Tag Archives: classic ghost stories

It Is the Haunted Who Haunt

Elizabeth Bowen (1899-1973) for Women In Horror Month 2018

Tuesday’s Tales of Terror   February 13, 2018

Followers of this blog know that ghosts draw us together. We choose to be haunted by reading ghost stories. We are all haunted houses in our own minds. Elizabeth Bowen was a distinguished author of ghost stories, often compared to Henry James and Virginia Woolf for craft.  Some liken her to Alfred Hitchcock. You will find a moral vision and social commentary in all her fine fiction. One thing is certain, whether you think ghosts are not real or ghosts are real nonphysical consciousness, Bowen had total acceptance of the reality of ghosts and the occult—a woman I can certainly identify with for that belief.


“Ghosts exploit the horror latent behind reality …. Our irrational darker selves demand familiars …. We are twentieth century haunters of the haunted.”


Elizabeth Bowen is my Women In Horror Month selection for 2018, which always includes the finest ghost tale writers. Bowen’s stories are a legacy to the Gothic, Sapphic,  psychological, and the ghostly realms in our minds.  She knew how to use the idea of a ‘living ghost’ a ghost who could appear in one place  and at the same time be a living person walking around in another place. I consider her required reading for any ghost story lover.


“Each time I sat down to write a story I opened a door; and the pressure against the other side of that door must have been very great, for things — ideas, images, emotions — came through with force and rapidity, sometimes violence …. Odd enough in their way — and now some seem very odd — they were flying particles of something enormous and inchoate that had been going on. They were sparks from experience—an experience not necessarily my own.”

If you want to read about how she handled cracks in the psyche, read The Demon Lover—paranoia or paranormal in wartime London. You be the judge.



Her three most famous ghost stories are the following. The Cat Jumps (1934 ), a country house, a previous murder, new owners. The Happy Autumn Fields (1941), a dreamy psychologically damaged young woman’s story akin to Turn of the Screw. Green Holly (1941), the ghost of a woman speaks out on Christmas Eve.

Read the short story The Demon Lover at BiblioKlept.org. 






Listen to the audio of The Demon Lover

here on YouTube.com.




You can download her famous novel The Last September. The  story depicts the tensions between love and the longing for freedom, between tradition and the terrifying prospect of independence, both political and spiritual. Life in the 1920s at the country mansion  in Cork during the Irish War of Independence. A young woman’s coming of age in a brutalized time and place, where the ordinariness of life floats like music over the impending doom of history.

Get the FREE ebook here at MaconCountyPark.com.




The 1999 British film, screenplay by John Banville, starring Maggie Smith.



Do you think it is the haunted who haunts?

Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free reading. This is a compendium of over 200 short stories by more than 100 famous storytellers of mystery, supernatural, ghost stories,  suspense, crime, sci-fi, and ‘quiet horror.’ Follow or sign up to join me in reading two FREE short stories every month. Comments are welcome.


Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Kirkus Mystery & Thrillers Reviews

Books & Such    Bibliophilica   NewYorkerFictionOnline

 Lovecraft Ezine   Parlor of Horror

HorrorNews.net   Fangoria.com   

Slattery’s Art of Horror Magazine   Chuck Windig’s Terrible Minds

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

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Filed under Book Reviews, fiction, ghost stories, ghost story blogs, Ghosts, Gothic fiction, Gothic Horror, haunted houses, Hauntings, horror blogs, literary horror, literature, murder mystery, mysteries, paranormal, psychological horror, quiet horror, Reading Fiction, READING FICTION BLOG Paula Cappa, short stories, short story blogs, supernatural, supernatural fiction, Women In Horror, Women in Horror Month

Irish Ghost Stories: The Aged Hand With Clenched Knuckles

Narrative of the Ghost of a Hand   by Sheridan Le Fanu (1870s)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror   March 10, 2015



With St. Patrick’s Day nearly upon us, reading Irish ghost stories is perfect with Irish Breakfast tea and piping hot soda bread. Curl up with author Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu. He was the leading ghost story writer of the nineteenth century, and no St. Patrick’s Day is authentic without reading one of his stories. Le Fanu fans will claim his demonic monkey in Green Tea  is his best work. But today I chose the Narrative of the Ghost of a Hand, one of his stories that has been less read (and painfully absent from most of his literary collections) but full of the ghostly presence that Le Fanu is so admired for.




cottageimagesWe are in the “Tiled House” in Dublin. Mrs. Prosser is sitting alone in her parlour when she spies a white hand, somewhat aged, and lying outside upon the window sill. This disembodied hand sends her screaming. Later that same night there are hasty tappings at the kitchen window. Thumpings. Angry rappings. Clenched knuckles at the back door. One night the hand is no longer wildly rapping to break a window pane outside. Instead, Mrs. Prosser begins to have nightmares. Irishhouseimages










Le Fanu builds a crescendo of hauntings, spooky moments, and chilling scenes of mystery. Don’t look for shock horror here. Le Fanu is famous for his style of eerie tones and disquieting ghosts.

Joseph Sheridan Le Fan

I could not find an online text version of this story but did find the audio version and it’s very well done. This story is published in Classic Victorian & Edwardian Ghost Stories by Rex Collings  and in Classic Ghost Stories by David Pickering  and Horrific Fables by Thomas Huff on Amazon.com. Or check if your local library has it.









Listen to the audio short story online at YouTube here.

More audios of Le Fanu’s novels and stories are at Librivox.org  here.

Selections of Le Fanu’s stories available online at ReadBookOnline.


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.


Filed under fiction, horror, horror blogs, quiet horror, short stories, soft horror, supernatural, tales of terror