Halloween Month continues here at Balladeer’s Blog with this look at some of the neglected literary horror tales I’ve reviewed.
THE ENSOULED VIOLIN (1880) – Written by THE Madame Blavatsky. A gifted Austrian violin player named Franz Stenio is drawn to occult studies while away at college. Hearing dark legends about how Niccolo Paganini supposedly acquired his otherworldly skill with the violin, Franz carries out some of the rumored rituals in real life, to bloody and deadly effect. The fallout is horrific. CLICK HERE.
CITY OF VAMPIRES (1867) – Written by Paul Feval. This criminally neglected story depicts a fictionalized young version of the Gothic horror writer Ann Radcliffe when she was still Ann Ward. To try to save some friends she trails them to the Belgrade city of vampires called Selene as well as the Sepulchre. In that perpetually gloomy and overcast village Ann and company must deal with vampires of varied abilities from back in the era before vampire lore was as set in stone as it later became. CLICK HERE.
THE WERWOLVES (1898) – Written by Honore Beaugrand. A pack of werewolves prey upon victims in Canada. Plenty of unusual takes on lycanthrope lore with a north of the border touch. These particular werewolves are of Iroquois extraction which, along with the cold and snowy backdrop, helps to make this Canadian horror tale stand out from the rest. CLICK HERE.
THE CENTENARIAN (1822) – Written by THE Honore Balzac. Count Maxime Beringheld is over 300 years old. He long ago learned dark medical secrets from the Rosicrucians including a process by which he can drain the life-force from other human beings. Over the centuries this mad doctor has used his supernatural strength, teleportation abilities, telepathic powers and immunity to death to quietly assist his descendants. During the time of Napoleon Maxime aids General Tullius Beringheld, leading to horrific side-effects and a chilling chase through the catacombs of Paris. CLICK HERE.
THE MONKS OF MONK HALL (1844-1845) – Written by George Lippard. This eerie and macabre novel features human and supernatural menaces operating in 1842 Philadelphia. “Twin Peaks Goes To The 1840s” is how I describe this book, which was America’s best-selling novel before Uncle Tom’s Cabin. A sorcerer named Ravoni controls black magic forces including a hellish mansion called Monk Hall, in which the unspeakable occurs nightly. CLICK HERE.
NOUGHTS AND CROSSES (1891) – Written by “Q” aka Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch. A collection of short stories about witches, a cursed mirror, a beekeeper whose bees deal with his enemies and about ghosts aplenty in a variety of settings. CLICK HERE.
THE WOLF IN THE GARDEN (1931) – Written by Alfred Hoyt Bill. A werewolf tale set in upstate New York during the 1790s. An aristocrat fleeing the French Revolution turns out to be a monster who preys upon the innocent by moonlight. CLICK HERE.
IRAS (1896) – Written by Henrietta Dorothy Everett under the pseudonym Theo Douglas. Egyptologist Ralph Lavenham is contacted from beyond by a long-dead Egyptian priest named Savak. That priest directs him to a mummy in Lavenham’s possession which, when unwrapped, reveals the perfectly preserved body of the beautiful Egyptian woman Iras. She awakens from Savak’s curse and falls in love with Ralph. The couple come under attack by the magic of the dead priest. CLICK HERE.
THE WIZARD OF THE MOUNTAIN (1867) – Written by William Gilbert. Another collection of short stories, this one linked by the title character, the sorcerer Innominato. That wizard’s clients suffer terrible fates after hiring his services. Get ready for ghosts, vampires, alchemy, magic potions and a demon from Hell. CLICK HERE.
LE DIABLE AMOUREUX (THE DEVIL IN LOVE) – Written in 1772 by Jacques Cazotte. Don Alvaro, a Spanish military officer, loves to explore the dark and the forbidden. In the ruins of a castle outside Naples he inadvertently conjures up a she-devil from Hell. She calls herself Biondetta and can sprout wings from her back and fly plus magically control events so that Don Alvaro becomes a very successful gambler. She wants to lure the young man into bed with her and thereby steal his soul. CLICK HERE.
PHAROS THE EGYPTIAN (1899) – Written by Guy Boothby. An elderly Egyptian named Pharos lures a successful British artist named Cyril Forrester into helping him recover the mummy of his ancestor Ptahmes and return it to its tomb in Egypt. Naturally there is more to it than that. The mummy revives and unleashes a deadly curse upon the modern world. CLICK HERE.
THE GHOST GARDEN (1918) – Written by Amelie Rives. At a haunted plantation in Virginia the ghost of Melany Horsemanden, a beautiful but evil southern belle, seduces Evan Radford, a visiting northerner. Evan’s true love Melany Warrenger dabbles in witchcraft to be able to fight the late Horsemanden and stop her from seducing Evan into the grave . Think of it as a Gothic horror version of Twilight but with a man being fought over by two supernatural women, a ghost and a witch. CLICK HERE.
LIVING ALONE (1919) – Written by Stella Benson. I always call this novel a World War One forerunner of Bedknobs and Broomsticks. In 1918 London a young woman named Sarah Brown helps with the war effort and meets a witch who leads others of her kind in supernatural warfare with witches from the Central Powers nations. Sarah encounters imps and faeries acquainted with the British witch and witnesses the dead rising from their graves and other macabre sights. CLICK HERE.
SEAN NA SAGART (1700s) – The legend of a dark and vile man who stalked and killed priests and bishops in 1700s Ireland like a sort of 18th Century Mike Myers. This real life figure operated during Queen Anne’s persecution of Catholics, having escaped hanging for his crimes by serving as a priest-killer for the crown. CLICK HERE.