The Empty House by Algernon Blackwood (1906)
October’s Short Story for Halloween, October 21, 2021
What could be more satisfying than to read a classic haunted house mystery during Halloween season? Especially a gabled house surrounded by dark gardens that cry out and air fragrant with ruin. Inside lurking staircases flicker shadows, and a faceless clock ticks away on the threshold of midnight.
Dean Koontz says of haunted houses: “We are haunted and regardless of the architecture with which we surround ourselves, our ghosts stay with us until we ourselves are ghosts.” How utterly delightful to be a ghost! Maybe our DNAs truly are blueprints of the past.
One of the absolute finest writers of ghost stories is Algernon Blackwood. Here at Reading Fiction Blog, you will find six of his stories to read for free—because Blackwood is a master at ghosts, psychological chills, and performing the highest atmospherics. He has been considered the foremost British supernaturalist. His skills lie in drawing upon Oriental thought, psychology and philosophy, which bring an intelligence to his stories.
The Empty House is a simple story, a fiction over 100 years old. There was a murder in this house that is now empty and shunned by the village folk. Aunt Julia and her nephew Jim Shorthouse spend a night in The Empty House.
We walk through this house with Aunt Julia and Jim, not as observers, but as participants in seeking the ghost. The atmospherics do it all to illicit fear and trembling as the characters engage in the supernatural events. Pay close attention to the narrative closure. It sneaks up on the reader, leaving you breathless in the sea air.
The original chatter about this story was that Blackwood personally experienced some of these ghostly events during his ghost hunting work at the Society of Psychical Research in London. We are in a well-written “quiet horror” of supernatural literature.
Read it here at Gutenberg.org
Listen to the audio on YouTube.com:
More of Algernon Blackwood’s free short stories here at Reading Fiction Blog:
Blackwood, Algernon Ancient Sorceries, February 5, 2013
Blackwood, Algernon Wood of the Dead, September 9, 2014
Blackwood, Algernon House of the Past, November 9, 2015
Blackwood, Algernon The Glamour of Snow, March 1, 2016
Blackwood, Algernon A Psychological Invasion, Case 1, June 28, 2016
Blackwood, Algernon The Willows, October 16, 2018
Have a Happy Halloween!
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