Category Archives: haunted mind

Twisty Tale on Island of Nethescurial

Nethescurial  by Thomas Ligotti  (1991)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror    March 21, 2017

 

Are you in need of reading a wild yarn? The real and the unreal, swirling freely and madly about. Take a ride into darkness. Be brave. If any author can satisfy these desires, it’s Thomas Ligotti. Some critics say that Ligotti’s work requires re-reading. I can attest that my second read of this tale dug deeper and I enjoyed it all the more. Some might prefer to read this as non-literal. One thing I can promise is that Nethescurial will hold you to the spot. Maybe it all psychosis (no explicit violence) but it’s undoubtedly a jolt to the consciousness with lots of philosophy. The emotional effect is shock. The psychological impact, mesmerizing. You will be unnerved in full Ligotti style.

The story is framed from four narratives: the ancient cult of the Nethescurial; Dr. N.; Bartholomew Gray; and the narrator.

Here is the lonely island of Nethescurial in the northern hemisphere.

contorted rock formations; pointed pines and spruces of gigantic stature and uncanny movements; the masklike countenance of sea-faring cliffs; and a sickly, stagnant fog clinging to the landscape like a fungus.

Our narrator is recounting a story (epistolary writing) of a manuscript he found that was written by a Mr. Bartholomew Gray during his visit to Dr. N, an archeologist who was living on the island. Dr. N lived in a primitive house built of leprous stones and no windows. Dr. N has excavated a buried treasure on the island—a piece of a dismembered hand-carved religious idol from the Nethescurials.

Gray’s goal is to reassemble the idol to wholeness and revive its powers. Only one more piece is needed. And Dr. N possesses the last piece. Ancient cults (Lovecraftian style), dark truths, murder, visionary intrusions, a secret door, apocalyptic, a dash of madness, this story is twisty horror. Do you believe in transcendent evil?

Remember this chant:

In the rooms of houses . . . across moonlit skies . . . inside each star and the voids between them … within blood and bone, through all souls and spirits. . . behind the faces of the living and the dead …

 

 

I  normally don’t rate my featured short stories here, but this cosmic adventure is a 5-star literary achievement.

Click to read the short story at Ligotti.net.

Click to listen to the audio at YouTube.

 

 

Thomas Ligotti is a contemporary American author. He writes “philosophical horror” with nihilistic themes. His works have received high praise from NY Times, LA Times, Washington Post, and The New Yorker.

Visit The Thomas Ligotti website. 

Interview with Ligotti at TeemingBrain.com “I Was Born to Fear.”

The Horror of the Unreal. The New Yorker.

  

////////////////////////////

Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free Tales of Terror. This is a compendium of 200 short stories by over 100 famous storytellers of mystery, supernatural, crime, ghost stories, sci-fi, and horror.

Follow me in reading  two short stories every month!

Comments are welcome.

 Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

 The Kill Zone

Kirkus Mystery & Thrillers Reviews

Books & Such    Bibliophilica    Lovecraft Ezine   Parlor of Horror

HorrorNews.net   Fangoria.com   

Slattery’s Art of Horror Magazine

HorrorAddicts.net     Horror Novel Reviews    HorrorSociety.com     

Monster Librarian      HorrorTalk.com 

 Rob Around Books      The Story Reading Ape Blog

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

EZindiepublishing

Thriller Author Mark Dawson http://markjdawson.com/

Dawson’s Book Marketing site: http://www.selfpublishingformula.com/

Greylock

3 Comments

Filed under classic horror stories, dark fantasy, fiction, ghost stories, ghost story blogs, haunted mind, horror, horror blogs, literary horror, mysteries, psychological horror, quiet horror, Reading Fiction, short stories, short story blogs, soft horror, supernatural, tales of terror, weird tales

Smoke Is Fatal to Evil Spirits

March 13, 2017

Ancient wisdom tells us that smoke is fatal to evil spirits. Have you ever burned sage to drive away negative energies? Ever burned the blooms of a Smoke Tree?  The flame flies in wild circles. The scent, sweet and spicy. Christians burn incense to purify churches and altars; they scatter the smoke in all directions, hence the expression ‘holy smoke.’ Capnomancy is form of divination, a reading of the shapes of smoke as a sign of what will happen soon. I love candlelight and bonfires, watching the smoke curl into haunting shapes, light-winged, like an Icarian bird or …

 

Or like a firehawk …

 

Let’s get dreamy for a moment. Henry David Thoreau said “Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake.”

