Category Archives: graveyards

Digging Up the Dead

One Summer Night by Ambrose Bierce  (1892)

Tuesday’s Tale of  Terror   July 21, 2105gravediggerimgres

Bitter Bierce, as author Ambrose Bierce was known because of his satirical wit in his vivid fiction. Bierce’s An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge and A Horsemen in the Sky are considered his most popular and finest literary achievements. This short story, One Summer Night, is a little twisty and perfect for a July summertime  mystery read.

“It was a dark summer night, shot through with infrequent shimmers of lightning silently firing a cloud lying low in the west and portending a storm.”

Here we meet Henry Armstrong. “The fact that Henry Armstrong was buried did not seem to him to prove that he was dead: he had always been a hard man to convince. That he really was buried, the testimony of his senses compelled him to admit.”

 

Being buried alive was not uncommon in the 1800s. In John Snart’s Thesaurus of Horror, he recounts the true story of the premature burial of Mr. Cornish, the mayor of Bath. In fiction, we all know Poe’s famous The Premature Burial (1844).

ambrose_bierceAmbrose Bierce is admired for his well-plotted, dark and imaginary tales. He defines the imagination as ‘a warehouse of facts, with poet and liar in joint ownership.’ The Devil’s Dictionary (Bierce’s witty book of social commentary disguised as definitions).

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Read One Summer Night at EastoftheWeb.com

Listen to the audio version on YouTube.com

 

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Bibliophilica       Lovecraft Ezine     HorrorAddicts.net  

Horror Novel Reviews    Hell Horror    HorrorPalace

HorrorSociety.com        Sirens Call Publications

 Monster Librarian   Tales to Terrify       Spooky Reads

HorrorNews.net     HorrorTalk.com

 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.

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Lovecraft for Christmas

The Festival   by H.P. Lovecraft (1925)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror    December 2, 2014

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No one but Lovecraft could bring you to the dark and dreary yuletide of the season. Come to Kingsport, an old fishing town in Massachusetts. Willow trees. Graveyards. Crooked streets … “antiquity hovering on grey wings over winter-whitened gables and gambrel roofs; fanlights and small-paned windows one by one gleaming out in the cold dusk to join Orion and the archaic stars.” There are black gravestones in Kingsport that stick up “through the snow like the decayed fingernails of a gigantic corpse.”

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Not exactly glistening angels and the merry sparkles of Christmas trees. Charles Dickens’ gave us cranky old Scrooge on Christmas Eve, but Lovecraft brings us  into subterranean rituals. Are you ready for the opposite of merry, merry? Gloomy, gloomy. Our narrator tells us that four witches were hung in Kingsport in 1692. Lonely and far from home, he is looking for his relatives for the merry season. He finds his relative’s home on Green Street. A man answers the door, a man with a face like wax and eyes that do not move. Invited in, our narrator enters the house. No one speaks. All he can hear is the “whir of the wheel as the bonneted old woman continued her silent spinning, spinning” before the fireplace.

He participates in a procession through the streets to the Festival, led by voiceless guides to a church and yard. When he looks back, he finds there are no footprints in the snow of these night marchers … nor his own. What does this festival bring? And how does he survive it?

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imagesThe power of Lovecraft’s language here touches deeply into fear, not an emotion we associate with holiday time. Fear, loneliness, displaced from home can harbor its own madness. As Lovecraft tells us in Latin at the beginning of his story: Demons have the ability to cause people to see things that do not exist as if they did exist.

 

 

 

 

Creature Sketch Art by Jason Thompson: MockMan.com

 

Read the full text at H.P. Lovecraft.com

Listen to the audio version on YouTube with visuals. Turn out the lights and listen to this one!

Audio: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OjcM_sIDfUs Part 1

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=62ICpQs9aac Part 2.

