Tag Archives: The Willows

The Willows, a Chilling Tale for Halloween

The Willows   by Algernon Blackwood (1907)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror  October 16, 2018

 

What better story for the Halloween season than a haunted forest?  A haunted river, perhaps? In Algernon Blackwood’s The Willows there is a prevailing secret in nature. Even the landscape here is haunted. In this story, our narrator takes on a canoe trip down the Danube River. Two men come upon a location of fierce desolation and loneliness and yet everything is alive here. Even the Danube is personified—and full of tricks.  Once set up with tent and fire, the two friends settle in, until the first thing they see is something odd floating on the Danube.

“Good heavens, it’s a man’s body!” he cried excitedly. “Look!”

A black thing, turning over and over in the foaming waves, swept rapidly past. It kept disappearing and coming up to the surface again. It was about twenty feet from the shore, and just as it was opposite to where we stood it lurched round and looked straight at us. We saw its eyes reflecting the sunset, and gleaming an odd yellow as the body turned over.  Then it gave a swift, gulping plunge, and dived out of sight in a flash.

 

This mystery lends its own power about nature, humanity, and good old-fashion fear. I challenge the readers here not to feel a high amount of dread in the reading. This is so evocative, so sinister—an excellent mix of terror. Classic ‘quiet horror’ for Halloween reading time!

 

 

Algernon Blackwood had a persistent interest in the supernatural and spiritualism. He is famous for his occult tales and a master at chilling you to the bone. He firmly believed that humans possess latent psychic powers. His writing soars with an acute sense of place. All his fiction is charged with hidden powers. He published over 200 short stories and dozens of novels.

“All my life,” he said, “I have been strangely, vividly conscious of another region–not far removed from our own world in one sense, yet wholly different in kind–where great things go on unceasingly, where immense and terrible personalities hurry by, intent on vast purposes compared to which earthly affairs, the rise and fall of nations, the destinies of empires, the fate of armies and continents, are all as dust in the balance”  Blackwood. The Willows

 

 

Read the short story at Algernonblackwood.org

http://algernonblackwood.org/Z-files/Willows.pdf

 

 

Listen to the audio on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QN_bbDrW7_M

 

 

 

More Blackwood short stories here at Reading Fiction Blog in the above INDEX.

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, and mainstream fiction.

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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

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Ghost People

Case I: A Psychical Invasion (Dr. John Silence) by Algernon Blackwood (1908)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror  June 28, 2016

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“Thought is dynamic and can accomplish material results.”

“All perception is the result of vibrations; and clairvoyance simply means becoming sensitive to an increased scale of vibrations.”

—Dr. John Silence

If you as a reader are at all fascinated by the psychic byways of life, Dr. John Silence is the guy for you. He was one of the first psychic detectives in fiction, a doctor of psychical research who works pro-bono. How convenient, right? Case 1, A Psychical Invasion is a murky supernatural tale. We are in Algernon Blackwood style here where time and space blur and evil entities prevail.

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When an author of humor, Felix Pender, loses his ability to laugh, when his laughter turns evil and menacing, Dr. Silence is on the scene. Is the house of the author haunted by a former tenant? Or is the author a victim of psychical invasion?  Animal clairvoyance plays nicely in this suspense where human thought is a dynamic that can exist in our world for 100 years.

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Algernon Blackwood, born in England, was a reporter for the New York Times in 1895 and is best known for his novella The Willows (1907). Here Blackwood is quoted in Peter Penzoldt’s The Supernatural in Fiction (1952):

old_blackwood“My fundamental interest, I suppose, is signs and proofs of other powers that lie hidden in us all; the extension, in other words, of human faculty. So many of my stories, therefore, deal with extension of consciousness; speculative and imaginative treatment of possibilities outside our normal range of consciousness. … Also, all that happens in our universe is natural; under Law; but an extension of our so limited normal consciousness can reveal new, extra-ordinary powers etc., and the word “supernatural” seems the best word for treating these in fiction. I believe it possible for our consciousness to change and grow, and that with this change we may become aware of a new universe.”  Algernon Blackwood

 

Read the John Silence short story at Ebooks.adelaide.edu.

Listen to the Librivox Recording at Librivox.org.

Also audio is available on YouTube.com

 

Visit the Algernon Blackwood website for more free short stories.

 

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

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Snow Beings and Witchery

The Glamour of Snow  by Algernon Blackwood

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror  March 1, 2016

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Is it still winter? Are glittery snowflakes falling outside your window? Softy passing, softly gathering. Let’s say you believe in snow beings and witchery. Let’s say you fall for the intoxicating world of silent snow and moonlight. What would you find?

Come meet Hibbert, a lonely writer who takes a few weeks in the Valais Alps, near Lake Geneva, to write his book.

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In the mind of Hibbert, he recognizes three worlds: the tourists’ existence full of social life; the peasants’ village life of simple joys, and the mysterious spells of Nature. One night he goes skating alone on a beautiful pond, iced white like enamel. The wind is bitter clean. The sky is heavenly …

‘And then, midway in the delight of rushing movement, he saw a figure gliding behind the wire netting, watching him …  But her face he never properly saw.’

The figure vanishes of course. She remains a haunting in his mind. Until Hibbert returns to the snow-crusted forests.

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‘And then he saw her. She stood there waiting in a little clear space of shining snow, dressed all in white, part of the moonlight and the glistening background, her slender figure just discernible.

 “I waited, for I knew you would come,” the silvery little voice of windy beauty floated down to him. “You _had_ to come.”

 “I’m ready,” he answered, “I knew it too.” ‘

Do you believe in snow beings and witchery? Believe with Hibbert and enter into a deep reality of the weight of snow, ice, all that magical white powering Nature.

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You can read this story online at ReadBookOnline.net.

Listen to the audio version on YouTube.com.

 

Algernon Blackwood is one of the most prolific ghost writers.  Born in Kent, England, during a winter’s March of 1869, he died in December 1951. I can’t help notice how winter acted as bookends during his life span, especially since so many of his stories are about cold rural and wild locations. This is what he says about the supernatural:

blackwoodimgres“My fundamental interest, I suppose, is signs and proofs of other powers that lie hidden in us all; the extension, in other words, of human faculty. So many of my stories, therefore, deal with extension of consciousness; speculative and imaginative treatment of possibilities outside our normal range of consciousness. … Also, all that happens in our universe is natural; under Law; but an extension of our so limited normal consciousness can reveal new, extra-ordinary powers etc., and the word “supernatural” seems the best word for treating these in fiction. I believe it possible for our consciousness to change and grow, and that with this change we may become aware of a new universe.”  (Peter Penzoldt’s The Supernatural in Fiction (1952)

 

Visit Algernon Blackwood’s web site at AlgernonBlackwood.org. 

 

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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,  supernatural, horror, and ghost stories. Join me in reading one short story every 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

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