As Halloween Month rolls along here are four often-overlooked horror stories in the spirit of the season.
A KISS OF JUDAS (1894) – Written by “X.L.” (Julian Osgood Field). Adapted from Moldavian folk tales, this story tells us that the descendants of Judas walk among us. They are evil people with sinister designs on the people they target. At will they can commit suicide and return from the dead. The Judas-Spawn can then approach their terrified victim and plant a “Judas Kiss” on them, which kills them. The Roman numeral XXX (for the Thirty Pieces of Silver) appears on the dead bodies of their victims.
COLD HARBOR (1924) – Written by Francis Brett Young. Cold Harbor is a forbidding old British mansion overlooking the sea. The Wakes, a young doctor and his wife, encounter the mansion’s sinister owner Furnival.
That malevolent figure psychologically torments his wife and shows off assorted supernatural phenomena in the house to his guests the Wakes. Furnival claims the evil presence in the mansion dates back to Pre-Roman times and that he has harnessed it to perform as he wills. The Wakes escape his sinister designs on them and in the end his tormented wife burns down the home, killing herself and her evil husband Furnival.
THE SPECTRE HAND (1886) – Written by James Grant. A Danish officer, wounded in battle, is tended to by a mysterious beautiful woman. Caught up in the moment (and his delirium) he accepts an odd ring from her as a token of betrothal. When the officer comes to he realizes he has really been lying in a cemetery, not a military hospital.
The ring he holds means he has promised himself to a dead woman. Our protagonist tries to shrug off all this as hallucination but on the day of his wedding to his very much alive fiance the dead woman crashes the ceremony to claim him as her own.
WHY NEW HOUSES ARE HAUNTED (1886) – Written by Elwyn Keith. This is a first-person account from a skeptic who bravely spends the night in the Red Room of a supposedly haunted house the evening before it is to be disassembled.
The ghosts of the house kill his dog and harass him all night long but he holds on until daylight. Over his protests the wood from the haunted house is going to be recycled to make new houses, all of which will likewise be haunted.