Tag Archives: Halloween

The Willows, a Chilling Tale for Halloween

The Willows   by Algernon Blackwood (1907)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror  October 16, 2018

 

What better story for the Halloween season than a haunted forest?  A haunted river, perhaps? In Algernon Blackwood’s The Willows there is a prevailing secret in nature. Even the landscape here is haunted. In this story, our narrator takes on a canoe trip down the Danube River. Two men come upon a location of fierce desolation and loneliness and yet everything is alive here. Even the Danube is personified—and full of tricks.  Once set up with tent and fire, the two friends settle in, until the first thing they see is something odd floating on the Danube.

“Good heavens, it’s a man’s body!” he cried excitedly. “Look!”

A black thing, turning over and over in the foaming waves, swept rapidly past. It kept disappearing and coming up to the surface again. It was about twenty feet from the shore, and just as it was opposite to where we stood it lurched round and looked straight at us. We saw its eyes reflecting the sunset, and gleaming an odd yellow as the body turned over.  Then it gave a swift, gulping plunge, and dived out of sight in a flash.

 

This mystery lends its own power about nature, humanity, and good old-fashion fear. I challenge the readers here not to feel a high amount of dread in the reading. This is so evocative, so sinister—an excellent mix of terror. Classic ‘quiet horror’ for Halloween reading time!

 

 

Algernon Blackwood had a persistent interest in the supernatural and spiritualism. He is famous for his occult tales and a master at chilling you to the bone. He firmly believed that humans possess latent psychic powers. His writing soars with an acute sense of place. All his fiction is charged with hidden powers. He published over 200 short stories and dozens of novels.

“All my life,” he said, “I have been strangely, vividly conscious of another region–not far removed from our own world in one sense, yet wholly different in kind–where great things go on unceasingly, where immense and terrible personalities hurry by, intent on vast purposes compared to which earthly affairs, the rise and fall of nations, the destinies of empires, the fate of armies and continents, are all as dust in the balance”  Blackwood. The Willows

 

 

Read the short story at Algernonblackwood.org

http://algernonblackwood.org/Z-files/Willows.pdf

 

 

Listen to the audio on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QN_bbDrW7_M

 

 

 

More Blackwood short stories here at Reading Fiction Blog in the above INDEX.

Don’t forget to view the INDEX 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, ‘quiet horror,’ crime, sci-fi, and mainstream fiction.

Follow or sign up to join me in reading two short stories every month. Comments are welcome! Feel free to click “LIKE.”

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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Why Do We Love Horror?

In the words of Arthur Conan Doyle ( and as a companion post with this week’s featured author, 1-5-2016 Tales of Terror, “The Horror of the Heights”),

“Where there is no imagination, there is no horror.”

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So, let’s see now, why do we love to read horror stories and terrifying suspense mysteries? Why do we watch horror movies? Is it to stimulate our imaginations? Is it because some of us love gore-watching or identifying with killers? Or maybe it’s because we like to face the unknown safely in our reading chairs or comfy movie theater seats. As an avid reader, film lover, and writer of supernatural, mystery, and horror, I ask these questions all the time.

 

Below is a link to  FilmmakerIQ.com John P. Hess’ 15-minute vimeo on this very subject.  Hess explores the “Psychology of Scary Movies” theories from contemporary scientific professionals to Freud, Jung, Aristotle and much more. When I came across this vimeo some time ago, I found it  informative and insightful. I hope you do too.

 


<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/77636515″>The Psychology of Scary Movies</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/filmmakeriq”>FilmmakerIQ.com</a&gt; on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

 

We could say there is no single answer to the question, but if you have a theory, agreement or disagreement, please post.

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Filed under classic horror stories, crime thrillers, fiction, Halloween stories, Hauntings, horror, horror blogs, literary horror, literature, murder mystery, mysteries, Penny Dreadful, Psycho, psychological horror, quiet horror, Reading Fiction, short stories, short story blogs, soft horror, Stephen King, supernatural, supernatural thrillers, suspense, tales of terror, weird tales

Weird Fiction by Stephen King

Premium Harmony  by Stephen King  (2009, The New Yorker Magazine)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror   October 20, 2015

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Halloween season requires at last one Stephen King story. Not too many are available online to read for free and this one about a cold death seems appropriate as we approach Halloween.

