Tag Archives: horror blogs

Ghost in the Machine

Midnight   by Jack Snow  (1946)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror   August 5, 2014

 

images-1Do you believe in the theory of a ‘Ghost in the Machine,’ as British philosopher Gilbert Ryle coined the term in describing Descartes’ mind-body dualism (mind distinct from the body)? This is the belief that there is a non-biological entity underlying consciousness (the soul or spirit). Neuroscientists will argue that we are solely our physical brains trapped inside our own heads and nothing more than that. Jack Snow’s story Midnight brings up the questions: Are we sometimes operated by otherworldly phantoms—if we desire to call them up? Is there an immaterial realm we might tap into—if we desire to enter?

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What if there is a ghost in the human machine? And what if that ghost has evil powers?

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Meet John Ware who believes that the stroke of midnight has otherworldly powers and he wants in. He has an insatiable craving to know and experience evil directly. Ancient cults and their powerful secrets do not frighten him. So, he adventures into the darkest of realms. In his chamber is an old clock as tall as any person and owned by various Satanists, wizards, and alchemists. John stands before this clock at the stroke of midnight, his body etched with cabalistic markings, chanting unhuman phrases, and dancing grotesque gyrations as he steps into this mysterious band of time.

Do you think time ever stops?

Or are the grains of time an eternal abyss of madness? Tick-tock.

 

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Jack Snow (1907-1956) has written some twenty short stories and spectral tales as well as a fiction series called Oz Universe.

You can read Midnight at StoryOfTheWeek: scroll to download the PDF.

 

DO YOU LIKE TO READ SHORT STORY ANTHOLOGIES?

Every once in a while I come across a newly released anthology that I really like. Most of the time I’m in the old books but here a new anthology edited by Richard Thomas, The New Black. The selection of authors is impressive if  you’d like to experience some of today’s dark fiction writers.

The New Black is a collection of twenty neo-noir stories exemplifying the best authors currently writing in this dark sub-genre. A mixture of horror, crime, fantasy, science fiction, magical realism, and the grotesque—all with a literary bent—these stories are the future of genre-bending fiction.

REVIEW: “The New Black ought to be the New High Standard for dark fiction anthologies. It’s loaded with intelligence and talent. Every one of the pieces in this extraordinary compilation is worthy of your full attention.”   —Jack Ketchum

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On Amazon.com

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Bibliophilica.com

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

 

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

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Filed under fiction, horror, horror blogs, literary horror, occult, quiet horror, short stories, supernatural, tales of terror

The Dark Mother: A Short and Most Hideous Horror Story

Graveyard Shift   by Richard Matheson (1960)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror   July 22, 2014

What portal do we enter when we confront the dark mother?

 

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This short story by the esteemed Richard Matheson (1926-2013, author of I am Legend, Hell House, What Dreams May Come, Stir of Echoes) is a story that has all the elements of true horror, empathy, and shock. Matheson’s gift in this story is a perspective into the “dark mother.” Do you have one of these or know a dark mother who rules harshly, extolling her powers of fear and control? Have you witnessed the dark mother at her darkest, the woman who has the capacity to harm or neglect her child? She is the “shadow archetype” named by Carl Jung—who suggests that our negative emotions are part of the whole of the power we possess and part of our human experience (in order to appreciate the light, we must know the dark). The dark mother is taboo, of course; we don’t like to talk about mothers harming their children. I certainly don’t.

Nott_paintingHowever, I do like when horror stories get into the grit of a soul in order to enhance our understanding of our dark sides. And we all have a dark side somewhere, buried or not, and isn’t that why many of us love to explore horror fiction? Because we can dig up this dark side within the safety of fiction, recognize it, feel it, and do no real harm. I guess what I’m suggesting here is that if we didn’t read horror stories and enter this imaginary world, we might feel the need to act out our dark sides in the real world. Reading the news is an example of how many people actually do act out their shadow sides.

 

In Graveyard Shift, we have three letters (epistolary fiction) from Luke to his father Sam, from Sam to George and a letter from George to Sam. The widow Blackwell is found dead. Her little boy Jim is the only one alive in the cabin. To say more about this story would diminish its effects and Matheson deserves your clean eye and mind on the page … as you experience the shadowy portal of the dark mother.

 

The PDF link below may or may not be working. I think copyrights are still legal, preventing free reads. You can read it in the anthology “Masterpieces of Terror and the Supernatural,” selected by Marvin Kaye on Amazon (a fine selection of offbeat and rare stories), or likely borrow this book at your local library (try WorldCAT to locate in a library near you).

Try this PDF link to read Graveyard Shift (Scroll to Story #12):

http://ny.iadicicco.com/Finished/20,000%20Ebooks/Richard%20Matheson/Richard%20Matheson%20-%20Short%20Story%20Collection%20Volume%20I.pdf

 

 

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In literature/mythology, other dark mother themed stories are Lamia who was a child-eating demon (also the poem Lamia by John Keats in 1820), Medea, Grimm’s Hansel and Gretel, Andrews’ Flowers in the Attic, Bloch’s Norma Bates in Psycho, and contemporary Neil Gaiman’s novel Coraline. There are others, of course, and if you have a short story or novel in mind, please post it in the comments below.

