Ghost stories have always fascinated me;
I loved reading and collecting them. I also enjoy writing them.
Every Hallowe'en I will post a new, original ghost story
written in the tradition of the true enamel-shivering masters:
Machen, M.R. James, Benson, Henry James,
Blackwood, Le Fanu, Bierce, and Lovecraft.
These stories come from my personal experiences
- a hearty combination of fact and fiction -
in the college towns, river ports, and rural hamlets of the Midwest.
Several of them were pleasant for me to write;
others were painful and unsettlingly personal,
but they all promote the philosophy of the masters:
little reminds us of our bald humanity quite so well
as a pleasing terror.
Raw from her parents’ recent deaths and a crushing divorce, an anthropology professor is now faced with losing her chance at tenure and decides to spend her fall break in Sleepy Hollow, New York in a desperate final bid to publish a groundbreaking paper: locating the disputed site of the original Headless Horseman Bridge. But Sleepy Hollow is not new to her; as a child she was hounded by dreams of the valley's ghosts: a rotting, headless trooper, a gaunt, gliding man in black, and a terrifying Woman in White. When she discovers a horseshoe in the riverbank of the dark, Pocantico River, however, the dreams come rushing back, and she is forced to question the difference between dreams and reality, and the boundaries of space and time...
Pairs nicely with ALGERNON BLACKWOOD, M. R. JAMES, OLIVER ONIONS, AMBROSE BIERCE, HENRY JAMES, and (of course) WASHINGTON IRVING
A drifting couple leave their bustling Chicago neighborhood to photograph a covered bridge outside of the wife's rural hometown. Desperate for money, they are being paid to spend the night at the supposedly haunted spot, photograph anything unusal, and return the pictures to an eccentric anthropology professor. The husband's bitter cynicism and the wife's open-hearted curiosity only increase the stress on their rickety marriage, but when strangers arrive at their overnight photo shoot, violence, ritual murder, and trans-dimensional experiences will change how they view themselves, each other, and the shape of the universe.
Pairs nicely with ARTHUR MACHEN, ALGERNON BLACKWOOD, OLIVER ONIONS, WILLIAM HOPE HODGSON, H. P. LOVECRAFT, ROBERT W. CHAMBERS
Two old friends who find themselves drifting apart are forced to face their deepest insecurities when they find themselves hounded by a dark spirit. The local sect of Amish call it the "Unmensch" ("Beast" or "Antihuman"), claim that it takes the shape of a rabid, black coyote, and whisper that it is a frightful unlucky thing to see. Fleeting shadows turn into horrifying nightmares, but even their climactic encounter with the Beast pales in comparison to the miserable fate that it foreshadows.
Pairs nicely with M. R. JAMES, OLIVER ONIONS, WILLIAM HOPE HODGSON, ROBERT W. CHAMBERS, ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE, J. S. LEFANU, H. R. WAKEFIELD, E. F. BENSON
A young father hopes to repress the demons of his childhood while struggling in a volatile marriage, all the while oblivious to the dangers that he has invited into his children's lives. Ignoring their nightmares of a menacing figure in a hat who stands over their beds at night, he finds himself sleep walking to the basement every night when the family is asleep for hours on end. What he is doing down there -- or whom he is meeting -- is a mystery to him, but every time he returns, it seems as though he's brought company upstairs with him.
Pairs nicely with M. R. JAMES, OLIVER ONIONS, AMBROSE BIERCE, J. S. LEFANU, H. R. WAKEFIELD, E. F. BENSON
Desperate to travel the world and escape his Midwestern malaise, an underwhelmed man goes to classes each weekend to become certified to teach English in Korea. He dislikes his classmates but not as much as he dislikes the college campus. It's old, antique, and represents everything he hates about the United States' fetish for tradition. But why does he find himself wandering aimlessly into the basement during lunch breaks, and why is his teacher so nervous about students going off by themselves?
Pairs nicely with M. R. JAMES, H. P. LOVECRAFT, ROBERT AIKMAN, E. F. BENSON, AUGUST DERLETH, ALGERNON BLACKWOOD, J. B. PRIESTLY
A young man loathes going on outings with his family, but he is mesmerized by the watch he finds at the edge of a lake. Eager to get away from the chatter, he declines their invitation to come home with them and goes back to his apartment where he briefly forgets about his new watch. But the original owner is not so careless.
Pairs nicely with M. R. JAMES, E. F. BENSON, J. S. LEFANU, H. R. WAKEFIELD, ALGERNON BLACKWOOD
A misanthropic professor prefers to walk home alone after a long day teaching students he doesn't like with coworkers he avoids. At first confused by his GPS directions, he realizes that the shortest way home is also the loneliest. Thrilled to be utterly by himself, he would have done well to know the history of his trail.
Pairs nicely with M. R. JAMES, ALGERNON BLACKWOOD, J. S. LEFANU, H. R. WAKEFIELD, E. F. BENSON
A couple relocates to a new town and a new apartment. They love the history of their old neighborhood, though their downstairs neighbor tends to give them the chills with his long, speechless stares. After people begin disappearing from the building, they become suspicious that he may be involved, but it is the naked, crawling thing in their stairwell that really tips them off.
Pairs nicely with H. P. LOVECRAFT, M. R. JAMES, H. R. WAKEFIELD, AMBROSE BIERCE, OLIVER ONIONS, F. MARION CRAWFORD, ROBERT W. CHAMBERS
Two friends go on a canoe trip that they have been putting off. Even though the journey is down a river that they have grown up on and even though their passage upstream is calm and without incident, something about the two muddy islets they stop at to rest makes it difficult for them to relax. What are those things in the water?
Pairs nicely with E. F. BENSON, ARTHUR MACHEN, AMBROSE BIERCE, ALGERNON BLACKWOOD