Tag Archives: supernatural short stories

Death Isn’t Sufficient

The Brown Hand   by Arthur Conan Doyle (1889) Since this week is Doyle’s anniversary birth date, May 22, let’s celebrate this author by reading more of his work.

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror   May 20, 2014

 

135-Wordsworth's-House,-Rydal-Mount-q75-231x200-1Do you know what binds a soul to its body after death? Is there a tether of some kind? Some driving emotion?

Sir Dominick Holden is a distinguished Indian surgeon. He lives with his wife in Rodenhurst on an estate. During an English autumn, his nephew, Dr. Hardacre, our narrator, visits him in Rodenhurst. Hardacre is also a member of the Psychical Research Society with a special interest in the supernatural. Sir Dominick confides in Hardacre that he is struggling with a case of nerves from something that is surely haunting his laboratory.

Hardacre enters the laboratory and observes a shelf filled with glass jars containing  anatomical specimens of patients: organs, cysts, bones, etc.

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Sir Dominick asks his nephew, “It would be a great kindness upon your part if you would consent to spend the night in this apartment.” Hardacre agrees. He shuts the laboratory door behind him, lies down on the settee and in a rigid and absolute silence he observes a three-quarter moon streaming through the windows until he drifts off. A shuffling sound awakens him.

 

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The Brown Hand is one of A.C. Doyle’s stories that can be traced to his avidly following the psychical research of the 1870s and 1880s. Doyle read more than 60 books on the subject, attended séances regularly, and was a friend of Harry Houdini. The image featured here is of Doyle with ghosts goggles from the Society of Psychical Research in 1896. The goggles became part of Dr. Cagliostro’s Cabinet of Curiosities’ investigations of a series of mysterious events at The Castle of Läckö in 1943.

Doyle became a believer in spiritualistic phenomena and wrote fourteen supernatural short stories and four supernatural novels. Of course, he’s most famous for his detective novels, Sherlock Holmes. But today, we are focusing on his supernatural stories.

 

You can read the full text of The Brown Hand at Ebooks Adelaide.edu

Listen to The Brown Hand in audio here by Librivox. Roger Clifton does an outstanding dramatic reading.

As a bonus, I’m adding more stories to this week’s post, Selecting a Ghost, 1883, subtitled The Ghosts of Goresthorpe Grange. The D’Odds’ family feudal mansion does not have a ghost. Ah, what’s a country mansion with no ghost? Mr. D’Odd genuinely wants a ghost for his castle. He is so driven to achieve this, he hires a ghost-dealer who promptly arrives with a curious black bag. And the ghost hunting begins.0493_1

Read this very entertaining little ghost story at SSHF.com

 

You might want to experience Doyle’s first published story The Mystery of Sasassa Valley in 1879, a fantasy about the fluorescence of diamonds.

 

 A Literary Mosaic  is another supernatural story. Also The Silver Hatchet,  and  The Leather Funnel, which were featured here at Tales of Terror in January and April of 2013.

 

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Do you have a favorite Doyle story? Please post your thoughts, suggestions, comments.


Arthur Conan Doyle  May 22 1859 – July 7, 1930

“There was something awesome in the thought of the solitary mortal standing by the open window and summoning in from the gloom outside the spirits of the nether world.

The Official Web Site of Arthur Conan Doyle: SherlockHolmsOnline.org

 

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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 for more free classic authors of Tales of Terror

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

Haunted Oleron

The Beckoning Fair One   by Oliver Onions (1911)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror    May 13, 2014

 

TheBeckoningFairOne120X120In a house full of shadows, would you know your own shadow?

Paul Oleron is a writer, creatively frustrated with his manuscript named Romilly Bishop about a heroine who is winsome and adorable, and maybe a tad plump. He finds himself stuck at Chapter Fifteen. With the goal of finishing his novel, he rents a house (a gloomy red brick house with a broken gate), moves in and begins his struggle to finish the story. But the house begins to create its own story.

“A shadow, light as fleece, seemed to take shape in the kitchen … The low illumination on the blind at his elbow grew dimmer … a flower fell from a bowl, and lay indistinct upon the floor; all was still; and then a stray draught moved through the old house, passing before Oleron’s face. . . .”

In no time the haunted Oleron, decides to burn the manuscript and begin again, recreating the heroine into something else. But his dearest friend, the winsome and adorable, and a tad plump, Elsie Bengough, suggests keeping the heroine exactly as is. Oleron is torn as to how to proceed. When Elsie endures the wrath of this odd and haunting shadow present in the house, Oleron decides he must sever his relationship with Elsie and sends her away.

images-2Utterly alone in the house, with shadows and whisperings, Oleron grows weak and exhausted, and more deeply frustrated with his failure to write.

“Once or twice he called “Romilly!”

Who is Romilly now? He realizes, of course, the key to finishing the book is to recreate Romilly as jealous, wicked, beautiful, cunning, and altogether evil.

The Beckoning Fair One is as much a romance as it is a ghost story as it is psychological terror. Does Elsie return to Oleron? Will Oleron complete the novel? Who exactly is Romilly?

If you’re a writer, as I am, and create evil characters in your manuscripts, you will enjoy this thrilling story by Oliver Onions.

NPG x29759; (George) Oliver Onions by Emil Otto ('E.O.') HoppÈ

 

We writers love to feel our characters alive on the page. But what would happen if we become too deeply involved with an evil character and steeped in the creative process? Possession? Projection? Obsession? Creativity vs. insanity vs the supernatural is an exciting theme and Onions does it successfully with a smooth hand. In its era, The Beckoning Fair One was considered to be the best in the genre in psychological horror.

Read the full text at University of Penn. org.   The story is a bit longer  (novella length) than most that I feature here. Settle in; allow the story to fold over you as it moves along with a good pace of suspense.

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Listen to the Librivox Recording. I liked this recording but, again, settle in because it’s over two hours. I think it would go well with a savory hot dinner and a very rich dessert!

If you do read this story, do leave me a comment. I’d love to hear your reaction to this classic tale.

 

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 fiction, ghost stories, psychological horror, quiet horror, short stories, tales of terror