All Soul’s Night, a Collection of Ghost Stories by Hugh Walpole, 1933

 

All Soul’s Night, a Collection of Ghost Stories

Hugh Walpole, 1933

 


Midnight has come, and the great Christ Church Bell,
And many a lesser bell, sound through the room;
And it is All Souls’ Night,
And two long glasses brimmed with muscatel
Bubble upon the table. A ghost may come;
For it is a ghost’s right. . . .

– W. B. Yeats


Table of Contents

The Whistle
The Silver Mask
The Staircase
A Carnation for an Old Man
Tarnhelm; or, The Death of my Uncle Robert
Mr. Oddy
Seashore Macabre. A Moment’s Experience
Lilac
The Oldest Talland
The Little Ghost
Mrs. Lunt
Sentimental but True
Portrait in Shadow
The Snow
The Ruby Glass
Spanish Dusk

Source: All Soul’s Night, a Collection of Ghost Stories by Hugh Walpole, 1933

‘Come Prepared to Stay Forever.’ The Story of ‘Hell’s Belle’— the Female Serial Killer of Gunnes Farm

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Serial Killer, Belle Gunness—is said to have murdered 40 young men, burying their remains in a “hog lot” on her Indiana farm. (The Lineup)


One man stood trial for her presumed death…and revealed her horrifying secrets…

On April 28, 1908, Belle Gunness’ farmhouse was burned to the ground. The bodies of an adult female and Gunness’ three children were found inside. However, the adult female body has never been conclusively identified as Gunness—as the corpse was found decapitated. Gunness’ jealous former lover, Ray Lamphere, was tried for her murder, but was only found guilty of arson.

Lamphere died of tuberculosis in 1909, after serving only one year in prison. But on January 14, 1910, Reverend E.A. Schell—who had comforted the dying Lamphere—came forward with a startling confession. Lamphere told the reverend of Gunness’ crimes and that she was still alive—having killed her children and a woman that she then dressed as herself, hoping that those who found the bodies would think Gunness also perished, before setting fire to her own home. But that wasn’t the end of it: According to the Lamphere, Gunness had murdered over 40 men—baiting potential suitors with newspaper ads, and then killing them and burying their bodies in her hog pen.

Lillian de la Torre’s stunning Edgar Award finalist tells the true story of the woman who led a secret life as a serial killer in the early 20th-century Midwest.

There was a widespread burning interest in “the Gunness system” of matrimonial bait. The federal government turned a severe eye on courtship by mail, and the press published everything it could dig up on the subject. From the editor of Skandinaven, a Norwegian-language paper, newsmen extracted the text of Belle’s last ad. The indefatigable woman had opened a new campaign in March, 1908, announcing to the world:

WANTED—A WOMAN WHO owns a beautifully located and valuable farm in first class condition, wants a good and reliable man as partner in the same. Some little cash is required for which will be furnished first-class security.

This no-nonsense appeal was designed to fetch good solid farmers, and it fetched them. A Mr. Carl Peterson had been attracted. When the Gunness system became front-page news, he came forward with the come-on letter that Belle had written to him. It was dated April 14, 1908, just two weeks before the fire, and it told him crisply:

There have been other answers to the same advertisement. As many as fifty have been received. I have picked out the most respectable, and I have decided that yours is such.

My idea is to take a partner to whom I can trust everything and as we have no acquaintance ourselves I have decided that every applicant I have considered favorably must make a satisfactory deposit of cash or security. I think that is the best way for parties to keep away grafters who are always looking for such opportunities, as I have had experience with them, as I can prove.

Now if you think that you are able some way to put up $1,000 cash, we can talk matters over personally. If you cannot, is it worth while to consider? I would not care for you as a hired man, as I am tired of that and need a little rest in my home and near my children. I will close for this time.

With friendly regards,

MRS. P. S. GUNNESS

Mr. Peterson was lucky. He did not have $1,000.

Still luckier, in his own opinion, was Mr. George Anderson of Tarkio, Missouri. He had answered an earlier ad, he told the press, liked the lady’s replies, and decided to go to La Porte and look things over.

On the second day of his visit, Mrs. Gunness asked him point-blank how much money he had. He had only $300, but he had a big farm in Missouri. Belle told him to go home and sell it and come back with the cash.

That night, in the small hours, Mr. Anderson woke with a start. Mrs. Gunness was bending over his bed. When he spoke, she ran out.

Mr. Anderson took fright. On the instant he dressed and ran away. Perhaps because he felt he had made a fool of himself, he told nobody of his alarming adventure.

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Gunness and her children. (Public Domain)

Some people wondered if he should have been so very much alarmed. Ole Budsberg, they pointed out, had been perfectly safe at Belle’s—until he went home and sold out.

Then what was Belle after? Did she bring her suitors love before she brought them death? Was that the charm she used to make grown men willingly give up to her every cent they had?

Thinking of the hog lot, Mr. Anderson was still shuddering over his narrow escape. He recalled how Myrtle had looked at him as on a doomed man. “She would eye me with a pitiful look,” he recalled, “and when I glanced at her during a meal she would turn white as a sheet.”

Frank Riedinger of Delafield, Wisconsin, also went to visit Mrs. Gunness. A letter came back, not in his handwriting, to say he had decided to “go West.” When the hog lot gave up its secrets, those he left behind too quickly lost hope and sold him out. Riedinger, who had in fact left La Porte in one piece, had to sue before he could convince them that he was alive and could claim his possessions.

