Encyclopedia Phantasmagoria

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

Gaskell – Hunt

Posted by demonik on May 22, 2007

Mrs. Gaskell – The Old Nurses Story (Ghost 1)

Theophile Gautier – Clarimonde (Ghost 6)

G. B. S. – The Whittakers Ghost (Ghost 11)

William Gerhardi – The Man Who Came Back: Gentle ghost story of a dying old timer who can’t bear to think of being separated from his library and imagines the afterlife as an inexhaustible supply of great books and time enough to read them. (Ghost 3)

‘The Gibsons‘ – Justice: From my, admittedly limited, reading I gather that the short-short story is widely held to be the most difficult to pull off. In this grim 200-worder, Abel finds himself lost on an open moor with no idea how he got there. He’s not frightened as, being a God-fearing man, he knows that, if there’s any justice, the forces of evil can’t harm him … (Ghost 11)

Charlotte Perkins Gilman – The Yellow Wallpaper (Horror 9)

Jose Maria Gironella – The Death Of The Sea (Sea Terror)

Terry Gisbourne – The Quiet Man: Good-natured Northerner Jack Prince and his wife Elsie move into Gibbet Terrace in Chingford and set up a small business. All would be well were it not for loathsome neighbours the Witlows, who deliberately make their lives unbearable until Jack is obliged to pay them for some peace and quiet. When they begin taunting him by making farmyard noises at the top of their voices, Jack falls back on his professional skills to shut them up for good. (Frighteners)

Catherine Gleason – Friends: Brendon’s popularity amongst his work colleagues is due in no small part to his giving them the use of his flat to conduct their sex lives. He’s astonished – and delighted – when the office loner approaches him and requests use of it: Malochie rarely exchanges a word with anyone. Thinking him a shy introvert, Brendon invites him along to one of his parties where Malochie surprises everyone by chatting up young Mary who’d previously shown no liking for him whatsoever. The unlikely pair go missing, presumed eloped, some weeks later along with Brendon’s trunk. Then her dismembered body is found … (Frighteners 2)

Catherine Gleason – A Question Of Conscience: Pits an idealistic hippy student versus his rich, reactionary uncle, a man given to bullying and blood-sports. I think we’re supposed to sympathise with Mr. Flower Power in this one. (Horror 11)

John B. L. Goodwin – The Cocoon: Butterfly obsessive Danny Longwood, eleven, hides away in his room tending his smelly collection of caterpillars and pupae like a mad scientist. His father, a retired explorer of note and doesn’t he let everyone know it, neglects him and his mother ran off five years ago so he’s left to his own devices for the most part. When his father refuses to lend him his enormous cigar bowl, Danny has no alternative but to dispose of his prize find – a huge mutant moth with crab and mouth-like simulacra on its wings. But the cyanide jar fails to kill it …. (Horror 6)

Winston Graham – The Basket Chair: Convalescing after a heart attack, the invalid war hero Julien Whiteleaf moves in with his niece Agatha and her genial husband Roy. Whiteleaf has a reputation as a fair-minded, level headed spokesman for various paranormal investigation societies “with long names and short membership lists” and finds much of interest in a chair Agatha purchased from a grand old house down Swindon way. Agatha dutifully finds out what she can about the seemingly haunted chair’s origins and there is indeed a grim history. Captain Covent was hideously disfigured during the Battle of the Somme and, on learning of his wife’s infidelity, he tied her to a chair and watched her starve to death before cutting his throat. Whiteleaf notes in his diary: “I wonder if this chair, this basket chair was the one Captain Covent sat in? Or was it hers?” He doesn’t have long to wait to find out. But are things quite as they appear? (Horror 7)

Robert Graves – Earth To Earth: Brixham, South Devon during World War II. Elsie and Roland Hedges become disciples of Dr. Eugene Steinpilz who has developed a revolutionary bacteria to reduce even the most stubborn household waste to rich compost. They get a little carried away … (Horror 6)

Graham Greene – The End Of The Party (Horror 6)

Graham Greene – A Little Place Off The Edgware Road: North West London, 1939. Craven passes an afternoon in the decrepit little theatre in Culpar Road. Although there are no more than twenty people in the audience, a stranger takes the seat next to him and sporadically interrupts the film with a commentary on the Bayswater murder, a subject about which he seems worryingly well informed. When his hand brushes against Cravens it is wet and sticky. After the film, Craven telephones the police. They already have the killer in custody, but the victim has disappeared. (London Terror)

