Tag Archives: H.G. Wells

Power of Darkness: A Ghost Story

The Red Room  by H.G. Wells  (1896)

Tuesday Tale of Terror   March 7, 2017

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Are you a skeptic of the paranormal? Don’t believe in ghosts, right? Everything is grounded in physical reality; no such thing as the supernatural. Here is a story of a haunted room, narrated by a man who has no belief in ghosts and agrees to stay overnight in this haunted Red Room. Would you want to sleep in a red room? Our fearless narrator takes on the challenge. But then mysterious things begin to happen: vanishing candle flames, moving shadows inside the alcoves … and a pervading overwhelming darkness.

“…darkness closed upon me like the shutting of an eye, wrapped about me in a stifling embrace, sealed my vision, and crushed the last vestiges of reason from my brain.

 

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“It lurks there always. You can feel it even in the daytime, even of a bright summer’s day… In the dusk it creeps in the corridor and follows you, so that you dare not turn.”

 

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Truly, what could be worse than a ghost? Come into The Red Room in the Lorraine Castle and find out.

 

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Read The Red Room (25-minute read) at Online-Literature.com.

 

Listen to the audio (22 minutes) on YouTube (skip the ads):

 

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When we hear the name H.G. Wells (The Time Machine, 1895), we don’t normally think  Gothic, but The Red Room has all the flavors, suspense, and mystery of Gothic horror. And as expected from this prolific writer, Wells gives life to the darkness in a way you will long remember. Want to learn more about this 4-time Nobel Prize nominee (nicknamed “the man who invented tomorrow”—he prophesied the atomic bomb as far back as 1914) and who had conversations with Lenin and Stalin? Click below:

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https://players.brightcove.net/4495439099001/rkC8QsjOx_default/index.html?playlistId=5335096208001&autoplay=true

For fans who can’t get enough of H.G. Wells, visit his official website: http://hgwellssociety.com/

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 master storytellers of mystery, supernatural, ghost stories, crime, and horror.

Join me in reading one short story every other week!

Comments are welcome.

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Time Traps in Time Travel

The Clock That Went Backward   by Edward Page Mitchell (1881)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror    October 18, 2016

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If I were to ask you what is the earliest time travel story you know, most would say H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine (1895). Or if you were a time travel fiction buff you might say Mark Twain’s A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court (1889). Are you a fan of Charles Yu’s Science Fiction Universe or authors like Robert Heinlein of the 1940s? Of course, you’ve heard of Isaac Asimov’s The End of Eternity and Stephen King’s 11/22/63.

I’m betting that this time travel short story will be a new one for you: The Clock That Went Backward.

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We are in Sheepscot, Maine, with Aunt Gertrude when time turns. In Aunt Gertrude’s house is an old Dutch clock with a death-head transfixed by a two-edged sword at the top. No pendulum. The time is stuck at 3:15—always. Harry and his cousin are visiting Aunt Gertrude and this night sleeping upstairs—until noises are heard downstairs. They creep down the steps to find Aunt Gertrude with her withered cheek against the old clock, and kissing it. The hands of the clock begin to move backwards. And Auntie falls dead.

 

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This had to have been a ground-breaking story at its time in 1881. Author Edward Page Mitchell’s name doesn’t come swiftly to mind when we think of time travel; he is one of the forgotten American science fiction authors. His stories were popular in the 1870s to 1890. Nearly all his stories were published anonymously in The Sun, a New York newspaper. And nearly all were occult, bizarre, ghostly, devilish, and about inanimate objects coming to life. The Crystal Man in 1881 hit readers long before Well’s The Invisible Man in 1897. Tachypomp was about a thinking computer.  Mitchell was influenced by Poe and wrote over 25 short stories in his lifetime. He was known to have no desire for public recognition. Today Mitchell is considered one of our ‘lost giants’ in the science fiction genre of literature. Discovering Edward Page Mitchell is a treat and a privilege!

 

 

Read it online: The Clock That Went Backwards cute_vintage_dutch_windmill_sailboat_delft_blue_large_clock-r582230ac3a42442c861af41947475ae0_fup13_8byvr_324

at  Forgottenfutures.com

 

Listen to the Audio: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nb-ei6-DeMw

 

 

 

 

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.

 

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Gone Haunting

The Inexperienced Ghost  by H.G. Wells (1903)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror    November 24, 2015

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This is a macabre story with a high intensity suspense. Clayton is telling his friends a story, as they sit fireside and drink whiskies at the Mermaid Club. The story is when Clayton caught a ghost in a passage in an old shadowy house.

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“Caught a ghost, did you?” said Sanderson. “Where is it?”

