Thursday, October 27, 2011

5th Best Ghost Story from 1800-1849 is "A Night in a Haunted House"


Filing in the number 5 spot in The Best Ghost Stories 1800-1849: A Classic Ghost Anthology is an anonymous scary story that was published in 1848, which makes it the newest in the countdown. The title is "A Night in a Haunted House." It is an Irish ghost story and everyone knows they tell the best ghost stories!


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

6th Best Ghost Story from 1800-1849 is "The Spectral Ship" by Wilhelm Hauff


I am counting down the Top 10 ghost stories for the first half of the 19th century after starting with the Top 40. The scary story that floats in at the 6th spot is "The Spectral Ship" by German author Wilhelm Hauff (1802-1827). The tale was published in 1828 and I give background on it in he best ghost stories anthology that I edited. If you are looking for ghostly terror at sea, this is the story for you.



Tuesday, October 25, 2011

7th Best Ghost Story 1st half of 19th Century is "The Old Maid in the Winding Sheet" by Nathaniel Hawthorne


Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864) penned what may be the 7th best ghost story from 1800-1849 when he published "The Old Maid in the Winding Sheet" during 1837. This story is included in The Best Ghost Stories 1800-1849: a Classic Ghost Anthology with comments and story background. The scary story is truly chilling throughout and for that reason shines above "Lady Eleanor's Mantle," which I believe to be his second best ghost story. Hawthorne, of course, is no stranger to the supernatural genre. "The Minister's Black Veil" is one of the fine tales found in The Best Horror Short Stories 1800-1849: A Classic Horror Anthology. For the record, Edgar Allan Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne and Wilhelm Hauff are the only authors to have stories in each anthology.


Review of "Coffee with Poe: A Novel of Edgar Allan Poe's Life"


From time to time I post reviews of my books. A recent one has been posted on Barnes & Noble about Coffee with Poe: A Novel of Edgar Allan Poe's life. In it I tried to bring Poe to life with actual letters from his foster father, three fiancees and wife. It is available in both print and ebook formats. Here is the 5 star review:

Really Good In-Depth Look at the Life of Edgar Allan Poe: This book is really well written and always held my interest . . . Prepare yourself because you have trouble putting it down once you begin.

And since I am counting down the Top 10 ghost stories for the first half of the 19th century, this raises the question about Poe's ghost stories. He didn't write many. His best is "The Mask of the Red Death," and it will soon make an appearance in my scary story countdown.

Book About Edgar Allan Poe at Barnes & Noble

Book About Edgar Allan Poe at Amazon

Monday, October 24, 2011

9th Best Ghost Story for 1st Half of 19th Century is "Adventure of the German Student" by Washington Irving


Washington Irving gifted us with the "Adventure of the German Student," which I pick as the 9th best ghost story from 1800-1849. This short scary story was published in 1831 and it is has one of the most surprising endings for any of the Top 10 ghost stories picked in The Best Ghost Stories 1800-1849: A Classic Ghost Anthology.


Friday, October 21, 2011

Best Ghost Story 10 from 1800-1849 is The Tapestried Chamber by Sir Walter Scott


The Top 10 ghost stories for the 1st half of the 19th century starts with The Tapestried Chamber by Sir Walter Scott that floats in at spot 10. You can find the scary story (including story background and annotations) in my recently published anthology of the best ghost stories for this period.

The Best Ghost Stories 1800-1849 on Amazon/Kindle

The Best Ghost Stories 1800-1849 on Google Books

The Best Ghost Stories 1800-1849 at Barnes & Noble/Nook


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Informal Poll of the Best Horror Short Stories

Before I countdown the Top 10 ghost stories for the first half of the 19th century, I started a discussion at the Kindle forums for people's favorite horror short stories. Here is the list, in no particular order:

