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Quis Separabit

“Shortly after crossing La Touche Bridge and proceeding south along Rathmines Road, you will notice a nondescript and ultimately dead end lane stretching to the west. This is tiny Blackberry Lane, as evidenced by a sign bolted to the adjacent terrace, and in days past it was literally neither here nor there. This east-west lane was once a narrow and much lengthier bohreen beat through the dense foliage between the Earl of Meath’s lands to the south and the old Farm of St. Sepulchre to the north. It should arouse no curiosity that neither estate claimed this stretch of ground, as for countless generations it was primarily utilised by the dead. Until 1850, the lane served as a corpse road–a path used not only by funeral processions, but also, according to belief, by souls of the deceased.”


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Cover art by Jeffrey C. Roche

ISBN: N/A

No. 70 Merrion Square: Part 2

No. 70 Merrion Square has been published in two volumes and is told in a classic supernatural-tales style. Psychologist Dr. Sean McCormack is visiting his old friend in Dublin, Andrew Hampton, ‘this millennium’s master of the macabre,’ who fears he’s going mad. His address, 70 Merrion Square, once belonged to the Victorian ghost-story writer Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu, and Hampton’s first book after purchasing the house was a commercial flop. Since then, he has failed to write another book.

“Is Hampton going mad, and can McCormack help him? Set on a rainy night shortly before Christmas in an old haunted mansion, No. 70 Merrion Square has all the trappings of a memorable ghost story and is enhanced by Spurlock’s atmospheric drawings.” – The Harrow


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Cover art by Duane Spurlock

ISBN: N/A

No. 70 Merrion Square: Part 1

“Anyone familiar with Brian J. Showers’ supernatural stories, presented in the delightful miniature chapbooks of Swan River Press, so tastefully illustrated by Duane Spurlock and Meggan Kehrli, will not be disappointed by his latest publication: No. 70 Merrion Square. Aficionados will recognise the address of the Dublin house where the great Sheridan Le Fanu wrote some of his finest tales and spent the last lonely decades of his life. Showers has cleverly engaged with the motif of Le Fanu by writing a story in which the protagonist, a horror author seeking renewed inspiration, settles in the house and encounters troubling experiences.

“Inter-textual references, to classic and contemporary supernatural writers, constantly inform the narrative, making it great fun for the connoisseur; and it is threaded with a vein of wry humour, tastefully and effectively juxtaposed against the horror, never an easy task. Throughout, the narrative displays the author’s lucid prose style and easy pace, a hallmark of all his previous work: in a phrase, Showers is a damned good story-teller, as well as a master of atmosphere and a shrewdly informed practitioner of the ghostly tale. Working closely within established genre conventions–haunted house, ghostly possession, numinous dreams, the angry dead, the inspiration and alienation of the artist, and the borderland between insanity and the supernatural– Showers has written a superb tribute to Victorian Gothic set within 21st Century Dublin. Few modern writers can be as versed in the supernatural heritage of that atmospheric city, with its strange mix of glitzy economic miracle and elegantly sombre past.” – Peter Bell


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Cover art by Duane Spurlock

ISBN: N/A

Tigh an Bhreithimh

A struggling writer travels to a remote cottage in western Ireland for the solitude and inspiration he needs to finish writing his first novel. But when the forgotten secrets of the desolate landscape want to be remembered, he learns a lesson in fear, one more terrifying than any tale he could ever write. In the tradition of M. R. James and J. Sheridan Le Fanu, Brian J. Showers’s Tigh an Bhreithimh is a tale that is sure to please fans of the traditional ghost story.

“I really enjoyed Tigh an Bhreithimh, which is a nicely written ghost story set in a small town in Ireland. The atmosphere—puzzle and horror—is very well handled, and the folkways are interesting. The story is conveyed in a small, attractive chapbook with good line illustrations by Duane Spurlock.” – E. F. Bleiler


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Cover art by Duane Spurlock

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The Snow Came Softly Down

“Small but perfectly formed, The Snow Came Softly Down by Brian J. Showers is a delightfully-produced little chapbook with its own ribbon marker and simple but effective line drawings by Duane Spurlock, containing ‘A Tale Concerning Ghosts’. You would expect from this, and from the old-fashioned typeface, that it is set in a more innocent era, and so it proves. M. R. James would probably disapprove of the decidedly benign spooks, but the tale cannot be faulted for atmosphere–especially the protagonist’s scary walk through the freezing woods on Christmas Eve. If I call the tone of the story ‘Dickensian’ it is meant as a compliment, evoking as it does those semi-mythical White Yuletides depicted on a certain type of Christmas card… but with added creepiness. Wordsworth’s poem ‘Lucy Gray’, possibly an inspiration to the tale and certainly complementing it, rounds off this charming book.” – Chico Kidd, All Hallows


