Tag Archives: W.B. Yeats

I Will Haunt You When I Die

The Village Ghosts  by William Butler Yeats (1889)

 Tuesday’s Tale of Terror   May 12, 2015


“Here are ghosts.” Come into the in-between world: demons, fairies, and Irish ghosts. Yeats writes this as an essay but it reads like fiction. A  gloomy mix of myth and literature. We are in Leinster, an ancient village with crooked lanes, old abbeys and “where he who watches night after night may see a certain rare moth fluttering along the edge of the tide, just at the end of evening or the beginning of dawn.”  That’s Yeats–he likes to bring his readers to that mysterious edge.  In this village are headless ones near the churchyard, water, and quays; fairies near Hospital Lane; spirits in the bogeen (bog), a dead sea captain hides in the plaster of a cottage wall.


Yeats, one of our most famous romantic poets, was a member of The Ghost Club (1911) and was influenced by mystic Emmanuel Swedenborg.



“The mystical life is the centre of all that I do and all that I think and all that I write.”


Read The Village Ghosts at ReadBookOnline.net.


Listen to the audio on YourTube.




For more supernatural stories by Yeats you might like Mythologies with over twenty-five stories.  Available at your local library or at Amazon.com.



Blog Note: Do you like to listen to music while reading? I’m big on  piano music while I read fiction . Because I’ve been writing another supernatural mystery novel about the supernatural power of music, I’ve been listening to eerie music. While reading The Village Ghosts I listened to Beethoven’s “Ghosts” Piano Trio Op. 70 in D Major No. 1 (composed in 1808), a piece that Beethoven wrote to illicit ghostly images. The  first movement is not terribly gloomy but there are deeper dimensions. You can listen to Beethoven’s “Ghosts” here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZGbQ41Zqpy4


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HorrorSociety.com        Sirens Call Publications

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HorrorNews.net     HorrorTalk.com

 Rob Around Books     The Story Reading Ape Blog

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

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Filed under fiction, ghost stories, Ghosts, horror, horror blogs, literary horror, literature, short stories, supernatural

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


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).




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.


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.



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


Horror Novel Reviews   Hell Horror    HorrorPalace


 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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Filed under classic horror stories, fiction, horror, horror blogs, literary horror, mysteries, short stories, tales of terror