People all over the country were convinced that missing relatives had ended up in the hog lot. Sheriff Smutzer was pestered to death about it. When a wayward girl eloped, when a henpecked husband deserted his wife, the first thing the bereaved thought of was the Gunness farm. Inquiries poured in. Some were foolish. Others made sense. At least ten other Norwegian men, the inquiries showed, had taken their savings and gone off to La Porte, never to return. Were their bones still buried somewhere on the farm? If Smutzer kept notes on disappearing fellows that he really ought to dig for, they must have read something like this:

George Berry left home in July, 1905, saying he was going “to work for Mrs. Gunness.” He had $1,500. Provisionally identified as the second body in Gurholt’s grave in the hog lot.

Herman Konitzer took $5,000 and left home “to marry a wealthy widow in La Porte” in January, 1906. Posted one letter from La Porte.

Christian Hinkley, Chetek, Wisconsin, in the spring of 1906 sold his farm for $2,000 and left. Changed his Decorah Posten subscription to La Porte. La Porte post office testified that Mrs. Gunness received mail as Mrs. Hinkley.

Olaf Jensen, 23, Norwegian, in May, 1906, wrote to his mother in Norway that he had reflected on a matrimonial ad in Skandinaven and decided to marry the lady, a widow from Norway who lived in La Porte. Went down for a visit, returned home to turn his belongings into cash, and went back to La Porte. Never seen since.

Charles Neiburg, 28, left Philadelphia in June, 1906, saying that he was going to marry Mrs. Gunness. Took $500 in cash with him. Had a hobby of answering matrimonial ads.

Abraham Phillips, Belington, West Virginia, told relatives he was leaving to marry a rich widow in Indiana. Had a big roll of bills, a diamond ring, a Railway Trainmen badge. Disappeared in February, 1907. A railroad watch turned up in the ashes of the Gunness house.

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The headless body of an unidentified woman and the bodies of Gunness’ three children were found in Gunness’ home when it burnt to the ground. Also found was a charred railroad watch. Interestingly, one of Gunness’ victims, Abraham Phillips Belington of West Virginia, had told relatives he was leaving to “marry a rich widow in Indiana”; he took with him a big roll of bills, a diamond ring, and his Railway Trainmen badge. He disappeared in February, 1907. The watch found in the ashes is assumed to have belonged to Bellington.  (Murderpedia)

Tonnes Peter Lien saw an ad, sold his farm, and left Rushford, Minnesota, for La Porte to marry Mrs. Gunness. His brother reported that he helped to sew $1,000 in bills in the sleeve of Tonnes Peter’s coat, and asked if a heavy silver watch initialed “P. L.” had been found. It had. Since Lien left home April 2, 1907, and all burials about that time were accounted for, his body had not been found.

E. J. Thiefland of Minneapolis sought by a private detective. Described as a tall man with a sandy mustache. Saw an ad in a Minneapolis paper on August 8, 1906. Corresponded with Mrs. Gunness. On April 27, 1907, wrote to his sister saying he was going down to La Porte “to see if this lady is on the square.” Never heard of since.

Emil Tell took $5,000 in May, 1907, and left Osage City, Kansas, to marry a rich widow in La Porte. Q. Was he the man with the pointed beard seen at the Gunness place in June, 1907?

John E. Bunter of McKeesport, Pennsylvania, fifty-two, light gray hair, left saying he planned to marry a widow in Indiana. Went away on November 25, 1907. Q. Did he accompany Mrs. Gunness into Oberreich’s in December to buy a wedding ring?

S. B. Smith missing. Ring initialed S. B. found in ruins.

Paul Ames disappeared. Initials P. A. on ring found in ashes …

Sheriff Smutzer soon admitted that there needed to be more digging. By fits and starts more digging went on…

In a disused privy vault they found a detached head of a woman with long blonde hair. They never found the woman’s body that went with it, and they never found out who the woman might be.

They never found the man’s head that was missing from Gurholt’s grave.

(Source: The Lineup)


Nightmare at Murder Farm: The Story of One of America’s Most Prolific Serial Killers

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Men digging for victims’ remains in the “hog pit” on Belle Gunness’ farm. Laporte, Indiana. (Laporte Historical Society)

Children in La Porte, Indiana grow up listening to graphic horror stories about the gruesome murder’s committed by Belle Gunness on her farm at the end of McClung Road. The most disturbing part about these grisly stories is that the gory parts are not fiction. Belle Gunness (also known as Lady Bluebeard, The LaPorte Black Widow, The Mistress of Murder Farm, and Hell’s Belle) was probably one of America’s most prolific serial killers who likely killed between 25 and 30 people, including women and children, at the turn of the 20th century.

Belle’s crimes were discovered on April 28th, 1908 when authorities were called out to the Gunness farm to investigate a fire that razed the farmhouse. When officials combed through the ashes they found the remains of a headless woman and three children. The remains were thought to belong to Lucy and Myrtle Sorenson, ages 9 and 11 respectively, and Phillip Gunness, 5.

During the investigation, Asle Helgelien showed up and insisted that his brother, Andrew, had been murdered by Belle earlier that year. When investigators searched the property, they unearthed the butchered remains of at least 11 people buried near the hog pen on the farm. Crime scene photograph below, shows the remains identified to be those of Andrew Helgelien.

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The remains of Andrew Helgelien, one of Gunness’ victims, 1908. 