Edgar Allan Poe: The Black Cat (2), The Cask of Amontillado (4), The Fall of the House of Usher, The Tell-Tale Heart, The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar, The Pit and the Pendulum
Washington Irving: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
Algernon Blackwood: The Willows (2)
Robert Chambers: The King in Yellow, The Yellow Sign
Charlotte Perkins Gilman: The Yellow Wallpaper
Neil Gaiman: Don't Ask Jack, October in the Chair
Clive Barker: The Body Politic, Hellbound Heart
Shirley Jackson: The Summer People (2), The Lottery
Mary E Wilkins: The Wind in the Rose-Bush
Joyce Carol Oates: Night-Side
Robert Bloch: Yours Truly, Jack the Ripper, The Night Before Christmas
Ray Bradbury: The Crowd, The Veldt
Edward Bulwer-Lytton: The Haunters and the Haunted
Theodore Sturgeon: Vengeance is
Peter Straub: A Short Guide to the City
Cortozar: House Taken Over
E.F. Benson: The Room in the Tower
George R.R. Martin: Sandkings
Stephen King: Quitters Inc. (2), Mrs. Todd's Shortcut (2), Crouch End (2), Breathing Method, One for the Road, The Reaper's Image, The Reach, The Mangler, Rainy Season, The Ledge, The Jaunt, Survivor Type, The Mist, Sundog
James Everington: A Writer's Words, The Other Room
Jeffrey Deaver: Beautiful
H.P. Lovecraft: In The Vault, The Call of Cthulhu, The Colour out of Space (2), Dreams in the Witch House, The Outsider, The Music of Eric Zann, Shadow Over Innsmouth
Arthur Machen: The Great God Pan (2), Haunter of the Dark
R.L. Stevenson: The Merry Men
Charles Grant: This Old Man, The Garden of Blackred Roses
T.E.D. Klein: Children of the Kingdom
Sheridan Le Fanu: Carmilla, Green Tea
Nathaniel Hawthorne: Young Goodman Brown, The Minister's Black Veil
Robert E. Howard: Pigeons From Hell
A.M. Burrage: The Waxwork
H.R. Wakefield: He Cometh and He Passeth By
Ramsey Campbell: The Guide, The Companion (2)
M. R. James: Oh Whistle and I'll Come to you My Lad, The Stalls of Barchester Cathedral, Count Magnus
L. M. Boston: Curfew
Roger Johnson: The Wall Painting
R. H. Malden: The Sundial
Michael Shea: The Autopsy
Robert Aickman: The School Friend, Into the Wood, The Swords
Guy N Smith: Last Train
Nigel Kneale: Minuke
Ken Aldman: The Papal Magician
John Collier: Evening Primrose
Roald Dahl: Slaughter, Pig
F. Paul Wilson: Soft
Orson Scott Card: Eumenides, In The Fourth Floor Lavatory
Peter Watts: The Things
William Hope Hodgson: The House on the Borderland, The Voice in the Night

You can few of these scary stories in The Best Horror Stories Anthology that I edited, which was a finalist in the anthology category of the Indie Book Awards.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Best Ghost Story 11 from 1800-1849 is The Ghostly Visiter, or The Mysterious Invalid


On February 27, 1833 a horrific ghost story was published by the title The Ghostly Visiter; or, The Mysterious Invalid. The scary story was printed anonymously in The Penny Story-Teller, a British pulp magazine that came out every Wednesday.


The Penny Story-Teller and others were called "penny dreadfuls" given the frightening contained within their pages. In these rages is where horror short stories first took root in the UK. "The Ghostly Visiter" is one of the finest examples of a ghost story to come out of these papers and I waste no time in placing in spot 11 of my countdown of the Top 40 ghost stories for the first half of the nineteenth century. In my next post I will reveal the Top 10 ghost stories, which are contained in The Best Ghost Stories book that I recently edited. 

Monday, October 17, 2011

Best Ghost Story 12 from 1800-1849 is "The Spectre-Smitten" by Samuel Warren


We are into the Top 12, the scary dozen, ghost stories for the first half of the nineteenth century. Number 12 was penned by Samuel Warren (1807-1877), a practicing lawyer and former medical school student. His haunting short story "The Thunderstruck and the Boxer" was included in The Best Horror Short Stories 1800-1849: A Classic Horror Anthology and you can find analysis of it there. From 1831-1837 Warren anonymously published a series of stories in Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, which were later collected in "Passages from the Diary of a Late Physician." This popular collection was claimed by other authors, which forced Warren to come clean as to its authorship.


