers who uses dreams in stories. There is some speculation that Collins may have had such a dream as Isaac had. Robert Louis Stevenson was said to have based Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde on a dream; Horace Walpole’s 1764 novel, The Castle of Otranto came from a dream;  Stephen King found the story of Salem’s Lot in a dream. Everyone knows that Mary Shelley claimed the idea for Frankenstein happened during a dream. I did the same with my novel Night Sea Journey, A Tale of the Supernatural: I dreamed of a woman alone by the sea and ruled by her nightmares of persistent demon. Was I haunted by a winged creature in my own bedroom? Many nights!

I do believe that dreams contain eerie presences and that they have the power to perform a function in our lives. For Isaac Scatchard, the dream operates on both sides of the shadow.

.

(William)_Wilkie_Collins_by_Rudolph_LehmannThere are several versions of The Dream-Woman by Wilkie Collins. This version here is  Brother Morgan’s Story of the Dream-Woman  from Queen of Hearts by Wilkie Collins:  Read the text at Ebooks.Adelaide.edu

 

Another version is subtitled A Mystery in Four Narratives and begins with the narrative (a longer version) told by the character Percy Fairbanks at ReadBooksOnline.net 

 

Or, you can listen to this version in audio, which has four parts on YouTube

 

.

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Bibliophilica.com

Horror Novel Reviews   Hell Horror    HorrorPalace

HorrorSociety.com

 Monster Librarian  Tales to Terrify       Spooky Reads

 Lovecraft Ezine      Rob Around Books    The Story Reading Ape Blog

     The Gothic Wanderer   Sirens Call Publications  The Fussy Librarian

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

 

 

 

2 Comments

Filed under Charles Dickens, classic horror stories, Dreams, fiction, horror, literary horror, Night Sea Journey, quiet horror, short stories

A Bloody Hand Upon Her Cheek

The Birthmark   by Nathaniel Hawthorne  (1846)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror   April 1, 2014

.

the-laboratory-1895blog

Georgiana,” said he, “has it never occurred to you that the mark upon your cheek might be removed?” … Her husband tenderly kissed her cheek—her right cheek—not that which bore the impress of the crimson hand.”

Aylmer, Georgianna’s husband, is a man of science with a powerful intelligence and imaginative spirit that guides his work. But his love for his splendid and beautiful young wife drives him to a deed we might all want him to succeed in—or do we?

Georgianna was born with a birthmark, a rather fierce-looking tiny bloody hand print on her left cheek. Folklore explains it might have been imprinted by a fairy as a token of magical endowments. Aylmer has other thoughts on this and sees it more as a symbol of sin or even decay and death.

212439_html_73ad8a5f

One night Aylmer has a dream … “He had fancied himself with his servant Aminadab, attempting an operation for the removal of the birthmark; but the deeper went the knife, the deeper sank the hand, until at length its tiny grasp appeared to have caught hold of Georgiana’s heart; whence, however, her husband was inexorably resolved to cut or wrench it away.”

If anyone can effectively use dreams in fiction, it’s Hawthorne.

“When the dream had shaped itself perfectly in his memory, Aylmer sat in his wife’s presence with a guilty feeling. Truth often finds its way to the mind close muffled in robes of sleep, and then speaks with uncompromising directness of matters in regard to which we practise an unconscious self-deception during our waking moments. Until now he had not been aware of the tyrannizing influence acquired by one idea over his mind, and of the lengths which he might find in his heart to go for the sake of giving himself peace.”

As the story flows, the horrors of tampering with Mother Nature prevail: “Dearest Georgiana, I have spent much thought upon the subject,” hastily interrupted Aylmer. “I am convinced of the perfect practicability of its [birthmark] removal.”

And so, Aylmer, attempts to remove the birthmark, using an elixir  he has developed in his laboratory. Watch out for Aminadab, the lab assistant, an ape-like man whose presence represents more than just a servant.

Purple_Poison

Is there really any true perfection in our world? If there is perfection, where does it exist? This tale by Hawthorne is just as timely today as it was in the 1800s. Self-image, acceptance, fear vs. trust, and the mystery of Mother Nature are beautifully foreshadowed throughout the prose. I suggest listening to the audio as Hawthorne’s language in this story is truly a thrilling experience. Every paragraph vibrates with deep spirituality and a haunting last impression.

 

Nathaniel+Hawthorne%27s+Tales+book+cover

Read the full text of The Birthmark at Classic Reader.com

 

Listen to the audio version at Storm-Nemesis Blogspot

 

Watch the 2010 film adaptation by Mikael Kreuzriegler and Ken   Rodgers at Vimeo.com. This is not exactly true to Hawthorne’s fine prose but still an intriguing 16-minute film.

 

 

You might also like Hawthorne’s short story  The Haunted Mind, a vivid and eerie dreamscape featured here in January 2013.