Stephen Grendon (August Derleth) – Mrs. Manifold (London Terror)

Alan Griff – The House Of Desolation (Ghost 11)

Jack Griffith – Black Goddess (Welsh Terror)

Davis Grubb – Where The Woodbine Twineth (Ghost 7)

Peter Hackett – The Woman In Black: Jeffrey Layne , commuting home from Fenchurch Street to Southend, awakens from his nap to find a waxwork-like woman in widows weeds sitting across from him in the carriage. Ruffled, he tries to engage his fellow passenger in conversation but the only words he gets from her are the hardly reassuring “He … lost …. his … head.” And then she vanishes.
Badly shaken, he abandons his journey at Chalkwell Station where the ticket collector offers tea, sympathy and the tragic history of Clara Bowman …
(Ghost 11)

Robert Haining – The Vigil (Horror 14)

John Halkin – Bobby: Brack is badly injured in a motorway accident having swerved to avoid the big, stupid child’s face that suddenly loomed up in the windshield. When he learns that others have suffered the same experience, Brack determines to find the boy. A variation on an urban legend, Halkin devises a clever explanation as to the how’s and why’s of the haunting. (Horror 11)

Willis Hall – Waking Or Sleeping (Horror 17)

Knut Hamsun – An Apparition (European Terror)

James Hanley – Fog (Sea Terror)

Roy Harrison – The Cockroaches
: Occultist Borynski does away with his impossible neighbours the drunken, proto-chav O’Hallorans by unleashing an army of roaches on ‘em. What little is left of the couple is enough to make an experienced police officer throw up. (Frighteners 2)

Roy Harrison – The Frogwood Roundabout (Horror 11)

L. P. Hartley – The Travelling Grave: “So you didn’t know that I collected coffins.”

Dick Munt has recently returned home from abroad where he’s acquired the prize exhibit in his macabre collection – an animated coffin capable of hunting down a man and crushing him to nothingness. How can he put it to the test?

Munt invites three male guests to spend Sunday with him at Lowlands and engages them in a game of hide and seek. One of them, Hugh Curtis, he’s delighted to learn, is a man alone in the world and none but the other men know he’s here … (Ghost 1)

L. P. Hartley – Monkshood Manor: Among the guests at the weekend party, Mr. Victor Chisholm, a man with a morbid fear of fire who frequently roams the house at night, checking that they’re all extinguished. Gradually he learns that the Manor is haunted by a cowled figure. The ending is inevitable, but why Chisholm meets his grisly doom is left unexplained. A fine and horrible ghost story. (Ghost 10)

L. P. Hartley – Fall In At The Double: Philip Osgood buys a house in the West Country at an outrageously low price on account of it’s hard to let status. During WWII it was occupied by the army and there was some nasty business involving the martinet of a Lieutenant-Colonel, Alexander McCreeth, who drowned in the river. Local gossip has it that he was done in by his own men. When Alfred, his impossibly cheerful manservant, reports being disturbed by banging noises in the night and repeated cries of “fall in at the double”, the narrator realises that the incident is to be reenacted. Fortunately, Alfred is on his game and caps his marvellous performance with a killer kiss off line. (Ghost 14)

L. P. Hartley – The Two Vaynes: Vayne populates his garden with statues of gods, goddesses, nymphs, satyrs, dryads, oreads and a huge sculpture of himself dressed in trademark tweeds which he uses to surprise his guests. Sniggering behind a hedgerow, he gages the man on his reaction to the startling anomaly – he really is an odious old creep.
Vayne talks Hartley into acting as his accomplice in duping Fairclough, a first time visitor to the estate. Though Hartley is reluctant, he agrees to the ruse as Fairclough is perhaps a little too full of himself, so it’s decided that in the evening, these three shall play a game in the grounds.
Prior to this wizard jape Hartley and Fairclough get around to discussing their host. We learn that three years earlier Vayne had been forced to resign his chairmanship of the company under threat of exposure by Postgate. Vayne didn’t seem unduly bothered and even invited Postgate and the rest of his former colleagues to a “reconciliation party” to show there were no hard feelings on his side. Postgate hasn’t been seen since. It’s clear from their conversation that neither man thinks Vayne is entirely innocent in the matter of Vayne’s disappearance and perhaps he has a grudge against everybody connected with the firm. And isn’t it rumoured that he has rigged a bath so that it descends into the workshop where Vayne creates his masterpieces?
What follows is one of the most suspenseful games of hide and seek either men are likely to see in their lives …
(Horror 1)