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Filed under Christmas stories, classic horror stories, demons, fiction, graveyards, horror, horror blogs, Lovecraft, occult, short stories, tales of terror

Walpurgis Nacht: Night of the Witches

Dracula’s Guest   by Bram Stoker (1914)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror    October 14, 2014

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This short story is not about witches but  does have the flavors of Count Dracula and a creepy atmospheric mood in the classic style of Stoker’s horror. If you are a Bram Stoker fan, love the novel Dracula and are anxious to see the new movie Dracula Untold, this short fiction has all the qualities of a mysterious journey down a dark road to the supernatural.

We are on a carriage ride through the woods of Germany on the cursed night of the witches. An Englishman in Munich, on his way to visit Count Dracula in Transylvania, takes a carriage ride on Walpurgis nacht. It’s early summer and the carriage horses are throwing up their heads suspiciously into the air. Johann, the driver, passes a road that appears inviting to Englishman and he asks Johann to turn into that road. But Johann refuses. Johann responds …

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He crossed himself and mumbled a prayer, before he answered, ‘It is unholy.’

‘What is unholy?’ I enquired.

‘The village.’

‘Then there is a village?’

‘No, no. No one lives there hundreds of years.’

You are afraid, Johann—you are afraid. Go home; I shall return alone; the walk will do me good.’

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And so begins this man’s lonely walk into the darkened woods, through a snowstorm, into the village cemetery, and the supernatural power he encounters there.

 

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With the release of the film Dracula Untold this month, where the history of Count Dracula is illustrated in the story of Vlad the Impaler, I thought reading this particular short story of Stoker’s would be timely. It is thought that Dracula’s Guest was originally designed to be the opening chapter of the novel Dracula.

 

 

 

 

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In 1912 Bram Stoker died in London on April 20, during the same month as the German Walpurgis nacht date of April 30. His wife Florence had Dracula’s Guest and Other Weird Stories published in 1922. Dracula’s Guest was first published in 1912 with the dedication, “To My Son.”

 

 

 

Read the short story Dracula’s Guest at Gutenberg.org

Listen to the audio version at Librivox.org

 And, if you’ve seen Dracula Untold, post a review!

 

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.

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Evil Plucked

Wake Not the Dead  by Johann Ludwig Tieck  (1823)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror   April 22, 2014

 

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If you could build a bridge between the living and the dead, would you? In Tieck’s Wake Not the Dead, Walter is in despair. His loving and beautiful wife Brunhilda (love that name) is dead and buried. When we begin this story … “Wilt thou for ever sleep? … Walter’s lamentations over his wife’s death touches deeply. The prose is somewhat formal but wonderfully poetic and for those who love Gothic literature with all the traditional flavors, this is a stunning if not horrific tale.

Our melancholy Walter remarries (Swanhilda) and has children, but he is still haunted by the absence of his lovely Brunhilda. One day, in the neighboring mountains, Walter meets an old sorcerer. Desiring to bridge death with life, Walter employs the magic of this sorcerer to restore his lost Brunhilda.

Then be it even as thou wishest,” answered the sorcerer; “step back.” 

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The old man now drew a circle round the grave, all the while muttering words of enchantment. Immediately the storm began to howl among the tops of the trees; owls flapped their wings, and uttered their low voice of omen; the stars hid their mild, beaming aspect, that they might not behold so unholy and impious a spectacle; the stone then rolled from the grave with a hollow sound …”

This story is full of atmospheric conjures as Tieck (1773-1853) wrote a suspenseful and vivid tale. His work as a well-known German romantic poet colors every scene. I must mention that there is some controversy that the true author of this story was Ernst Benjamin Raupach (1784-1852), written in German Lasst die Toten ruhen. I suppose we shall never know for sure who originally wrote Wake Not the Dead or who possibly stole it. I like the mystery behind the authorship though and hunted for just the right portrait of each author. From the expression on their faces below, can you guess what they might say to us about the authorship? Hmm, what a fascinating ghost short story that might make in itself: the accursed struggle between Johann and Ernst, each claiming to be the creator of Wake Not the Dead. Maybe that’s my next short story!

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Johann Ludwig Tieck                                                                                                                               Ernst Benjamin Raupach

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Read the full text online at Gutenberg Australia.