Clayton describes the ghost as scrubby with bad ears; and then he invites the ghost into his bedroom. A lively and amazing conversation takes place between Clayton and this ghost. Clayton takes pity on the sorry thing and tries to assist the ghost in returning to the ‘world of shades.’

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Incantations, passes, gestures and the power of the world beyond make this a well-plotted and entertaining story. What begins as an amusing ghost tale becomes classic HG Wells adventure–clever, colorful, and chilling.

 

 

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Did you know that H.G Wells’ first published book was a biology textbook in 1893? He thought of lasers in The War of the Worlds years before Einstein’s quantum theory would even make lasers feasible. Wells came up with automated doors in his 1899 novel When the Sleeper Wakes.

Read The Inexperienced Ghost at OnlineLiterataure.com

Listen to the audio on YouTube.com.

 

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

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Bibliophilica       Lovecraft Ezine     HorrorAddicts.net  

Horror Novel Reviews    HorrorPalace

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Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free Tales of Terror classic authors.

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Into the Darkest Valley

Valley of the Spiders   By H. G. Wells (1903)

Tuesday’s Tale of  Terror    January 27, 2015

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Into the darkest valley. Shadows go before them through the trails of the mountain path. Three men are on an adventure in the wilderness: a gaunt man with a scarred lip, a man riding a silver bridle, a dreamy little man on a white horse. They are pursuing a girl with a bleeding foot. They ride for four days, with a shortage of water, and finally come upon a wild dog. This is the first sign. Not long after, they come upon ragged floating globes, cobwebbey, that begin to descend across the valley.

 

imagesWhat do you do when you see a spider in your bathtub? Are you apt to kill it or scoop it up and send it to the outside world where it belongs? Next time you see a spider, wish on it and gently blow it away. They are cute little buggers, right? Not according to H.G Wells.

 

 

imgresWells’ descriptions of gigantic spiders have the makings of a real nightmare. There’s no scooping these guys away. Wells crafts a classic drama about cowardice and pride and the power of nature.  He is considered a visionary and the most prolific writer in science fiction–he wrote over fifty short stories. It is said that all were written quickly and virtually at a single sitting each. He said of his short stories “I found that taking almost anything as a starting-point and letting my thoughts play about it, there would presently come out of the darkness, in a manner quite inexplicable, some absurd or vivid little incident more or less relevant to that initial nucleus. Little men in canoes upon sunlit oceans would come floating out of nothingness, incubating the eggs of prehistoric monsters unaware; violent conflicts would break out amidst the flower-beds of suburban gardens; I would discover I was peering into remote and mysterious worlds ruled by an order logical indeed but other than our common sanity.”

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Read Valley of the Spiders at Online-Literature

Listen to the audio version on YouTube.com

 

 

Next Month, February, is Women in Horror Month!

 

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HorrorNews.net     HorrorTalk.com

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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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A Haunting Suspense

The Presence by the Fire   by H.G. Wells (1897)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror     September 16, 2014

imagesThe early fiction of H.G. Wells includes a number of “uncollected stories,” and The Presence by the Fire is one that most readers (even most Wells’ fans) have never read. This somewhat sentimental ghost story was rediscovered years ago at the old British Museum Library (1990s?). Romantic love stories of the supernatural are often on my list and this one, although predictable, is a ghostly experience that reminds me of old world drama. It’s a 15-minute read, heartfelt and haunting.

Reid’s wife Mary is dying. At her deathbed, he is torn to pieces, as he knows he must let her go. She utters a last farewell to him and he hangs on through the last breath she takes in this world. How does he cope with Mary gone from his life? Perhaps his love is so strong that he can draw his departed Mary back into this world.

images-1   “The firelight played upon her face.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read H. G. Wells’ short story The Presence by the Fire at StoryPilot.com

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Speaking of ghosts …

JBPriestleyHave you read any of the stories by novelist and playwright J.B. Priestley (1894-1984)? The Old Dark House is a haunted house tale (nowhere to be found online in text) but is a film (1931) with Boris Karloff, Charles Laughton, Gloria Stuart (1 hour, 10 minutes), directed by James Whale (director of Frankenstein).

The film is black-and-white vintage spookery, shadows and candlelight, beating rain and thunder. Travelers are driven off the road from violent rain and wind and must find shelter in a storm-battered castle in Wales. There is a warm fire, weird and cranky caretakers in a castle with no beds … and, Morgan a savage who is loose on the property, a mysterious voice upstairs, a madman kept behind a locked door, and murder. Okay, so cliché after cliché saturates this story and it’s full of melodrama, but if you like the old style movies, this classic is one that harkens back like old wine, a bit musky on the palate but after a glass or two, it’s fun and interesting.

