The Night at the Shifting Bog by Bram Stoker (1890)
Tuesday’s Tale of Terror, St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, 2015
Love and despair on a mountainous bog in Ireland.
Bogs are not just peat and limestone on the Emerald Isle, but also are known to have preserved bodies who lived thousands of years ago (4000-year-old remains). Today is St. Patrick’s Day and what better time to read the most famous Dublin-born Irish horror writer Bram Stoker?
Dracula (I must read this novel again soon) is everybody’s favorite, but The Night of the Shifting Bog is one you probably haven’t read. Stoker wrote over twenty-five short stories, the most popular being Dracula’s Guest and the Judge’s House.
The bog in this story was a mysterious and dangerous shifting bog in Ireland, known to swallow up anything in its path. On the night of this story, Phelim Joyce and his daughter Norah were led from their home by a sinister man named Black Murdock (the villain of Carnacliff) who was driven to discover a hidden treasure on Joyce’s land.
The story opens with our narrator Arthur, a rich Englishman. He is Norah’s lover and searching for her and her father Joyce in a storm that is slashing wind and rain fiercely across the Irish cliffs and nearby sea. As Arthur searches for his lovely Norah, he finds the line of bog swollen with rain. And poor Norah in the clutches of Black Murdock on a ridge of rocks in the center of the bog.
The powers of nature prevail: the storm grows wild, the bog rises, and Norah must be saved. Arthur to the rescue? Bram Stoker writes this drama quite differently.
Read The Night of the Shifting Bog at BramStoker.org
For more online reading of Bram Stoker’s fiction, go to OnlineBooksLibraryUPenn.edu.
This short story comes from Stoker’s first novel The Snake’s Pass, a romantic thriller with the same characters published in 1890 (includes themes of St. Patrick banishing snakes from Ireland) and Stoker’s only novel set in Ireland. If you’re a Stoker aficionado, The Snake’s Pass is a must read.
Happy St. Paddy’s Day to All!
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