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We are in King’s famous town of Castle Rock, Maine, with Mary and Ray, a married couple on route to Wal-Mart to buy grass seed. How mundane is that? They argue about petty things, which is actually amusing. Then something really shocking happens. This is not a traditional spooker—more like a dark comedy or weird fiction. You be the judge. Did you like this story? What did you think of the “smoky” ending?

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Read the short story here at The New Yorker Magazine.com.

At Open Culture.com, you can find a few more free Stephen King stories.

And here’s a review of King’s

Bazaar of Bad Dreamshttp://www.miamiherald.com/entertainment/books/article41913834.html

 

 

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Are you looking for a real Halloween story? Try this spooky tale.

“The White Scarecrow” at Underworld Tales.com. This time of year yields some pretty weird happenings.

 

 

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     Sillyverse    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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Darkness of Solitude on Halloween: Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Allan Poe’s Necromantic Literature

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror   October 28, 2014

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Halloween is this week. What if you didn’t go trick-or-treating or didn’t answer your doorbell to the playful ghosts and witches? What if you stayed locked in your home, alone, and entertained the darkness on this oh-so-hallowed night. What consciousness of the dead would conspire to make your acquaintance? How brave are you?

Edgar Allan Poe knew the power of being alone. He knew the power of the imagination. He knew the power of death. His characters were masters at conjuring up palpable and mysterious presences. A Tale of the Ragged Mountains is a less popular short story from the Poe collection that I’m betting many here haven’t read. This story is about Augustus Bedloe who travels alone a mountain in Charlottesville in a thick and peculiar mist.

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“Busied in this, I walked on for several hours, during which the mist deepened around me to so great an extent that at length I was reduced to an absolute groping of the way. And now an indescribable uneasiness possessed me–a species of nervous hesitation and tremor. I feared to tread, lest I should be precipitated into some abyss. I remembered, too, strange stories told about these Ragged Hills, and of the uncouth and fierce races of men who tenanted their groves and caverns. A thousand vague fancies oppressed and disconcerted me–fancies the more distressing because vague. Very suddenly my attention was arrested by the loud beating of a drum.”

What happens to Bedloe alone on this mountain? This is a story of mesmerism, disembodiment and reembodiment, bizarre encounters, and death. Perfect for a Halloween read because there is no Halloween without the macabre adventures of Poe.

A Tale of the Ragged Mountains by Edgar Allan Poe (1844)

Read this short story at Classic Literature About.com

In keeping with this theme of solitude, Poe also wrote the following poem Alone, which I’ve posted here. Quite revealing, this poem expresses what it is to love alone and what it might bring.

Alone

images-1From childhood’s hour I have not been
As others were; I have not seen
As others saw; I could not bring
My passions from a common spring.
From the same source I have not taken
My sorrow; I could not awaken
My heart to joy at the same tone;
And all I loved, I loved alone.
Then- in my childhood, in the dawn
Of a most stormy life- was drawn
From every depth of good and ill
The mystery which binds me still:
From the torrent, or the fountain,
From the red cliff of the mountain,
From the sun that round me rolled
In its autumn tint of gold,
From the lightning in the sky
As it passed me flying by,
From the thunder and the storm,
And the cloud that took the form
(When the rest of Heaven was blue)
Of a demon in my view.

[Above art credit:  Ashwini Shrivastava]

 

images-1Lastly, I want to give you Poe’s final story, just before his sudden death. Poe began a manuscript titled The Light-House. Unfinished and unpublished, this is the story of a man with a passion for solitude, who goes to live at the edge of the sea in a lighthouse. Poe wrote only four paragraphs.