J.B. Priestley is considered to be the “sage of English Literature” and is famous for his book Man and Time (published as a companion to Carl Jung’s Man and His Symbols), a book about the metaphysics of time, which I’m actually reading now as part of my research for my new novel (working title Greylock). He is an unusual author who writes about time-slips of past, present, and future.

 

7122C7BZD9L._AA160_I did find a text (an excerpt) of The Old Dark House (original title Benighted) in The Mammoth Book of 20th Century Ghost Stories, edited by Peter Haining on Amazon.com. This anthology has some terrific old ghost stories by authors Henry James, Jack London, Daphne du Maurier, Ruth Rendell, Agatha Christie, Fay Weldon and Muriel Spark and more (and almost none of these stories are free online).

 

 

You can watch the film The Old Dark House on YouTube Cynykyl Video
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Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

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Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free Tales of Terror classic Authors.

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Faces Thinned In Shadows

The Stolen Body   by H.G. Wells (1898)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror   May 6, 2014

 

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Astral projection, apparitions, self-hypnosis, psychical research, thought transference, dreams, and the mysteries of the pineal eye. Do you believe in the science of the body? Time travel? These days we might think of laser lights, atomic particles, frame dragging, time loops. So, what about the science of the astral body? gyroscope2Do you think that the astral body can travel to other realms?

Our characters, scientific investigator Mr. Bessel and his associate Mr. Vincey engage in an exploration into the supernatural powers of the mind and the paranormal elements of outer realms.

Mr. Bessel is on a mission to project his own apparition to Mr. Vincey at a distant location. The first attempt fails. Well, or course, we expected that. But subsequent attempts prove worthy when Mr. Bessel goes missing. Scotland Yard is summoned. However, this fails as well.

 

When Mrs. Bullock, the medium, is summoned a séance is held.

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Let me just say one more thing …

Mr. Bessel finds himself trapped in a cloud of the evil spirit world that is void of all sound. He discovers faces in thinned shadows with frenzied clutching hands. Do you think Bessel’s exploration might be a success? Think again.

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H.G. Wells conjures an amazing story that has exceptional effects while listening to the audio format. HG-Wells-001

This story, or should I say “report” is perfect for a read-aloud. The narrative has a subtle clinical aspect, which make for chilling fiction.

Listen to the YouTube audio (wonderful!) at Chapter Vox

Read the full text at OnlineLiterature

 

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Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

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Don’t forget to view the INDEX above to search for more classic authors and their tales.

 

 

 

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Mysteries of a Crystal Egg

The Crystal Egg by H.G. Wells  (1897)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror, September 17, 2013

This week is H.G. Wells anniversary birth date (September 21), so featuring one of this grandmaster’s  science fiction short stories is a must for Tales of Terror.

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In The Crystal Egg, we meet a gentleman known as Mr. Cave. He owns a grimy dark little shop full of antiquities in town. Among the animal skulls, boxes of eyes, elephant tusks, and stuffed monkeys is a crystal egg. Mr. Cave acquired the egg from another dealer and as curiosity prevails—who doesn’t find crystals eye-catching?—he couldn’t resist the gleaming oval object and displayed it in his shop window.

Mr. Cave is a little old man, with pale face and peculiar watery blue eyes; his hair was a dirty grey, and he wore a shabby blue frock-coat, an ancient silk hat, and carpet slippers very much down at heel.

Sounds cute, huh? Cute if you keep in mind we are in the late 1890s. Mr. Cave is actually a charming character who endears you immediately. His wife, the corpulent Mrs. Cave, however, can reduce the poor man to quivering emotions and muddle his thoughts. And she does so when two men stroll into the shop and offer to buy the crystal egg. Mrs. Cave is quite anxious to sell the object, but Mr. Cave has some trouble parting with the crystal.

The fascinating thing about crystals is their mysterious refractions of light.  Sometimes you can see into them quite clearly and other times the view is a distorted image. Even colors change with every new angle. If you hold a rounded crystal in a ray of light, what do you think you’ll see?

Eggtales_of_tomorrow_9_the_crystal_egg_000720Mr. Cave does more than just look at the colors and angles of light. He sees a vivid vision within the crystal egg. No dreaming here, no illusions, no hallucinations. This is a definite impression of reality. What does he see exactly? I have a better question. What happens to Mr. Cave when he observes this vivid vision? Do you think the vision will look back and observe poor Mr. Cave?

This amazing little short story raises more questions than resolutions, especially if you believe in … well, I won’t say exactly.

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Read it at ReadBook Online http://www.readbookonline.net/readOnLine/9395/

Listen to the narration by LibriVox Recording (46 minutes) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=840JrGZJMhg

Watch the 1951 vintage film by Tales of Tomorrow starring Thomas Mitchell  (23 minutes) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6rPm5siOwk

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