 

 

Lamia

 

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Bibliophilica.com

Horror Novel Reviews   Hell Horror    HorrorPalace

HorrorSociety.com

 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

 

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

 

 

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Filed under dark fantasy, fiction, horror, horror blogs, short stories, tales of terror

The Dead Grey Eye

The Vampyre   by John Polidori (1819)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror    June 24, 2014

 

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If you are a True Blood fan, and haven’t read the first vampire short story in this genre, here it is. No horror blog would be worthy without including this tale.  In terms of historical literature, LeFanu’s Carmilla was the second vampire story in 1847 and then Bram Stoker’s Dracula in 1897. Some people think Vlad the Impaler was the first vampire story but Vlad was actually a blood-thirsty Romanian (1400s) who actually impaled his enemies and was known as Dracula of Wallachia. Vlad was the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s masterpiece. If we want the absolutely first work of vampire literature we have to recognize the German poem in 1748, The Vampire, by Heinrich August Ossenfelder and of course Goethe’s The Bride of Corinth in 1797.

Our author Dr. John Polidori was a friend of poets Percy Bysshe Shelley, Lord Byron, and author Mary Shelley. It’s commonly known that they all decided, one stormy evening at Lake Geneva (1816), to challenge each other by writing a horror story. The most famous result of that challenge was Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Polidori’s The Vampyre was inspired by Byron’s story The Burial: A Fragment. There is a popular quote by Polidori explaining this inspiration: “The fact is that though the groundwork is certainly Lord Byron’s, its development is mine.” Polidori wrote The Vampyre in a matter of days and it was his only work of fiction. He died at age 25, just two years after its publication.

 

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In The Vampyre, Lord Ruthven is a mysterious, British nobleman with a dead grey eye, who had a mesmerizing effect on young society woman. Aubrey is a young and wealthy man and becomes a friend to his Lordship Ruthven and his traveling companion. Aubrey falls in love with the lovely and innocent Ianthe in Greece, and I don’t have to tell you what happens to the charming Ianthe—who by the way, knows and understands these nocturnal fiends.

Dark romance, blood, supernatural, and madness is a winning combination today and was in 1819. This story was wickedly popular, translated into French, German, Spanish and Swedish, and adapted into a stage play all within a two-year period.

 

Polidori writes with an addictive prose and has created characters that are still alive and thriving in this nearly 200-year old fiction. Do you have a favorite vampire story? What do you think of Polidori’s?

 

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Read The Vampyre  at East of the Web

Listen to the audio at Librivox

 

And here is Lord Byron’s poem that he wrote in 1813, The Giaour, about vampires. I couldn’t resist!

But first, on earth as vampire sent,
Thy corpse shall from its tomb be rent:
Then ghastly haunt thy native place,
And suck the blood of all thy race;
There from thy daughter, sister, wife,
At midnight drain the stream of life;
Yet loathe the banquet which perforce
Must feed thy livid living corpse:
Thy victims ere they yet expire
Shall know the demon for their sire,
As cursing thee, thou cursing them,
Thy flowers are withered on the stem.

 

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Bibliophilica.com

Horror Novel Reviews   Hell Horror    HorrorPalace

HorrorSociety.com

 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

 

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

 

 

 

 

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Hanuman, the Monkey-God

The Mark of the Beast   by Rudyard Kipling

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror    June 10, 2014

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It’s New Year’s Eve and we are east of the Suez, in the exotic land of India where the powers of gods and devils struggle. Three men are celebrating the holiday. Our narrator is a guest at the home of Mr. Stickland, an officer of the police. Mr. Fleete is a local land owner, also a guest. After drinking too much whiskey and sodas at the club, Fleete becomes intoxicated. On their way home, they pass the temple of Hanuman. Fleete is in a riotous state of mind and grinds his cigar-butt into the forehead of the stone image of Hanuman, the monkey god. Our narrator is aghast for he suspects what this insult to the religion will cause. And he’s right.

Then, without any warning, a Silver Man came out of a recess behind the image of the god. He was perfectly naked in that bitter, bitter cold, and his body shone like frosted silver, for he was what the Bible calls ‘a leper as white as snow.‘ ”

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If you’ve only read Kipling in school you will remember him for The Jungle Book of short stories: a “man cub” named Mowgli in the Indian jungle and the snake-fighting mongoose Rikki-Tikki-Tavi. Some of you might know The Phantom Rickshaw, Kipling’s most notable ghost story.

 

220px-KiplingNaulaka_kplng_studyToday you will find The Mark of the Beast to be a menacing horror tale. The audio version (link below) has an authentic style that shows off Kipling’s riveting storytelling at its best.

 

Read The Mark of the Beast at ReadBookOnline.net

 

Listen to the audio (an excellent reading!) at Classic Audio Books

 

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Also available is the 2012 film Mark of the Beast, directed by Jonathan Gorman & Thomas Edward Seymour at IMDb.com

 

 

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Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Bibliophilica.com

Horror Novel Reviews   Hell Horror    HorrorPalace

HorrorSociety.com

 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

 

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

 

Image of Hanuman from DollsofIndia.com

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Filed under classic horror stories, fiction, horror, horror blogs, occult, short stories, supernatural, tales of terror