Rumors circulated for the next 100 years that Hell’s Belle didn’t actually die in the fire and she probably faked her death. So in 2007, forensic anthropologist Stephen Nawrocki, and a group of graduate students from the University of Indianapolis exhumed Belle Gunness’ grave at the Forest Home Cemetery in Forest Park, Illinois to see if they could positively identify her body.

When the research team exhumed Gunness’ coffin and sifted through the bones and dirt they found the bones of children comingled with Belle’s remains. This is odd because the remains of the three children recovered from the farmhouse in 1908 were buried separately. In 2008 Nawrocki and his team returned to the Chicago-area cemetery and exhumed the graves of Lucy, Myrtle, and Phillip.

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Human remains from the 1908 police investigation of the Belle Gunnes serial murders. 

The forensic team had to answer some lingering questions. Did Belle Gunness really die in the fire in 1908? Did the children’s bones, found in Belle’s coffin, belong to her children or did they belong to additional victims?

“Come prepared to stay forever.”

Belle Sorenson Gunness (November 11, 1859 – April 28, 1908) left her native Norway in 1881, at the age of 21, to travel to Chicago. She married her first husband, Mads Sorenson, three years later in 1884. The couple opened an unsuccessful confectionery store that burned down under strange circumstances almost a year later. Belle and Mads collected the insurance on the business to pay for a new home. They had two biological children that survived infancy, Myrtle (b. 1897) and Lucy (b. 1899), and one foster child, Jennie Olsen.

Mads died on July 30, 1900, coincidentally, on the only day his two life insurance policies overlapped. The first doctor to examine Mads’ body believed he suffered from strychnine poisoning. But the Sorensons’ family doctor, who had been treating him for an enlarged heart, overruled the first doctor and determined that Mads died of heart failure. Shortly after Mad’s death, Belle moved to LaPorte, IN where she purchased the 42-acre farm at the end of McClung road.

She soon met a local butcher, Peter Gunness, and they married in April 1902. One week after the marriage, Peter’s infant daughter died while Belle was watching her.Peter died less than a year when a sausage grinder and jar of hot water allegedly fell on him. In this case the coroner believed Peter had been murdered, he showed symptoms of strychnine poisoning, and ordered an inquest.

Because the Belle played a convincing widow in mourning, and there was no hard evidence to convict her, she walked away a free woman and collected on another husband’s life insurance policies. But she was pregnant at the time of Peter’s death, and in 1903 the widow gave birth to a son, Philip Gunness.

 

The La Porte Black Widow was quick to recover and put ads in the “matrimonial columns” of Midwestern Norwegian-language newspapers.

(See an actual newspaper “want add” placed by Gunness herself quoted above.)

Many men answered these ads and traveled to La Porte to meet Belle. In December of 1907, Andrew Helgelien, a bachelor farmer from Aberdeen, SD was one of these men and exchanged letters with Gunness. In January of 1908 he received a passionate letter from Belle that closed with the ominous line, “Come prepared to stay forever.” Andrew promptly emptied his bank accounts and left North Dakota to meet Belle. That was the last his family ever saw or heard from him.

Gruesome Discovery

Early in the morning on April 28th, 1908, a fire destroyed the Gunness farmhouse. When the embers cooled, town authorities found the headless body of a woman, believed to be Belle Gunness, and three of her children of Lucy and Myrtle Sorenson, and Phillip Gunness.

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Human remains such as those shown here were discovered buried in the “hog pit on the Gunness Farm in Laporte, Indiana, 1908.

Initially, investigators believed Gunness was the innocent victim of foul play, until Asle Helgelien arrived in La Porte to look for his brother, Andrew. Asle insisted his brother had met with foul play at the hands of Belle, and he insisted they needed to search the farm for his remains. Investigators soon found the dismembered bodies of at least 11 people, which included three adolescents, an infant, and a woman. One of the belonged to Belle’s foster daughter Jennie Olsen, who was last seen in 1906. The butchered body parts were found in gunny sacks buried near the hog pen.

Belle’s dentist said that if Belle’s head or dentures were found, he could positively identify her by examining her teeth. After searching the burnt out remains of the house, investigators found a piece of bridgework consisting of two human teeth, porcelain teeth, and gold crown work in between. The dentist identified them as the bridge he designed for Belle. The coroner’s inquest ruled that the headless female body found in the house belonged to Belle based on this evidence,

When authorities determined the fire was caused by arson Gunness’ farm hand, Ray Lamphere, became the prime suspect. In November 1908, Lamphere was convicted of setting the house on fire, but not of any of the murders. In January of 1910 Lamphere made a deathbed confession to a clergyman. He claimed that he didn’t kill anyone but he did help Belle dispose of the bodies. A list of Belle’s suspected victims can be found here.

Lamphere said that when a man answered an ad and came to the farm to meet Belle, she would invite her prey to dinner. During dinner she would either drug her date and hit him over the head with a meat cleaver, or poison the food with strychnine. Belle would butcher and dismember the corpse, then either feed the remains to the hogs or bury the body parts near the hog pen.

Lamphere also claimed that they traveled to Chicago a few days before the fire to find a body double for belle. They brought back a “housekeeper,” who Gunness killed and decapitated.

Since the men reported missing who visited Gunness outnumbered the bodies recovered, and since the authorities never searched the property thoroughly in 1908, many believe that that remains of many more victims were left on the property, and likely between 25 and 30 people.

Resurrection of a Killer

Many people believed that investigators mishandled and misinterpreted evidence in the early twentieth century, letting The Mistress of Murder Farm escape unscathed. Like Leatherface or Hannibal Lecter who survive to kill another day, Gunness sightings were reported for years after the fire.

