Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Blog About The Cure Band Started by Author Andrew Barger

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For those of you who don't know, The Cure is one of my favorite bands. They are Goth. They make beautiful music unlike any other band and Robert Smith's lyrics brand him as one of our greatest modern day poets. The Cure is also one of the most literary bands to ever play. There are many references to fantastic books, old and new. So I've started a cure blog at www.DisintegrationNation-CureBlog.blogspot.com. From time-to-time I'll be posting my thoughts on this great band. What does this have to do with horror and scary stories? You'll see!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Azra'eil & Fudgie Ebook Launched for $.99 on Amazon

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"Azra'eil & Fudgie" is my new short story about a group of marines in Afghanistan who encounter a precocious little girl who is much more than she first appears. It is a war story that combines the supernatural and the fears of a young marine who is on his first mission to hunt for skulls (IED buried explosives). You can download the supernatural war story on Kindle for only $.99. "Azra'eil & Fudgie" is one of the stories included in my first short story collection: Mailboxes - Mansions - Memphistophels. I hope you enjoy it.   

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

In a haunted forest at The Cure concert

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Sent from my iPhone

At The Cure concert in LAaaaaaaa!

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Friday, November 18, 2011

Author Countries for the Top 10 Ghost Stories

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In the last post I laid out the Top 10 ghost stories for the 1st half of the 19th century. Just like I did for The Best Horror Short Stories 1800-1849, I thought it would be fun to list the author countries. Here it goes:
10. The Ghostly Visiter; or, The Mysterious Invalid (1833)
Anonymous author, likely from England as it was published in a "Penny Dreadful" in London.
9. The Tapestried Chamber (1827)
Sir Walter Scott was Scottish.
8. Adventure of the German Student (1824)
Washington Irving was American.
7. The Old Maid in the Winding Sheet (1837)
Nathaniel Hawthorne was American.
6. The Spectral Ship (1828)
Wilhelm Hauff was German.
5. A Night in a Haunted House (1848)
This anonymous ghost story appeared in a Dublin magazine so the author was likely Irish.
4. The Mask of the Red Death (1842)
Edgar Allan Poe was American.
3. A Chapter in the History of a Tyrone Family (1839)
Joseph Sheridan le Fanu was Irish.
2. The Deaf and Dumb Girl (1839)
This anonymous story was translated from the French.
1. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (1819)
Washington Irving was American.

That means four of the Top 10 scary ghost stories for this period came from Americans, two from Ireland, one from Scotland, one from Germany, one from France and one from England.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Top 10 Ghost Stories for the First Half of the 19th Century

Top 10 Ghost Stories for the First Half of the 19th Century.
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10. The Ghostly Visiter; or, The Mysterious Invalid (1833)
This anonymous ghost story was published in a "penny dreadful" magazine in 1833. It is one of the most chilling ghost stories in relation to an incapacitated person for this fifty year period in review.
9. The Tapestried Chamber (1827)
Sir Walter Scott was a leading proponent of supernatural tales in Europe. The Tapestried Chamber is the second oldest scary story on this countdown and contains moments of sheer terror.
8. Adventure of the German Student (1824)
Washington Irving is best known for "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow," but the "Adventure of the German Student" is as compact a fright as one will find in a little ghost story.
7. The Old Maid in the Winding Sheet (1837)
Nathaniel Hawthorne makes his only appearance in the Top 10 with a horror tale that is superbly written. It was also an Edgar Allan Poe favorite.
6. The Spectral Ship (1828)
Wilhelm Hauff died in his mid-twenties, yet still showed early promise that he could have been one of the all time great supernatural writers. "The Spectral Ship" leaves an indelible tang of horror.
5. A Night in a Haunted House (1848)
This anonymous ghost story is the longest of the Top 10 and will make a person think twice when they hear a thump coming up the stairs.
4. The Mask of the Red Death (1842)
"The Mask of the Red Death" is perhaps Edgar Allan Poe's finest ghost story. The writing and symbolism are unparalleled for this period in question.
3. A Chapter in the History of a Tyrone Family (1839)
Joseph Sheridan le Fanu was the early king of the short ghost story. He would later go on to publish "Green Tea" and other ghostly classics.
2. The Deaf and Dumb Girl (1839)
This is the third anonymous story in the Top 10 and the very best of the lot. It will make you think twice when you see a quiet girl with ashen skin sit next to you on a train.
1. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (1819)
Washington Irving's most popular ghost story--and perhaps the most popular ghost short story of all time (assuming Dickens's "A Christmas Carole" is a novella)--is "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow." Although typically disfavored in a scary ghost story, it is one of the first to do it without losing the element of terror and it is the oldest in the Top 10, which gives the story high marks for originality and creativity. 
The Best Ghost Stories 1800-1849: A Classic Ghost Anthology includes story introductions, author photos, annotations and a list of ghost stories read. Buy it tonight!
The Best Ghost Stories at Google Books
The Best Ghost Stories at Barnes & Noble

