Encyclopedia Phantasmagoria

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

Saki – Swain

Posted by demonik on May 22, 2007

Saki – The Wolves Of Cernogratz: When a member of the Cernogratz family dies it is said that all the wolves come down from the hills to mourn them and a great tree falls in the forest at the moment of their passing. The insufferable Countess and her equally arrogant brother don’t believe in either the legend or their old Governess Amalie’s insistence that she is the last of the bloodline. (Ghost 4)

Saki – The Interlopers: Carpathian Mountains. Ulrich von Gradwitz and Georg Znaeym are sworn enemies, continuing a family feud over ownership of the forest that has lasted generations. One stormy night they face each other in the wood, but before either can strike a fatal blow a huge tree falls pinioning both men to the ground. As they await rescue they make their peace and each man prays that his own people reach them first that he can insist they free the other before him. At last they can discern figures in the mist loping toward them …. (Horror 1)

Saki – Sredni Vashtar: Conradin, lonely and frequently ill, despises his cousin and guardian Mrs. De Ropp with a passion. All he has in the world is his hen, a polecat-ferret and a vivid imagination. It’s the latter that allows him to build a religious cult around the ferret which he names Sredni Vashtar and worships with offerings of nutmegs and a “paeon of victory and destruction”. Mrs. De Ropp – who enjoys tormenting her charge – sells the hen and now she’s discovered Sredni’s hutch hidden away in the garden shed. With the boy banished to the house under the watchful eye of the servants, can his God save itself? (Horror 6)

William Sansom – A Woman Seldom Found: A disillusioned young man on holiday in Rome meets and falls in love with a mysterious and beautiful woman and it seems that his desperate belief that there is such a thing as the perfect encounter is about to be realised … (Horror 5)

William Sansom – Various Temptations (Something Terrible, Something Lovely, 1948): Ronald Raikes, 31, is wanted for questioning in connection with the Victoria murders. Four London prostitutes have been strangled in a week and the known sex-offender has gone to ground. On impulse, he climbs a ladder and climbs in the open bedroom window of Clara, a plain and lonely woman who’s just been reading about the slayings. Telling her not to be frightened, he finds himself pouring out a very diluted account of his life story. Despite suspecting him to be the murderer, still she shelters him, finding it all a great adventure and soon they are making arrangements for their wedding. To celebrate his 32nd birthday, Clara throws him a party and, much to her own amazement, dolls herself up for the occasion, getting her hair done, buying a new blouse and even applying a dash of lipstick which is probably not the most advisable course of action in the circumstances, though the creepy undercurrent suggests she had a death wish all along. (London Terror)

‘Sapper’ – The House By The HeadlandOur pub-crawling narrator in Harris Tweeds is caught in a fierce thunderstorm on the South Western moors and seeks shelter in a remote, seemingly derelict house. It’s a splendidly gloomy place – all cobwebs, dust and darkness – and the same might be said of the cadaverous host, Rupert Carlingham, who creeps up on him as if from nowhere. Carlingham, clearly mad, has come home early to catch his far younger, pretty wife Mary at it with her lover, John Trelawnay. Our narrator is powerless to intervene as an afternoon of real-life melodrama, murder and suicide is replayed before his horrified eyes … (Ghost 15)

Robert Scheckley – Specialist (Terror From Outer Space)

Arthur Schnitzler – The Fate Of The Baron (European Terror)

Sir Walter Scott – The Tapestried Chamber (Ghost 12)

Sir Walter Scott – Wandering Willie’s Tale (Scottish Terror)

A. Scupham – Destination Glen Doll (Ghost 16)

Ronald Seth – The Reverend John Jones And The Ghostly Horseman (Welsh Terror)

Bob Shaw – Invasion Of Privacy (Terror From Outer Space)

Robert Silverberg – Back From The Grave: When John Massey, 44, discovers his young wife Louise in bed with her flashy friend, Henry Marshall, it triggers a coronary. Louise knew it was coming – the doctor had confided in her that she must prepare for widowhood – and as John sinks to his knees she explains how she and Henry have been lovers for years and that she only married him to get her hands on his inheritance. This is bad enough, but it gets far worse: such was the rush to get his funeral over and done with that John’s been buried alive! Can he get out of his coffin and dig his way to the surface before the air runs out or the graveyard rats get at him? (Horror 17)