The last sighting was in 1931, when a woman named Esther Carlson, who had an uncanny physical resemblance to Belle, died in Los Angeles while awaiting trial on charges she poisoned a man for his money. Not only did Carlson resemble Gunness, but she was also about the same age Belle would have been in 1931, Esther killed with Belle’s M.O., and there was no record of Carlson before 1908.

To find out if Belle and Esther were the same woman a team University of Indianapolis forensic anthropologists exhumed Belle’s coffin in November of 2007. When the coffin was opened, they were surprised to find the skeletal remains of two children comingled with the remains of a woman. The forensic team believed the mysterious remains could belong to other victims whose bones had been buried in the basement, and were carelessly scooped out of the ashes during the original investigation in 190

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Human remains found buried at Gunnes Farm, 1908.

To forensic anthropologist Stephen Nawrocki this confirmed that the initial 1908 investigations of the fire and murders were bungled. In 2008 the University of Indianapolis forensic team returned to the cemetery to exhume the graves of the three children found with Gunness’ body. They wanted to see if the three children buried in Chicago-area graves were missing the same bones found in the Gunness’ coffin. If not, it’s likely Belle killed more children than originally believed.

The family of one of Belle’s victims gave Nawrocki and his team an envelope sent from the LaPorte Black Widow to one of her suitors. Since the envelope was opened with a letter opener, it was believed that the saliva under the still-sealed envelope flap could contain DNA that the team could compare to the remains in the Gunness coffin. Nawrocki’s team also wanted to do test the DNA of the children’s bones found in the coffin to see if they were her biological offspring.

When the forensic anthropologists measured the bones they found in Gunness’ grave they found the adult remains belonged to a woman who would have stood between 5’6” and 5’9”. Since Gunness was 5’8” or 5’9”, depending on reports, she is well within this range of the bones in the coffin.

Was there a sequel? Did Hell’s Belle die in that fire on April 28th, 1908? The answer to those questions and many others seem unclear even today.

Nawrocki and the University of Indianapolis team were hoping to have DNA test results by the 100th anniversary of the fire on April 28th, 2008. But definitive answers still remained elusive.

The DNA samples on the envelope and stamp were too old to get a viable sample. At the time this article was written the results of the osteological exam of the children found in “Belle’s” coffin in 2008 were not released.

In 2008, one of Nawrocki’s students, Andrea Simmons, announced that she hoped to exhume the graves of Belle’s older sister and Esther Carlson to see if she could get a DNA match.

A version of this story was published on Atlas Obscura for their Morbid Monday series. And there are a number of affordable ebooks, some free, in Amazon.com that cover the story in varying degrees of detail.


For Reference:

Belle’s Story: The Short Version (2012). Retrieved on May 18, 2014 from:

http://www.laportelibrary.org/genealogy/bellegunness.html

Bien, K. (2011 November 14). HOMETOWN SECRETS: Mystery still surrounds 100-year-old LaPorte serial killer story. Retrieved on May 16, 2014 from: http://www.orlandosentinel.com/topic/wsbt-mystery-still-surrounds-100-year-old-laporte-serial-killer-story-20111114,0,7428674.story

Hartzell, T. (2007 November 18). Did Belle Gunness really die in LaPorte? Retrieved on May 16, 2014 from: http://articles.southbendtribune.com/2007-11-18/news/26809754_1_exhumed-three-children-dna

Kridel, K. (2008 February 17). Unlocking secrets of Indiana “murder farm.” Retrieved on May 16, 2014 from: http://seattletimes.com/html/nationworld/2004186653_farmmurders17.html

Kridel, K. (2008 May 14). Children’s remains exhumed in 100-year-old murder mystery. Retrieved on May 16, 2014 from: http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2008-05-14/news/0805130697_1_exhumed-murder-mystery-three-children

McFeely, D. (2008 January 6). DNA to help solve century-old case. Retrieved on May 18, 2014 from: http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/nation/2008-01-06-GNS-murder-me_N.htm


Additional Reading

The following links may contain images of the remains of victims of the Gunnes Farm murders that are graphic and may be offensive to some readers. Please proceed with caution…

http://murderpedia.org/female.G/g/gunness-belle-photos-3.htm

***

http://genealogytrails.com/ind/laporte/belle2.html

http://www.allday.com/this-murderess-mastermind-made-a-fortune-killing-her-children-lovers-a-2180813712.html

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2008-05-14/news/0805130697_1_exhumed-murder-mystery-three-children

http://www.allday.com/this-murderess-mastermind-made-a-fortune-killing-her-children-lovers-a-2180813712.html

 

 

 

