Category Archives: Hauntings

Ghost Story Aficionados

The Haunted House  by Pliny the Younger  (1000 AD)

An Ancient Ghost Story,   Tuesday’s Tale of Terror   January 3, 2017

Ghosts are and have been a permanent feature in our human history, whether you believe in them or not.

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‘And this, my friend, may be conceived to be that heavy, weighty, earthy element of sight by which such a soul is depressed and dragged down again into the visible world, because she is afraid of the invisible and of the world below-prowling about tombs and sepulchers, in the neighborhood of which, as they tell us, are seen certain ghostly apparitions of souls which have not departed pure, but are cloyed with sight and therefore visible.  -Plato’s Phaedo

 

Portrait of Plato. Luni marble. Roman copy after a Greek original of Silanion. Inv. No. MC 1377. Rome, Capitoline Museums, Museum Montemartini.

Portrait of Plato

Are we in good company with Plato? I think so. Let’s take a moment in this new year, apply a bit of philosophy, and believe in ghosts. Let’s go back to ancient Roman times. You may have heard of this gentleman Pliny the Younger (Pliny the Elder was his uncle). Pliny the Younger (in Latin Gaius Plinius Caecilius Secundus) was a Roman author of 9 books of letters, which described ancient Roman life. He was a lawyer, philosopher, financial wizard, famous orator, and a Roman Senator.

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If you pride yourself on being a ghost story aficionado, you must read this one; it’s probably the very first ghost story ever written.  The Haunted House is from Pliny’s correspondence and begins …

“There was at Athens a mansion, spacious and large, but of evil repute and dangerous to health. In the dead of the night a noise, resembling the clashing of iron, was frequently heard, which, if you listened more attentively, sounded like the rattling of chains…”

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Come read the story of Athenodoros and the haunted house from the turn of the second century AD, in a letter from Pliny the Younger to his friend Sura.

 

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Read The Haunted House by Pliny at Gutenberg.org.

Scroll down to LXXXIII — To SURA (9-minute read)

 

Listen to the audio at TheVoiceBeforeTheVoid.net  (7 minutes)

 

 

Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free Tales of Terror. This is a compendium of over 180 short stories by over 100 master storytellers of mystery,  supernatural, horror, and ghost stories. Join me in reading one short story every other week! Comments are welcome.

 

 Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

The Kill Zone

Slattery’s Art of Horror Magazine

Books & Such   Bibliophilica    Lovecraft Ezine   Parlor of Horror

 HorrorAddicts.net     Horror Novel Reviews    HorrorSociety.com     

Monster Librarian     HorrorNews.net     HorrorTalk.com 

 Rob Around Books      The Story Reading Ape Blog

Kirkus Mystery & Thrillers Reviews

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

EZindiepublishing

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

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

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

WISHING YOU HAPPY  READING IN 2017!

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Filed under classic horror stories, fiction, ghost stories, Ghosts, haunted houses, Hauntings, horror blogs, mysteries, Reading Fiction, short stories, short story blogs, supernatural, supernatural mysteries, tales of terror

Beauty of the Dead: The White Maid

The White Maid   by Nathaniel Hawthorne  (1835) Twice Told Tales

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror    November 29, 2016

Two women are standing over a corpse. The young dead man is the lover of both the women who are unmarried  and aging. This is a story of an abandoned mansion and the mystical.  And a secret.

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THE MOONBEAMS came through two deep and narrow windows, and showed a spacious chamber, richly furnished in an antique fashion. From one lattice, the shadow of the diamond panes was thrown upon the floor; the ghostly light, through the other, slept upon a bed, falling between the heavy silken curtains, and illuminating the face of a young man. But, how quietly the slumberer lay! how pale his features! and how like a shroud the sheet was wound about his frame! Yes; it was a corpse, in its burial-clothes.

Suddenly, the fixed features seemed to move, with dark emotion.

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Herman Melville once wrote of  Nathaniel Hawthorne: “Even his bright gildings play upon the edges of thunder-clouds.”  Many readers love Hawthorne’s air of mystery that pervades his short stories. This is certainly one of them.

 

Read the short story here at EldritchPress.org

 

Listen to the audio here at Barrow Bookstore Audios 

 

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Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free Tales of Terror. This is a compendium of over 180 short stories by over 100 master storytellers of mystery,  supernatural, horror, and ghost stories. Join me in reading one short story every other week! Comments are welcome.