L. P. Hartley – The Killing Bottle (Horror 2)

L. P. Hartley – Someone In The Lift
: The Maldons are spending Christmas at the Brompton Court Hotel and six year old Peter is insistent that he can see a man in the lift, a still figure in shadow whose features he can’t discern. oddly, the only times this mysterious individual is absent is when Peter tries to show him to his dad. His father tells him it must be Santa Claus.
On the 23rd the lift breaks down and the workmen go flat out to repair it. Peter is desperate for them to succeed but, come the big night, he has reason to wish they hadn’t. L. P. Hartley: a good man to have around if you want to celebrate a really gloomy Christmas. (London Terror)

W. F. Harvey – The Ankardyne Pew (Ghost 18)

William Fryer Harvey – The Beast With Five Fingers: “Eustace watched it grimly, as it hung from the cornice with three fingers and flicked thumb and forefinger at him in an expression of scornful derision.”
Shortly before his death, the blind Adrian Borlsover became prolific at automatic hand-writing, and the messages from the other side seemed to be directed at his cousin, Eustace. When Uncle Adrian died, the right hand used it’s skilled penmanship to fake a dying request from the old man – that it be severed from the corpse and sent to Eustace. The entity manipulating the hand – possibly a stray elemental or the spirit of someone Eustace has swindled – is not without a sense of fun and is even spotted sliding down the banister. But it also has a supremely vindictive streak and finally, stabbed, burnt, but refusing to lie down, it tires of toying with him … (Horror 2)

William Fryer Harvey – August Heat
: James Withencroft, artist sketches the impression of a man he’s never met, ” … enormously fat. The flesh hung in rolls about his chin: it creased his huge, stumpy neck …He stood in the dock, his short, clumsy fingers gripping the rail, looking straight in front of him. The feeling that his expression conveyed was not so much one of horror as of utter, absolute collapse.”
Satisfied with his work, Withencroft goes for a stroll. It’s a sweltering day and lost in thought, he wanders into a stone-masons, to be confronted with the original of his picture. The mason seems genial enough, working on a gravestone he’s planning to enter for an exhibition. Withencroft reads the name he’s inscribed and asked how he came by it. The mason tells him it’s a funny thing, but he plucked it straight out of the air. It is, of course, Withencroft’s, with his exact date of birth to boot. (London Terror)

William Hauff – The Story Of The Haunted Ship (Sea Terror)

R. S. Hawker – The Botathen Ghost (Cornish Terror)

Brian Leonard Hayles – Heirs, or The Workshop Of Filthy Creation: 1882. Following in the footsteps of Byron and Shelley, the narrator, his wife Elizabeth and daughter Mary travel across Europe until they wind up at a remote Alpine Inn where they decide to remain for a few weeks until after Mary’s nineteenth birthday. The Inn is run by the ancient Hubert family, and, aside for their hospitality and culinary accomplishments, they are skilled puppeteers, putting on a unique show once a year which is as brilliant as it is horrifying. The star of the show is the black murderer: when he rises from the grave to commit his crimes it is almost as if the life-size victims bleed …

Mary who, like her father, has become obsessed with the Frankenstein novel during their stay, is to suffer the fate of the puppet show’s White Princess: she is abducted by the killer and becomes a mindless doll, having discovered the Huberts’ secret and their workshop of filthy creation … (Supernatural)

Dorothy K. Haynes – Dorothy Dean (Frighteners)

Dorothy K. Haynes – Fully Integrated (Frighteners 2)

Dorothy K. Haynes – Up, Like A Good Girl: There is trowling on the misery and there is Up, Like A Good Girl, which begins with a funeral at an Orphanage (the kids look upon it as if it were almost a treat) and works back through the grim series of events that led to it.

