A Collection of Classic Creepy Tales

IMG_7570

Hello, spookies. When the first cool breeze of September rustled my hair, I felt the urge to read creepy stories. So, I purchased this ebook of 50 short horror pieces, called 50 Masterpieces of Occult and Supernatural Fiction . It costs only two dollars, so if you too are in the mood for ghosts, werewolves, vampires and haints, go for it. Considering that I have filtered out the duds for you, this would be a very low risk investment. Many of these are worth your time. A few are truly excellent. I have been telling everyone if you only read one, read The Great God Pan. It is so good. So good.

  • “The Corner Shop” by Cynthia Asquith
    • A traditional, cozy ghost story. More chilling than horrifying. Has a satisfying ending.
  • “Caterpillars” by E. F. Benson
    • Ghost caterpillars. Nuff said.
  • “The Middle Toe of the Right Foot” by Ambrose Bierce
    • A cleverly constructed spooky mystery. You already know that Ambrose Bierce can write a good story. This is one of his better ones.
  • “Scoured Silk” Marjorie Bowen
    • This one really got to me. If you are triggered by domestic abuse, skip it. It’s haunting.
  • “The Sweeper by A. M. Burrage
    • Please read this so you can tell me what the hell is going on. What? I don’t get it. I need a second opinion. Yes, your opinion. Please. It’s only a few pages long. Help me out.
  • “The Screaming Skull” F. Marion Crawford
    • So good. Definitely the second-best story in this anthology. I love a monologue and this one is primo. Based on a Dorsetshire folktale, this is a lovable story, but very spooky.

IMG_7566

  • “The Sumach” by Ulric Daubeny
    • I LOVE IT. Usually, I do not approve of creepy trees, because trees are the best. They do so much for us. Trees aren’t trying to hurt us. But this story is so charming that I forgive the creepy tree. This tale evokes the fear that the lady of the house can be seduced away from her duties…by a spooky tree. I love it. It is true that if you leave us alone to think our thinky thoughts, we will get up to some dangerous, patriarchy destroying stuff. Watch out. Don’t leave your wife alone with the trees. She is gonna do weird stuff…with trees. Also, the explanation of why the tree is spooky powerful is very good. Great story.
  • The Signal-Man” by Charles Dickens
    • A bit predictable, but well-written. I’m not mad that I read it.
  • “The Phantom Coach” by Amelia B Edwards
    • Very nice little ghost story. I enjoyed it.
  • “The Beast with Five Fingers” by W. F. Harvey
    • Such a weird, quirky tale of a vicious, disembodied hand. If you can wade through some odd exposition and enjoy an odd narrative style, you will dig this one.
  • “Young Goodman Brown” by Nathaniel Hawthorne
    • Hawthorne’s supernatural takedown of the Puritan pretense of morality. Basically, what George Eliot was going for with Bulstrode’s character in Middlemarch, but mercifully hundreds of pages shorter and with Satan worship. So much more fun that way.
  • “Oh, Whistle and I’ll come to you, My Lad” and “The Treasure of Abbot Thomas” by M. R. James
    • The premises of these stories are great, but James’ writing is rather dry. Still, they aren’t bad.

IMG_7555

  • “The Great God Pan” by Arthur Machen
    • This story is the reason for this whole post. If you like horror at all, you need to read this. So good. We begin with a creepy surgeon wanting to perform a procedure on a young woman that will “lift the veil” and allow her to see the spirit world. As you can imagine, things go horribly wrong. Machen is a good writer. The settings and characterization are compelling. I found the story so gripping and suspenseful that I read it entirely in html in one day and was shocked to discover that is a 100-page novella, not the 30-page short story I thought I had just whizzed through. It’s good, y’all. If you need any further recommendations: Stephen King and Oscar Wilde both admire it. And those are our highest authorities when it comes to horror and style respectively.
  • “When I Was Dead” by Vincent O’Sullivan
    • A wry, cynical monologue. Quite funny and dark.
  • “The Inn” Guy Preston
    • Some very creepy and unnatural things happen to a man at an inn. Very inventive story.
  • “Gabriel-Ernest” and “The Open Window” by Saki
    • The first is a twisted take on a werewolf story. The second is a very sarcastic and satirical little tale. Both are worth reading.

Happy haunting, dear ones.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s