 

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

 

The Kill Zone

Slattery’s Art of Horror Magazine

Books & Such   Bibliophilica    Lovecraft Ezine   Parlor of Horror

 HorrorAddicts.net     Horror Novel Reviews    HorrorSociety.com     

Monster Librarian     HorrorNews.net     HorrorTalk.com 

 Rob Around Books      The Story Reading Ape Blog

Kirkus Mystery & Thrillers Reviews

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

EZindiepublishing

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

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

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Filed under fiction, ghost stories, Ghosts, Hauntings, Hawthorne, horror blogs, literary horror, Reading Fiction, short stories, short story blogs

Absolute Evil, Hawthorne Style

Absolute Evil by Julian Hawthorne  (1846–1934)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror  November 8, 2016

 

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Julian Hawthorne, an American Writer, was the son of Nathaniel Hawthorne. He was well known for writing mystery fiction, essays, and travel books. Absolute Evil is one of his most famous short stories.

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We have a spinster on summer vacation. A remote island. Rumors linger that the island is haunted. Haunted by what exactly? Follow the footprints and listen to the strange howlings.

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“Every once in a while something peeped forth from the shadows of those eyes of his that made me jump—interiorly, of absolute evil;  I was woman of the world enough to betray nothing. It was as if somebody I knew very well had suddenly peeped out at me from a window in a strange place, where that face was the last I should have expected to see.”

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Do you believe people can be changed into beasts?

 

Read it here at Story of the Week. Scroll down passed the introduction and click on the PDF link at the bottom: http://storyoftheweek.loa.org/2016/10/absolute-evil.html

 

Come Read More Stories! ENTER …

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View the INDEX above of more free Tales of Terror. This is a compendium of over 180 short stories by over 100 master storytellers of mystery, ghost stories, and supernatural. Join me in reading one short story every other week! Comments are welcome.

 

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

The Kill Zone

Books & Such   Bibliophilica    

   Horror Novel Reviews    HorrorSociety.com     

Monster Librarian      The Story Reading Ape Blog

Kirkus Mysteries & Thrillers

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

EZindiepublishing

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

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

 

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Filed under classic horror stories, fiction, Hauntings, horror blogs, literature, mysteries, paranormal, Reading Fiction, short stories, short story blogs, supernatural, supernatural thrillers, tales of terror, weird tales, werewolves

Hauntings at Ockram Hall

The Dead Smile   by Francis Marion Crawford  (1899)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror   March 15, 2015

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Let’s go to Ireland for the month of March as we near St. Patrick’s Day. Come to this Irish castle, ivy-covered, deep windows, a chapel, and a vault with the dead.

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Enter Ockram Hall and meet Sir Hugh Ockram.

‘Sir Hugh’s face seemed, at best, to be made of fine parchment drawn skin-tight over a wooden mask, in which two sunken eyes peered from far within. The eyes peered from under wrinkled lids, alive and watchful like toads in their holes, side by side and exactly alike. But as the light changed, a little yellow glare flashed in each. He smiled, stretching pale lips across discoloured teeth in an expression of profound self-satisfaction, blended with the most unforgiving hatred and contempt.’

I can write no better introduction to Ockram Hall than the above opening to The Dead Smile. Family secrets, the patriarch near death, his son Gabriel, and a beautiful young cousin, Evelyn.  One thing you need to know before reading this compelling story: the history of old Sir Vernon Ockram, an ancestor who lies within the family crypt.

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 ‘Sir Vernon was beheaded for treason under James II. The family brought his body back from the scaffold in an iron coffin with heavy locks and put it in the north vault. But ever afterwards, whenever the vault was opened to bury another of the family, they found the coffin wide open, the body standing upright against the wall, and the head rolled away in a corner smiling at it.’

 

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The writing and language in this ghost story is the best you’ll read, and I think rivals Poe. Author Francis Marion Crawford was born in Bagni di Lucca, Italy in 1854.

He is most famous for his short story The Screaming Skull.

 

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Read the short story The Dead Smile online at Gutenberg.net.au 

You can listen to a podcast about The Dead Smile at  H. P. Lovecraft Literary Craft (there are spoilers in this discussion but so worth a listen after you’ve read the story).

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Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free Tales of Terror. This is a compendium of over 170 short stories by over 100 master storytellers of mystery,  supernatural, horror, and ghost stories. Join me in reading one short story every week!

 Comments are welcome.

 

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Books & Such   Bibliophilica    Lovecraft Ezine     HorrorAddicts.net  

Horror Novel Reviews    HorrorSociety.com

Monster Librarian     HorrorNews.net     HorrorTalk.com

 Rob Around Books      The Story Reading Ape Blog

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

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Filed under classic horror stories, fiction, Hauntings, horror blogs, quiet horror, short stories, short story blogs

Ghosts on Mt. Greylock

If mountains had eyes, what would they see?

Ghosts? Have you ever met a mountain ghost? Ghosts associated with Mt. Greylock are still the fascination of many hikers and nature lovers. And also for those of us who just plain love ghosts.  Here’s something from Mt. Greylock and the story of The Old Coot of Greylock on Bellows Pipe Trail.

