Tag Archives: Journals of Horror: Found Fiction

Mary Shelley Anniversary Birth Date, August 30, 1797

Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin Shelley

Celebrating Mary Shelley’s Birth Date,  August 30, 1797

“Invention, it must be humbly admitted, does not consist in creating out of void, but out of chaos …”  Mary Shelley

Every year, the most ardent Mary Shelley fans remember this author on August 30. Frankenstein is still one of the most popular and enduring novels since its publication in 1818. We spend time reading her short stories and browsing her biographies, maybe  discovering a new fact about her life and writing.

Did you know Frankenstein was inspired by a nightmare? In the preface of the third edition of the novel, Mary says that Frankenstein came to her in a dream. During a sleepless night in her dark room, behind closed shutters “with the moonlight struggling to get through … I saw with shut eyes, but acute mental vision – I saw the pale student of unhallowed arts kneeling beside the thing he had put together. I saw the hideous phantasm of a man stretched out, and then, on the working of some powerful engine, show signs of life …”

In 2018, The New Yorker Magazine published a stunning piece The Strange and Twisted Life of Frankenstein by Jill Lapore, a history professor at Harvard. Lapore writes …

‘Like the creature pieced together from cadavers collected by Victor Frankenstein, her name was an assemblage of parts: the name of her mother, the feminist Mary Wollstonecraft, stitched to that of her father, the philosopher William Godwin, grafted onto that of her husband, the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, as if Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin Shelley were the sum of her relations, bone of their bone and flesh of their flesh, if not the milk of her mother’s milk, since her mother had died eleven days after giving birth to her, mainly too sick to give suck—Awoke and found no mother.’

You can read more of this fascinating piece at this link: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2018/02/12/the-strange-and-twisted-life-of-frankenstein 


The novel, as most of you know, is about Dr. Victor Frankenstein, the monster’s creator. For Mary, the Frankenstein name was an inspiration from Castle Frankenstein in Germany. Some biographers note that alchemist Johann Conrad Dippel lived at Castle Frankenstein and was likely the inspiration behind Doctor Frankenstein.


As an additional bonus in remembering Mary Shelley on this anniversary, I am offering my short story, Beyond Castle Frankenstein, as a Kindle Single FREE on Amazon (also FREE via Smashwords online for ibooks, Barnes&Noble, Kobo, PDF, epub, and more).

Beyond Castle Frankenstein was originally published in Journals of Horror, Found Fiction, edited by Terry M. West, at Pleasant Storm Entertainment, Inc.

Here is a recent review of Beyond Castle Frankenstein:

“Historical fact and fiction blend in an evocative and atmospheric tale of a romantic triangle, love and jealousy that transcends death, and a haunted protagonist; but is Mary Shelley truly haunted by the shade of her predecessor as Shelley’s wife–or by her own guilt? Using the literary conceit of a “found fiction,” accomplished and award-winning author Cappa skillfully crafts a work as macabre as any of her protagonist’s own creations.  Not to be missed by readers who are Shelley fans; but most readers of supernatural fiction will appreciate this e-story whether they’re Shelley fans or not.” Werner Lind, author of the vampire novella Lifeblood, award-winning short fiction, avid book reviewer, and a librarian with published scholarly articles.


Download for FREE here on Amazon.com


Download for FREE here on Smashwords.com

Do leave a comment here if you read the story. I have just reprinted it June of this year for Kindle Single and in need of reader response. I would love to hear your thoughts!


Mary and Percy Bysshe Shelley’s home in Italy.

On this blog, in the above INDEX OF AUTHORS’ TALES, you will find five short stories by Mary Shelley, and her famous essay of 1824 On Ghosts.


Watch the film Mary Shelley by IFC Films staring Elle Fanning, Bel Powley, Tom Sturridge, Jack Hickey, Joanna Froggatt, Ben Hardy, and Stephen Dillane. Directed by Haifaa Al-Mansour.

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, romance, and mainstream fiction.

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


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Our February Ghost, Mary Shelley

Mary Shelley, Conjuring Her Ghost on February 1st.

Tuesday’s Tale    January 30, 2018


Mary Shelley’s ghost is ever-present. And we are breathing life back into her ghost in 2018. As literary ghosts go, we hear stories of Hemingway haunting his Key West home with his typewriter tapping away; Ben Franklin’s statue sometimes walks along the Philadelphia streets; Poe is said to haunt his favorite bar in Baltimore and the staff leave out a glass of whiskey for him at closing time; Dylan Thomas has been seen drinking at the White Horse Tavern in New York.

