Encyclopedia Phantasmagoria

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

LaFarge – Munn

Posted by demonik on May 22, 2007

Oliver La Farge – Haunted Ground: Sue, the only woman he ever loved, is dead, shot in the first burglary Quonochaug has known in twenty years. Bloody typical! George Waterson, distraught, takes his boat out to sea and writes it off, but it doesn’t kill him. Instead he’s washed up on the stretch of beach known locally as ‘Haunted Ground’ on account of its reputation as the dead folk’s hang out. He visits Sue’s mother to view his beloved in her coffin. (Ghost 11)

Sue Lake – Viktoria or, The Hungarian Doll: Narrated by somebody with their head all bandaged up. Uncaring husband Paul is topped by ‘Rosa’, a dressmakers doll animated by the spirit of his crippled wife, Elizabeth. Paul has recently remarried, but he’s just as indifferent to wife #2, Theresa who promptly turns lesbian (!) The inevitable servants bring about the worthless wretch’s downfall. (Supernatural)

Perceval Landon – Thurnley Abbey: Broughton inherits the country house which dates from pre-reformation days and urgently requests that his friend Calvin pays a visit. The previous occupant, Clarke, a hermit and miser, put it about that the place was haunted by the spectre of a walled-up nun and popular local opinion has it that he was right. When Calvin sets eyes on Broughton he’s struck by how rapidly his health has declined in the few months he’s lived here. That night he receives a visitor in his room …

Robert Aickman points out in his introduction to Thurnley Abbey that full-on encounters with ghosts have fallen out of vogue, and mores the pity. Calvin’s eyeball to sunken eyeball encounter with the rotting, shrunken sister is one of the most memorably horrific in the literature. (Ghost 2)

David Langford – At The Corner Of The Eye (Horror 10)

David Langford – Cold Spell: Stephen Carling is pissed off at the poker-faced participants in the Morris Dance who take it all so bloody seriously. And how comes he’s standing out here in the cold like a feeb while they’re in The Olde Coach House enjoying a pint? When they tell him that they’re all trooping off to Coldrock to complete the performance, he rebels. The following day, he has several visits from the senior dancers, solemnly explaining the importance of the tradition, but his mind is made up. He’s not doing it.
Like he has any say in the matter … (Horror 13)

Gladys Law – Ordeal By Fire (Ghost 20)

Harold Lawlor – The Silver Highway (Gaslight Terror)

D. H. Lawrence – The Rocking Horse Winner (Ghost 1)

Alan W. Lear – Safety Zone (Ghost 19)

Vernon Lee – Oke Of Okehurst (Ghost 6)

J. S. Le Fanu – An Authentic Narrative Of A Haunted House (Gaslight Terror)

J. S. Le Fanu – Squire Toby’s Will (Ghost 1)

J. Sheridan Le Fanu – Wicked Captain Walshawe: The atrocious old rake is cursed by Molly Doyle, maidservant to his late wife Peg, after he disrupts the dead woman’s wake in typical fashion. His soul is trapped within a corpse candle until it burns down – which takes half a century. The spectre, when it finally puts in an appearance, is one of Le Fanu’s most hideous, spraying worms all over the place and generally making the wait worthwhile. This is great stuff, worthy of its place in just about any compilation of Great Ghost Stories you care to mention. (Ghost 10)

J. S. Le Fanu – Ghost Stories Of The Tiled House (Ghost 12)

J. S. Le Fanu – Madam Crowl’s Ghost: Old Mrs. Joliffe relates a terrifying incident from her youth when, as a thirteen year old, she first arrived at Appelwaite House to wait on Lady Arabella Crowl. Her ladyship, 93, dying and three-quarters demented is a handful and the servants often resort to the leather straitjacket to curb her excesses. In her youth she had been a beauty and caught the eye of the widowed Squire Crowl. After they wed, his son by his first marriage vanished presumed drowned on account of his hat being found by the lake. In reality, his fate was even grimmer and the secret is exposed when the mad old horror finally breathes her last. (Ghost 14)