“My spirits are beginning to revive already, at the mere thought of being — for once in my life at least — thoroughly alone …”

Read The Light-House at E.A. Poe.org.

 

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Poe’s biographies tell of his great misery and tragedies as well as loneliness. We think of solitude and loneliness as walls that shut out the world. For Poe, the aloneness may have acted as a bridge to his necromantic literature. A master of dark fiction, Poe died, October 7, 1849 at Washington Hospital. His last words, “Lord, help my poor soul.”

 

 

 

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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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Women of Horror for Halloween

The Specialist’s Hat   by Kelly Link (1999)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror   October 29, 2013     Women In Horror

halloween-1351523573K4k On Halloween, take a clean whiff of the air. I mean really breathe in the landscape. Daylight is full of the toasted scent of rusty leaves. Maybe there’s a cider sunshine that sweetens the sky. But once that moon rises, the night’s scrim evokes thin spirits among the haunted oak trees, a bit smoky with tart of crab-apple, spice of pumpkin. And while the dead leaves crack at you like popped corn, taste the descending wind as it turns to cold ash when midnight strikes.

I love Halloween! So, for this week’s Women In Horror, let’s go contemporary. I know we love classic tales of terror, but I thought I’d divert in honor of Halloween and offer you a modern-day Woman of Horror: Kelly Link. Her short story The Specialist’s Hat won the 1999 World Fantasy Award for Short Fiction.

In The Specialist’s Hat, we are in a two-hundred year old house called Eight Chimneys. Claire and Samantha are twins spending the summer there with their father who is writing a history of the house.  The mother is dead.

The girls like to play the Dead game. The caretaker Mr. Coeslak says the woods aren’t safe.  And here’s the thing. Neither is the attic safe. Don’t go into the attic. This night, the little girls are with a babysitter, playing their Dead game.

“This house is haunted,” Claire says.

“I know it is,” the babysitter says. “I used to live here.”
Something is creeping up the stairs,
Something is standing outside the door,
Something is sobbing, sobbing in the dark;
Something is sighing across the floor.

Would you like to go into the attic and play the Dead game with Claire and Samantha?

Read The Specialist’s Hat at KellyLink.net 

KellyLinksthweb2 Kelly Link is the author of three collections of short stories, Stranger Things Happen, Magic for Beginners, and Pretty Monsters. Her short stories have won three Nebulas, a Hugo, and a World Fantasy Award.   Stranger Things Happen, was a Firecracker nominee, a Village Voice Favorite Book, and a Salon Book of the Year.

And for my diehard classic fans, I bring you two stories from another Woman of Horror:  Mary Elizabeth Braddon. Braddon was a prolific writer with over eighty novels, her most popular novel Lady Audley’s Secret (1862) and the highly acclaimed ghost story At Chrighton Abbey.

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The Cold Embrace (1860) is a chilly tale of love and romance. Gertrude is hopelessly in love with a handsome and charming artist, who swears his passion for her as well. But the golden dawns and rosy sunsets don’t last for long. How easily some men are bewitched.

Read The Cold Embrace at  Gaslight.

In Braddon’s The Shadow in the Corner (1879), Michael Bascom does not believe that Wildheath Grange is haunted. Until the young maid Maria comes to the old house. Read Shadow in the Corner at  Gaslight.   Listen to the narration at  Librivox Recording

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I hope you’ve enjoyed October’s Women in Horror at Tales of Terror. If you have a title or author you’d like to share, please drop a line in a comment box. And if you’d like more about Women in Horror, I have a guest blog at Monster Librarian, “Literary Ladies of Horror’s Haunted Mountain” where you’ll find a number of titles and authors, classic and contemporary.

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

GoodReads     WattPad    Interesting Literature

Bibliophilopolis.wordpress.com

Horror Novel Reviews   Hell Horror    HorrorPalace

 Monster Librarian  Tales to Terrify     Spooky Reads

 Lovecraft Ezine      Rob Around Books    The Story Reading Ape Blog

GoodKindles.net      For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

The Gothic Wanderer

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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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