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.