J. S. Le Fanu – The Dream (Irish Terror)

Kay Leith – For The Love of Pamela: Joe and Pamela think they’ve finally found their dream home when they move in at 12 Drayfield Grove, but a restless elemental force has other ideas. It has sexual designs on Joe, but doesn’t care for his wife at all … (Frighteners)

Kay Leith – Avalon Heights: Recently affluent Deborah moves into the brand new block of luxury flats ahead of her husband. she’s perturbed that there’s no sign of the caretaker or, for that matter, her fellow residents. Evidently the old boy keeps a dog as there are bones strewn across the floor of his apartment and she keeps hearing shuffling noises … (Frighteners 2)

Kay Leigh – The Sanguivites: Larch Cottage, Ashton-Carvel: Meg and John unwittingly discover the ancient shrine of the vampire Sanguivites and plan to sell it for a small fortune to “a chappie from the museum.” Said chappie is well impressed: he’s only ever heard of one other such sacrificial alter being unearthed, in Hungary, and that one in badly damaged condition. Meg goes out on a dress-buying spree to celebrate, but that night they’re paid a visit at home by a party of beautiful strangers. The Sanguivites have decided the shrine is going no place and Meg and John are to be its guardians – or else. (Horror 9)

Kay Leigh – The Huntress: On her way home from the nightshift Hilary finds herself trapped in a parallel world after an encounter with a desperate man looking for a street that shouldn’t exist. (Horror 12)

Shane Leslie – The Diplomatist’s Story (Irish Terror)

L. A. Lewis – Hybrid: In his youth Chambers was plagued by nightmares which a clairvoyant later convinced him were flashbacks from a previous life when he was an adept black magician. when Chambers marries and takes up home in Sussex he realises that this is where his diabolical incarnation practiced evil and the adjoining field is where he was burnt at the stake. his familiar, a raven-like bird, gradually takes him over until – as his devoted wife explains to Dr. Cole – “His body is mad, but his mind is sane”. chambers degenerates into a hopping, squawking sex maniac and ravishes his wife. Dr. Cole eventually gets a specialist to take care of him but in the meantime Mrs. Chambers gives birth … (Horror 12)

Charles Lloyd (Charles Birkin) – A Low Profile: A small community of elderly English expatriates are caught up in the invasion and occupation of Zarana, a tiny island off the coast of Africa. ‘Boy’ Brackett hasn’t heard from his two friends Henrietta and Doris for a few days so he crosses town to see if they’re alright. They’re not. Looters have murdered them, tied their bodies to chairs and propped them up around a table. Doris’s hand has been severed – the cats are playing with it in the dirt outside – to get at her rings. Not knowing what to do or even who to report the crime to, Brackett finishes the game of scrabble they were engaged in to see who’d have won, a final futile gesture of friendship. (Horror 10)

Frank Belknap Long – The Black Druid: Pompous archaeologist Stephen Benefield has a nasty overcoat experience while researching Celtic “mythology”. He makes a spectacular transformation while riding home on the New York subway. (Horror 15)

Hazel F. Looker – The Lost Gold Mine (Welsh Terror)

H. P. Lovecraft – Herbert West – Reanimator: Herbert West is a brilliant if somewhat unstable student at Miskatonic University, Arkham, whose obsession is the resurrection of the dead. His Dean, the brilliant Dr. Allan Halsey, appalled at the number of small animals West and the narrator – presumably Lovecraft – have destroyed during their experiments, bans them from pursuing their program on the premises. Unbeknown to him, they’ve already revived a corpse at the derelict Chaplin house which they’ve converted into a makeshift lab. The re-animated body, that of a drowned man they’d dug up within hours of his death, is soon up and about – but that’s the problem. He goes AWOL.

