Halloween Treats, 2008

It’s time for my yearly installment of classic horror stories for some good Halloween chills!  My 2007 edition can be found here.  Happy reading, and Happy Halloween!

The Dead Valley, Ralph Adams Cram.  A man recounts a tale from his childhood, of his stumbling upon a nightmarish valley which threatens both his life and his sanity.

The Valley of Spiders, H.G. Wells.  A valley of a different deadly type!  A pursuit of fugitives turns into a flight for survival against a foe which attacks in an unexpected manner.

The Great God Pan, Arthur Machen.  This one is a classic!  Dr. Raymond is convinced that there exists a world unseen to our ordinary senses.  He performs an operation on his adopted child, Mary, to make her see this hidden domain, but the results are unexpected and horrific.  The story builds tension slowly from multiple points of view.

The Man Who Went Too Far, E.F. Benson.  While we’re talking about Pan, we should take a gander at this E.F. Benson tale.  A man slowly, through isolation and meditation, feels he is on the verge of a breakthrough: complete exposure and harmony with Nature.  But what does ‘harmony’ really mean in the natural world?

The Derelict, William Hope Hodgson.  Hodgson is one of the relatively neglected grandmasters of horror fiction, with a massive œuvre of weird fiction.  Much of his tales match his joint loves of horror and the ocean, and The Derelict is a prime example.  A crew of sailors happen upon an abandoned ship that holds a monstrous and terrible secret.

The Treasure of Abbott Thomas, M.R. James.  A story by a master teller, it combines a treasure-hunt mystery with the horrors of its monstrous guardian.

The Gentleman From America, Michael Arlen.  This one is nearly unclassifiable.  A boisterous American is challenged by some acquaintences to spend the night in a haunted room.  The results are unpredictable and catastrophic.

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