Pandemonium: Lost Souls ed. Anne C. Perry & Jared Shurin, 2012

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Table of Contents

Pandemonium: Lost Souls • interior artwork by Vincent Sammy
13 • Introduction (Pandemonium: Lost Souls) • essay by Jared Shurin and Anne C. Perry
17 • An Experiment in Misery • (1898) • short story by Stephen Crane
29 • Quality • (1912) • short story by John Galsworthy
37 • Amanda Todd • (1898) • short fiction by Mary E. Wilkins Freeman [as by Mary Wilkins Freeman]
45 • The Professor • (1917) • short fiction by Calista Halsey Patchin
53 • The King is Dead, Long Live the King • (1928) • short story by Mary Coleridge
61 • P’r’aps • (1919) • short fiction by Charles Bayly, Jr.
67 • Ixion in Heaven • (1833) • novelette by Benjamin Disraeli
91 • The Demon Pope • (1888) • short story by Richard Garnett
103 • The Outcasts of Poker Flat • (1869) • short fiction by Bret Harte
115 • Miranda Higgins • (1885) • short fiction by William Atwell Cheney
123 • Christopherson • (1906) • short story by George Gissing
137 • Emperor Norton • (1868) • short fiction by May Wentworth
147 • The Secret of Goresthorpe Grange • (1883) • novelette by Arthur Conan Doyle [as by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle]
167 • A Butterfly in the Fog • (1919) • short fiction by Latrobe Carroll
179 • Marooned • (1917) • short fiction by Robert W. Chambers
193 • Hepaticas • (1915) • novelette by Anne Douglas Sedgwick
213 • The Prisoners • short fiction by John Reynolds
227 • The Devil’s Age • short fiction by David Bryher and Franchun Beltzarri
231 • The Four-Fifteen Express • (1866) • novelette by Amelia B. Edwards
255 • The Parrot • (1900) • short fiction by Mary E. Wilkins Freeman [as by Mary Wilkins Freeman]
265 • A Double-Dyed Deceiver • (1905) • short story by O. Henry

Lovers & Other Monsters ed. Marvin Kaye, 1992, TOC

LVRSSTRS581992Table of Contents

ix • Introduction (Lovers and Other Monsters) • essay by Marvin Kaye
3 • Journeys End • (1957) • short story by Poul Anderson
12 • Share Alike • (1953) • short story by Jerome Bixby and Joe E. Dean
24 • Teacher • short story by C. H. Sherman
33 • A Nightmare • poem by Christina Rossetti
34 • The Songs of My Young • short story by Dan Burrello
43 • Minotauress • (1991) • short story by Darrell Schweitzer
54 • A Matter of Taste • (1984) • short story by Parke Godwin
60 • The Wild Wood • (1957) • short story by Mildred Clingerman
71 • The Colonel’s Choice • (1891) • short story by Arthur Conan Doyle
82 • A Secret • short story by Julia L. Keefer
90 • Gentleman on the Top Floor • (1965) • short story by Frederick Laing
93 • Twenty-Six Men and a Girl • (1918) • short story by Максим ГорькийQuestion mark (trans. of Двадцать шесть и однаQuestion mark 1899) [as by Maxim Gorky]
107 • Ellen M’Jones Aberdeen • poem by W. S. Gilbert [as by William S. Gilbert]
111 • A Sunday in December • short story by Joan Andelman
115 • The Old Woman Who Dragged Her Husband’s Corpse • (1989) • short story by Jessica Amanda Salmonson
119 • Laura • short story by Carole Buggé
137 • Minnie Field • short fiction by E. P. Conkle
143 • The Pearl of Love • (1925) • short fiction by H. G. Wells
149 • The Strange High House in the Mist • [Dream Cycle] • (1931) • short story by H. P. Lovecraft
158 • Let No Man Dream • short story by Paula Volsky
169 • Princess • (1988) • short story by Morgan Llywelyn
173 • The Lady’s Maid’s Bell • (1902) • novelette by Edith Wharton
192 • The Satyr • short story by Toby Sanders
194 • Don Juan; or The Elixir of Long Life • short story by Honoré de Balzac (trans. of L’élixir de longue vie 1830)
213 • The Legs That Walked • (1953) • short story by Justin Dowling
220 • The Bridge to the Liver Pies • poem by Saralee Kaye [as by Saralee Terry]
222 • The Black Wench • (1985) • short story by Ray Russell
240 • The Blue Eye • short story by Guillaume Apollinaire (trans. of L’œil bleuQuestion mark 1916)
242 • The Master of Rampling Gate • (1984) • novelette by Anne Rice
258 • The Deadly Ratio • (1948) • novelette by Theodore Sturgeon (variant of It Wasn’t Syzygy)
287 • Will the Real Dennis Casper Please Stand Up? • short story by Amy Wasp-Wimberger
301 • Expedition • (1956) • short story by Fredric Brown
303 • Tripping the Light Fantastic • short story by Dan Potter
312 • The Fiend • (1964) • short story by Frederik Pohl
318 • Happy Hour • (1991) • short story by Marvin Kaye
329 • Horace, Nellie, and the Computer • poem by Richard L. Wexelblat
331 • I’m in Marsport Without Hilda • (1957) • short story by Isaac Asimov
345 • Moonflower • short story by J. Timothy Hunt
355 • The Language of Love • (1957) • short story by Robert Sheckley
369 • Berenice • (1835) • short story by Edgar Allan Poe (variant of Berenice—A Tale)
377 • A Passage in the Life of Mr. John Oakhurst • (1903) • short story by Bret Harte
396 • In the Morgue • (1923) • short story by Dashiell Hammett
399 • Himeros’s Daughter • short story by Thomas D. Sadler
408 • A-round the Corner • (1950) • short story by Josef Marais
410 • Voices in the Coalbin • (1990) • short story by Mary Higgins Clark
419 • The Maiden • (1947) • short story by Ray Bradbury
421 • A Thing of Beauty • (1963) • short story by Wallace West
428 • The Douglas Tragedy • poem by Anonymous
431 • The Permanent Stiletto • (1889) • short story by W. C. Morrow
442 • In the Shadows of My Fear • (1988) • short story by Joan Vander Putten
449 • Blue Eyes • (1919) • short story by Maurice Level (trans. of ” Mes yeux ” 1904)
455 • The Lady and the Tiger • (1948) • novelette by Jack Moffitt
487 • Selected Bibliography and Filmography • essay by uu

Gallery

“The Soul of Marse Ralph”—A Ghostly Tale by Mary A. P. Stansbury, 1890

The Sanguine Woods

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The Soul of Marse Ralph

Mary A. P. Stansbury, 1890


First published in The New England Magazine, November 1890.