Friday, November 11, 2011

Best Ghost Story 1800-1849 is "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" by Washington Irving

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Number 1 on my countdown of the best ghost stories for the first half of the nineteenth century is finally here. It may not come as a big surprise as I choose "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" by Washington Irving. Yes, it is scary in parts, but some ghost stories on the countdown are scarier. It is also well-written, but there are others that give it a run for its money. Still, no other ghost story from this fifty year period has reached wider fame or acclaim. That is why I have picked it.

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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Best Ghost Story #2 from 1800-1849 is "The Deaf and Dumb Girl" that was Published Anonymously

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My pick for the second best story from 1800-1849 will come as a surprise because it is very likely you have never heard of it. Its title is "The Deaf and Dumb Girl" and I found it published anonymously in an obscure magazine. In my next post I will give away the top ghost story in this countdown.

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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The 3rd Best Ghost Story 1800-1849 is A Chapter in the History of a Tyrone Family by Joseph Sheridan le Fanu

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We are finally at the Top 3 ghost stories for the first half of the nineteenth century. It is by one of the early masters of the short ghost story: Joseph Sheridan le Fanu (1814-1873). Unlike many of his contemporaries, Fanu wrote scary ghost stories and made no bones about offending Victorian Age sensibilities. "A Chapter in the History of a Tyrone Family," is, in my view, his greatest ghost story. If you want to read why (and I think Bronte's "Jane Eyre" borrowed from the tale), check out The Best Ghost Stories 1800-1849: A Classic Ghost Anthology.

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Monday, November 7, 2011

4th Best Ghost Story from 1800-1849 is The Mask of the Red Death by Edgar Allan Poe

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Edgar Allan Poe, the early master of horror short stories, has been relatively quiet in my countdown of the Top 40 ghost stories for the 1st half of the nineteenth century. That is primarily because he didn't write many ghost stories. In my estimation "The Mask of the Red Death" is Poe's best ghost story. It is written at a high level, chock full of symbolism, and a truly frightening tale of a visit by the dead.

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Background information on "The Mask of the Red Death" and annotations can be found in my new book on the best ghost stories (Amazon.com) or the best ghost stories (Barnes & Noble) for this crucial period in the life of scary ghost stories.  

Friday, November 4, 2011

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Price Drop - The Best Ghost Stories 1800-1849: A Classic Ghost Anthology

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As those of you who follow my posts know, I am counting the Top 40 classic ghost stories for the 1st half of the 19th century. The Top 9 of these stories are found in my recently published ghost stories anthology. This is to let you know that the price has been dropped on the book from $17.98 to only $10.98. Here is a link to the Best Ghost Stories Anthology at Amazon.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

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

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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!

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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

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

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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.

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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

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

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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.

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

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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

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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 1824 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.
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Friday, October 21, 2011

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

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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

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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

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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.

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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

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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.

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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

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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.  

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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

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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

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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.

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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.  

