Tag Archives: science fiction short stories

Poe’s “Some Words With a Mummy”

Some Words With a Mummy  by Edgar Allan Poe  (1850)

 Tuesday’s Tale of Terror    October 25, 2016

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Mummies are not all that scary are they? These days we tend to poke fun at them  with corny jokes (What did Pharaoh say when he saw the pyramid? “Mummy’s home.”).  Poe may have been one of the first to create amusement at such dead things  in this wackiest of his short stories.

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The story begins with our narrator describing his dull evening at home, when a “furious ringing at the street-door bell, and then an impatient thumping at the knocker, which awakened me at once.

This is the invitation he receives from Dr. Ponnonner:

“Come to me, by all means, my dear good friend, as soon as you receive this. Come and help us to rejoice. At last, by long persevering diplomacy, I have gained the assent of the Directors of the City Museum, to my examination of the Mummy — you know the one I mean. I have permission to unswathe it and open it, if desirable. A few friends only will be present — you, of course. The Mummy is now at my house, and we shall begin to unroll it at eleven to-night.”

Come to this “unwrapping party” and meet the mummy Count Allamistakeo. Even his name is cute! This mummy is not only revived but he can articulate. And the rest is history … Egyptian history that is. American vanity vs. Egyptology vs. science in full Poe style. This is one Poe story you might have missed.

No doubt Poe became inspired to write this adventure from when he observed a mummy on display in the Virginia State Capitol—at the age of 14, he was certainly impressed creatively.

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If you really want a vintage literary experience, listen to the storytelling on audio:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GDH4RJNWXMg

Read the short story at Virginia.Edu:

http://xroads.virginia.edu/~hyper/poe/mummy.html

 

 

 

 

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Want more Poe literature? Visit these sites:

Edgar Allan Poe Museum website.

Edgar Allan Poe Stories website.

The Mysterious Death of Edgar Allan Poe (Smithsonian).

The Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore.

Halloween’s coming soon … and more ghostly literature for next week!

Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free Tales of Terror. This is a compendium of over 180 short stories by over 100 master storytellers of mystery,  supernatural, horror, and ghost stories. Join me in reading one short story every other week! Comments are welcome.

 

 Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Slattery’s Art of Horror Magazine

Books & Such   Bibliophilica    Lovecraft Ezine   Parlor of Horror

 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

EZindiepublishing

 

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Filed under classic horror stories, Edgar Allan Poe, fiction, Halloween stories, horror blogs, literature, quiet horror, Reading Fiction, science fiction, short stories, short story blogs, supernatural, tales of terror

Mysteries of a Crystal Egg

The Crystal Egg by H.G. Wells  (1897)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror, September 17, 2013

This week is H.G. Wells anniversary birth date (September 21), so featuring one of this grandmaster’s  science fiction short stories is a must for Tales of Terror.

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In The Crystal Egg, we meet a gentleman known as Mr. Cave. He owns a grimy dark little shop full of antiquities in town. Among the animal skulls, boxes of eyes, elephant tusks, and stuffed monkeys is a crystal egg. Mr. Cave acquired the egg from another dealer and as curiosity prevails—who doesn’t find crystals eye-catching?—he couldn’t resist the gleaming oval object and displayed it in his shop window.

Mr. Cave is a little old man, with pale face and peculiar watery blue eyes; his hair was a dirty grey, and he wore a shabby blue frock-coat, an ancient silk hat, and carpet slippers very much down at heel.

Sounds cute, huh? Cute if you keep in mind we are in the late 1890s. Mr. Cave is actually a charming character who endears you immediately. His wife, the corpulent Mrs. Cave, however, can reduce the poor man to quivering emotions and muddle his thoughts. And she does so when two men stroll into the shop and offer to buy the crystal egg. Mrs. Cave is quite anxious to sell the object, but Mr. Cave has some trouble parting with the crystal.

The fascinating thing about crystals is their mysterious refractions of light.  Sometimes you can see into them quite clearly and other times the view is a distorted image. Even colors change with every new angle. If you hold a rounded crystal in a ray of light, what do you think you’ll see?

Eggtales_of_tomorrow_9_the_crystal_egg_000720Mr. Cave does more than just look at the colors and angles of light. He sees a vivid vision within the crystal egg. No dreaming here, no illusions, no hallucinations. This is a definite impression of reality. What does he see exactly? I have a better question. What happens to Mr. Cave when he observes this vivid vision? Do you think the vision will look back and observe poor Mr. Cave?

This amazing little short story raises more questions than resolutions, especially if you believe in … well, I won’t say exactly.

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Read it at ReadBook Online http://www.readbookonline.net/readOnLine/9395/

Listen to the narration by LibriVox Recording (46 minutes) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=840JrGZJMhg

Watch the 1951 vintage film by Tales of Tomorrow starring Thomas Mitchell  (23 minutes) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6rPm5siOwk

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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

TheInsatiableBookSlut

For Authors/Writers: The Writer Unboxed

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Filed under classic horror stories, fiction, horror, quiet horror, Reading Fiction, short stories, tales of terror