Tag Archives: Halloween stories

The Haunted House in the Square, for Halloween

The Empty House  by Algernon Blackwood  (1906)

October’s Short Story for Halloween,  October 21, 2021

 

What could be more satisfying than to read a classic haunted house mystery during Halloween season? Especially a gabled house surrounded by dark gardens that cry out and air fragrant with ruin. Inside lurking staircases flicker shadows, and a faceless clock ticks away on the threshold of midnight.

Dean Koontz says of haunted houses: “We are haunted and regardless of the architecture with which we surround ourselves, our ghosts stay with us until we ourselves are ghosts.” How utterly delightful to be a ghost! Maybe our DNAs truly are blueprints of the past.

One of the absolute finest writers of ghost stories is Algernon Blackwood. Here at Reading Fiction Blog, you will find six of his stories to read for free—because Blackwood is a master at ghosts, psychological chills, and performing the highest atmospherics. He has been considered the foremost British supernaturalist. His skills lie in drawing upon Oriental thought, psychology and philosophy, which bring an intelligence to his stories.

The Empty House is a simple story, a fiction over 100 years old. There was a murder in this house that is now empty and shunned by the village folk.  Aunt Julia and her nephew Jim Shorthouse spend a night in The Empty House.

 

We walk through this house with Aunt Julia and Jim, not as observers, but as participants in seeking the ghost.  The atmospherics do it all to illicit fear  and trembling as the characters engage in the supernatural events. Pay close attention to the narrative closure. It sneaks up on the reader, leaving you breathless in the sea air.

 

The original chatter about this story was that Blackwood personally experienced some of these ghostly events during his ghost hunting work at the Society of Psychical Research in London. We are in a well-written “quiet horror” of supernatural literature.

 

Read it here at Gutenberg.org

https://www.gutenberg.org/files/14471/14471-h/14471-h.htm

 

Listen to the audio on YouTube.com:

 

More of Algernon Blackwood’s free short stories here at Reading Fiction Blog:

Blackwood, Algernon  Ancient Sorceries, February 5, 2013

Blackwood, Algernon  Wood of the Dead, September 9, 2014

Blackwood, Algernon  House of the Past, November 9, 2015

Blackwood, Algernon  The Glamour of Snow,  March 1, 2016

Blackwood, Algernon A Psychological Invasion, Case 1,  June 28, 2016

Blackwood, Algernon  The Willows, October 16, 2018

 

Have a Happy Halloween!

Don’t forget to view the INDEX OF AUTHORS’ TALES above of more free reading at Reading Fiction Blog. This is a compendium of over 200 short stories by more than 100 famous storytellers of mystery, suspense, supernatural, ghost stories, crime, sci-fi, romance, ‘quiet horror,’ and mainstream fiction.

 Follow or sign up to join me in reading one short story every month. 

Comments are welcome!

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 Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Kirkus Mystery & Thrillers Reviews

Books & Such    Bibliophilica   NewYorkerFictionOnline

      Monster Librarian     

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

Literature Blog Directory   

Blog Collection

Blog Top Sites

Discover Author of the Week posted on Mondays!

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Haunter of the Dark: A tale of woe for Halloween

The Haunter of the Dark   H.P. Lovecraft (1935)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror    October 24, 2017

 

Gulf of night. Shroud of dust …

“I see it—coming here—hell-wind—titan-blur—black wings …”

We are in Providence, Rhode Island. Robert Blake, a writer and painter, is currently writing a novel on a witches cult in Maine. In his newly rented room, his desk window gives him a view of a vacant and deserted  ‘ould church on Federal Hill. This is a man wholly devoted to dream, terror, and superstition. The dark church fascinates him and his imagination begins to take over. Or is it his imagination? He decides he must go inside this church to investigate the crumbling black spires and mesmerizing windows that seem to keep calling him.

What if …  this church was previously a place of devil worship, something along the lines of the Starry Wisdom sect back in 1877? The members of the Church of Starry Wisdom believed in the Haunter of the Dark. Who is the Haunter? He is summoned from the black gulfs of chaos, a powerful evil that was banished by light.

What if … inside this dark and shadowy church there existed a glowing crystal, an ancient artifact known as the Shining Trapezohedron that could summon evil power, summon an actual creature, out of depths of time and space?

What if … this evil creature knew all things?

 

 

And what if  … this Haunter of the Dark knew YOU were watching it?

This story is said to be the last story written by Lovecraft, part of the Cthulhu Mythos, and  is a sequel to “The Shambler from the Stars” by Robert Bloch. I consider it to be one of Lovecraft’s best for prowling around an abandoned church and exploring leftover cults. It is classic horror, a foreboding story, perfect for a Halloween read. The writing is 5-star with evocative images, atmospheric, and high suspense.