As the Civil War began, a North Adams farmer named William Saunders left home in 1861 to fight for the Union. About a year later, his wife, Belle, received a report that her husband had been gravely wounded and was in a military hospital. That was the last she heard of him. Alone and in need of help, she hired a local man to work the farm with her; later she married the man and he adopted her children. In 1865, a bearded, ragged man, wearing a Union blue uniform, stepped off the train in North Adams. You can guess who had finally returned home. Saunders walked to his farm, and while standing outside he saw his wife and happy family, his children calling another man “daddy.”

Crushed, he turned on his heels and walked away, heading toward Mt. Greylock, where he built a shack in the remote Bellows Pipe. He lived the rest of his days there, almost a hermit, hiring himself out occasionally to farms, known to locals only as the “Old Coot.” War and time had ravaged his appearance and no one recognized him. It’s said that he even worked his old spread on occasion, perhaps sitting down to meals with his family, only he knowing the truth. Folks say the Old Coot was insane, but whether it was caused by the horrors of war or grief at losing his family, no one knows. One winter’s day, hunters came upon the shack to find the Old Coot cold dead. But they were startled to see his spirit fly from his body and head up the mountain. That was the first sighting of the Ghost of the Old Coot, but certainly not the last.

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To this day, his bedraggled spirit is sometimes seen on Mt. Greylock, always heading up the mountain, but never coming down. You might say you don’t believe it, but are you brave enough to walk the Bellows Pipe Trail after dark?  [Source: IBerkshires.com, article by Anthony Fyden]

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Are mountains haunted? They certainly possess mysterious powers.

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“Greylock is a stunning mountain, the terrain rolling like a series of

hunchbacks with secret clefts.

Makes one wonder what secrets are buried here.”

 Alexei Georg, Greylock.

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Watch for more posts here about the spirits that haunt Mt. Greylock.

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Women In Horror Month, February 2016, Gothic, Music, Supernatural

Women in Horror Month, February 2016

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror  February 2, 2016

We are celebrating Women in Horror all this month. But not just horror. We all recognize the names Shirley Jackson, Anne Rice, and Mary Shelley, among lots more women who write horror but also supernatural mysteries, dark fantasy, and ghost stories.  Have you experienced the stories of Elizabeth Hand? Winterlong launched her career in 1990.  Today I call your attention to Wylding Hall.

61vn59gbvvLWylding Hall is her dark fantasy/horror novel. When the young members of a British acid-folk band are compelled by their manager to record their unique music, they hole up at Wylding Hall, an ancient country house with dark secrets. “Wylding Hall is a true surreal phantasmagoria, with music and all the accoutrements of the world of rock-and-roll set off by a wonderful admixture of the gothic supernatural. Treat it like the most exciting getaway in a truly enchanting setting.”  —Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, author of Hôtel Transylvania.

 

[If you enjoyed my novel Greylock about classical pianist Alexei Georg’s supernatural adventures on Mt. Greylock, Massachusetts, you will likely enjoy Hand’s Wylding Hall.]

 

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Here are two free short stories by Hand:

Hungerford Bridge, published at Conjunctions

The Bacchae, published at Nightmare Magazine

Don’t miss this interview with Hand at Maine Crime Writers.

 

 

 

220px-Elizabeth_Hand_Finncon2007_croppedLiz Hand is the author of many novels, including Winterlong, Waking the Moon, Glimmering, Mortal Love, Illyria, and Radiant Days, as well as three collections of stories, including the recent Saffron and Brimstone. Her fiction has received the Nebula, World Fantasy, Mythopeoic, Tiptree, and International Horror Guild Awards, and her novels have been chosen as notable books by both the New York Times and the Washington Post. She has also been awarded a Maine Arts Commission Fellowship. A regular contributor to the Washington Post Book World and the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, she lives with her family on the coast of Maine. Visit the author’s Website at ElizabethHand.com. Visit her Goodreads Page.  [Photo by Creative Commons License Attributions-Share Alike]

Watch for her new book Hard Light: A Cass Neary Crime Novel to be released in April 2016.

 

 

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Want to check out more blogs and events for  Women in Horror Month?  WomenInHorrorMonth.com 

Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free Tales of Terror.  This is a compendium of over 170 short stories by over 100 master storytellers of mystery,  supernatural, horror, and ghost stories.

 Join me in reading one short story every week!

 Comments are welcome.