Angela-Marie is ostracized by the other girls on account of her nightly bed-wetting, so when the consumptive Barbara arrives she corrals her into being her “best friend.” But Barbara proves to be of inquisitive disposition – why does she allow Ma’am to strap her every morning? Why does she accept her daily dose of castor oil without a fight? – until Angela is completely unnerved by her. When Barbara is admitted to the infirmary, her friend rather wishes she’d die. When this doesn’t look likely, she speeds up the process. But it doesn’t end there … (Gaslight Terror)

Dorothy K. Haynes – Scots Wha Ha’e (Ghost 11)

Dorothy K. Haynes – Barleyriggs: Yet another desirable residence going at a giveaway price. If House-hunters read more ghost stories they could save themselves plenty of heartache. In the present instance, “Barleyriggs” is haunted by the ghost of an old girl who gassed herself. The children (and the dog) are the first to see her. Their parents have to wait until the anniversary of her death. (Ghost 12)

Dorothy K. Haynes – Help The Railway Mission (Ghost 17)

Dorothy K. Haynes – A Lady In The Night: A woman on the verge of childbirth hears the click of high heels in the street below and envisions a french prostitute visiting devout church-goer Mr. MacKenzie to give him a private Can-Can. Enter his wife. A fracas ensues, ending with the tart’s body being dumped in the quarry. of course, it’s all a drug-induced hallucination, but strange how the MacKenzie’s moved away so suddenly … (Ghost 20)

Dorothy K. Haynes – The Peculiar Case Of Mrs. Grimmond: One day the cat drags something in – a poodle-cum-devil that feeds on blood from the lonely widow’s wrist. Needless to say, babysitting such a ‘pet’ isn’t advisable. (Horror 8 )

Dorothy K. Haynes – King Of The Fair (Horror 12)

Dorothy K. Haynes – Oblige Me With A Loaf (Horror 16)

Dorothy K. Haynes – The Boorees: Angry, bat-like little demons who live in chimney stacks and come to life during the winter months. They particularly have it in for spoilt, middle-class children who provoke them, as the odious Dennis learns to his cost. Narrated by the nanny who discovers his scorched remains. (Horror 14)

Dorothy K. Haynes – The Head: A thief is tethered to the kirkyard wall by his neck, pelted with filth and left to bake in the sun until nightfall. One thoughtful fellow decides he might like some company – and impales the decapitated head of an Englishman on a spike directly before his line of vision. The dead head may have once belonged to an enemy, but when a fly lands on the bloodless face and begins crawling into the glazed eye, the thief is moved to compassion. Grimly effective and among my favourite of Haynes’ stories. (Scottish Terror)

Dorothy K. Haynes – Mrs. Jones: Fat Mrs. Jones wins all the local cookery competitions with ease. One day a crone asks for one of her yummy biscuits but Mrs. Jones rebuffs her with “I don’t bake for the likes of you” …. whereupon she’s spirited away to the fairy kitchen at the Cove to do just that for eternity. (Welsh Terror)

Lafcadio Hearn – The Story Of Ming-y (Oriental Terror)

Phillip C. Heath – Off The Deep End: Jeffrey, fishing at Bittercrest Lake, reels in the remains of a drowned man, one of two escaped lunatics who were killed in a boat chase when their launch exploded. (Ghost 18)

Phillip C. Heath – Creepogs: Invasion of the swamp crabs! They’re only titchy, but there are so many of them that they’ll soon have you stripped down to a skeleton.

Two things you shouldn’t do when encountered by a creepog army: the first is don’t make any loud noises (they don’t like them), the second, don’t turn on the light (it really gets them going). Lucille, covered in the pesky little blighters, is understandably screaming her head off but will her husband abide by golden rule number two? (Horror 16)

O. Henry – The Furnished Room : A young man prowls the decrepit slums of lower West Side desperately seeking aspiring actress Eloise, the woman he loves. His search brings him to a recently vacated room in Mrs. Purdy’s boarding house where a terrible tragedy took place the previous week …. A big favourite with Alice Cooper, apparently, and poignant, very poignant. (Ghost 10)

