Tag Archives: Ireland

Red Petticoat in a Thick Pall of Mist 

The Night at the Shifting Bog    by Bram Stoker (1890)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror,  St. Patrick’s Day,  March 17, 2015

 

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Love and despair on a mountainous bog in Ireland.

Bogs are not just peat and limestone on the Emerald Isle, but also are known to have preserved bodies who lived thousands of years ago (4000-year-old remains). Today is St. Patrick’s Day and what better time to read the most famous Dublin-born Irish horror writer Bram Stoker?

Dracula (I must read this novel again soon) is everybody’s favorite, but The Night of the Shifting Bog is one you probably haven’t read. Stoker wrote over twenty-five short stories, the most popular being Dracula’s Guest and the Judge’s House.

 

(c) Chichester City Council; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

The bog in this story was a mysterious and dangerous shifting bog in Ireland, known to swallow up anything in its path. On the night of this story, Phelim Joyce and his daughter Norah were led from their home by a sinister man named Black Murdock (the villain of Carnacliff) who was driven to discover a hidden treasure on Joyce’s land.

The story opens with our narrator Arthur, a rich Englishman. He is Norah’s lover and searching for her and her father Joyce in a storm that is slashing wind and rain fiercely across the Irish cliffs and nearby sea. As Arthur searches for his lovely Norah, he finds the line of bog swollen with rain. And poor Norah in the clutches of Black Murdock on a ridge of rocks in the center of the bog.

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The powers of nature prevail: the storm grows wild, the bog rises, and Norah must be saved. Arthur to the rescue? Bram Stoker writes this drama quite differently.

Read The Night of the Shifting Bog at BramStoker.org

For more online reading of Bram Stoker’s fiction, go to OnlineBooksLibraryUPenn.edu.

This short story comes from Stoker’s first novel The Snake’s Pass, a romantic thriller with the same characters published in 1890 (includes themes of St. Patrick  banishing snakes from Ireland) and Stoker’s only novel set in Ireland. If you’re a Stoker aficionado, The Snake’s Pass is a must read.

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Happy St. Paddy’s Day to All!

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Murder, Mysticism, and Shadows

The Curse of the Fires and of the Shadows   by William Butler Yeats (1893)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror    June 17, 2014

Battle_of_Naseby

In Ireland, 1642, Sir Frederick Hamilton, under the direction of Thomas Cromwell, went on a murdering rampage and killed the townsfolk of Sligo, women and children. Survivors were sold off as slaves and shipped to the Caribbean. W.B. Yeats wrote a short story about this murdering rampage. Supernatural, mystery, mysticism, and symbolism all feature in this fiction based on Irish history.

We are in the province of Connacht, Ireland, at the Sligo Abbey (The Dominican Friary of the Holy Cross).

 

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The White Friars with their holy candles are kneeling on the altar.  As Sir Hamilton and his Puritan troopers invade and are given the order to shoot, deep shadows from the holy candles dance a warning. The troopers proceed with their order and leave the monks dead on the altar, their white habits stained with blood.

Set fire to the house!’ cried Sir Frederick Hamilton…”

The dance of the shadows passed away, and the dance of the fires began. The
troopers fell back towards the door in the southern wall, and watched
those yellow dancers springing hither and thither.

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But there is more–another dance is to come: the dance of white moon-fires, a haunted river, madness of the horses, and the Lug-na-Gael.

This story reminded me of Yeat’s poem Death.

NOR dread nor hope attend
A dying animal;
A man awaits his end
Dreading and hoping all;
Many times he died,
Many times rose again.
A great man in his pride
Confronting murderous men
Casts derision upon
Supersession of breath;
He knows death to the bone —
Man has created death.

That last line, ‘Man has created death’ is a popular Yeat’s quotation and can be interpreted many ways. I couldn’t help but hear in the poem that while animals are unaware of their mortality and humans so very aware, the acts of murderous men create their own deaths as well.  Yeatsian scholars would likely differ, but I found the mystical symbolism of his story and this poem to create a haunting symmetry.

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This story is a short read, and so worthy of your time if you enjoy a mix of imagination, mysticism, and symbolism, and especially if you are a Yeats fan.

We don’t often think of Yeats as writing occult fiction (although there are shades of it in his poetry), but he was a student of the occult and a practicing magician. He also wrote an unfinished novel The Speckled Bird, which is autobiographical about his mystical enlightenment. In a letter to his friend John O’Leary, Yeats said “Mysticism is the center of all that I do and all that I think and all that I write.” (1892)

 

 

Read The Curse of the Fires and of the Shadows at Online-Literature.com

Listen to the audio at Librivox Recordings (16 minutes)

 

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 for more free Tales of Terror classic Authors.

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