Tag Archives: Christmas Eve

Lovecraft for Christmas

The Festival   by H.P. Lovecraft (1925)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror    December 2, 2014

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No one but Lovecraft could bring you to the dark and dreary yuletide of the season. Come to Kingsport, an old fishing town in Massachusetts. Willow trees. Graveyards. Crooked streets … “antiquity hovering on grey wings over winter-whitened gables and gambrel roofs; fanlights and small-paned windows one by one gleaming out in the cold dusk to join Orion and the archaic stars.” There are black gravestones in Kingsport that stick up “through the snow like the decayed fingernails of a gigantic corpse.”

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Not exactly glistening angels and the merry sparkles of Christmas trees. Charles Dickens’ gave us cranky old Scrooge on Christmas Eve, but Lovecraft brings us  into subterranean rituals. Are you ready for the opposite of merry, merry? Gloomy, gloomy. Our narrator tells us that four witches were hung in Kingsport in 1692. Lonely and far from home, he is looking for his relatives for the merry season. He finds his relative’s home on Green Street. A man answers the door, a man with a face like wax and eyes that do not move. Invited in, our narrator enters the house. No one speaks. All he can hear is the “whir of the wheel as the bonneted old woman continued her silent spinning, spinning” before the fireplace.

He participates in a procession through the streets to the Festival, led by voiceless guides to a church and yard. When he looks back, he finds there are no footprints in the snow of these night marchers … nor his own. What does this festival bring? And how does he survive it?

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imagesThe power of Lovecraft’s language here touches deeply into fear, not an emotion we associate with holiday time. Fear, loneliness, displaced from home can harbor its own madness. As Lovecraft tells us in Latin at the beginning of his story: Demons have the ability to cause people to see things that do not exist as if they did exist.

 

 

 

 

Creature Sketch Art by Jason Thompson: MockMan.com

 

Read the full text at H.P. Lovecraft.com

Listen to the audio version on YouTube with visuals. Turn out the lights and listen to this one!

Audio: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OjcM_sIDfUs Part 1

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=62ICpQs9aac Part 2.

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Filed under Christmas stories, classic horror stories, demons, fiction, graveyards, horror, horror blogs, Lovecraft, occult, short stories, tales of terror

The Water Ghost, A Christmas Eve Tale

The Water Ghost of Harrowby Hall  by John Kendrick Bangs  (1894)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror December 24, 2012

 

12-Howsham-Hall-q85-303x200‘The trouble with Harrowby Hall was that it was haunted …’ writes John Kendrick Bangs, American author/humorist, known at the turn of the  century for his humorous supernatural fiction. He immortalized Bangsian Fantasy, which were spoofs about the afterlife.

This water ghost, a creepy and soggy feminine figure, appears every Christmas Eve at midnight, casting her cavernous blue eyes into the Hall’s owner Henry Hartwick Oglethorpe. She displays her long ‘aqueously bony’ fingers and bits of dripping seaweed while she draws the weedy ends across Henry’s forehead, until he feels nearly insane, swooning and going unconscious, at the same time soaking him thoroughly in seawater.

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There’s a heartless sea nymph, a curse, a death and Henry’s heir to Harrowby Hall who must deal with the water ghost haunting him every Christmas Eve in this same flooding way. Who wins in this little Christmas tale, man or ghost? The Water Ghost is really quite entertaining and probably a fun story to read aloud. The images are charming and the ghost quite polite actually. A perfect story to sparkle the spirit on this Christmas Eve.

You can find it here: http://www.eastoftheweb.com/short-stories/UBooks/WateGhos.shtml

Listen to the narration by Librivox http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TIJf_4_wwa8

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Other  stories by Bang:

Thurlow’s Christmas Story (1894)  Short story is published in Ghosts: A Treasury of Chilling Tales of Old & New by Marvin Kaye, at your library or on Amazon.com

Ghosts I Have Met and Some Others (1898) Paperback on Amazon.com

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Filed under Christmas ghost stories, Christmas stories, fiction, ghost stories, Ghosts, Hauntings, short stories, supernatural, suspense, tales of terror