 

 Note on Starry Wisdom: The cult was founded in Providence, Rhode Island circa 1844 by the archaeologist and occultist Professor Enoch Bowen. The cult used a sacred relic known as the Shining Trapezohedron to summon the Haunter of the Dark, who demanded outrageous sacrifices in return for limitless knowledge of the universe. The cult had a membership of 200. More  at MeasureLesseons: https://measurelesseons.wordpress.com/pulling-the-strings/church-of-starry-wisdom/ 

 

 

Read the short story at HPLovecraft.com.

Listen to the audio (1 hour), read by the famous David McCallum, and wonderful for your Halloween party. Go to The Haunter of the Dark at   YouTube.com 

“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.”  H.P. Lovecraft

 

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 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 classic horror stories, dark fantasy, demons, fiction, ghost story blogs, Gothic fiction, Gothic Horror, haunted houses, horror, horror blogs, literary horror, Lovecraft, occult, paranormal, quiet horror, Reading Fiction, READING FICTION BLOG Paula Cappa, short stories, short story blogs, soft horror, supernatural fiction, supernatural mysteries, supernatural thrillers, tales of terror

Dark Autumn Birds and Their Magic

The Magic of the Loons   by Paula Cappa  (2014)

The Birds   by Daphne du Maurier  (1952)

Tuesday’s Tales of Terror   October 7, 2014

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The feathered race! You might recall fairy tales about birds: Grimm’s The Golden Goose, The Raven, The Seven Ravens, The Three Crows, The Ugly Duckling, Russia’s The Firebird. Alfred Hitchcock’s  film The Birds was an adaptation of Daphne du Maurier’s The Birds, a novella about how birds attacked people in Britain (after WW II).  In du Maurier’s story, the birds are revolting but we don’t know why. Same with Hitchcock’s version, the birds’ behavior is unexplained, although who could forget that last scene with the caged lovebirds.

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This week’s two tales of terror are in the same category but very different in nature and scope. If you’ve never read du Maurier’s The Birds, this novella is suspenseful with evocative prose, and so perfect for a Halloween read.

On December the third, the wind changed overnight, and it was winter. Until then the autumn had been mellow, soft. The leaves had lingered on the trees, golden-red, and the hedgerows were still green. The earth was rich where the plow had turned it.  Black and white, jackdaw and gull, mingled in strange partnership, seeking some sort of liberation, never satisfied, never still. Flocks of starlings, rustling like silk, flew to fresh pasture, driven by the same necessity of movement, and the smaller birds, the finches and the larks, scattered from tree to hedge as if compelled. 

On the more contemporary side of our feathered friends, my own short story The Magic of the Loons is published in the October issue of Dark Gothic Resurrected Magazine. My story is more edgy fantasy: a little bit sexy, a little bit magical realism,  a lot of mystery. Come meet the Loon Woman, Kai:

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Kai dressed up as his Loon Woman with a string of black and white shells coiled about her neck, silvery veils twisted skin-tight on her arms and legs. She pinned back her hair into a long twisted tail, all blue-black and lustrous. Feathers framed her face with eyes elaborately painted smoky red. Absolutely ravishing. What man could resist her spells and tricks? What man wouldn’t thrill under her bewitching attention?

I’m so pleased to have my work published in Dark Gothic Resurrected as they were named one of the Top Ten Best Fiction Magazines by Preditors and Editors in 2013 for content, art, and covers. They offer short stories, author interviews, art and poetry.

Begin this Halloween season with two stories about the birds of dark autumn.

Read  The Birds at NexusLearning.net

Read my Magic of the Loons (page 84) at Dark Gothic Resurrected Magazine

(available in paperback and Kindle editions on Amazon.com)

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Buy for Kindle on Amazon.com

Buy Paperback Magazine, October Issue on Amazon.com

2013 P&E awards

 

And, please, Readers, don’t be shy about leaving me a comment about Magic of the Loons. I’m looking for reviews!

 

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Bibliophilica       Lovecraft Ezine

Horror Novel Reviews    Hell Horror    HorrorPalace

HorrorSociety.com       Sirens Call Publications

 Monster Librarian  Tales to Terrify       Spooky Reads

 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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Halloween story: The Ghoulbird

The Ghoulbird by Claude Seignolle (a vintage quiet horror story) evokes the power of nature and dread. I just finished reading this classic short story, and it’s perfect for Halloween.

Picture this. You are visiting the Manor of Guernipin, the French countryside, dining on truffled confit of duck and Reuilly wine by the crackle of the fire with your old friend. The crumbling-faced house servant, Sylvain, informs you of the legend of the Ghoulbird, “a winged creature that lures the naive to utter horror.” This bird is known to haunt the famous Gobble-Ox Marsh not far from the manor.

The sliver needle of the moon, gray mists, nightmares in the attic bedroom, and the Ghoulbird’s curse.

Are you seized with curiosity? You can read this story in The Weird:

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