 

 

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Bibliophilica.com

Horror Novel Reviews   Hell Horror    HorrorPalace

HorrorSociety.com

 Monster Librarian  Tales to Terrify       Spooky Reads

 Lovecraft Ezine      Rob Around Books    The Story Reading Ape Blog

     The Gothic Wanderer   Sirens Call Publications  The Fussy Librarian

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

 

2 Comments

Filed under classic horror stories, Dreams, fiction, Hawthorne, psychological horror, short stories

Dreaming Little Traps of Horror

Mrs. Rinaldi’s Angel   by Thomas Ligotti  (2005)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror  March 11, 2014

.

220px-BlakeReddragon

.

Have you been watching Nic Pizzolatto’s True Detective on HBO? thomas-ligotti Pizzolatto says in an interview with The Arkham Digest  that “the work and vision of Thomas Ligotti was very influential for imagining Cohle’s (Rustin Cohle) overall worldview.” Cohle is a nihilistic and hypnotic character in this compelling crime and horror series. If you became mesmerized watching True Detective as I have, you will likely enjoy the short stories of Thomas Ligotti. His prose is luscious and the philosophy of horror one of the darkest you’ll experience. And while Ligotti is not a classic dead author as I normally feature here, I felt stimulated this week at the conclusion of True Detective to read one of Ligotti’s shorts.

Mrs. Rinaldi’s Angel is about angels and demons with a dash of Gnostic theology. Add nightmares and the power of evil (favorite elements of my reading and in my own writing) and you’ve got a story intense with horror.

A young boy suffering from nightmares is brought to the long-widowed and witchy Mrs. Rinaldi for her curative methods.

“Do you know what dreams are?” she asked quietly, and then immediately began to answer her own question. “They are parasites-maggots of the mind and soul, feeding on the mind and soul as ordinary maggots feed on the body. And their feeding on the mind and soul in turn gnaws away at the body, which in turn again affects the mind and the soul, and so on until death.”

Until death. Makes one wonder if you could literally die inside of a nightmare … and then what? Does the nightmare triumph in the end? This young boy’s bodiless nocturnal adventures are not to be missed as you go with him into the blackness of old time.

Read Mrs. Rinaldi’s Angel at Ligotti.net

.

In keeping with today’s dream themes and for my classic horror fans …

HOUSENightmares5642762The House of the Nightmare  by Edward Lucas White (1906)

Edward Lucas White wrote stories based on his own nightmares. This story is more than fantasy or a writer’s imagination. Our narrator is a traveler in the countryside when the image of a white stone catches his eye and he crashes his motorcar. He is knocked out and awakens to find a young boy with a hideous harelip, staring intensely at him. He spends the night inside the boy’s house and drops into a nightmare.

“It had a hot, slobbering, red mouth, full of big tusks, and its jaws worked hungrily. It shuffled and hunched itself forward, inch by inch, till its vast forelegs straddled the bed.

This story will remind you of being a little kid, alone in your darkened room, afraid of the monster under the bed. White’s most famous short story collections are Lukundoo and Song of the Sirens

ELWhitemages

Read The House of the Nightmare at Gaslight.mtroyal.ca

Listen to the audio at Librivox Recordings

.

TRUE DETECTIVE LINKS YOU  MIGHT LIKE

 WSJ blog:  http://blogs.wsj.com/speakeasy/2014/02/02/writer-nic-pizzolatto-on-thomas-ligotti-and-the-weird-secrets-of-true-detective/

Forbes: http://www.forbes.com/sites/allenstjohn/2014/03/09/six-things-to-watch-for-in-the-true-detective-finale/

HBO: http://www.hbo.com/true-detective#/

IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2356777/

.

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Bibliophilica.com

Horror Novel Reviews   Hell Horror    HorrorPalace

 HorrorSociety.com  

 Monster Librarian  Tales to Terrify       Spooky Reads

 Lovecraft Ezine      Rob Around Books    The Story Reading Ape Blog

     The Gothic Wanderer   Sirens Call Publications   The Fussy Librarian

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

 

 

Art is by William Blake, Red Dragon

3 Comments

Filed under demons, Dreams, fiction, horror, Night Sea Journey, Nightmares, quiet horror, short stories, supernatural, tales of terror, weird tales, witches

House of Dusk and Shadows

The Room in the Tower   by E.F. Benson  (1912)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror, January 21, 2014

RoomInTowerimages 

“Jack will show you your room. I have given you the room in the tower.”

Sound friendly enough? Not in this story. Picture this: you are sixteen years old and a habitual dreamer with mostly pleasant adventures. One night you dream of a house full of shadows with a dark gloomy staircase leading to a tower where “Jack” brings you to your room. The room-in-the-tower nightmare produces a paralyzing fear but of what exactly you cannot identify.  And then this nightmare has the power of recurring in your sleep for years as you grow into an adult. And the nightmares grow too, each one becoming more frightening than the first.

Oh but this is only a dream, you say. Just wake up and go on with your life. And so you do … until the elements of the nightmare begin to appear in your waking life. And you actually meet “Jack” who leads you upstairs to the room in the tower.

