Friday, April 30, 2010
Thursday, April 29, 2010
Sunday, April 25, 2010
Friday, April 23, 2010
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Monday, April 19, 2010
THERE were many evil spirits and terrible monsters that hid in the mountain caves when the sun shone, but came out to vex and plague the red men when storms swept the earth or when there was darkness in the forest. Among them was a flying head which, when it rested upon the ground, was higher than the tallest man. It was covered with a thick coating of hair that shielded it from the stroke of arrows. The face was very dark and angry, filled with great wrinkles and horrid furrows. Long black wings came out of its sides, and when it rushed through the air mournful sounds assailed the ears of the frightened men and women. On its under side were two long, sharp claws, with which it tore its food and attacked its victims.
The Flying Head came oftenest to frighten the women and children. It came at night to the homes of the widows and orphans, and beat its angry wings upon the walls of their houses and uttered fearful cries in an unknown tongue. Then it went away, and in a few days death followed and took one of the little family with him. The maiden to whom the Flying Head appeared never heard the words of a husband's wooing or the prattle of a papoose, for a pestilence came upon her and she soon sickened and died.
One night a widow sat alone in her cabin. From a little fire burning near the door she frequently drew roasted acorns and ate them for her evening meal. She did not see the Flying Head grinning at her from the doorway, for her eyes were deep in the coals and her thoughts upon the scenes of happiness in which she dwelt before her husband and children had gone away to the long home.The Flying Head stealthily reached forth one of its long claws and snatched some of the coals of fire and thrust them into its mouth—for it thought that these were what the woman was eating. With a howl of pain it flew away, and the red men were never afterwards troubled by its visits.
The morning dawned calmly upon that unhallowed water, which seemed at first to show no traces of the deed it had witnessed the night before. But gradually, as the sun rose up higher, a few gory bubbles appeared to float over one smooth and turbid spot, which the breeze never crisped into a ripple. The parricides sat on the bank watching it all the day ; but sluggish, as at first, that sullen blot upon the fresh blue surface still remained. Another day passed over their heads, and the thick stain was yet there. On the third day the floating slime took a greener hue, as if coloured by the festering mass beneath; but coarse fibres of darker dye marbled its surface; and on the fourth day these began to tremble along the water like weeds growing from the bottom, or the long tresses of a woman's scalp floating in a pool when no wind disturbs it. The fifth morning came, and the conscience-stricken, watchers thought that the spreading-scalp—for such now all agreed it was—had raised itself from the water, and become rounded at the top, as if there were a head beneath it. Some thought, too, that they could discover a pair of hideous eyes glaring beneath the dripping locks. They looked on the sixth, and there indeed was a monstrous Head floating upon the surface, as if anchored to the spot, around which the water—notwithstanding a blast which swept the lake—was calm and motionless as ever.
Friday, April 16, 2010
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
During the fifty-year period in question he was known for a detailed and observant writing style. Hoffman's tales: "A Winter in the West," "Adirondacks," "Romance of the Mohawks," and "Greyslaer" earned him popularity among the literati of the day. "A Winter in the West" is really a collection of short stories. He also wrote poetry, much of it anonymously, and penned three hit songs. Hoffman was also a magazine editor and Edgar Allan Poe submitted Mystification to the American Monthly Magazine when Hoffman was the editor. "Mystification" was accepted for publication.
The only hint I will give as to which story of Hoffman's will appear next, is that it contains flying heads!
Monday, April 12, 2010
This scary horror short story of pestilence on the high seas titled The Lonely Man of the Ocean, was first published anonymously in Whitaker’s Monthly Magazine for February 1831 and soon thereafter in The Antheneum, or Spirit of the English Magazines, Volume I, April to October, 1831, on page 40. The only hint given as to the authorship of “The Lonely Man of the Ocean” comes from The Antheneum, which states that it was “by the author of ‘The Demon-Ship.’"
In the January, 1831 issue of The Antheneum, we find on page 374, The Demon Ship, the Pirate of the Mediterranean. It appeared two months later in Louis Godey’s Lady’s Book. The infuriating practice of publishing horror stories, and many others, anonymously during the first half of the 19th century leaves us without proper attribution for “The Lonely Man of the Ocean.” As late as 1871 it was still being republished in literary magazines and was reprinted at least five times during the half century in question. The writing of this scary story is at a very high level and haunting to its core.
Loëffler made several attempts to descend into those close and corrupted regions ere he could summon strength of heart or nerve to enter them. A profound stillness reigned there. He passed through long rows of hammocks, either the receptacle of decaying humanity, or—as was more often the case—dispossessed of their former occupiers, who had chosen rather to breathe their last above deck. But a veil shall be drawn over this fearful scene. It is enough to say that not one living being was found amid the corrupted wrecks of mortality which tenanted the silent, heated, and pestiferous wards of the inner decks. Loëffler was Alone in the ship! His task was then decided. He could only consign his former companions to their wide and common grave. He essayed to lift a corpse ; but—sick, gasping, and completely overcome—sank upon his very burden! It was evident he must wait until his strength was further restored ; but to wait amid those heaps of decaying bodies seemed impossible.
In reference to the abject horror and descriptive writing that exists at a very high level in the scary short story, one is able to forgive the rushed ending and stilted dialogue. One is even able to forgive the unorthodox way the author switches between the protagonist’s first name “Christian” and surname “Loëffle” throughout. With the horror short story "The Lonely Man of the Ocean" we have the best anonymous horror tale published from 1800-1849.