As Halloween Month rolls along, Balladeer’s Blog takes a look at two horror stories written by Nathaniel Hawthorne’s son, Julian.
THE UNSEEN MAN’S STORY (1893) – A needlessly neglected mummy tale. At age twenty-eight, a Frenchman named Carigliano arrives in Egypt on assignment from the French government. He has studied Egyptology and is thrilled with his placement.
Gradually, dreams and waking visions propel him to investigate around Thebes. Once there, he discovers the previously unviolated tomb of Queen Amunuhet. Throughout the tomb’s halls and chambers he encounters reanimated mummies which stalk him, intent on killing him. Continue reading
Halloween Month moved another notch today. Balladeer’s Blog continues its month-long celebration with a look at another neglected gem of horror fiction.
LA VILLE-VAMPIRE (City of Vampires) 1867 – Written by the accomplished and prolific Paul Feval, it’s Village of Vampires, or City of Vampires or, if you prefer, Vampire City (Wham, bam, thank you ma’am! Va- va- va- Vampire CIT-EEE! … Had to be said.)
Paul Feval’s heroine in this story is the young Ann Ward, who went on to be Ann Radcliffe, pioneer of Gothic Horror through such works as The Mysteries of Udolpho and The Italian. Ann’s friends Cornelia de Witt and Ned Barton depart for the continent with their new acquaintance Otto Goetzi.
Goetzi turns out to be a vampire who lures Cornelia and Ned deeper and deeper into a trap. Back in England, Ann Ward deduces all this from odd letters that she receives from her friends and from horrific premonitions which come to her in nightmares.
Ann and a much older family servant called Grey Jack cross the English Channel to come to the rescue of Ann’s friends. Soon the trail leads to Belgrade and then to a dismal city called Selene by outsiders but known as the Sepulchre to its inhabitants, all of whom are vampires. Continue reading
CARMILLA (1871) – By Sheridan Le Fanu. Balladeer’s Blog’s month-long celebration of Halloween continues. I would have thought that the classic vampire story Carmilla would be too well known for me to have to cover it. I’m surprised at how many people I encounter who are not familiar with the original story, however, just some of the adaptations. SPOILERS AHEAD!
The vampire Carmilla is really the presumably long-dead Countess Mircalla Karnstein. She fell in love with Laura, the heroine of the story, when Laura was six, so she spared her. As the story begins Laura has turned eighteen, so Carmilla considers her ripe for seduction. The vampire plans to spend eternity with our teenage heroine, in the now-routine element of vampire tales.
A nice novelty is that Carmilla turns into a cat instead of a bat, but otherwise the 200 year-old vampress’ pursuit of Laura followed the usual pattern: “Sickness” strikes dead several girls in the Austrian town near the castle where Laura lives with her father. Eventually she herself begins to show lesser versions of the mysterious illness’ symptoms. Continue reading