Come with me. Move into sleep, as through a veil. Let the dream do its dreaming.

Enter into a night journey where airy Smoke Trees grow.

Sit down beneath the fluffy grayish puff-blooms. Rest on their vanishing shadows.

Are you breathing a bit of smoke yet? Inhale the alluring scent and let it take you into the beyond.

In the distance is a cemetery garden. Do you see it?

Curling grass, ferns and flowers, flights of hawks are soaring.

 

 

The weight of the air is suddenly cool and white.  A strange woman is walking the paths. Will you follow her through the Smoke Trees?

 

 

Kip Livingston carried a jar of sea lavender through the cemetery paths high above the sea. Raymond Kera followed but kept several paces behind. Some of the headstones were scoured white from salt winds. Smoke trees interrupted the skyline with their frothy grey plumes and deep purple leaves—must have been twenty of them among the graves. Raymond remembered smoke trees from childhood when he was sent to stay with his aunt in upstate New York for a month. He had been permitted to pluck one bloom and spent the morning blowing away the seed heads one at a time. As they floated off, he saw them as little angel ghosts with glowing heads. He had chased the smokey ghosts all the way to the street, giving his aunt the scare of her life.

Just at that moment, he desired to yank down a plume and do the same. Ridiculous, but tempting.

He watched Kip approach a headstone and place the lavender on the grass right under the engraved name  of her grandfather Achab David Ze’leim. She stood there all soft and flowing in her summer dress with the dull sun at her back. Her lips moved slowly; she fingered her necklace, cast her eyes down to the earth, tucked her head as if listening. Then suddenly her hand swung down like a broken paw.

Giving her plenty of privacy, Raymond sat on a nearby bench. He let the puffs of the smoke trees soothe him. He might have closed his eyes, if only to escape all of what happened that morning. That claw. Did she dismember the demon? Or was it another illusion? Or another dream of her evil firehawk?  Are her dreams so powerful that when she opens her eyes, when she becomes awake, the images are realized?

Kip waved him over. “I was thinking of Aunt Agatha, just now.”

“Is she buried here too?”

“Her ashes are buried in the garden at Abasteron House. Aunt Agatha was the sweetest woman. She wanted to tell me the secret. But she said it would frighten me. So, she took it with her to her grave.”

“A family secret?”

“I don’t know. Admitting you even have a secret half reveals it, don’t you think?”

Kip slipped her hand into the crux of Ray’s arm and hung on to rest her face on his shoulder. “Grandfather died bravely, you know. He walked the beach every day at noon, even up to the last week he died. He especially loved the winter sun.”

Raymond gave a nod to be polite. Achab David Ze’leim’s headstone was a massive hewn square rock with a lion claw as a mounting at each corner. Simple lettering. Name, dates, and the old man’s last words: Every word emanating from God creates an angel.

“You think that’s true, Kip?”

“What?”

He pointed to the epitaph.

“Why not? It’s from the Talmud. You believe in angels, don’t you, Ray?”

“I do.”

“And demons?”

“You mean your demon?”

“It’s not my demon, Ray.”

“Well, it’s your dream.”

“No, it’s not.”

“Then whose dream is it?”

She looked away. “The dream is dreaming itself.”

“Why would you think that?” Thunder rolled over the smoke trees. The puffs on the trees didn’t look so angelic just then—more like dried up cobwebs about to crack.

Kip answered after a moment. “Grandfather.”

 

 

Come into the Night Sea Journey with Kip and Raymond. Walk among the cemetery smoke trees. Angels. Demons. Be awake in the dream as it dreams itself into reality.

An Eric Hoffer Book Award Winner, 2015.

Amazon.com

Amazon UK 

Barnes & Noble.com

Smashwords

U.S. REVIEW OF BOOKS  “Stunning and absorbing plot on par with, if not better than, a Dan Brown novel.”

SAN FRANCISCO BOOK REVIEW ★★★★★ “NIGHT SEA JOURNEY is like reading a Dan Brown book with a wicked twist: it has real demons. Readers will be taken on a continual thrill ride, impossible to put down, a fast-paced thriller.”