Listen to the Librivox Recording by Morvan Scorpian.

If you want to read more of Tieck’s work (and I do recommend it), try Tales from Phantasus of Ludwig Tieck: The Mysterious Cup, The Elves, The Love-Charm and many more at Gutenberg.org.

 

 

 

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

 

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Tenant of the Grave

The Premature Burial  by Edgar Allen Poe  (1844)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror    September  24, 2013

How do you feel about being buried alive? Who best could write about this horror than the Mr. Edgar Allan Poe with his magnetic prose and his unparalleled aptness of the pen.

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Since next week begins October, the official Halloween month, and since I am planning on featuring a “Women in Horror Month” for Tales of Terror, I wanted to be sure to get a Poe short story to you to kick off the scariest month of the year. Halloween month wouldn’t be fulfilling without a Poe story. So, prepare yourself for a dark tale today.

Merciful God, being buried alive! Of all the human horrors to endure, is there a greater fear? Living in the 1800s, this fear was far more common than today with all our medical devices to declare the dead as truly dead.

From the opening lines …There are certain themes of which the interest is all-absorbing, but which are too entirely horrible for the purposes of legitimate fiction … So we are plunged into the nonfiction, or so we think. We are introduced to several case histories (there are over one hundred well-authenticated cases) of people who were buried alive.  We learn of a Baltimore woman who although buried in the family vault, broke out of her coffin.  And then there is the young and beautiful Mademoiselle Victorine Lafourcade, buried in the village graveyard. Unbelievably, she is dug up and saved by her lover.

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Our narrator, a nervous sort, is obsessed with tombs, cemeteries, and worms. Nightmares plague him of being buried alive in a locked coffin. Why? He has a peculiar disorder called catalepsy, an affliction that causes a human to enter a deathlike trance—possibly for days or weeks. Hence, being declared dead in error and buried alive in a locked coffin remains a living terror for him. What can he do to prevent this destiny?

Come into the realm of the nethermost Hell with our narrator. He will tell you that the boundaries which divide Life from Death are at best shadowy and vague.

Read the text at Classic Lit

http://classiclit.about.com/library/bl-etexts/eapoe/bl-eapoe-premature.htm

Watch the internet film of The Premature Burial directed by Ric White, Willing Heart Productions (40 minutes). The performances are not exactly stellar (I’m being kind here) and the script is literally a screaming melodrama, but still this is a decent adaptation of Poe’s masterpiece.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tBMSZozsY54

If you are a Netflix member, you can get the film starring Ray Milland, directed by Roger Corman (1962). Here’s the 4-minute preview trailer. This film is perfect for Halloween night.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u9E7PZllXjI

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Images are from The Black Box Club:

http://theblackboxclub.blogspot.com

 Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

GoodReads     WattPad   The Story Reading Ape Blog

Interesting Literature      Bibliophilopolis.wordpress.com

  Horror Novel Reviews   Hell Horror

Monster Librarian   Tales to Terrify     Rob Around Books  

 Books on the Nightstand

TheInsatiableBookSlut   For Authors/Writers: The Writer Unboxed

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That Other Evil

The Return of Andrew Bentley  by August W. Derleth and Mark Schorer (1933)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror   June 18, 2013

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May I invite you in … to listen. Can you hear the peet peet from the nighthawk? Can you recognize the gasping and gurgling cries from the river? What’s that movement in the shadowy distance of the trees? A caped, dark and hunched creature flattens itself against the vaulted doors of your uncle’s gravesite. Gleaming white fingers spread out.

You dash to your uncle’s vault. Who would dare tamper with the dead? Who!

Uncle Amos is a dabbler of the dark arts and a believer … of evil demons lured to earth by man’s ignorance, of souls isolated in space, and of an ever-present evil wrath. Uncle Amos lives in the rustic village of Sac Prairie, in an old homestead on the banks of the Wisconsin River, until his sudden death, at which time his nephew, Ellis, inherits house and properties—and must agree to the old man’s single demand.