But for our esteemed Mary Shelley, where is her ghost these days? Shall we conjure her back to us on the anniversary of her death, February 1st?


Mary Shelley died February 1, 1851. And all this year, 2018, we are marking the bicentennial of her greatest novel Frankenstein, published January 1818. There are global celebrations going on (Global Frankenstein Celebrations), blogs, events, podcasts, and radio shows, all commemorating this woman writer of horror and mother of science fiction.  We have a wealth of conscious thought active about her life, her triumphs, her stories, and her literary powers. And February is Women In Horror Month. 




Did you know that Mary Shelley, and her husband, were highly intrigued on the use of electricity to animate human limbs? At the time of the writing of Frankenstein, an alchemist named Johann Konrad Dippel, was reported to have robbed graves and performed experiments on corpses at Frankenstein Castle (Burg Frankenstein). This castle sits above the Rhine Valley on Odenwald, a mountain in southern Germany, near the city of Darmstadt. More here about Mary Shelly and Frankenstein Castle at ExploringCastles.com.




More on Castle Frankenstein and the Shelleys in my earlier blog, Feb. 2016: “A Lump of Death.”  


Mary Shelley wrote lots of short stories, several which you can read featured on past dates on this blog by clicking the title:

 The Invisible Girl, October 15, 2013

The Mortal Immortal, February 26, 2013

Transformation, February 4, 2014

The Last Man  February 8, 2016

On Ghosts, October 15, 2013

And here’s a short one you probably haven’t read:  The Evil Eye, free read at Gutenberg.netAustralia.

Because I love ghost stories, I wrote a ghost story about Mary Shelley, Beyond Castle Frankenstein, published in the anthology Journals of Horror, Found Fiction, edited by Terry M. West, published by Pleasant Storm Entertainment. [Available at Amazon.com ( https://www.amazon.com/Journals-Horror-Terry-M-West/dp/1508805725 ) ]. Here’s a peek into my short story: A letter is found written by Mary Shelley. Mary recounts a night when she attempts to conjure up the ghost of her dead husband, poet Percy Bysshe Shelley.


Mary Shelley is buried in St. Peter’s Churchyard in Bournemouth, Dorset England. Read her biography here at The Poetry Foundation.org.  


“I busied myself to think of a story, — a story to rival those which had excited us to this task. One which would speak to the mysterious fears of our nature, and awaken thrilling horror—one to make the reader dread to look round, to curdle the blood, and quicken the beatings of the heart. If I did not accomplish these things, my ghost story would be unworthy of its name.” (Introduction to Frankenstein, 1831)


Watch the adaptation of Frankenstein, 2004, with William Hurt, PART 1.



And Part 2.


[Image by Esao Andrews oil on wood, 2010. Young Mary Shelley. Visit Andrews website here.]


“Life and death appeared to me ideal bounds, which I should first break through,and pour a torrent of light into our dark world.” 

Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley


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 and LIKES 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 


Filed under classic horror stories, dark fantasy, fiction, ghost stories, ghost story blogs, Gothic fiction, Gothic Horror, horror, horror blogs, literary horror, mysteries, occult, quiet horror, Reading Fiction, READING FICTION BLOG Paula Cappa, science fiction, short stories, short story blogs, soft horror, supernatural fiction, supernatural mysteries, tales of terror, Women In Horror, Women in Horror Month

Horror of the Heights (No Sherlock Here)

The Horror of the Heights  by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1913 Strand Magazine)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror  January 5, 2016


“There are jungles in the upper air, and there are worse things than tigers which inhabit them …”


A blood-soaked notebook, air jungles, and air serpents. Imagine if you will that you are living in the early 1900s. You are an aeronaut, passionate and adventurous, desiring to travel into the glorious sky as high as possible … above 30,000 feet where few pilots have soared.  And you do it in a monoplane, inside an open cockpit.

There are  reports of other pilots who have tried such feats. Pilot Baxter attempted it and mysteriously vanished. Pilot Harry Hay Connor was said to have achieved the 30,0000 feet but died of fright muttering his last word … “monsters.” And Aviator Myrtle literally lost his head in the heroic effort.


Imagine you are the pilot Mr. Joyce-Armstrong and take off on a cloudy day with clear intention of reaching 40,000 feet. During your flight you record all your observations, as they happen, in a notebook, which—should you meet your death or worse—will explain the mysteries that hover at 40,000 feet above a wide corner of England.




A.C. Doyle probably didn’t know he was writing what we today term “found fiction.” The film industry made this genre term popular as “found footage” and is defined as ‘a plot device in pseudo-documentaries in which all or part of a fictional film is presented as if it were discovered footage or recordings.”