 

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Books & Such   Bibliophilica    Lovecraft Ezine     HorrorAddicts.net  

Horror Novel Reviews    HorrorSociety.com     

Monster Librarian     HorrorNews.net     HorrorTalk.com 

 Rob Around Books      The Story Reading Ape Blog

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

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Filed under Book Reviews, fiction, Hauntings, horror, horror blogs, Reading Fiction, short stories, short story blogs, supernatural mysteries, supernatural thrillers, tales of terror, Women In Horror, Women in Horror Month

Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Ghost: The Secret

“It is the secret of the world that all things subsist and do not die,

but retire a little from sight and afterwards return again.

Nothing is dead.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nominalist and Realist Essays: Second Series, 1844.

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Many readers ask me why I wrote The Dazzling Darkness, a supernatural mystery that takes place in Concord, Massachusetts. The recurring question is about the famous transcendentalist Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882).  “Is Emerson a ghost?” they ask.

Yes. And no. Mr. Emerson is not a ghost in the traditional sense. One of the first elements that sparked The Dazzling Darkness was a line Emerson wrote in his address Nature in 1849:

“Even the corpse has its own beauty.”

Kind of shocking, right? It certainly stopped me on the page. Oddly, this line of prose carries a certain passion, as if Emerson somehow connected to death. He points out that there is “no object so foul that intense light will not make it beautiful.” Of course, Emerson was being emblematic here as he did in so much of his writing. Or was he?

Haunted for weeks by this line of a corpse having its own beauty, I began reading more of Emerson’s writings. When I looked deeply into his personal life, I discovered that he did indeed have a strong connection to death.

 

Ellen TuckerEmerson lost his young wife Ellen to what was then called consumption. Driven by his intense grief over Ellen’s death, one day he entered the family graveyard and opened Ellen’s coffin to view her corpse. It was only a year after her death. What did he see? His journals say nothing more, except that he did this act. And then, some twenty-five years later, he opened the coffin of his little boy, Waldo, who died at 5 years old.

Could any of us view our beloved dead in the grave even once, let alone twice? Heart-wrenching to say the least. And yet, this experience certainly did connect him to death in a unique way.

For me, these images all connected. A story emerged. Images of a cemetery. A little boy named Henry appeared. Coffins began opening. The dead suddenly became physically visible.

A mysterious woman named Dorothea began speaking from the cemetery.

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The story unraveled and I met Elias Hatch, owner and keeper of Old Willow Cemetery in Concord. Elias is the last of modern-day transcendentalists. During the 19th century, Concord was the center for the new thinking of transcendentalism, and even today the town still carries all that transcendental history. The transcendentalists honored intuition, insightfulness, and creativity. As I wrote my modern story I began to see these themes emerging through the characters and especially in the mind of Detective Mike Balducci. Old Willow Cemetery and the statuary there began to haunt Mike and one day, he decides to dig up a grave of a woman known as the Weeping Woman of Old Willow.

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The idea of a corpse having ‘beauty,’ as Emerson said, crystallized in my mind. I didn’t know quite where I as going during the drafts but in the end, I had a ghost story, a supernatural mystery about the Brooke family, Antonia and Adam, who confront long-buried secrets of the dead while they endure a tireless search for their lost child Henry.

And the ghost of Mr. Emerson seemed to speak

from the very pages I was writing.

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A secret lies buried beneath the haunting statuary in Old Willow Cemetery. The surrounding woods are alive with the spirits of transcendentalists Emerson, Thoreau, and Alcott. Elias Hatch can sense their presence. Does he know the secret power buried in Old Willow Cemetery? Would he ever reveal it?

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If there is a secret, that all things subsist and do not die, as Emerson wrote, that secret lies in Old Willow Cemetery.///////

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The Dazzling Darkness (print edition published by Crispin Books) hit the Amazon Kindle Best Seller List for 17 weeks in Mystery/Thriller ghost stories. The novel continues to sell in the top 150 in this category.

2014-bronzeBRONZE MEDAL WINNER, Readers’ Favorite International Book Award for Supernatural Fiction, 2014. “Beautiful and high standard writing style from start to finish.”

MIDWEST BOOK REVIEWS ★★★★★ “Paula Cappa is a master of the metaphysical mystery genre … an extraordinary and original storyteller of the first rank. Very highly recommended.”

GOTHIC READERS BOOK CLUB CHOICE AWARD “Dazzling sums up Paula Cappa’s paranormal/supernatural novel … an elegance and grace that seduces you.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson Organization Website

Transcendentalist Trail in Concord, MA

Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, Concord, MA

The Colonial Inn, Concord, MA [Emerson is said to haunt Room 24  in The Colonial Inn.]

Ghosts in Concord at TheConcordWriter.com

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Ralph Waldo Emerson House, Concord, Massachusetts.

Visits and tours at NPS.gov. 

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Filed under fiction, ghost stories, Hauntings, horror, horror blogs, literary horror, mysteries, Reading Fiction, short story blogs, supernatural mysteries, tales of terror