'Tis the season for the unearthly, the undead, and the downright macabre. Not everyone can read an entire book in time for Halloween- some of us are too busy with other books, or even other things (gasp). For those poor souls, I offer these reviews: I will be writing my thoughts on some of my favorite short stories for this spooky season, either one at a time or in pairs.
This Year's MMRMs:
#5: "The Wendigo" by Algernon Blackwood
#6: "The Bodysnatcher" and "A Terribly Strange Bed"
|Photo of The Haunted House from Shadow Hunters|
"The Haunted House: A True Ghost Story" by Walter Hubbell
Available to read for free, online here.Rating: 3.5 Stars (Great)
Content: Ages 13+ for spooky elements
Page Count: Approximately 50 pages
Year Published: 1879
Walter Hubbell is no writer, and it shows in his excessive use of description at the beginning of the story. He writes in present tense, introducing all the main characters in the tale before continuing. What makes this Mini Macabre Review short story interesting is it is supposedly real- depending on your inclination, you may find it highly unlikely or bone chillingly true. I take every ghost story with lots of salt, but having my own experiences with unfathomable activity, I feel inclined to believe those who aren't out for riches or fame. Walter Hubbell seems to be somewhat trustworthy, though I'm sure he made a tidy sum out of selling this tale to a publisher.
The Plot: Unexplained activity besets a normally calm household.
One thing that does lend credibility to the story are the sheer amount of witnesses going through the home. People in that day and age didn't truly believe the tales they'd heard, until they'd seen the activity for themselves. It became a sort of tourist hub, though I'm unsure if the family who experienced the phenomena benefitted from that or not.
In the paranormal world, the phenomena experienced in Esther's household would likely not be called a haunting, but rather a poltergeist. Esther, the young lady the phenomena centers around, experiences people shying away from her as a result of her troubles. I suppose if she did this for attention, that may have backfired atrociously. I honestly doubt any older teenage girl would want the kind of attention this story would draw, especially when she lived during the age of insane asylums.
A slightly spoiler-ish quote that I can't resist adding:
All looked at the wall whence the sound of writing came, when to their great astonishment there was seen written, near the head of the bed, in large characters, these words: "Esther Cox, you are mine to kill."~The Haunted House: A True Ghost Story by Walter Hubbell, page 25
The Haunted House is a classic ghost story, whether you believe it's true or not. The writing, while problematic at times, still conveys the necessary spookiness for this to be listed along with "The Wendigo" and other scary tales I've reviewed for this feature. If you crave a ghost story to read this Halloween, you may want to bookmark the link to the free, online version of this story to have on hand, just in case those trick-or-treaters you were expecting don't arrive.
For more information on this story, check out the Wikipedia page for The Great Amherst Mystery.
Mini Macabre Review Monday Link-up (For Those Who Wish to Participate in this Feature)