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Best Ghost Story 16 from 1800-1849 is "Lady Eleanor's Mantle" by Nathaniel Hawthorne

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Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864) was no stranger when it came to telling a scary ghost story. His "Legends of the Province House" was mentioned as being exemplary by H.P. Lovecraft and his 1835 story titled "Graves and Goblins" is quite good. But this post is about Lady Eleanor's Mantle, which floats in at the 16th spot in my countdown of the scary ghost stories for the first half of the nineteenth century.

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"Lady Eleanor's Mantle" is a ghostly tale of pestilence and because of that it draws certain parallels to Edgar Allan Poe's "Mask of the Red Death," which is included in my recently published book: The Best Ghost Stories 1800-1849: A Classic Ghost Anthology. Without giving away too much, the horror story contains an insane person and is well worth a read on a moonlit night. Enjoy.  

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Best Ghost Story 17 from 1800-1849 is "The Mines of Falun" by Ernst Hoffmann

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Ernst T.A. Hoffmann (1776-1822), one of the earliest progenitors of supernatural stories, makes his first appearance on this ghost story countdown. The Mines of Falun weighs in at number 17 in the greatest ghost stories for the first half of the nineteenth century. It was first published in 1819 and is et in the storied mines of Falun, Sweden. Many scary stories linked the mines to the supernatural and a rumored tunnel to the center of the earth.

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While in my estimation this is Hoffmann's greatest ghost tale, it is not his most original. He admits in Die Serapion Bretheren, Vol. 1, of 1819, that it involves a "well-known thema of a miner at Falun." Regardless, it is the first ghost story I have found in a mine and is well written right to its horrific ending.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Best Ghost Story 18 from 1800-1849 is "Monos and Daimonos"

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Edward Bulwer-Lytton (1803-1873) is known in supernatural circles for penning one of the greatest ghost stories of the nineteenth century: "The Haunted and Haunters." This scary story is not in consideration for this countdown of the best ghost short stories from 1800-1849, however, as it was published in 1857. H.P. Lovecraft called it "one of the best short haunted house tales ever." But enough about "The Haunted and Haunters."

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Bulwer-Lytton's second best ghost story is Monos and Daimonos, which floats in at 18 on the countdown. It was published in 1830. The horror story involves a shipwreck, a murder and . . . well . . . a relentless ghost set out for revenge. I hope you enjoy it!

Read my new book: The Best Ghost Stories 18800-1849: A Classic Ghost Anthology  

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Best Ghost Story 19 from 1800-1849 is Albert Werdendorff; or, The Midnight Embrace by Sarah Wilkinson

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Although Albert Werdendorff; or, The Midnight Embrace is not the most artful name in this countdown of the Top 40 best ghost stories for the first half of the nineteenth century, but the story itself is little diminished by it. Penned by Sarah Wilkinson over 200 years ago in 1808, this scary story makes a person think twice about being hugged at midnight. Wilkinson was a early author of the Gothic school along with other stars like Mathew Gregory "Monk" Lewis and Horace Walpole and Ann Radcliffe. I hope you enjoy it.

  

Friday, September 2, 2011

Best Ghost Stories Anthology for $.99

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Want to be frightened over the weekend? For a limited time the Kindle version of The Best Ghost Stories 1800-1849: A Classic Ghost Anthology has been dropped to $.99. Read it tonight for a buck. And for those of you in the United States--have a great long weekend!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Best Ghost Story 20 from 1800-1849 is "The Ghost with the Golden Casket" by Allan Cunningham

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This is an exciting time because we have reached in the countdown the Top 20 ghost stories for the first half of the nineteenth century. This first scary story does not disappoint as it comes from Allan Cunningham (1784-1842) who was right at home in telling a supernatural yarn.

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Cunningham is less than popular today, but in the early nineteenth century he was a popular author and poet. He kept company with Sir Walter Scott and James Hogg (the "Ettrick Sheppard) who appeared at spot 29 in the ghost short story countdown with "Mary Burnet". Each of these Scottish authors forged new ground when telling supernatural tales. It is Allan Cunningham, however, who penned one of the best ghost stories apart from Scott's "The Tapestried Chamber," which I included in The Best Ghost Stories 1800-1849: A Classic Ghost Anthology.