A typhoid epidemic! What a stroke of luck! Better still, Dr. Halsey is among the victims having heroically given his all to save as many lives as possible. With his detractor out of the frame, West gets down to business. So far, it’s been a rotten year for Arkham, but it’s about to get worse as a sadistic killer is on the lose, tearing innocent citizens apart and biting off their flesh. Thankfully, he’s captured and committed to an asylum but what a dreadful shock for the locals that he should bear such an uncanny resemblance to their recently deceased savior, Dr. Halsey!

“Damn it”, laments West, “It wasn’t quite fresh enough!”

West and Lovecraft now set themselves up as general practitioners in Bolton, the neighbouring factory town. an illegal boxing match provides them with the raw materials they need in the burly form of Black Robinson, ‘The Harlem Smoke’, who has just been punched out of this world (albeit temporarily). After another partial success with a heart-attack victim – at least they got the poor bastard to scream – West moves the practice to Boston until come 1915 he joins the medical corps and heads for Flanders where the corpses are plentiful. By now even Lovecraft has his concerns: ” I did not like the way he looked at healthy living bodies.” When their mutual friend and sometime trusted collaborator Major Sir Eric Moreland Clapham-Lee is all but decapitated in a plane crash, West completes the job and injects the headless body with his special life-giving serum.

The war is over now and West and Lovecraft are back in Boston, having taken yet another remote property. We are now expected to believe that the animated remains of Clapham-Lee fashions himself a new synthetic head, spirits himself back to America, and frees the thing that was Dr. Halsey from Sefton asylum! These two now organise the small army of West’s unlovely bodged experiments into a ‘Tomb Legion’, each of them with a justified grudge versus the reanimator. They descend in awful silence on the old dark house overlooking the cemetery … (Horror 13)

H. P. Lovecraft & August Derleth – The Shuttered Room (Horror 3)

H. P. Lovecraft & August Derleth – The Fisherman Of Falcon Point (Sea Terror)

Brian Lumley – Aunt Hester: Aunt Hester , Spiritualist and all-round Black Sorcery dabbler, has the ability to project her mind into the body of another while theirs are temporarily transferred into hers. As a result of this, her family have shunned her from a young age, particularly her brother George who despises her as a witch. Hester is obsessed with the idea of meeting her niece and nephew, if only for a few moments, and to do so she decides to use George’s as her host body.

Pity she didn’t check on his current state of health first. (Ghost 20)

Lord Lytton – The Haunters And The Haunted (Ghost 8 )

Desmond MacCarthy – Pargiton And Harby (Ghost 4)

Hugh MacDiarmid – The Stranger: The old boys in the rustic pub are debating the stranger who sauntered in and stood them a round of drinks. Old Ben refused the offer on the grounds that his missus reckons that, like Jesus, this fellow wasn’t born of man and woman. So when he returns they ask him. (Ghost 3)

Arthur Machen – The Great Return (Ghost 5)

Arthur Machen – The Shining Pyramid (Welsh Terror)

W. MacQueen-Pope – Drury Lane Ghost (Ghost 15)

Roger Malisson – The Thirteenth Kestrel: Stanley Davis was the only man who could fly the Kestrel without coming to grief. Even so, when he dies (suicide: complicated love life and debt) there’s no shortage of club members willing to buy it with Bill Rogerson eventually winning through. His colleagues find that odd: wasn’t Stan having an affair with his wife Lucy? Bill’s maiden flight in the Kestral is also his last and over the coming weeks the plane wipes out most of Stan’s associates in increasingly vicious and inventive manner. (Frighteners 2)

Roger Malisson – The Last Victim: Kensington & Chelsea, late nineteenth century. Sculptor Shrigley Briars is dying of consumption just as his career is taking off when he meets Satanist Amelia Crawthorn at a party (not a bad one: Oscar Wilde shows up). She persuades him to sell his soul in exchange for his health and success. All he has to do is sacrifice one sinful soul to the Devil per annum, which isn’t especially arduous considering the circles he moves in. But how does he dispose of the bodies? (Gaslight Terror)

