Tag Archives: haunted castles

A Supernatural Visitant

Horror: A True Tale   by Anonymous (1861)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror   March 25, 2014




What if … you are sleeping alone in your bedroom, snug under your deep coverlets, and you wake suddenly feeling a wicked chill. A bit more heat in the room would do and you attempt to rise up and fetch your robe, which you had flung at the bottom of the bed upon retiring. Eyes half open, the dull darkness surrounds you as you spread your hands across the coverlet for the robe. You run your hand over the bed, searching, wondering where the heck it is. Open your eyes—the robe is suddenly handed to you by an unseen arm.

This is the kind of fear we love to read in stories. And this is exactly the kind of fear evoked in Horror: A True Tale. We all have these fears of someone, or some ghastly thing, invading the safety of our beds.

Meet the lovely Rose, a young woman of nineteen, living in the countryside with her sisters Lucy and Minnie and their father, a wealthy landlord.


Their old Tudor mansion is full of turrets and gables and small chambers that the servants refuse to enter because of the dark deeds that history claims happened there.

Rose tells us of the festivities on a splendid Christmas Eve celebration at the mansion with guests regally dressed and chatting in the greatly decorated hall. The matriarch of the family attends, the rich Lady Speldhurst (think Downton Abbey).

“Lady Speldhurst … Her gray silk dress, her spotless lace, old-fashioned jewels, and prim neatness of array, were well suited to the intelligence of her face, with its thin lips, and eyes of a piercing black, undimmed by age. Those eyes made me uncomfortable … they followed my every movement with curious scrutiny.”

Lady Speldhurst is Rose’s godmother, and she plans on spending the night. Rose generously agrees to give up her most comfortable bedchamber for her godmother, and stay in a “disused chamber … which is called haunted … the green room … the sins it had witnessed, the blood spilled, the poison administered by unnatural hate within its walls.”


Naturally Rose resists these ideas, and indeed resists the warnings of her godmother and sisters about staying in this closed up bedchamber. Until when, in the green room, after the hearth fires die down, Rose feels something malignant is near.


Author John Berwick Harwood wrote many ghost stories (many under Anonymous) and this short story is said to be his work. He also wrote The Underground Ghost, and The Painted Room at Blackston Manor.  Harwood’s elaborate descriptions  invite you into the scenery and action with a deep suspense. There is a bit of melodrama but it suits the elements without being obnoxious. Harwood wrote some twenty novels and several Christmas horror stories but I can’t find much of his work out there. What a pity because I’d love to read more. Do leave a comment of what you think of this little horror story.


Read Horror: A True Tale at ReadBookOnline.net



Other Reading Web Sites to Visit


Horror Novel Reviews   Hell Horror    HorrorPalace


 Monster Librarian  Tales to Terrify       Spooky Reads

 Lovecraft Ezine      Rob Around Books    The Story Reading Ape Blog

     The Gothic Wanderer   Sirens Call Publications  The Fussy Librarian

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed



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

What Lurks in Gowrie Castle’s Secret Chamber?

 The Secret Chamber  by Margaret Oliphant  (1876)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror   October 1, 2013

What is it like to be truly haunted? Haunted by another’s thoughts, haunted by mesmeric eyes watching your every step, haunted by sinister laughter that only you can hear.

It’s October 1st, the Horror Month. Begin here as Tales of Terror takes you through a month of Women in Horror. Have you read the works of Scottish born Margaret Oliphant? She produced over 90 novels and 200 stories. To her contemporaries, she was a literary giant and a pioneer in supernatural fiction. Today, she is unaccountably neglected.


A haunted Scottish castle, what could be better than to curl up with The Secret Chamber. Spend an hour here, maybe with a cup of hot Scottish tea or a glass of peaty Scotch over ice. Whatever your pleasure, come and listen to the tower bells chime as the moonlight strikes full at Gowrie Castle.

Scottishcastle-veve-celles-q75-356x500 The Gowrie Castle stands with grey clustered turrets, labyrinths of hidden staircases, vaulted chambers, rich lawns and foliage, and a Scots family history fraught with rebellions and revenges.  John Randolph (Lord Gowrie), his wife Lady Gowrie, and their son Lindores are endearing characters that you won’t easily forget. Young Lindores is man of Oxford education, ambitious,  generous, and quiet charming. On the night of Lindores’ birthday celebration, when the festivities have finished and all guests have retired, Lindores’ father wakes him. Lindores opens his eyes to his bedroom gleaming with candles, bottle of wine, and an ominous silence.

“Get up, my boy,” said Lord Gowrie, “and dress as quickly as you can; it is full time. I have lighted your candles, and your things are all ready.” Lord Gowrie went to the table and poured out a glass of wine from a bottle which stood there, — a rich, golden-coloured, perfumy wine, which sent its scent through the room. “You will want all your strength,” he said; “take this before you go.”

Lindores is shocked and puzzled. Before he goes? Where?

ScottishSteps-at-Powis-Castle-q75-375x500 “You are going to encounter the greatest trial of your life,” he said, his countenance full of dreary pain, shaking with emotion, great beads of moisture upon his forehead.

Lord Gowrie brings his son into the secret chamber. A rite of passage? Lindores bade his nerves be steel to all vulgar horrors.

What would you expect to reside in a secret chamber in a castle? Skeletons of murdered guests? Ghosts of family traitors? A phantom?  Here’s a peek for you.

How there looked him in the face,
An angel beautiful and bright,
And how he knew it was a fiend

 Are fiends the fancy of mortal men or …?


Read The Secret Chamber online at Gaslight

Need more Oliphant stories? Try The Library Window at Gaslight

or the novella The Beleaguered City at Gutenberg.org

 Images are from FromOldBooks.Org

This being the Halloween month, and this being my own “Woman in Horror month,” for Tales of Terror, please drop a line or two in the comment box. What did you think of Margaret Oliphant’s The Secret Chamber? Do you have an author or title you’d like to suggest for our reading this month? Thanks!

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

GoodReads     WattPad   The Story Reading Ape Blog   Interesting Literature    Bibliophilopolis.wordpress.com    Horror Novel Reviews   Hell Horror   Monster Librarian

Tales to Terrify    Rob Around Books     Books on the Nightstand     GoodKindles.net 

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

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Filed under fiction, ghost stories, Hauntings, horror, quiet horror, short stories, supernatural, tales of terror