E. and H. Heron – The Story Of Medhans Lea (Ghost 16)

C. D. Herriot – The Trapdoor: John Staines takes the top room at The Fernaham Arms, Herts., as part as the get-away-from-it-all rest cure prescribed by his doctor. His twin-obsession with the sawn-off bolt that fastens the trapdoor and the man who died on the premises do not go down well with the monosyllabic landlady, Mrs. Palethorpe, although she is entirely guiltless in the drama. It transpires that the couple who owned the property before Mrs. Palethorpe converted it into a Pub had locked the old man away up there and starved him to death. Now his ghost beats on the trapdoor, imploring to be let out. (Horror 10)

Robert Hichens – How Love came to Professor Guildea (Ghost 2)

Roger Hicks – The Glove (Ghost 9)

Patricia Highsmith – The Quest For Blank Claveringi: Dr. Clavering has always dreamt of discovering a rare creature and bestowing his name on it, so when he hears rumours of a giant man-eating snail on the uninhabited island of Kuwa, he packs his safari suit and camera and hires a boat. The snail – ten yards long and fifteen high approx. – is certainly no figment, but he hadn’t counted on it having a mate. Lumbering and slow they may be, but his prey are possessed of fiendish cunning ….
(Horror 6)

Patricia Highsmith – Harry: A Ferret (Horror 17)

K B Hill – The Late Arrivals (Ghost 14)

Kenneth Hill – Beyond The Red Door: Two security guards are patrolling the burnt out shell of the computer room where three men were killed in an explosion. Nobody bothered to inform the dead men who carry on their Friday night shift regardless. (Ghost 16)

James Hogg – The Brownie Of The Black Haggs (Scottish Terror)

William Hope Hodgson – The Voice in The Night: “… a kind of grey lichenous fungus ….” In the darkness of the North Pacific a becalmed schooner encounters a survivor of the missing  Albatross. The man begs food for his sweetheart who is gravely ill on a nearby island but refuses to come aboard and fetch it and shies away from the light. Moved despite themselves, Will and George lower him provisions in a box whereupon he rows off thanking them profusely. As neither can sleep they wait up and three hours later they again hear his oars and thin, weedy cry. In return for their charity and by way of explanation for his behaviour he and his wife have decided to share their story of the appalling fate that has befallen they and the crew of The Albatross …..  (Ghost 1)

Robert P. Holdstock – Magic Man (Frighteners 2)

Thomas Hood – A Tale Of Terror: An aeronaut takes a volunteer up in his hot air balloon only to discover that his passenger is an escaped lunatic. Three pages of hysterical gothic melodrama ensue. (Horror 7)

R. Thurston Hopkins – The Glass Staircase (Gaslight Terror)

Tom Hopkinson – I Have Been Drowned (Sea Terror)

Holloway Horn – The Old Man: Martin ‘Knocker’ Thompson, turf bandit, meets an old man in the Charing Cross Road who presses a newspaper on him. The paper is dated July 29 1926 … and today is the 28th. Knocker turns to the racing results, gets his money on the winners – including a tasty 100-8 shot – and cleans up. On his way home from Garwick, he reads the rest of the newspaper. One headline is of particular significance … (London Terror)

Peter A. Hough – Master Of Hounds (Ghost 15)

Elizabeth Jane Howard – Three Miles Up: Clifford and John decide to spend a holiday on the canals despite neither of them having the least experience of boating. They soon find themselves hopelessly unsuited to life on the waterways and argue incessantly until one day they see a young girl asleep on the bank and decide to invite her along. She introduces herself as Sharon (they maybe should have asked how she spells her name) and proves to be “a friendly but uncommunicative creature”, ultra-efficient and not given to outbursts of temper. Both men fall for her but things improve between them until they arrive at a junction which branches into three tributaries, only two of which are shown on their map …

This first appeared in the We Are For The Dark collaboration with Robert Aickman and although he credits Three Miles Up as “mostly” Howards, there are some touches that seem to me to be recognisably his work. Not that it matters who wrote what. This is as good a ghost story I’ve ever read.  (Ghost 1)

Robert E Howard – The Man On The Ground (Ghost 14)

Fritz Hopman – The Bearer Of The Message (Ghost 15)

L. Ron Hubbard – The Devil’s Rescue (Sea Terror)

Hilda Hughes – The Birthright (Ghost 10)

Richard Hughes – The Stranger (Welsh Terror)

Robert Hunt – The Spectre Bridegroom (Cornish Terror)

Violet Hunt – The Telegram (Horror 4)

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