Roger Malisson – Lady Celia’s Mirror: Kings Road, Chelsea. Gay antiques dealers Jed Jardine and Bertie Thompson acquire a magnificent rosewood mirror in a mansion-clearance. Bertie gets a dreadful shock when he glimpses a malicious looking old woman leering at him from the glass but Jed sees nothing and the pair have a tiff. They decide to sell it and Laurence, their hairdresser friend, snaps it up for his new Mayfair salon. When a pretty young stylist is murdered on the premises, Bertie determines to learn the history of the accursed mirror.
‘Camp black comedy’ is probably the phrase I’m groping for. Pop culture references: The Beatles and the Sunday scandal sheet The News Of The People (“Priory Sex Murder Shock Probe – Naked Monk Found Strangled“). (Ghost 11)

Roger Malisson – A Fairly Great Reckoning: Successful Washington lawyer Henry Baynes Neumann moves to a Tudor cottage in Kent to convalesce after a heart scare. He investigates the cellar … and finds himself thrown back into the late Sixteenth century. He’s been summoned by an old magician on behalf of a poet who is eager to know if his fame survives his death … (Ghost 12)

Roger Malisson – Disappearance: The Stanley family move into Shrapton Hall and from the first little Jane sees and converses with the ghosts of the 18th century Lady Mary Rigby and her daughters. Her mother, Elizabeth, convinces herself that Jane and her sister Sophie are merely indulging in a Brontesque fantasy … until Jane disappears during a game of hide and seek.

Back in time, a strange little girl in bizarre attire is discovered by the servants at Shrapton Hall, while in the present Elizabeth locates her missing daughter’s grave in the local churchyard … (Ghost 13)

Roger Malisson – Welcombe Manor: With the ratings in decline, it’s time for some tough decisions to be made by the producer of long running television soap Welcombe Manor which details the lives of a community of tower block dwellers. It’s decided that popular character will be bumped off in a hit-and-run by joy-riders as he leaves The Welcombe Inn. The actor who plays him, old Joe Kendal, takes it badly: he goes on a three week bender and winds up critically in hospital. When the episode is aired, the switchboard is jammed with complaints from viewers upset by the macabre scream that accompanies Joey’s death, although no such scream was ever recorded. From that day forth, Welcombe Manor is cursed. Joey’s ghost walks abroad and, as the show runs over-budget and more actors and technicians are seriously injured on and around set, it’s finally axed. (Ghost 17)

Roger Malisson – Skin Deep: After a whirlwind romance, 42 year old male model Julian Haymer-Knight marries up and coming star Sophie Seaton, 17, but within weeks of the happy event, she is killed in a car accident. At first Julian is supremely flattered that this girl loved him so much her beautiful spectre comes to visit him in their bedroom any night, but then the ravages of death start going to work … (Ghost 20)

Roger Malisson – A Little Knowledge: Martha Hudd, an alienated 11 year-old bullied by her overbearing mother, builds a temple to Kali in the woodshed. Nobody pays any attention to her until uncle Jim comes to stay. When he sees popstar Mitchie McGee almost torn to pieces by fans after Martha has blasted him out for kissing a girl, Jim momentarily wonders if the child really does have some terrifying powers after all. But that way is madness.
Another tidy horror from the underrated Malisson. (Horror 10)

Roger Malisson – The Salesman: Brammingham. Struggling insurance salesman Donald Winterbottom and his wife Dorothy are invited to join the local coven. Dot thinks it will do them good to rub shoulders with all their prosperous neighbours, but, when the other women tell her of the obscene carrryings on, she vows never to return. Unfortunately, Donald has already allowed the saturnine Mr. Anneheg to talk him into making a wish …. (Horror 11)

Roger Malisson – Switching Off: Dad finally had enough of Mums sleeping around and packed his bags and menopausal Miss William’s makes his every day at school a misery. The only thing that keeps Mark Sugden going is his determination that one day he’ll leave school and become an electrician like his father. His world takes an amazing turn for the better when, school and Miss Williams behind him, he gets a job as a sweeper-upper and tea maker at the salon. Pam, the pretty young proprietor, takes a shine to him and with her encouragement he begins to show promise as a hairdresser. Everything’s going well until his old nemesis pops in for a cut and dry. (Horror 16)

