Tag Archives: american

Collected Ghost Stories of John Kendrick Bangs

water ghost               ghosts i have met

 

John Kendrick Bangs (1862-1922) was an American writer, mainly of humorous fiction, and editor of the popular Harper’s Weekly, as well as the New Metropolitan Magazine. In 1904, he became the editor of Puck, a successful American humour magazine.

plum pudding

Amongst his prolific output are many volumes of supernatural novels and stories, mainly in keeping with his predilection for humour and parody. His short supernatural fiction appeared in three story collections, pictured above and published between 1894 and 1901. Facsimiles of the fully illustrated first editions can be seen here and here. The illustrations from Over the Plum-Pudding can be seen here.

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“I thought a mile was the proper distance” [Illustration from ‘The Flunking of Watkins’s Ghost’]

 Collected Ghost Stories [Kindle]

Collected Ghost Stories [Epub]

Collected Ghost Stories [PDF]

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John Kendrick Bangs, shortly before his death in 1922

 

Black Spirits and White (1895) by Ralph Adams Cram

“In ‘The Dead Valley’ the eminent architect and mediævalist Ralph Adams Cram achieves a memorably potent degree of vague regional horror through subtleties of atmosphere and description.”

H.P. Lovecraft

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Ralph Adams Cram (1863-1942) was a noted architect of collegiate and ecclesiastical buildings. Born in Hampton Falls, New Hampshire in December 1863, Cram was apprenticed to the architects Rotch and Tilden in Boston, before moving to Rome to study classical architecture. In 1887, he converted to Roman Catholicism. He designed or co-designed the Cathedral of St John the Divine and Saint Thomas Church (both in New York city) but is probably best known as the architect of Princeton University, a major example of his passion for the Gothic Revival in architecture.

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Appropriately, given his penchant for the Gothic in architecture, Cram’s only major foray into fiction is the highly regarded collection of horror stories, Black Spirits and White (1895), whose name derives from Macbeth Act IV, Scene i. Of particular note is the final story in the collection, ‘The Dead Valley’, whose memorable climax was singled out by H.P. Lovecraft as a favourite moment in the history of supernatural fiction.

Black Spirits and White [Kindle]

Black Spirits and White [Epub]

Black Spirits and White [PDF]

The Woodley Lane Ghost and Other Stories (1899) by Madeleine Vinton Dahlgren

madeleine dahlgren

This collection of short stories was published posthumously in 1899, at the behest of Dahlgren’s husband. The ebook I’ve provided here contains only those stories with a macabre or supernatural interest – the full collection contains no fewer than twenty-four stories, most of which fall outside the remit of this blog. Readers can, however, read the full collection at the Hathi Trust website. For information about Dahlgren’s life and her other work, see the biographical and bibliographical notice that accompanies her manuscript holdings at Georgetown University

Happily for lovers of supernatural fiction, the macabre or uncanny stories are probably the best in the collection. The title story is a tale of occult religious practices that blemish the life of a young Doctor’s wife; ‘Who Was She?’ concerns an inn haunted by the mysterious figure of a weeping woman, while ‘A Murder Mystery’ is a bizarre cross between A Tale of Two Cities and ‘Babes in the Wood’, with possible shades of Titus Andronicus. ‘The Fatal Boots’ is a macabre reflection on coincidence and destiny (a perennial preoccupation of Dahlgren’s). ‘My First Patient’ is a wonderfully hokey take on mesmerism, while ‘Earth-Bound’ concerns the otherworldly implications of a jealous husband’s spiteful final vow.

The Woodley Lane Ghost and Other Stories [Kindle]

The Woodley Lane Ghost and Other Stories [Epub]

The Woodley Lane Ghost and Other Stories [PDF]

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Christmas Ghost Stories

 winter landscape (1811)

The first of four festive ebooks I’ve prepared for the blog, this is a collection of Victorian and Edwardian ghost stories with a Christmas (or at least a wintery) setting. There’s nothing startlingly new here – all of these tales have been widely anthologised before – but they’re just the thing for the darkest nights of the year.

Enjoy – and feel free to share with friends!

Christmas Ghost Stories [Kindle]

Christmas Ghost Stories [Epub]

Christmas Ghost Stories [PDF]

 

 

Wandering Ghosts (1903) by F. Marion Crawford

F. CRAWFORD COVER

Francis Marion Crawford was a prolific and popular author of fiction on both sides of the Atlantic at the turn of the last century, producing countless novels and short stories as well as several plays and a number of historical works about Italy. Crawford was an American citizen, but was widely travelled, having been born to an artistic American family in Italy and attending school in India. Today, he is perhaps best known for his supernatural fiction, his reputation resting largely on this collection of tales published in 1903.

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The collection contains his most-anthologised story, ‘The Upper Berth’, which can also be downloaded elsewhere on this blog, where it can be read in the context of its original publication as part of The Broken Shaft, T. Fisher Unwin’s Christmas Annual for 1885. Also in the collection is Crawford’s unsettling vampire story, ‘For the Blood is the Life’.

Wandering Ghosts [Kindle]

Wandering Ghosts [Epub]

Wandering Ghosts [PDF]

F. CRAWFORD frontispiece

Frontispiece to the first edition, illustrating a scene from ‘The Screaming Skull’

 

In the Dwellings of the Wilderness (1904) by C. Bryson Taylor

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Charlotte Bryson Taylor’s first novel was published in 1904 by Henry Holt and Company. It is a haunting tale of American archaeologists in Egypt, who get more than they bargained for when they excavate an ancient tomb and break open a door marked ‘Forbidden’ (never a good idea). A curious blend of the antiquarian ghost story and the imperial quest romance, Taylor must have been influenced by Bram Stoker’s The Jewel of Seven Stars (1903). Her own novel has proved to have an equally lasting effect on the ‘mummy’s curse’ genre, however, to the extent that pretty much any subsequent film or literary endeavour depicting a revivified mummy in an Egyptian setting can be said to be indirectly influenced by this book. The sense of mounting horror and the haunting ambiguity of the ending still make this a genuinely unsettling read.

More about the author can be found at Douglas A. Anderson’s absolutely invaluable Lesser-Known Writers blog.

In the Dwellings of the Wilderness [Kindle]

In the Dwellings of the Wilderness [Epub]

In the Dwellings of the Wilderness [PDF]

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The Ghost of Guir House (1897) by Charles Willing Beale

ghost of guir house

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.

The Ghost of Guir House [Kindle]

The Ghost of Guir House [Epub]

The Ghost of Guir House [PDF]

Critical edition:

Five Victorian Ghost Novels, edited by E.F. Bleiler (Dover Publications, 1971)

 

Haunted house source untraced