Great Ghost Stories
Selected and illustrated by Barry Moser
Finished: Nov. 10, 2007
Reason for Reading: With all the bloggers reading short stories for RIP II and Short Story Mondays I decided I'd like to read some stories too. I've been reading a story here and there from this volume since October.
First Published: 1998
Comments: This is a rather mediocre collection of stories. Each story features a ghost while some are spooky others are humourous. Only three of the thirteen tales really stood out for me and they are all by authors I have previously enjoyed reading: E. Nesbit, Madeleine L'Engle and Bram Stoker. The following is a brief synapses of each story without spoilers.
1. The Monkey's Paw by W.W. Jacobs - A mummified monkey's paw brings the owner three wishes, but be careful what you wish for.
2. Samantha and the Ghost by Phillipa Pearce - A cute but slightly eerie story of a ghost who haunts an apple tree and the little girl who can see him.
3. The Red Room by H.G. Wells - A man agrees to spend the night in a room of an old house from which no one has ever exited both alive and sane. I just didn't get this one at all.
4. Poor Little Saturday by Madeleine L'Engle- A boy suffering with malaria meets a little girl on the grounds of an old deserted plantation house. There he meets a beautiful, mystic woman and her menagerie. This was an intriguing story that I wished was much longer.
5. How It Happened by Arthur Conan Doyle - A very short story of a man driving home whose automobile goes out of control and crashes.
6. Man-Size in Marble by E. Nesbit - A newlywed couple lead an idyllic three months of wedded bliss and then they learn their cottage has a sinister background. I loved this one! This is the first thing by Nesbit I've read that wasn't a children's story.
7. The Ghost by Catherine Wells - Very atmospheric story of a little girl sick in bed who sees a horrid vision in her room.
8. Polly Vaughn retold by Barry Moser - A man accidentally shoots his fiance days before the wedding. He is arrested and let's just say, true love lasts 'til the end.
9. The Music of Erich Zann by H.P. Lovecraft - A man hears strange music coming from an upper floor apartment in his building. This was very boring.
10. The Judge's House by Bram Stoker - A young man is studying for his exams and he rents a house in a small town so he can study in peace. Upon arrival he finds out that the house has been unoccupied for a century because an evil Judge once lived there and no one local would dare spend the night. Of course, our young man finds out exactly what goes on in the house his first night there. This story is wonderful and miles above the previous stories. I've got three stories left, but this will probably be my favourite in this collection. Very atmospheric and creepy. Wonderful writing and makes me want to read more of Stoker's short stories.
11. Dead Aaron retold by James Haskins - Very short but humourous story of a man who dies but decides he doesn't want to be dead and causes his widow trouble.
12. The Ghost Ship by Richard Middleton - Another humourous story. Set in the most ghost-some town in England where there as many ghosts and people. One night after a bad storm a ghost ship is blown into town and sets up anchor in a local farmer's turnip field. The ship's captain has the finest rum in creation and all the ghostly young men start to visit him each evening and cause disturbances.
13. The Others by Joyce Carol Oates - Rather strange tale of a man who suddenly starts seeing dead people he once knew walking around his city.