But this is a ghost stories countdown and Warren penned one of the best for the period under review. The scary story is The Spectre-Smitten. It is one of the finest ghost stories of insanity and the supernatural. The protagonist is a law student and Warren certainly drew on his experience as a law student in February 1831 when the story was published in Blackwood's. Enjoy!


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Best Ghost Story 13 from 1800-1849 is "A Night in a Church" by Cornelius Felton

best story 13.png

Thirteen is a very lucky number when it comes to this countdown of the Top 40 ghost stories for the first half of the nineteenth century. That's because the story in spot 13 is one of the most horrific of its kind and it has a storied (every pun intended) past. The scary story was published anonymously under the initials C.C.F. After conducting a bit of sleuthing, I was able to learn that Cornelius Conway Felton (1807-1862) used this pseudonym early in his career.  


The ghost story is A Night in a Church and it was published in 1831 when Felton was 24 years old. Three years later he would graduate Harvard College and from 1860-1862 become its president. After reading "A Night in a Church" you will agree that this story is the most frightening ever penned by a future Harvard president in the first half of the nineteenth century (perhaps ever). It had a nice publication run, being republished as late as the 1870s.

If you want to read the Top 10 ghost stories for this period, they are contained in The Best Ghost Stories 1800-1849: A Classic Ghost Anthology that I recently edited with story background and a list of ghost stories read. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Best Ghost Story 14 from 1800-1849 is "Peter Rugg: The Missing Man" by William Austin


At spot 14 in my countdown of the scariest ghost stories for the first half of the nineteenth century is Peter Rugg: The Missing Man by William Austin (1778-1841). Austin was a Harvard educated attorney who grew up in Massachusetts. He influenced Nathaniel Hawthorne, among others. He is remembered today for penning one of the most popular ghost stories for this period, which is derived from the popular theme of The Wandering Jew. Published between 1824 and 1826 in the New England Galaxy magazine, "Peter Rugg" recounts the horrific tale of a man who forever wanders the earth in search of something, but never to find it just as the Flying Dutchman forever sails the seas in search of land. The scary story is well written and Peter Rugg is one of the most vibrant characters brought to life in the first part of the nineteenth century. For these reasons it is selected as one of the best for this period. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Best Ghost Story 15 from 1800-1849 is "The Collier's Family" by Friedrich Motte Fouque


It's October and the perfect month to finish my countdown of the Top 40 ghost stories for the first half of the nineteenth century. So let's get on with it.

The 15th best ghost story is The Collier's Family by Baron Friedrich Heinrich Karl de la Motte Fouque (1777-1843), who just happens to have the scariest name in the countdown. This horror gem was first published in English in "Popular Tales and Romances of the Northern Nations," which was published in 1823. This three volume collection of tales by mostly German authors also contained "Wake Not the Dead." This is the third vampire short story we have on record and many attribute it to Ludwig Tieck, though this has not been proven as the story was never found among his papers.


Fouque is best known today for his novel "Undine" where a water spirit marries a knight in shining armor. In 1814 ETA Hoffmann, who appeared at spot 17 with "Mines of Falun" and whose horror story "The Deserted House" appears in The Best Horror Short Stories for this same period, translated "Undine" into an opera. But it is "The  Collier's Family" that is the focus here, which includes a scary phantom brownie creature that haunts the collier's family. Collier is antiquated term for a coal miner and this story tops the other miner ghost story on the countdown, which is the previously mentioned "Mines of Falun," if for nothing else than originality.

In my short story collection Mailboxes - Mansions - Memphistopheles there is "The Brownie of the Alabaster Mansion" if you want to read a modern take on this creature that you are sure to find interesting! Tomorrow I will post a link to ghost story 14, so read quickly.