Revisiting Black Point after an interval of several years, I found that  little seaside hamlet no longer an “undiscovered country.” The familiar path to the cliffs wound past a hotel of considerable architectural pretensions, a row of smart cottages overlooked the blue waters of the bay, and our own dear, old-fashioned boarding-house had thrust out sundry awkward additions, protruding like the arms of a growing boy from the sleeves of his last year’s jacket.

But the sea, — the sea was the same! The tide ran up the gray sands in the old shining ripples, the little white-breasted sandpipers alternately advancing and retreating before it, and beyond, along the surf-beach, the splendid breakers came racing in shore, tossing their white crests in defiance of human curbing.

A crowd of bathers, in…

View original post 3,279 more words

“Crawling Madness”, a Horror Novella by Arthur Leo Zagat, 1935

 

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Art by Michael Klimzak.

(First published in the March 1935 edition of ‘Terror Tales’ magazine.)

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The men who were to have helped Ann Travers and her injured, helpless husband had driven madly away, fear’s clutching fingers at their throats. Now Ann was alone on the desert—alone with him of the gaunt, Satanic features, and with the crawling horrors that slithered up from the grey moonlight to feed on human flesh!…


Table of Contents

I. Terror On The Highway
II. The Crawlers
III. The Whip
IV. Where Horror Fed
V. Despair Underground
VI. The Crawlers Close In


I

Terror on the Highway


 

Ann Travers awoke with a start. She lifted her head from the rough tweed of Bob’s overcoat shoulder and looked dazedly around. The roadster’s motor still thrummed the monotonous song that seldom had been out of her ears in the long week since they had left New York. Her husband’s blunt-fingered, capable hands still gripped the steering wheel, The desert still spread—bare, utterly lifeless—from horizon to horizon; and running interminably under the hood there were still the two faint ruts in the sand which the thin-lipped filling-station attendant in Axton had pointed out as the road to Deadhope. Yet Ann was uneasy, oppressed, aware of a creeping chill in her bones that matched the anomalous chill of the desert night.

“Awake, hon?” Bob broke the silence. “We’re almost there. Not much over a mile more.”

Ann’s lips smiled, but her weary eyes were humorless. “I don’t believe it. This trip is never going to end. We’re going on and on…”

“Wrong again. A mere five thousand feet from here, the gang I sent ahead to get things ready is waiting to greet their boss—Mrs. Travers.”

How Bob loved to mouth that title. She hadn’t gotten used to it yet—one doesn’t identify a new name with oneself in a week…

All at once now, Ann realized what change had occurred to weigh her down with vague fear since she had drifted off to sleep. The stars that had been close and friendly, their myriads a vast, coruscating splendor in the velvety black bowl of the heavens, now were pale, infinitely distant in a sky suffused with heatless, silvery radiance, forerunner of a not-yet-risen moon. The spectral luminance sifted down to paint the undulating, gaunt plain with weird mystery, and long flat shadows of mesquite bush and cactus barred the vibrant glow with a network strangely ominous.

Bob leaned forward, flicked a switch on the dashboard. The headlights boring the night dimmed. “Save battery,” he muttered, in explanation. Then, grinning, “Show my employer how economical her mine-superintendent can be.”

Ann twisted to him. “Bob! I don’t want to hear that sort of talk any longer. The silver mine Uncle Horvay left is as much yours as mine. More, because it’s just so much dirt except for your wonderful process. There hasn’t been anything taken out of it for years.”

The man threw an arm up in mock defense against her vehemence. “All right. All right. I’ll be good. Give me a kiss.”

Even while Bob’s lips clung warmly to hers, Ann’s eyes strayed past him. Ahead, the horizon was close, much too close, as if the road ended abruptly in a vast uncanny nothingness. It was just the crest of a rise, she told herself fiercely; but she could not rid herself of the eerie sensation that they were plunging on to a jumping-off place, a Land’s End over which the car would hurtle to fall eternally into some abysmal chasm.

Under the steady thrum of the roadster and the sough of its tires there was a hissing sound, like the breathing of some unseen monster. It was the whispering of countless grains of sand sifted along the desert by the wind, but it added to the spine-prickling certainty of impending disaster in Ann’s mind. This strange, grim land resented their intrusion, their intention to reopen the old wounds in its bosom that long ago had healed. Once before it had lured men with false promise into its deadly gullet, had spewed them out broken in pocket and health, grey with the patina of defeat. Now it was warning them to turn back—before it was too late.

Ann started at a new sound that filled her ears. It was a roaring from ahead, from the secret region beyond the ridge-crest. It was the thunder of an approaching engine, a ponderous engine plunging through moon-hazed night at breakneck speed.

The tremendous apparition on that too-close skyline was startling despite the trumpeted warning of its approach. The huge truck lurched over the ridge, careened down the road, hurtled straight at them. Bob’s horn blared raucous warning. Ann glimpsed his pallid, lined face, his blanched hands fighting the wheel. The truck blasted down upon them like a juggernaut, an avalanche of destruction. Ann screamed…

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Southern Spookery

bellNice!

