Tag Archives: classic horror

Dead Howls of the Vourdalak

The Family of Vourdalak   by Aleksei Tolstoy ( published 1884)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror   May 19, 2015


Let’s go to the castle of the Dowager Princess of Schwarzenberg in Hitzing, in the dark and silent woods of Vienna. We’ve dined on a rich meal with tasty wine; the kindly Princess has seated us around a hot fire; we are all in the mood for thrilling story telling.

The Marquis de Urfe, a womanizing French diplomat speaks:

“As for me, gentlemen, I have had but a single adventure … so strange, so horrible, and yes, true, that it will strike terror in even the most incredulous among you.” He takes a pinch of sniff and begins to recount his adventure.

“I should explain to you, mesdames, that vourdalaks, as the Slavic people call vampires, are believed in those countries to be dead bodies that come out of their graves to suck the blood of the living. Their habits are similar to those of all vampires, from any country, but they have one characteristic that makes them even more dreadful. The vourdalaks, mesdames, prefer to suck the blood of their closest relatives and dearest friends who, once dead, become vampires in turn. … The commissioners tell of exhuming bodies engorged with blood, which they stake in the heart and then burn in the village squares. The magistrates who were present at these executions attest — with oaths and signed statements — that they heard the dead howl at the moment that the stake was plunged into their heart.”

karloff bava looking back

The Marquis recounts his travel to a Serbian village where he finds lodging at the home of a man named Dorde and his wife and children. The Marquis learns that Dorde is awaiting the return of his father Gorcha who has gone off hunting. Gorcha left a warning to his son Dorde that if he does not return in ten days, do not let him into the house as he will have turned into a vourdalak. Meantime the Marquis falls in love with Sdenka, the lovely young  sister of Dorde. When Gorcha does return, the story takes a wicked turn into delicious encounters with the vourdalaks.

This short story was adapted for a film in 1963 titled The Black Sabbath that included three short stories: The Telephone (sexy ghost story about a prostitute, Rosie), The Drop of Water (by Chekhov, classic dark and shadowy ghost story), and Wurdalak (vampires) starring Boris Karloff as Gorcha. I watched the film. Vintage horror at its best. Loved it.




80px-A.K.Tolstoy_by_Repin Alexei Tolstoy (1817-1875)  was a poet, playwright and novelist, second cousin to Leo Tolstoy. His historical drama trilogy The Death of Ivan the Terrible , Tsar Fiodor Iannovich, Tsar Boris are considered to be a part of the classic Russian literature of the 19th century. His first work of fiction was in 1841, The Vampire.



Read the Family of Vourdalak at AmericanLiterature.com


Listen to the audio at Weirdtales: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TOcjg6iPRRM


Watch the film The Black Sabbath (Wurdalak with Boris Karloff on YouTube at DailyMotion.com).



Photo Credit: First image above is by Edvard Munch, The Vampire, 1893.

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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Filed under Anton Chekhov, fiction, horror, horror blogs, occult, short stories, supernatural, tales of terror, vampires

The Dark Soul of Magic

The Monkey’s Paw  by W.W. Jacobs  (1902)

Tuesday Tale of Terror, July 30, 2013


Inside the small parlour of Laburnam Villa in the deep countryside of England, father and son are sitting at a game of chess before the firelight. Mrs. White sits fireside, knitting, but watching their moves on the board.

“Hark at the wind,” said Mr. White, who, having seen a fatal mistake after it was too late, was amiably desirous of preventing his son from seeing it.

This mistake by Mr. White of putting his king at risk is the foreshadowing of a most tragic and frightening short story by author William Wymark Jacobs.

Dark magic. White Magic. Soul Magic. Which do you believe in? Or are you a skeptic about magical powers? Jacobs’ The Monkey’s Paw will test your most curious thoughts.

Three is the magical number in this story. Like mystic and master mathematician Pythagoras said, “Everything is number.”  And although this story is not about numerology, it is about the power of three. Three glasses of whiskey, three knocks at the door, three parts of this story, three main characters, three listeners to the tale. And the most thrilling, three wishes.

Sergeant-Major Morris is visiting the White family on this windy cold night. He has just returned from the far East where in India he obtained a mummified monkey’s paw: black, hairy, stiff and shriveled. The grim Morris tells his tale of three wishes granted by the magical paw to the previous owners. Herbert, the White’s grown son, is skeptical and makes fun of the fairy tale.


“Pitch it in the fire, like a sensible man,” Morris advises Mr. White.

White is half-tempted to toss it into the flames … but then, he thinks again. Three wishes!

One wish unfulfilled might be fate. But wishes fulfilled might unleash an uncontrollable power.

Read The Monkey’s Paw at Online Literature (20-minute read).


On YouTube, Lewisworks Studios has The Monkey’s Paw (2011 film, about 30 minutes) directed by Ricky Lewis Jr. that is an excellent adaptation—and the music adds just the perfect level of horror to this favorite classic.



p.s. Author Update: My novel Night Sea Journey, A Tale of the Supernatural just won the Indie Book of the Day Award for July 28th.  And do watch for news of my newest short story, Between the Darkness and the Dawn, to be published at Whistling Shade Literary Journal this autumn (Of course, it’s supernatural. Do I write anything else?).


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Filed under dark fantasy, fiction, horror, literature, occult, paranormal, short stories, supernatural, suspense, tales of terror, weird tales