Category Archives: weird tales

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.

  

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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

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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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Our Vampires, Ourselves

The True Story of A Vampire by Count Eric Stanislaus Stenbock

(Studies in Death, 1894)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror  May 10, 2016

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Our vampires, ourselves. All vampires are alike, yes or no? Do we draw vampires to ourselves through our personal styles and desires? Through our imagination maybe. Or, maybe through nature. What if your vampire wants more than your blood? What if your vampire desires something deeper and more rewarding? Are you willing?

Count Eric Stanislaus Stenbock wrote The True Story of a Vampire in 1894. And while this short story won’t win any prizes for writing, it’s a story that you won’t let go until you reach the last words.

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We are in Styria where vampires generally “arrive at night, in carriages drawn by two black horses. Our vampire arrived by the commonplace means of the railway train, and in the afternoon.” Don’t laugh. This is serious business. Come meet the Wronski family, who live in a castle. Their guest arrives, Count Vardalek, a Hungarian.

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 [Sukanto Debnath “Smile at Night” WikiMedia.]

 

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Read Stenbock’s The True Story of a Vampire at Gutenberg.net.au.

Listen to the audio from Librivox.org by James K. White.

Find more of Stenbock’s writings at Guide to Supernatural Fiction.com.

 

 

 

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Stenbock was born in Estonia. He wrote poetry, prose, and short stories. He loved Buddha and Shelley. After his death in 1895, Stenbock was buried at the Brighton Catholic Cemetery. Before burial the heart was extracted and sent to Estonia, preserved in a glass urn to be stored in the wall of the church. At the time of his death, the story goes that his uncle, back in Esbia, saw an apparition of Stenbock’s tear-stained face at his study window. [This is probably not a true account but I thought it kind of fun anyway.]

 

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 other week!

Comments are welcome.

 

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Slattery’s Art of Horror Magazine

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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Why Do We Love Horror?

In the words of Arthur Conan Doyle ( and as a companion post with this week’s featured author, 1-5-2016 Tales of Terror, “The Horror of the Heights”),

“Where there is no imagination, there is no horror.”

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So, let’s see now, why do we love to read horror stories and terrifying suspense mysteries? Why do we watch horror movies? Is it to stimulate our imaginations? Is it because some of us love gore-watching or identifying with killers? Or maybe it’s because we like to face the unknown safely in our reading chairs or comfy movie theater seats. As an avid reader, film lover, and writer of supernatural, mystery, and horror, I ask these questions all the time.

 

Below is a link to  FilmmakerIQ.com John P. Hess’ 15-minute vimeo on this very subject.  Hess explores the “Psychology of Scary Movies” theories from contemporary scientific professionals to Freud, Jung, Aristotle and much more. When I came across this vimeo some time ago, I found it  informative and insightful. I hope you do too.

 


<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/77636515″>The Psychology of Scary Movies</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/filmmakeriq”>FilmmakerIQ.com</a&gt; on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

 

We could say there is no single answer to the question, but if you have a theory, agreement or disagreement, please post.

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Filed under classic horror stories, crime thrillers, fiction, Halloween stories, Hauntings, horror, horror blogs, literary horror, literature, murder mystery, mysteries, Penny Dreadful, Psycho, psychological horror, quiet horror, Reading Fiction, short stories, short story blogs, soft horror, Stephen King, supernatural, supernatural thrillers, suspense, tales of terror, weird tales

Weird Fiction by Stephen King

Premium Harmony  by Stephen King  (2009, The New Yorker Magazine)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror   October 20, 2015

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Halloween season requires at last one Stephen King story. Not too many are available online to read for free and this one about a cold death seems appropriate as we approach Halloween.

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We are in King’s famous town of Castle Rock, Maine, with Mary and Ray, a married couple on route to Wal-Mart to buy grass seed. How mundane is that? They argue about petty things, which is actually amusing. Then something really shocking happens. This is not a traditional spooker—more like a dark comedy or weird fiction. You be the judge. Did you like this story? What did you think of the “smoky” ending?

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Read the short story here at The New Yorker Magazine.com.

At Open Culture.com, you can find a few more free Stephen King stories.