READERS’ FAVORITE REVIEWS ★★★★★ “Marvelous, atmospheric and, oh, so very, very good. Profound, vibrant, and intensely moving. Highly recommended. Brava!”

Published by Crispin Books

1 Comment

Filed under Book Reviews, dark fantasy, demons, Dreams, fiction, haunted mind, Hauntings, horror, horror blogs, mysteries, Night Sea Journey, short story blogs, supernatural, supernatural mysteries, supernatural thrillers

Deathless and Patient

The House of the Past   by Algernon Blackwood (1904)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror  November 10, 2015

The_Old_Hall,_Fairies_by_Moonlight

 

If your dreams could speak to you, what would they say? Let’s open that rusty door to dream time. Here is the key. Go deep. Turn and hear the click. Or is it a whumpp? Throw the door open, if you dare, into the bleak images moving about. Let your dream speak. What would she say? She might say … “This is the House of the Past. Come with me and we will go through some of its rooms and passages; but quickly, for I have not the key for long, and the night is very nearly over. Yet, perchance, you shall remember!”

Time_to_let_(her)_go!

Remember? Do you remember the ghosts of your past? Will you hear them whispering or weeping? Might you see shadows wearing old dust like shrouds?

Ангел_в_солнечном_свете

 

In Blackwood’s House of the Past, the themes are streaming with imagry. Listen to the language and let yourself flow with the pace. This story can truly transport you to another world of the supernatural. Algernon is one of my favorite authors because I love how eloquently he builds a story into a fantasy and blends the mystical with the occult. He’s my number one go-to author when I want a really mesmerizing ghost story. Lovecraft named him a “modern master.”

William_Turner_-_Shade_and_Darkness_-_the_Evening_of_the_Deluge

 

Read the short story here at LoverOfDarkness.net

Listen to the audio story (this is a treat, don’t miss it) by Librivox on YouTube.com.

[All images are public domain from WikiCommons.]

 

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Books & Such

Bibliophilica       Lovecraft Ezine     HorrorAddicts.net  

Horror Novel Reviews      HorrorPalace

HorrorSociety.com        Sirens Call Publications

 Monster Librarian

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under dark fantasy, fiction, ghost stories, haunted mind, horror blogs, Nightmares, short stories, short story blogs, supernatural, tales of terror

Night Sea Journey, 99 cents, November

Last weekend (November 6, 7, 8, 2015) for this sale at 99 cents for Night Sea Journey. This supernatural mystery recently hit the Amazon best seller list for 4 days in occult and supernatural genres.  After winning an Eric Hoffer Book Award this year, Night Sea Journey has connected to readers who love to explore fiction about the mysteries of the subconscious mind, art, and spirituality … and a firehawk.

Eric-Hoffer-Award-Seal

U.S. Review of Books “Stunning and absorbing plot on par with—if not better than—a Dan Brown novel. Truly an outstanding read, Night Sea Journey is one book that is hard to put down!”

ERIC HOFFER BOOK AWARD, 2015. “This romantic fantasy is propelled by gorgeous language and imagery…angels and demons…The grime of inner city Chicago, the tranquility of the Rhode Island coastline, and the depths of a phantasmagoric ocean are the stages for this conflict.”

SAN FRANCISCO BOOK REVIEW ★★★★★ posts “NIGHT SEA JOURNEY is like reading a Dan Brown book with a wicked twist: it has real demons. Readers will be taken on a continual thrill ride, impossible to put down, a fast-paced thriller.”

READERS’ FAVORITE REVIEWS ★★★★★ “Marvelous, atmospheric and, oh, so very, very good. Profound, vibrant, and intensely moving. Highly recommended. Brava!”

★★★★★ Grady Harp, Amazon Hall of Fame Reviewer Gives 5 STARS. “A talent that will draw even those who are not keen on supernatural stories into her fold.”