Horror of the Heights is a short story told via Mr. Joyce-Armstrong’s blood-soaked notebook found in a field, one mile to the west of the village of Withyham, upon the Kent and Sussex border in England. On a warm September day, Joyce-Armstrong takes flight “under the hush and heaviness of impending rain.”  His mission takes a shocking turn … or should I say leap?


[Illustrations  by W.R.S. Stott in The Strand Magazine 1913.

The Conan Doyle Encyclopedia]

Read the short story at ForgottenFutures.com.

Read text and listen along to the story at Etc.usf.edu/lit2go/19/tales-of-terror-and-mystery

Listen to the Librivox Audio at YouTube.com




Arthur Conan Doyle wrote more than just detective fiction (60 Sherlock Holmes stories), some 200 novels and short stories. (A.C. Doyle official website)  If you are a Sherlock fan and watch PBS, you no doubt are addicted to the critically-acclaimed Sherlock series with Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman as Dr. Watson. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the currently PBS broadcast by Masterpiece, the Victorian  “The Abominable Bride” starring same performers and what a show it is! I loved it. The show repeats on January 10 at 10 pm in the northeast USA but check your local PBS station for other times for that weekend.





The Abominable Bride on Masterpiece from PBS:  http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/masterpiece/programs/features/live-stream/sherlock-abominable-bride/



Sherlock, the PBS Series:


[All images are posted for commentary and review purposes only.]



Here’s a bonus: Mark Gatiss’ Ghost StorySherlock‘s writer and actor Mark Gatiss (Mycroft), in which he describes his own real-life ghost story. Listen to the PODCAST HERE (3.40 minutes).



Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free Tales of Terror. This is a compendium of over 170 short stories by over 100 master storytellers of mystery and supernatural. Join me in reading one short story a week! Comments are welcome.

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Books & Such   Bibliophilica    Lovecraft Ezine     HorrorAddicts.net  

Horror Novel Reviews    HorrorSociety.com

Monster Librarian     HorrorNews.net     HorrorTalk.com

 Rob Around Books      The Story Reading Ape Blog

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed


Filed under classic horror stories, crime stories, crime thrillers, fiction, horror, horror blogs, literary horror, Reading Fiction, short stories, short story blogs, tales of terror

Beyond Castle Frankenstein: Ghost Story About Mary Shelley

“The ascent was precipitous, my journey a melancholy one to the ruins of Castle Frankenstein. The rough-hewn rock mansion of the turrets and towers perched on a craggy hilltop over the Rhine in Darmstadt, Germany …”



This is the opening to my newest short story Beyond Castle Frankenstein, published in Journals of Horror: Found Fiction, a premier anthology, published by Terry M. West and Pleasant Storm Entertainment. These short stories are inspired by the mechanics of the found footage films, and the first anthology of “found fiction” in literature, breaking new ground in the short story supernatural genre.  It is a collection of some new voices in dark fiction as well as  authors who you might know haunting the horror genre:  Todd Keisling’s Human Resources, who won Kindle Book Review’s Best Indie Book Award of 2013 for  THE LIMINAL MAN; Glenn Rolfe’s Killing Jessica, his ABRAM’S BRIDGE and BOOM TOWN, soon to be published by Samhain Publishing; Wesley Thomas’ There’s Something In My House; Lori R. Lopez’ The Devil’s Irony; and of course Terry M. West’s Bagged, Tagged & Buried, esteemed author of numerous short stories and novels, filmmaker, artist, and finalist for the 1997 International Horror Guild Award for THE NIGHT OUT, and 1999 Bram Stoker Award ballot nominee. Lots more authors and stories in this anthology that thrill and kill.

Beyond Castle Frankenstein is a historical ghost story about Mary Shelley. The chapel pictured below is the site where an old painting (named Casa Magni) hung for years and is found by art collector Robert Beauclerk. Mary and Percy Bysshe Shelley lived in a house named Casa Magni in 1822 in Italy. What Beauclerk discovers in this painting is more than phantom art and more than the ghosts of the past.

I based the story from Shelley’s biographical notes and letters: Mary and her husband had visited the Castle Frankenstein while boating down the Rhine. Some biographers believe the Castle Frankenstein was the inspiration for her novel Frankenstein.



Journals of Horror: Found Fiction is available on Amazon (ebook), on sale at 99 cents now through December 1st (29 stories for 99 cents!).  At this writing, you can find Journals of Horror: Found Fiction on the best seller list at No. 7 in Kindle horror anthologies.

 Buy it here on Amazon.com.


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