Halloween is celebrated for all 31 days of October here at Balladeer’s Blog. Here’s another neglected gem. As Johnny Carson would have said “That izh some weird, wild shtuff.”
WILD AND WEIRD (1889) – By Gilbert Edward Campbell. This compilation of three of Campbell’s short story collections presents some of the author’s best works. He often based his tales of terror on pre-existing folklore from around Russia, England and Italy but made them come alive in more polished form.
Here are some of the stories:
THE MIDNIGHT SKATER – This tale gets extra points from me for presenting a reasonably unique monster: a female were-bear. That’s not really a spoiler since this is one of those stories in which modern readers will guess the twist just a few pages in. Olga, a beautiful gypsy girl, is wooed by plenty of men but most of them end up getting killed by a bear-like creature. It turns out Olga herself is the were-bear, who preys on her suitors when she gets them alone in the woods.
WHAT WAS IT? – I’m often surprised at how many horror stories from the 1800s and earlier were edgy enough to kill off children. This is another one of them. Playful, mischievous children are repeatedly warned not to enter a room called “the Infernal Room.” Kids being kids, they eventually enter it anyway and face death in the form of a child-hating ghost.
THE GREEN STAIRCASE – An eerie green staircase – think David Lynch meets Arthur Machen – leads to a portrait gallery. (But no, this strange room is NOT above a convenience store.) The art is hypnotically beautiful but if you stay too long or visit too many times the figures in the pictures come to life and reveal their malevolent nature.
THE MARBLE FAUN – Set in the 1500s, this is a pretty slick Gothic tale about the Borgias trying to lay their greedy hands on the hidden fortune of the equally greedy Cardinal Rastelli. That covetous Cardinal has diverted a LOT of church funds for his own future use as well as lain Black Magick traps if anyone but him tries to access the treasure.
A DAY’S SHOOTING – When Squire Stark is found murdered suspicion falls on the brother of a notorious poacher. The late Squire’s ghost interferes with the legal proceedings against the man, however, and eventually causes the death of his REAL killer.
THE WHITE WOLF OF KOSTOPCHIN – This tale features a female werewolf. Like White Fell in The Werewolf, this lady lycanthrope is also white-furred. Paul, a local werewolf-hunter, tracks the beast, which has been eating the hearts out of victims all across the countryside. The creature turns out to be Lady Ravina, the woman he loves. Paul can’t bring himself to kill her but she is still being hunted by men who WILL.
FOR ISABELLA OF EGYPT, FEATURING A GOLEM, A MANDRAGORE, A LIVING DEAD MAN, A GYPSY WITCH AND A JEWISH SORCEROR CLICK HERE
FOR MORE HALLOWEEN ITEMS CLICK HERE: https://glitternight.com/category/halloween-season/
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