May Sinclair – Where Their Fire Is Not Quenched (Ghost 6)

May Sinclair – The Villa Desiree (Ghost 20)

May Sinclair – The Victim: Steven Acroyd, a young chauffeur to old Mr. Greathead at Easthwaithe Lodge on the moors, is possessed of a dreadful temper, so when he catches the harmless Ned Oldishaw mucking around with his girl, Dorsy, he beats the lad to a pulp. This overreaction leads to his being cold-shouldered in The King’s Head, but far worse than that, Dorsy declines his marriage proposal on the grounds that she’s frightened he’ll kill somebody. Dorsy is right: when she leaves the village after a chat with Mr. Greathead which he partially overhears, Steven blames her departure on the old man and vows to get even. He dismembers him and throws the pieces down a pit.

A year later, Dorsy returns. She’s had a change of heart and is now set on becoming Mrs. Acroyd. Steven would be delighted … were it not for the fact that Mr. Greathead has chosen the same moment to put in a reappearance. But the old boy’s ghost isn’t out for revenge. He just wants a little clear the air chat … ( Horror 2)

Kushwant Singh – Death Comes To Daulat Ram (Oriental Terror)

A. E. D. Smith – The Coat: On a cycling holiday in France, the narrator stops off to mend a puncture at a deserted chateau near Vosges where he is seen off by an animated coat. He later learns that it belonged to a sadistic murderer in Napoleon’s army whose own daughter was obliged to shoot him in the back. (Ghost 9)

Lady Eleanor Smith – Mrs. Raeburn’s Waxwork: Patrick Lamb, out of work actor, takes the job of attendant at Mugivan’s Waxwork Exhibition. From the start he’s morbidly fascinated by the image of a beautiful poisoner. Comes the day when a veiled woman requests a guided tour of the chamber of horrors … (Gaslight Terror)

Lady Eleanor Smith – No Ships Pass:  When the yacht The Seagull catches fire and explodes, Patterson is washed up on what first appears to be a beautiful island. The first person to greet him is a simple-minded dwarf, Heyward, who was marooned there several years ago. Then there’s the Cockney, Dicky Judd, a survivor of the Titanic versus iceberg clash, Spanish pirate Captain Micah Thunder late of The Black Joke and finally his prisoner turned mistress the beautiful Dona Ines who looks twenty and is all of one-hundred and sixty years of age. Judd explains that they’re stranded on a mirage island, “floating round the world, picking survivors from shipwrecks in all the seven seas.” There’s no death for any of them, but neither is there any escape and “no ships pass”. They can be injured and pain still hurts so its best not to upset the sadistic Thunder by chatting up Dona. Each of them has gone from sanity to madness and back again many times over, finally deciding that the only way to cope in Limbo is to stop thinking. Patterson finds it impossible to give into this perpetual living death and builds a raft. What will happen when he sets out to sea?   (Ghost 3)

Lady Eleanor Smith – Satan’s Circus: The famous, ever-travelling Circus Brandt has a terrible name among those who’ve toured with them and this entirely due to the antics of the saturnine Carl Brandt and his Morticia Adamms of a wife, Lya. Hired hand Anatole, a deserter from the Foreign Legion, learns too late that you cross the latter at your peril when she gives him the choice of either filling in for the absconded lion-tamer ot being handed in to the authorities. No animals react well to Lya passing near them and at that night’s performance she deliberately causes Anatole’s gory death. Hints of vampirism in the pay-off. (Horror 2)

Barbara Softly – Master Ghost And I (Ghost 10)

Robert Solomon – The New Old House (Ghost 18)