Roger Malisson – Countess Ilona, or The Werewolf Reunion: Castle Tyrhh, East Hungary, 13th March 1880: The Countess invites four gentlemen to a reunion party at the remote castle of her late husband. The quartet from her dubious past comprise the Baron Von Hallen, Dr. Felix Krauss, arms dealer Zoltan Vinzenz and, incongruously, Hugo Hoffman, a sensitive artist. All are party to a dark secret. During the night, amidst the cries of the timber wolves, the four are torn apart and partially eaten. It transpires that each played a party in the tragedy of Ilona’s life, namely the tainted blood of her beloved son Hugo, as each had known what her husband was when they abandoned her to him in order to further their careers. A fine slab of Gothic melodrama and the episode I’d most like to see from the series. (Supernatural)

A. H. Manhood – Wish Me Luck (Cornish Terror)

Frederick Marryat – The Werewolf (Horror 13)

Joyce Marsh – Old Heather’s Picture (Frighteners)

Joyce Marsh – The Tree (Ghost 8 )

Joyce Marsh – Tomorrow’s Child: Post nuclear holocaust and London is plagued by giant insects. Paul Mandrake, one of the few human’s left in one piece, conceals himself in a shop doorway, determined to survive. Rationalized. (Horror 9)

Charles Maturin – Melmoth The Wanderer [extract] (Irish Terror)

W. Somerset Maugham – The End Of The Flight: A Dutchman is relentlessly tracked across continent by the ghost of a Chines he wronged and probably murdered. The pursuit ends at the D.O.’s bungalow in Northern Borneo and Maugham has perfected the Great Slight Ghost Story. (Ghost 3)

W. Somerset Maugham – The Taipan: He’s the head man in a major China-based company. Today he walks past the cemetery congratulating himself that he has not gone the way of his fellows who made a fortune and drank themselves to death before they reached thirty. Presently he encounters three Chinese digging a fresh grave. But surely, nobody has died recently or he’d have been informed …? (Ghost 13/ Oriental Terror)

W. Somerset Maugham – The Man From Glasgow (Ghost 15)

Guy De Maupassant – Who Knows? (European Terror)

Guy De Maupassant – The Hostelry (Ghost 13)

Guy De Maupassant – An Apparition (Ghost 19)

Guy De Maupassant – The Hand: Sir John Rowell keeps the severed black hand of his “best enemy” as a memento of his victory in their epic struggle – a hollow one as it turns out, for he has to keep the shrivelled black relic on a stout chain for fear of it throttling him. One night ….
(Horror 5)

Guy De Maupassant – Vendetta: When her son is murdered the widow Saverini swears vengeance. But how can an old woman and a gaunt sheepdog overcome a robust young killer? It’s amazing what you can do with some bales of straw, your husband’s old clothes and a string of black pudding. (Horror 13)

Andre Maurois – Thanatos Palace Hotel: US Mexican border: Feel suicidal but don’t want to make a mess of ending it all? Let Mr. Boerstecher and his staff do all the hard work for you. Very reasonable rates. (Horror 14)

Jim McGarry – The Island Magee Terror (Irish Terror)

Jim McGarry – The Clonmel Witch Burning (Irish Terror)

Feng Meng-Lung – The Canary Murderers (Oriental Terror)

Prosper Merimee – Mateo Falcone (Horror 4)

Judith Merril with Algis Budrys – Death Cannot Wither (Ghost 9)

John Metcalfe – Nightmare Jack (Ghost 2)

John Metcalfe – Time-Fuse (London Terror)

‘M. H’. – The Phantom Hare (Cornish Terror)