In The Ghost with the Golden Casket readers are immediately transported into Scotland of old where they can visualize, through Cunningham's fine prose, Caerlaverock Castle, smell the conifers and greensward, feel rocky hillocks underfoot, and hear the crash of the green ocean waves. But let's be honest, the thick accents of the peasant speakers are challenging in modern times. Still, I am hard pressed to find a true to life Scottish ghost story for the first half of the nineteenth century than this. Get ready to be scared after you are transported to Scotland from your favorite reading chair!       

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Best Ghost Story 21 from 1800-1849 is The Haunted Manor-House of Paddington by Charles Ollier

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Ghost story 21 of the Top 40 from 1800-1849 is The Haunted Manor-House of Paddington by Charles Ollier (1788-1859). "The Haunted Manor-House of Paddington: A Tale for November" was published in Bentley's Miscellany during 1841 at a time when Ollier was associated with the literary magazine. The haunted manor, which has fallen into "gloomy ruin" in the scary story, is based on an actual house in the Paddington borough of Westminster, England where Ollier lived. The house was ideally situated next to a cemetery and was demolished nearly 200 years ago, as a footnote in the story admits. The story's building terror and heard but not seen ghost nearly place it in the Top 20 ghost stories for the first half of the nineteenth century. But I believe there is much more to this horror tale than meets the eye.  

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For my observant followers of this countdown you have already noticed that the photo provided is of Charles Dickens (1812-1870). This is not a mistake of the Charles. One reason is because there are no known photos/illustrations of Charles Ollier. More importantly, is what I believe is a link from this scary ghost story to Boz; or more specifically to his famous novella: A Christmas Carol. This most famous ghost story of our modern age was published on December 17, 1843. This was a mere two years after Ollier published "The Haunted Manor-House of Paddington." This is unremarkable in itself, except that the later ghost story contains a ghost or spirit that warns of the future visit of a more horrid ghost. Dickens was clearly familiar with the magazine. He was its first editor from 1836-1839. During this same period Charles Ollier was employed by Richad Bentley, founder of the magazine. It is very likely that Dickens read Ollier's ghost story and the rest, as they say, is history.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Best Ghost Story 22 from 1800-1849 is "Allan M'Tavish" by Caroline Norton

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One of the first and few scary ghost stories by a female author takes spot 22 in my countdown of the Top 40 ghost short stories for the first half of the nineteenth century. The story is Allan M'Tavish and it is set in Ireland. It is a ghost story of the sea and includes the appearance of a waith or warning ghost, without giving too much of the story away. The horror tale was published in 1833 by Caroline Norton (1808-1877) whose full name was Caroline Elizabeth Sarah (Sheridan) Norton. She was an accomplished poet and novelist. Her portrait below gives her an uncanny resemblance to Virginia Poe, Edgar Allan Poe's only wife.

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If you would like to skip ahead in the countdown, the top 10 scary ghost stories from this period are laid out with story backgrounds in my newly edited book: The Best Ghost Stories 1800-1849: A Classic Ghost Anthology ----> AndrewBarger.com/BestGhostStories1800.html

Monday, August 8, 2011

Best Ghost Story 23 from 1800-1849

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Horace Smith (1779-1849) was an English stockbroker, poet and novelist. When he became independently wealthy trading stocks, he turned to writing full time. One can also add to his resume: ghost short story writer.

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Floating in at spot 23 in my countdown of the Top 40 ghost stories for the first half of the nineteenth century is Horace Smith's Sir Guy Eveling's Dream. This scary story first appeared in The New Monthly Magazine of 1823. Smith later collected it in his compilation of short stories and essays titled Gaieties and Gravities in 1826. Nine years later Washington Irving would publish his much anthologized "Adventure of the German Student," which has a similar construct as "Sir Guy Eveling's Dream." I won't give away anymore than that!

The Best Ghost Stories 1800-1849: A Classic Ghost Anthology is now available on Kindle, Nook or through the iBookstore.