Out of the dark silence comes the voice …

 “Jack will show you your room. I have given you the room in the tower.”

Wow I love stories like this! (My own novel Night Sea Journey, A Tale of the Supernatural is similar in that it deals with the power of nightmares and how the subconscious and the conscious mind can mix it up and become true horror; so this story really spoke to me.)   E.F Benson explores the subconscious mind in a most disturbing way in The Room in the Tower. There might be tea on the lawn to lull the dreamer in, but there is also a dreaded silence to say nothing of the odors of decay and inexplicable bloody hands. And most important, the mysterious reality of supernatural dreaming.

ghostsEFBenson60075

79px-Benson,_27English novelist Edward Frederick Benson (Fred to his friends) was a prolific author of ghost    stories. He’s not as popular as some of the other authors here at Tales of Terror, but he was good enough to earn high praise from Lovecraft. Lovecraft so admired Benson’s talents, he mentioned several of  Benson’s titles in his essay Supernatural Horror in Literature (IX).If you’ve never experienced the stories of Fred Benson, get upstairs into that Room in the Tower.

Read The Room in the Tower at Gaslight (30-minute read)

Listen to the Librivox Recording (A good one!) recorded by Drew Heinmiller.

You’ll find more stories by E.F. Benson at  Gutenberg.net.

REMINDER: FEBRUARY IS WOMEN IN HORROR MONTH!

WomenInHorrorMonth.com

WomenInHorror Facebook

 Sirens Call Publications

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Horror Novel Reviews   Hell Horror    HorrorPalace

 Monster Librarian  Tales to Terrify       Spooky Reads

 Lovecraft Ezine      Rob Around Books    The Story Reading Ape Blog

GoodKindles.net      The Gothic Wanderer

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

6 Comments

Filed under Dreams, fiction, psychological horror, quiet horror, short stories, tales of terror

Horror Palace Reviews Night Sea Journey

May I offer you an update on my novel, Night Sea Journey, A Tale of the Supernatural?

I am honored and happy to have Horror Palace review my debut novel, Night Sea Journey. This is typical of  “quiet horror” and timely for the Halloween season this month.  Please take a look at this 4-star review by movie and book critic Damnetha Jules at HorrorPalace.com

http://www.horrorpalace.com/2013/10/13/night-sea-journey-book-review/

Only $2.99

In US http://amzn.to/RXKrWX  In UK http://amzn.to/1amNQrA
Barnes&Noble http://bit.ly/Vz1JeB
Smashwords http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/275962

CappaNightSeaJourneySMALLimage

 

Leave a comment

Filed under demons, Dreams, horror, Night Sea Journey, quiet horror, soft horror

On the Dark Side of the Moon, The Sandman

The Sandman by E.T.A. Hoffmann  (1817)

Tuesday’s Tale of  Terror  July 9, 2013

sandman6

A 200-year old story. German Romantic Literature. Fantasy. Horror. Alchemy. Madness. And a hint of Frankensteinian fiction. Are you game for this one?

Some of you may know this author from The Nutcracker & the King of Mice, which was adapted into the famous ballet by Tchaikovsky or his novel The Devil’s Elixir. Hoffman is famous for his supernatural tales with the most sinister characters and The Sandman, with its dramatic but very realistic narrative style lives up to that reputation.

Did your mom ever tell you the story of The Sandman? A fairy-type image of a good soul who sprinkles sand over your eyelids while you slept so you stay asleep? Well, this sandman by Hoffman is nothing like that.

The sandman comes to children who won’t go to sleep and “throws handfuls of sand in their eyes until, streaming with blood, they pop out of their heads. Then he throws the eyes in a sack and carries them off to the dark of the moon to feed his little ones with; they sit there in a nest with their hooked beaks, like owls’, with which they peck away at the naughty human children’s eyes.”

Try that for a bedtime story.

Our character, Nathanael, poor dear sweet Nathanael is told this bedtime story by his wicked nurse. Take this tale, add to it a fevered imagination, a father who dabbles in alchemy, a visitor named Coppelius with repulsive sneering lips, red ears, and dark glittering eyes who hates children (“the little beasties”) and watch it launch into a horror story that blurs the lines between phantasm and madness.

Symbolically, Freud wrote that The Sandman was about fear of castration. There might be a psychopathology going on here, especially when Nathanael grows up and falls in love with a strange stiff-backed woman named Olympia who is kept behind a locked glass door by her father. And there’s Klara, the beautiful and smart young maiden who truly loves Nathanael with her whole heart … but can Klara save our Nathanael from his phantoms? Will he let her?

Read the full text at The University of Adelaide Library

http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/h/hoffmann/eta/sand/

Leave a comment. Tell us about your  childhood scariest bedtime stories. Do they compare to Hoffmann’s The Sandman?

Hoffmann

Hoffmann portrait

Art is by Paul Gavarni

http://www.hellhorror.com/links/

4 Comments

Filed under dark fantasy, Dreams, fiction, horror, literature, short stories, supernatural, suspense, tales of terror, weird tales