Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine was very popular in its day. Edgar Allan Poe even lampooned some of its over-the-top stories in his How to Write a Blackwood's Article. It should be pointed out, however, that Poe was never published in the British magazine.
The magazine was not afraid to publish scary horror short stories. Its January 1861 article was no exception. That issue brought the world "Horror: A True Tale" by John Berwick Harwood (1828-1899), a British author known for his horror and supernatural tales. Harwood was known in popular English writing circles of his day and even collaborated with Charles Dickens on the short story Picking Up a Pocketbook.
"Horror: A True Tale" was published anonymously in Blackwood's perhaps because of its subject matter. It is, after all, Harwood's most horrific story. Given its story backgrounds and character generation, I am placing it at position 15 in my countdown of the best horror short stories from 1850-1899 in the English language. The top ten are contained in my latest classic horror anthology for which the cover is shown below the story.
I tried to call up my pride, and laugh off the accusation against my courage, all the more, perhaps, because I felt its truth. "Do you want anything more that I can get you, Lady Speldhurst?" I asked, trying to feign a yawn of sleepiness. The old dame's keen eyes were upon me. "I rather like you, my dear," she said, "and I liked your mamma well enough before she treated me so shamefully about the christening dinner. Now, I know you are frightened and fearful, and if an owl should but flap your window tonight, it might drive you into fits. There is a nice little sofa-bed in this dressing-closet--call your maid to arrange it for you, and you can sleep there snugly, under the old witch's protection, and then no goblin dare harm you, and nobody will be a bit the wiser, or quiz you for being afraid."