Encyclopedia Phantasmagoria

Guide to the Fontana Ghost, Horror & Tales of Terror series’.

Abney – Atkins

Posted by demonik on May 22, 2007

William Abney – The Matinee : An actress returns to the theatre where she enjoyed her greatest successes with the Walter Birch Players and is delighted to discover that tonight’s performance is a melodrama, Love From A Stranger, which she remembers well from her days of treading the boards. But then she had to give it up after that nasty business on the last night. (Ghost 12)

Bill Adams – Posted Missing (Sea Terror)

Robert Aickman – The Trains (Ghost 1)

Robert Aickman – The Inner Room (Ghost 2)

Richard Aickman – The Visiting Star (Ghost 3)

Robert Aickman – The Swords (Ghost 5)

Robert Aickman – The Cicerones (Ghost 7)

Robert Aickman – Meeting Mr. Millar (Ghost 8 )

Robert Aickman – No Stronger Than A Flower: As Curtis and Nesta prepare for their marriage, he begins pressurising her to do something about her appearance, not for him you understand but for Nesta who has a habit of drifting into the background at social engagements. Shortly after they wed, she answers an advertisement in Flame magazine and arranges an appointment with Mrs. de Milo. What transpires at their meeting we’re never told but from that day forth Nesta is a changed woman. First its her hair, then she becomes preoccupied with her fingernails (prompting a rage of disgust from her husband when she paints them: “It makes me sick … it’s hideous. Besides, it’s vulgar”), then she takes to dressing ostentatiously, wearing veiled hats at all times until all he can see of her is her lips. Funny how he never realised how sensual they were before. When he attempts to kiss her (they’ve always kept separate rooms) she rakes his face with the nails she’s been so religiously filing not out of vanity but to keep them down. She unveils and walks out on him forever.

OK, Vault members who’ve been to university or college or something; what was all that about? Is Nesta a ghost? A manifestation of Curtis’s unfulfilled sexual desire? Death? (Horror 1)

Joan Aiken – Marmalade Wine: Journalist and would-be legendary poet Roger Hacker is walking through a beautiful woodland glade when he meets the reclusive Sir Francis Deeking, a master surgeon recently in the news for reasons Hacker can’t recall. Deeking invites him to sample his home made wine and, feeling inferior in the shadow of the great man’s achievements, Hacker boasts that he has his own special gift – he can predict the future. When he correctly guesses the winner of the afternoon’s race meeting at Manchester, Deeking sees pound signs flashing before his eyes. Hacker, who won’t be walking home any time soon, awakens from his drug-induced slumber having finally remembered why his host had made the headlines …. (Horror 1)

Joan Aiken – As Gay As Cheese: Mr. Pol the barber has a unique gift. Merely by laying his hands on a customer’s head he can tell all there is to know about them, what they’ve done and what they’ll go on to do. Living in a small Cornish town the potential horror of it all rarely troubles him as the transgressions of this clients are invariably mundane … until the angry, overbearing Brian and his timid wife Fanny travel down on the night train from Paddington.(Horror 2)

A. J. Alan – The Dream: Alan relates the minutiae of his recurring dream in which he enters a room where some kind of get-together is taking place. All but one of those gathered are men. The single woman, evidently the hostess, is an elegant beauty and each time she’s engaged in conversation with a different bloke. Alan notes that whoever the lucky fellow is on a given night, he never reappears in the subsequent installments. And then there’s the empty chair. It’s always offered to him but he refuses, preferring to stand (he has his reasons). Comes the night he recognises one of the guests … (Ghost 3)

Ken Alden – Old Shadows: Grange Park is reputedly haunted by Nann, a black and white collie whose owner, a little boy, died when he fell from an Oak tree. The spectral dog saves the narrator’s sister when she falls in the pond, but its not all good news. There’s a second spook, “the vision of a middle-aged man who stood in the Nursery doorway and silently screamed” – a phantom from the future. (Ghost 13)

Ken Alden – The Warrior’s Return: John’s return home from hospital via a Japanese POW camp was never going to be painless, but this is even worse than wife Marjorie could have feared. Their little boy Michael notes his dad’s unfortunate resemblence to Lon Chaney in Phantom of the Opera and legs it while Marjorie desperately tries to communicate with the soulless thing in the chair. A dead man walking if ever there was. (Horror 13)