 

Come meet Kip Livingston’s firehawk  …

FireHawkdreamstime_m_3134182

 

Trade Paperback Published by Crispin Books

Buy the eb00k     $2.99

Buy the trade paperback  $16.95

Amazon.com

Amazon UK 

Barnes & Noble.com

Smashwords

Apple iTunes

CappaNightSeaJourneyERICHFinalSept (1)

Leave a comment

Filed under dark fantasy, demons, fiction, haunted mind, horror, horror blogs, literary horror, Night Sea Journey, occult, Penny Dreadful, quiet horror, short story blogs

Soul Blood

The Dream of Red Hands   by Bram Stoker  (1894)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror  November 3, 2016

 

imgres

This story opens in the grey of dawn. Jacob Settle lives alone on the far edge of the isolated moorland in a small cottage. Our narrator is Jacob’s friend. While we all think of dreaming as normal events in our night life, Jacob is tormented by nightmares and there’s nothing normal about them. Some of us know that when you sleep alone, nightmares don’t just vanish upon waking. Without the comfort of a spouse or family member to anchor reality and soothe the moment, one can go a little mad.

Stoker’s story seems to beg the question, what do nightmares do to the soul? If anyone is in need of fiction about the soul and nightmares, this is the story that will haunt you. Is there such a thing as an evil dream?

bramstoker2

 

464

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

///////////

You can read The Dream of Red Hands at WikiSource.org.

I am especially fascinated by nightmares as most of you know from my supernatural mystery Night Sea Journey. If you are also fascinated with the pathology of nightmares, you might be interested in reading Ernest Jones’ On the Nightmare (1931) published by Leonard and Virginia Woolf. It includes chapters on vampires, werewolves, witches, and the devil. Are nightmares truly caused by spikes in blood pressure or gastric disturbances? Or is there a soul element to it? Is there a spiritual element to it? You can read the book, free online, ON THE NIGHTMARE here.

 

Hall_Freud_Jung_in_front_of_Clark_1909

Group photo 1909 in front of Clark University.

Front row: Sigmund Freud,G. Stanley Hall, Carl Jung;

Back row: Abraham A. Brill, Ernest Jones, Sándor Ferenczi.

 

Irish-born Bram Stoker published his first story The Snake’s Pass in 1890. In 1897, readers were shocked and disgusted by Dracula. Stoker’s first horror story was The Crystal Cup in 1872.

 

CrystalcupStokerimgres

 

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Books & Such

Bibliophilica       Lovecraft Ezine     HorrorAddicts.net  

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free Tales of Terror classic authors.

Leave a comment

Filed under dark fantasy, fiction, haunted mind, horror, horror blogs, literary horror, Night Sea Journey, Nightmares, psychological horror, quiet horror, short stories, short story blogs, supernatural, supernatural thrillers, tales of terror

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

Mysteries of the Invisible

The Horla  by Guy de Maupassant  (1887)
Tuesday’s Tale of Terror   August 25, 2015

 

Horla01

“I began to see myself through a mist in the depths of the looking-glass,

in a mist as it were through a sheet of water …”

 

The mysterious invisible. Unfathomable powers. Phantoms from the void. This short story may be a psychological horror story—de Maupassant’s most famous story—but it is also a masterpiece of suspense and a finely constructed narrative by a writer who was institutionalized shortly after the publication. The Horla in French means “the outsider there.”

Sanity vs. doubts of sanity, vs. insanity vs. a real phantom. Our protagonist has an irritation of the nerves. He lives alone, unmarried, and begins to have recurring nightmares of a creature crushing and choking him in his bed night after night. Rest and relaxation make no improvement. Soon enough we find that an invisible being is feeding on milk and water inside the bedroom and slowly but surely taking possession of our sad and tormented young man.

There’s a line in this story that struck me:  “When we are alone for a long time we people the void with phantoms.”   I especially like how de Maupassant makes the reader feel that everything happening is false and at the same time makes you feel that everything is real. What a writer!

Horla1imgres

 

Guy_de_Maupassant

 

 

de Maupassant published over 300 short stories and 6 novels.  H.P. Lovecraft found inspiration  from The Horla for his The Call of the Cthulhu.

 

 

 

 

 

“I entered literary life as a meteor, and I shall leave it like a thunderbolt.” –Guy de Maupassant

 

Read the short story at Gutenberg.org (Scroll down to The Horla)

 

Listen to the audio at Librivox on YouTube.com

 

Watch the 1963 film (a loose adaptation), starring Vincent Price, “Diary of a Madman” on YouTube.

 

 

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     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.

4 Comments

Filed under fiction, haunted mind, horror, horror blogs, phantoms, short stories, short story blogs, tales of terror