Wednesday, August 24, 2011

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


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.  


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.

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