Uncle Amos instructs Ellis, “Let no day go by during which you do not examine the vault behind the house. My body will lie there, and the vault will be sealed. If at any time you discover that someone has been tampering, you will find written instructions for your further procedure in my library desk.”

Written instructions. This is where it really gets good. The Return of Andrew Bentley is not just a ghost story as you might expect. This is quite a thrilling story with young Ellis struggling to protect his dead uncle’s body, maintain his own sanity and safety, and avoid dipping himself into the blackest of arts.

I wish I could provide you with a direct link to the actual short story, but I could not locate a single online read anywhere, which means the copyright is not in public domain.

I did locate a video from Boris Karloff’s Thriller Theater made in 1961, vintage black-and-white and with a bit of melodrama that is so charming of that time, complete with sinister organ music. The script is written by the talented and famous Richard Matheson. And you might enjoy some of the amazing outdoor photography with horse and carriage scenes.

If you want to read this short story (I found my copy in an old anthology from 1941), 25 Modern Stories of Mystery and Imagination, Editor Phil Stong, Garden City Publishing Co., Inc. The story is also in Famous Ghost Stories by Editor Christopher Cerf, published by Vintage NY.  Both books are on AbeBooks.com or try your local library.

Watch the video here at Karloff’s Thriller Theater:

http://archive.org/details/KarloffThriller

And I found this commentary by Peter Enfantino and John Scoleri that might be an interesting addition to your evening with The Return of Andrew Bentley.

http://athrilleraday.blogspot.com/2010/10/return-of-andrew-bentley-season-2.html

A quick word about the author August Derleth who collaborated with Mark Schorer to write this shortie. Derleth, a prolific and versatile writer (over 3000 works published in 350 magazines) co-founded  Arkham House, publisher of Lovecraft’s stories, Blackwood’s and others. Some of his literary influences were not only Lovecraft but also Thoreau, Emerson, A.C. Doyle, and Robert Frost. Derleth invented the term “Cthulhu Mythos” for Lovecraft’s fictional universe.

Art Credit: A Thriller A Day Blogspot.

NOTE:  Just in case you missed this announcement, my supernatural novel, The Dazzling Darkness won Joel Friedlander’s Ebook Cover Award for Fiction, cover designer Gina Casey. Many thanks to  Gina for an award-winning cover.

http://www.thebookdesigner.com/2013/06/e-book-cover-design-awards-may-2013/

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

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Of Rats and Men

The Graveyard Rats  by Henry Kuttner (1936)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror   June 11, 2013

We are in witch-haunted Salem, in a most dark and neglected cemetery. Our host is Old Masson the caretaker. Rats! Rats! Rats! And of extraordinary size, scabrous, ragged whiskers, fanged with dull orange teeth and claws that … well, need I say more?

While greed is a pretty ugly characteristic in most fictional characters, our dear Old Masson’s greed is nothing compared to what these rats are capable of doing to the dead lying in their coffins. And when Old Masson finds this shoe, a shoe that … I can’t say anymore.

Want shivers? Want chills? How are you with subterranean evil?

The Graveyard Rats was Henry Kuttner’s first publication in 1936 in Weird Tales. His fame soared with The Secret of Kralitz, The Eater of Souls, The Salem Horror. Today Kuttner is a forgotten author of horror/sci-fi. He wrote under various pen names with his wife C.L. Moore. If you’re fond of Lovecraftian horror, this one has all the elements. Kuttner corresponded with Lovecraft about his stories, so the inspiration is first hand.

And after reading this tale of terror, if you still want more, The Salem Horror will satisfy your hunger for horror.

Read The Graveyard Rats at WikiSource:

http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Graveyard_Rats

Read The Salem Horror at  http://www.donaldcorrell.com/kuttner/shorror.html

Want audio? I love being read to. How about The Secret of Kralitz? (YouTube 18-minute narration) A haunted house, family curse, mad laughter,  and the chill gleam of evil.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7AMV0K7QqBA

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