Charles Willing Beale’s theosophical romance, was published in 1897 at the height of the late-Victorian ‘spiritualist’ craze. An engineer, entrepreneur and noted athlete, Beale was also the author of the science-fiction novel The Secrets of the Earth (1898). Concerning a haunted house which holds the key to a love stronger than death, the novel is heavily influenced by the writings of Helena Petrovna Blavatsky (1831-1891). In 1875, Blavatsky founded the Theosophical Society, which aimed to promote the ‘essential oneness’ of all life. Blavatsky was herself the author of a series of weird stories, published posthumously as Nightmare Tales (1892), which will be added to the blog at a later date.
The cover pictured above is that of the first paper-wrapped version and is derived from R.B. Russell’s excellent Guide to Supernatural Fiction, at Tartarus Press. The digital matte painting of a haunted house (below) is from Chilling Tales – I have been unable to trace the artist.
Five Victorian Ghost Novels, edited by E.F. Bleiler (Dover Publications, 1971)