And here’s a review of King’s

Bazaar of Bad Dreamshttp://www.miamiherald.com/entertainment/books/article41913834.html

 

 

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Are you looking for a real Halloween story? Try this spooky tale.

“The White Scarecrow” at Underworld Tales.com. This time of year yields some pretty weird happenings.

 

 

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.

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“Have You Found the Yellow Sign?

The Yellow Sign  by Robert Chambers

(The King In Yellow Collection, 1895 first published by F. Tennyson Neely.)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror    August 11, 2015

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[The King in Yellow (known for its legendary kingdom of Carcosa, an ancient, cursed city beyond time on the shores of Lake Hali), was a forbidden play, which was said to induce despair, strange visions, and madness in those who read it.]

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Stories have great effects on our minds, our dreams, perhaps even our very lives. Do symbols  have real power or are they just harmless images?

In The Yellow Sign, artist Scott spies a figure in the churchyard below his studio window.

At the same moment he raised his head and looked at me. Instantly I thought of a coffin-worm. Whatever it was about the man that repelled me I did not know, but the impression of a plump white grave-worm was so intense and nauseating that I must have shown it in my expression, for he turned his puffy face away with a movement which made me think of a disturbed grub in a chestnut.”

His model, Tessie, sees the churchyard figure too. She recounts a dream she had about a hearse with a driver who looks much like the figure in the churchyard. Finding affection for Scott, Tessie gives him an amulet, the “yellow sign.” Did she know this symbol was said to represent disease and decay or worse, insanity?

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Did Tessie  know that when she found a book on Scott’s shelf, The King in Yellow and read it, that she might be in danger?

“Song of my soul, my voice is dead;

Die thou, unsung, as tears unshed

Shall dry and die in

Lost Carcosa.”

 

 

 

This is probably one of the most disturbing stories yet on this blog. H.P. Lovecraft read this book in 1927 and used the motif in his Whisperers in the Dark story (Cthulhu Mythos). Countless authors (Raymond Chandler, Stephen King, Robert Heinlein to name a few) have been inspired by Chamber’s King in Yellow stories. And the highly successful True Detective HBO series ( 2014 ) had several references to The King in Yellow and Carcosa.

You can read The Yellow Sign here at EastOfTheWeb.com.

 

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The King in Yellow is Robert Chamber’s masterpiece and most famous story.  He wrote over 70 novels and other collections of short stories.  Chambers took the name Carcosa from Ambrose Bierce’s story An Inhabitant of Carcosa (originally published in 1886).  Some say the term “Carcosa” is a magically charmed name.

 

 

 

 

 

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Listen to the audio of Bierce’s An Inhabitant of  Carcosa

at Librivox audio at YouTube.com.

Or read it at South San Francisco Library at  SSF.net

 

 

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For those who wish to read short stories in The King in Yellow, go to Gutenberg.org .

 

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.

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Enoch says, “Get the Hatchet!”

Enoch by Robert Bloch  (1946)

Tuesday Tale of Terror  June 16, 2015

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 Illustration by Dan Foley at Spizwackle blogspot.

 

This is a nightmare tale, little bit of black humor, and a lot of creepy business. Seth is a young man with a serious problem. A creature lives on top of his head. No one can see this creature. No one can hear him. No one can catch him. His name is Enoch. And while Enoch spends a lot of time sleeping on Seth’s head, during Enoch’s wake time he orders Seth to kill people. “Get the hatchet!”  Hmmmm, yes, this story is not only weird, but demonstrates a macabre justice with a hefty slice of gluttony.

 

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Read the short story  Enoch with illustrations in Weird Magazine at UNZ.org

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Roberts Bloch was part of the Lovecraft circle and was heavily influence by him. Today most of us know Robert Bloch from  his novel Psycho, which inspired Alfred Hitchcock’s most famous horror film of the same name.

 

Read Psycho online at English-e-books.net  (Download on the yellow box “Read Online Now.”)

 

 

Listen to another of Robert Bloch’s short stories, audio (30 minutes) of The Hell-bound Train, published in 1958 and won the Hugo Award for Best Short Story in Fantasy:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GybC7BBrg2s

Other novels by Robert Bloch:

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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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