Richard Middleton – The Ghost Ship: Fairfield, the most haunted village in England is nonetheless a peaceful place where the ghosts and humans co-exist in harmony … until the Jubilee celebrations of 1897 when Captain Roberts’ spectral pirate galleon turns up in the garden behind The Fox & Grapes. The ship is well stocked with rum and soon all the phantoms have become anti-social binge-drinkers. (Ghost 1)

Richard Middleton – On The Brighton Road: Middleton (1882-1911) committed suicide and much of his work reflects the bitterness and despondency he presumably felt. On The Brighton Road sees a tramp encounter a young waif, rootless like himself, who insists that he’s already died several times, only to revive and continue his aimless wandering. (Ghost 10)

Richard Middleton – The Passing Of Edward: Short quiet piece in which a dead boy, through a supreme effort, manages to partially appear and bring comfort to his sister. She hears him, but can’t see him. (Ghost 17)

G. A. Minto – The Ghost Of U 65 (Ghost 11)

Edmund Mitchell M. A. – The Phantom Of The Lake (Gaslight Terror)

A. B. Mitford – The Forty-Seven Ronins (Oriental Terror)

George Moore – Pricilla And Emily Lofft (Ghost 6)

Elinor Mordaunt – The Recall (Sea Terror)

W. S. Morrison – The Horns Of The Bull: But sons, if either of you leaves his island for the blood of the other, my curse will strike him … and his brother will triumph over him” – so says the dying elder of the Isle of the Lamb. The two sons, Orm and Iain, have loathed each other all their lives so their father leaves Orm the Isle of the Lamb and Iain the neighbouring Isle of the Bull to prevent them killing each other the minute he’s dead. Orm, the more war-like and devious of the pair, rules his people with black magic and terror while his brother lives as a hermit. You have probably already deduced who is responsible for triggering the final conflict and who prevails in a story that has more to do with folklore than terror. (Scottish Terror)

W. C. Morrow – Over An Absinthe Bottle (Ghost 7)

Patricia Moynehan – Just For The Record (Ghost 16)

Patricia Moynehan – The Old Rectory Well: Almost on moving in, Nerissa is disturbed by several ghostly presences around the old rectory, while Darrel is prone to sudden rages. The haunting goes back to 1650 when a Captain in Cromwell’s army ordered that the well be sealed, fully aware that an Earl was concealed within: the family of loyalist sympathisers who’d assisted him were then taken to the churchyard and murdered. (Ghost 18)

Robert Muller – Mr. Nightingale or, Burning Masts: Mr. Nightingale, a shy, inexperienced 35 year old, is in Hamburg on his father’s business, boarding with the Steekebeck family who have a fancy for reading Gothic horror stories aloud. This and the close proximity of four women proves too much for Mr. Nightingale and his lecherous other self soon establishes total control. First he attacks Elyse who subsequently falls pregnant. Next it is the turn of her unstable sister, Felizitas, who longs to see the old ships in the harbour aflame like they were during the great fire of 1842. Felizitas gets her wish: Mr. Nightingale deflowers her, sets the ships ablaze and leaves her to go racing into the heart of the flames.
The ladies and gentlemen of the Club of the Damned take a dim view of his story, and, regarding him as no better than a base murderer, they dispose of him in the approved manner. (Supernatural)

H. Warner Munn – The Wheel: A companion piece to his Weird Tales/ Not At Night squirm-inducer The Chain. The American, Preece, is given a guided tour of Bohorquia’s torture chamber, the centre piece of which is a customised treadmill suspended over a trough of bubbling pitch. Once you’re on there, it’s a case of keep walking, keep awake, as the guy operating the fiendish contraption has all these snazzy coloured levers he can pull to flick you over the side.

Mein host, who is clearly a loose cannon, relates the grim fate of three of his ancestors at the hands of the Inquisition and the campaign by generations of Bohorquia’s to obliterate the families responsible from the face of the earth. Now there’s only one person to be rid of and the revenge is complete. Rotten moment for Preece to realise who he’s descended from … (Horror 16)

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