It is time again for my yearly dose of creepy and classic horror stories for some chilling Halloween reading! You can also read my previous editions: 2007, 2008, 2009, and my 2010 post on the true story of the “Lady of the Lake“.
“Oh Whistle and I’ll Come to You, My Lad”, M.R. James. One of the best stories by perhaps the greatest ghost story author of all time! A man finds an ancient whistle whilst walking a beach in England. When he blows it on a whim, he awakens a particularly bizarre and unconventional horror.
Negotium Perambulans, E.F. Benson. A man returns to his childhood home, an isolated fishing village in West Cornwall. The old church in town still contains painted wooden panels that depict evildoers being consumed by an inhuman creature. An old acquaintance of the man now lives in town next door to the church, and keeps his house lights burning as bright as possible when darkness falls…
Afterward, Edith Wharton. “Is there a ghost at Lyng?” His rejoinder had made Alida laugh again, and it was then that she had flung back tantalizingly: “Oh, there is one, of course, but you’ll never know it.”
The Whistling Room, William Hope Hodgson. Hodgson’s classic supernatural investigator Carnacki investigates an Irish castle that contains a room that mysteriously whistles without cause. What starts as an annoyance builds to an otherwordly menace that threatens to consume Carnacki utterly.
The Masque of the Red Death, Edgar Allan Poe. One of my favorite horror stories of all time! While the horrible Red Death plagues the countryside, Prince Prospero throws a lavish and decadent party within his sealed castle. No amount of wealth can truly stave off death’s grasp, however. This story has one of the greatest closing lines in all of horror fiction.
The Seed From the Sepulchre, Clark Ashton Smith. A friend and correspondent of Lovecraft’s, Smith wrote both poetry and highly poetic stories with the logic of nightmares. In The Seed From the Sepulchre, a pair of treasure hunters who venture to a lost burial site in the jungle find no treasure but only a horrific death.