It’s that time of year again, when we embrace all the cobwebs, adorn our homes with skeletons and decorative gourds, and channel our inner granny witches. That’s right, the spooky season is upon us, and in celebration we thought we’d tell you about some Halloween-appropriate Southern men, women and monsters. The South is known for its many storytelling traditions, as well as its inherent spookiness, so it’s no surprise that the two should combine into some scary folktales and stories. Scout’s been bookmarking spooky Southern tales for the past couple months (thanks, Lore!) just to bring them to you in this most ghoulish of holiday seasons. The four creatures that follow are all purported to be real by some party or another. We may be skeptical, but where’s the fun in that? So put on this playlist, paint the ceiling of your porch blue, turn down…

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The “Headless Horror”—The Mysterious Murder of Pearl Bryan, Fort Thomas, Kentucky, 1896


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pearl bryanTable of Contents

The Mysterious Murder of Pearl Bryan

The History of the Tragedy

Pearl Bryan’s headless remains buried at Greencastle

The Trial of Scott Jackson


 The Mysterious Murder of Pearl Bryan


fancyfort Thomas, Kentucky, is most beautifully located near the banks of the Ohio river, on the Highlands, just above and on the opposite side from Cincinnati, Ohio. Although a comparatively new U. S. Military Post, it has long been a historical point, and in the early days of the Corncracker State, and while yet a portion of the County of Kentucky in the State of Virginia, was the home of the red men. There are persons yet living whose parents fought bloody battles with the Indians on the ground now occupied as a U. S. Fort, and that adjacent thereto; a picturesque portion of which is the scene of this true narrative of one of the most terrible tragedies of the nineteenth Century.

The tragedy referred to was committed at the dead of night in a lonely spot near the Fort, January 31st, 1896.

By the manner in which it was committed, it re-called the days of old, when tyrants beheaded their victims, and the murderer at heart, who was yet too cowardly to commit the deed, hired some one to do it, requiring in evidence that the deed had been done, that the head should be severed from the body and returned to the employer.

To re-call such deeds of horror to the minds of the people of a highly civilized nation at the close of the nineteenth Century by the actual commission of a similar deed, struck horror to the hearts of the people, and they were worked up to a pitch that had never been witnessed in this country before. Telephones and telegraph were called into service, and the finding of the headless body of a young and doubtless beautiful woman in a sequestered spot near Fort Thomas, was flashed around the world. So shocked was the country over this ghastly find that the metropolitan papers from one end of this country to the other informed their representatives in the Queen City to wire full particulars of the horrible deed, without any limit to the words to be used.

It was the most diabolical cold-blooded premeditated outrage ever committed in a civilized community. The entire surrounding country, including the three cities, Cincinnati, OH, Covington and Newport, KY, were startled from center to circumference and aroused as it never had been before. The Sixth Regiment U. S. Infantry, commanded by Col. Cochran, which is stationed at Fort Thomas, was astounded that such an outrage should be committed almost within the guard lines of the Fort. Aged and battle-scarred veterans who had gone through the great civil war, only a generation before, when brother stood in battle array against brother, father against son, neighbor against neighbor, flocked to the spot where the headless body lay, and stood with blanched faces, struck dumb with amazement, at the boldness of the deed and horrible manner in which it had been committed.

In an old orchard in the confines proper of the Fort, about midway between the Highland and Alexandria pikes, on the farm of James Lock, and near the fence which acts as a boundary line for Mr. Lock’s farm, was found by James Hewling, a young man, on Saturday morning, Feb. 1., 1896, the decapitated body of a young woman of Venus-like form, the headless body lying with the neck in a pool of blood.

From the position of the body it was evident that the woman had been thrown down violently and then her head deliberately severed with a dull knife. The severance was made below the fifth vertebra. Judging by the pool of blood, life had been extinct from four to eight hours when the body was found.

The clothing of the woman was of poor quality. The dress was light blue and white, small pattern check, of cotton, worn tight across the back and loose in front. She also wore a dark blue skirt and a union suit of underwear. On her hands was a pair of tan kid gloves, well worn. The black, cloth-topped shoes were of fine quality, in contrast to the other clothing, and were marked within “Louis & Hays, Greencastle, Ind., 22-11. 62,458.” Her stockings were black and blue, new. The rubbers were old and worn at the heels. The corset had evidently been ripped open and torn from her body during a struggle which took place near where it was found. Close by was a piece of the dress, also with blood on it.

In an almost incredible short time after Hewling gave the alarm, the soldiers from the Fort, the citizens surrounding it, and hundreds from the city near-by gathered at the spot and were awe stricken by the sight which met their eyes.

Who was the murdered woman and who could have committed the horrible atrocity? These were questions which were on the lips of every one, and for the answer of which a most thorough and searching investigation was at once begun. The best detective talent was immediately put to work. The people were thoroughly aroused and determined upon having the headless body identified and the cruel, heartless murderer or murderers brought to swift justice.

Leaving the investigation of the deed, we will now go with the reader to a happy home of a happy family, ranking among the oldest and best connected families in the state of Indiana, and living on the father’s farm near Greencastle, Putnam County, Indiana. Alexander S. Bryan, and his wife who had lived to honorable old age, respected and loved by all who knew them, owned this happy home and were the parents of twelve children, of which at the time of this writing, seven were living, Pearl being the youngest, of a fine, voluptuous form, with a sweet, lovely disposition and manners, popular with all who were acquainted with her, cheerful and happy at all times and was first entering her twenty-second year. The Bryan family, taking all the relations into account, is the largest in the state of Indiana, and its standing of the very highest.