Brian Aldiss – A Pleasure Shared: “Public houses are the inventions of the devil, Mrs. Meacher”. A Saint in his own mind, Mr. Cream is fastidious to a fault due to his strict upbringing and there’s not a day goes by he doesn’t thank his parents for instilling in him a strong streak of self-discipline. Indeed, loose women so annoy him that he invites them back to his lodgings for a damn good throttling. When Flossie Meacher stabs a fellow tenant after he makes drunken advances toward her, she turns to Cream to help her dispose of the body, pointing out that she’s just seen Miss Colgrave’s corpse propped up in his room. (London Terror)

Brian W. Aldiss – Heresies Of The Huge God (Terror From Outer Space)

Eric Ambrose – Carlton’s Father (Ghost 4)

Kingsley Amis – Something Strange (Horror 2)

Anon – The Mysterious Stranger: Often cited as an influence on Dracula, and the early scenes, notably an attack by wolves, the setting (Carpathian Mountains) and the vampire count (Azzo Von Klakta in this case) suggest it’s not improbable that Stoker had some familiarity with it. The explanation for the hero Woislaw’s prodigious strength – which is such that Azzo mistakes him for one of his own kind – is just one example of what makes this story a cherished Victorian gem. (Ghost 5)

Anonymous – Not Yet Solved (Ghost 13)

Anonymous – The Sutor of Selkirk (Ghost 14)

Anonymous – The Dead Man Of Varley Grange: Westernshire. When young Henderson takes over the Grange, he unwisely invites eight friends to spend the Christmas holiday with him. Prior to his arrival the property had remained vacant for years due to the dreadful family curse as it is reputed that, some centuries ago, Captain Varley murdered his sister after she fled the Convent and ran off with her lover. Now their phantoms stalk the Grange and if you’re unfortunate enough to see the dead nun’s face you die within the year! (Ghost 15)

Anonymous – In The Slaughteryard: Mr. Horace Jeafferson, fearless member of the Adventurers Club, relates his exploits of the previous evening when he found himself at the Melmouth Brothers’ slaughteryard in Whitechapel. This being 1888, you’ll possibly have guessed which famous murderer he encounters, though you may be surprised to learn that the man who evaded the massive police presence was a slobbering leper. Fantastic mockerney dialogue, notably from the old night-watchman, and the heroic young bobby’s dying speech is another bonus. (Horror 15)

Anonymous – A Tale Of A Gaslight Ghost: Gregory Barnstake comes to live in the little farming village at Mappleton and is soon the subject of local gossip due to his refusal to talk to anyone bar the doctor, with whom he trades the occasional insult. Finally he’s forced into socialising with the herd when the village is scheduled for demolition to make way for a railway line. He surprises everyone at Seven Stars by bringing along a guest – a very odd chap with two fingers missing who professes to read the future. The strangest thing – nobody saw him enter the room!
The discovery of a skeleton in a local lake at approximately the moment Barnstake dies of fright sheds some light on the mystery.
  (Gaslight Terror)

Margot Arnold – Brain Drain: Widow Mr. Parsons takes a job at the library and is immediately struck by the unhealthy, apathetic demeanor of her zombie-like colleagues. Before long, she too is rapidly being drained of her vitality. All those great books require something back. (Frighteners 2)

Margot Arnold – Acid Test: Mrs. Waddell solves the tricky problem of how to dispose of her husbands remains when she blags a job assisting Dr. Globbi at the museum. The feted anthropologist is using acid to dissolve the rock fragments from a recently discovered ape-man. (Horror 10)

Robert Arthur – Footsteps Invisible: Times Square. Blind newspaper vendor Jorman has a highly developed sense of hearing and can identify people by their footsteps. One rainy night he gets talking to the English archaeologist Sir Andrew Carraden, a man with a guilty secret from his time in Egypt excavating the tomb of Tut-Ankh-Tothet. The ghastly guardian has pursued him relentlessly across the globe and he’s seen what it can do to a guard dog …. (Ghost 11)

John Atkins – The Diary Of William Carpenter (Ghost 20)

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