Barnard Stacey – The Devil’s Ape: Artist Nickey and guests intercept a parcel for Hugh in the flat upstairs. Hugh is entirely humorless and his friends delight in winding him up so their first thought is to replace whatever is inside the package with some old tat. On discovering that Hugh’s ordered a book on black magic, Nickey decide’s it would be a great crack if they transferred Mr. Grumpy’s soul into the lay-figure he’s recently acquired. They dress the dummy to resemble Hugh and read allowed the spell. Eerie laughter from the room upstairs … (Horror 10)

W. J. Stamper – Fidel Basin: Haiti. having seen the squalor and starvation of the prisons where so many of the townsfolk are being unjustly held, Captain Vilnard is so disgusted at his army’s treatment of their own people that he resigns his commission and defects to the rebels, advising his lieutenant, Fidel Basin, to do likewise. But Basin only has eyes for promotion and is quite happy to carry out whatever barbaric orders are forthcoming from Port au Prince. Now the army have had enough, the soldiers mutiny and Michel meets a deservedly dreadful end – trussed to the festering corpse of an innocent prisoner who died of tropical dysentery. (Horror 17)

Francis Stephens – A Walk Along The Beach: Four-year-old Tod, pet-torturing little bastard, learns too late not to torment the mutated jellyfish washed up on the stony beach at Dirk Point near the nuclear power station … (Frighteners)

Frances Stephens – Claws: Tony Price escapes his creditors by doing a flit to the Outer Hebrides where he lands a job at a lobster refinery. Unfortunately, one of his colleagues, Logan, takes an instant dislike to him for being a ‘prancing Nancy boy’ Southerner with a flash car, and Price is obliged to bash him over the head and feed him to the merchandise. The Islanders don’t take kindly to this at all. (Frighteners 2)

Frances Stephens – Only Child (Ghost 15)

Robert Louis Stevenson – The Bodysnatcher: Fictitious account of the Burke and Hare murders. Edinburgh, 182-. Fettes, a medical student of some promise, is assigned the duty of paying the Resurrection Men who deliver corpses out back of the dissecting rooms for Dr. K— to distribute among his classes. It is soon obvious to Fettes that many of the “subjects” did not die of natural corpses – one such, ‘Jane Galbraith’ (Burke victim Mary Patterson) is his drinking partner of the previous day – but he’s imposed upon by star pupil Wolfe “Toddy” McFarlane to keep his suspicions to himself as no good can come of pointing the finger. McFarlane has good reason to silence him, for he too is a murderer. When a man named Gray insults him in a bar, he delivers his body to Fettes and bribes him to keep his mouth shut. The pair go into business together, digging up bodies from neighbouring churchyards until the night they receive their come-uppance following their exhumation of a farmer’s wife at Glencorse. (Scottish Terror)

Angus Stewart – Brown God In The Beginning (Scottish Terror)

Bram Stoker – The Squaw: The narrator and wife Amelia are honeymooning in Nuremberg where they befriend loud Nebraskan Hutcheson, a well-meaning but somewhat clumsy adventurer with a neat line in grim reminiscences. When Hutcheson gormlessly kills a kitten, its mother trails him everywhere, finally getting its opportunity for revenge in the Torture Tower where he will insist on climbing inside the Iron Virgin to try it for size. (Horror 1)

Bram Stoker – The Secret Of The Growing Gold (Horror 12)

Bram Stoker – The Burial Of The Rats (Horror 16)

Theodore Sturgeon – The Other Celia (Horror 12)

Psu Sung-Ling – The Magistrate Of Hu-Nan (Oriental Terror)

Psu Sung-Ling – The Inn At Ts’ia-Tien (Oriental Terror)

Virginia Swain – Aunt Cassie: The old girl has lived with nephew Edward Alden and his family for twelve years, an absolute dear but with one grating habit – she will insist on seeing the ghosts of her dead at inopportune moments and passing on their (usually critical) observations. When she upsets his wife and daughter with some alarming faux pas, even Edward thinks maybe it’s time she made other arrangements. Besides, one of the spooks keeps going on about his drinking. But he has a business arrangement tonight and the roads are icy. Best be very careful, especially as he knows the brakes to be faulty. Best have another shot of whiskey to keep off the chill …. (Ghost 11)

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