Pearl the baby of the family, petted and feted, had graduated from the Greencastle High School in 1892, with the highest honors and was the special favorite of her graduating class. Beautiful in form and features, highly accomplished, well educated, with a doting father and mother, well provided with this world’s goods, and with whom she was a favorite daughter, Pearl Bryan had much to live for.

From the time she left school, aye, even before her graduating year arrived, she had many admirers, and to look on her was to love, to love was to lose. She counted her admirers by the score, but to none did she give her heart, or encourage them in any serious intentions. She was liked by all, but while she was of a lovable, affectionate disposition, she allowed none to go beyond the line of admiration, and cupid’s swift and seldom erring shafts, fell harmless by her side.

Three long years had passed since Pearl had bade “good bye” to her studies in the Greencastle High School, and although a leader in society, a guest of honor where-ever she visited, none of her ardent admirers had made a deeper impression upon her, and her heart was still her own. Men of high moral character, well supplied with this world’s goods and standing well in business and social circles, would have eagerly jumped at the opportunity to claim her as their wife. Their protestations of love however seemed to have no affect upon the mind or heart of Miss Pearl Bryan.

Money and position did not have any effect upon her favors, the young man, struggling hard to make his way in life, was as graciously received and as well treated by her as the young swell, rolling in luxury and wealth.

Will Wood, a second cousin of Pearl Bryan, was one of her ardent admirers, but was treated as one of the family and in no sense as a lover. He was treated rather as a favorite brother by Miss Pearl, who made a confidant of him. Wood’s father who was a good old Minister lived only a half mile distant from the Bryan’s, and Will spent much of his time at Pearl’s home, and was in her company a great deal. Nothing was thought of this, at the time, although evil tongues wagged rapidly afterwards, and many were ready to lay at the door of Will Wood in less than a year thereafter, direct connection and complicity with a crime unparallelled in the criminal history of the Nineteenth Century.

Along in the latter part of 1894, Scott Jackson with his mother moved to Greencastle, Ind., from Jersey City, N. J. One of Mrs. Jackson’s daughters, the wife of Dr. Edwin Post, of Depauw University, had lived at Greencastle for many years, and Mrs. Jackson moved there to get near her daughter. Scott Jackson belonged to a good family, his father being Commodore Jackson, who commanded many vessels and who stood high in social circles in New Jersey. Scott cut quite a prominent figure in both the social and business world. He went to Jersey City with splendid recommendations. His career there was considerably checkered however, and he only escaped a long sentence to the penitentiary, which his partner Alexander Letts is now serving, by turning State’s evidence in a case of embezzlement in which Jackson and Letts had embezzled a large amount, said to have been $32,000 from the Pennsylvania Railroad Company.

Jackson and Letts, it appears, obtained employment of the Pennsylvania Railroad company, in the Jersey City offices. One of Jackson’s duties was to receive and open the mails.

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Chamber of Horrors: Great Tales of Terror and the Supernatural, Table of Contents

CHMBRFHRRR1984Table of Contents

9 • Wood • (1976) • novelette by Robert Aickman
28 • The Bird • (1916) • short story by Thomas Burke
34 • A Thing About Machines • (1961) • short story by Rod Serling
51 • A Woman Seldom Found • (1956) • short story by William Sansom
54 • The Squaw • (1893) • short story by Bram Stoker
64 • The Cloth of Madness • (1920) • novelette by Seabury Quinn
83 • The Sea-Raiders • (1896) • short story by H. G. Wells
91 • The Dunwich Horror • [Cthulhu Mythos] • (1929) • novelette by H. P. Lovecraft
125 • Dad • (1976) • short story by John Blackburn
129 • The Cold Embrace • (1862) • short story by Mary Elizabeth Braddon [as by Miss Braddon]
137 • Royal Jelly • (1959) • novelette by Roald Dahl
158 • The Boarded Window • (1889) • short story by Ambrose Bierce
162 • Earth to Earth • (1955) • short story by Robert Graves
166 • A Warning to the Curious • (1925) • short story by M. R. James
179 • The Night of the Tiger • (1978) • short story by Stephen King
190 • The Interruption • (1925) • short story by W. W. Jacobs
200 • Back from the Grave • (1958) • short story by Robert Silverberg
210 • The Derelict • (1912) • novelette by William Hope Hodgson
230 • Vendetta • (1923) • short story by Guy de Maupassant (trans. of Une vendetta 1883)
234 • Edifice Complex • (1958) • short story by Robert Bloch
242 • The Red Lodge • (1928) • short story by H. Russell Wakefield
252 • Mary Postgate • (1915) • short story by Rudyard Kipling
264 • The Cradle Demon • (1978) • short story by R. Chetwynd-Hayes
270 • The Horror of Abbot’s Grange • (1936) • short story by Frederick Cowles
283 • Sredni Vashtar • (1911) • short story by Saki
287 • The Wall • (1976) • short story by Robert Haining
296 • An Account of Some Strange Disturbances in Aungier Street • (1853) • novelette by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu [as by J. Sheridan Le Fanu]
313 • The Whining • (1974) • short story by Ramsey Campbell
319 • Berenice • (1835) • short story by Edgar Allan Poe (variant of Berenice—A Tale)
326 • The Finless Death • (1921) • short story by R. E. Vernède
335 • And the Dead Spake • (1922) • short story by E. F. Benson (variant of “And the Dead Spake …”)