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Cover art by Duane Spurlock

ISBN: N/A

The Old Tailor & The Gaunt Man

“Here is a small treat from The Swan River Press in Dublin, Ireland: an old-fashioned ghost story in a hand-sewn binding with soft covers and its own ribbon marker. Brian J. Showers, an expatriate American writer living in Dublin, reveals an expert hand at deploying the shadows and portents, ironic disclosures, and gradual accumulation of detail, which still make the masters of supernatural fiction so chillingly entertaining to this day. His tale of a lonely old tailor eking out a miserable existence who discovers ‘there is still enough faith for dark things to walk the night’ is a delightful folkloric ghost story in a gently facetious and slightly antique tone reminiscent of Charles Dickens and Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu. The text is complemented by Meggan Kehrli’s arabesque cover design, six full-page illustrations, and an equal number of spot illustrations, all of which add to the work’s eerie charm. This is perfect fare for solitary reading on blustery autumn evenings or a group gathered round the holiday fireplace in expectation of a Winter’s Tale.” – Jim Rockhill, All Hallows

  • Reprinted in Acquainted with the Night (Ash Tree Press, 2004)

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Cover art by Meggan Kehrli

ISBN: N/A

On the Banks of the River Jordan

“Dear Brian, My name is John Reppion. You may remember that we corresponded briefly last year on the subject of my article “Where Goes the Blackberry Man”. I am currently at something of a loose end whilst my wife, and day-to-day writing partner, is off visiting her sister for a few days prior to Christmas. It is at times such as these that I would normally take the opportunity to work on some of my more esoteric researches. Going through my notes, I came across a mass of material concerning Princes Park—the Victorian park adjacent to where I live—which I gathered whilst researching my book 800 Years of Haunted Liverpool. There are many intriguing and esoteric titbits associated with this locale . . . but I’m finding it hard to get the various pieces of information into a logical order. I’m sure there is an obvious angle, a path winding through these disparate elements that would draw the whole thing together . . . I wonder if I might ask you the favour of offering your opinion on material I have amassed thus far. If you are willing, I would like to “talk” through the disjointed data via email and hopefully make sense of it all in the act of doing so. Very best, John”


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Haunted Histories Series #7

Cover art by Meggan Kehrli

ISBN: N/A

The Seer of Trieste

“The old Austro-Hungarian imperial seaport of Trieste has been home to several literary figures: Anglo-Irish novelist Charles Lever, Victorian explorer, translator and erotologist Sir Richard Burton, James Joyce, who started his masterpiece Ulysses there, the fine bookseller-poet Umberto Saba, and Italo Svevo, the chain-smoking man of business who caught its curious atmosphere so well in his novels. A place apart, at first mercantile and prosperous, but with a history associated with loss, melancholy and the liminal, it also has a strange undercurrent of the shabby-bohemian and semi-magical. An acquaintance with a genteel seer and almanac-maker in the city led me to an unexpected revelation about the prevailing spirit of the place and its influence upon those who wrote there. In quest of this, I encountered scrying youths, a masked ball, a reclusive artist perfecting a new form, and at last a monstrous brooding presence. Here is the full text of a lecture to the Aeolian Club of Lincoln which may merit a place amongst the more astonishing of the accounts it has heard.” – Mark Valentine


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Haunted Histories Series #6

Cover art by Meggan Kehrli

ISBN: N/A

The Nanri Papers

“Dear Mr. Otani, I am contacting you on behalf of Mr. Masanobu Nanri of Onimaru, Saga City. Mr. Nanri recently showed me some papers and personal effects belonging to his parents (both deceased). These papers have to do with events he describes as ‘likely paranormal in nature’ that have occurred over the years at Akamatsu Primary School, also in Saga City. For your reference, I have included transcripts of the original documents he showed me as well as an explanation of the circumstances under which he showed them to me. Mr. Nanri is concerned, as you will see from the following text, that there is the chance of physical danger not only to the students, teachers and staff of the school, but also to the general public. You will see from the printout of a website Mr. Nanri recently viewed that the school has been listed as a ‘paranormal hot spot’ on the Internet. He is therefore interested in the site being investigated by reputable professionals and experts in the field so that any danger may be averted.” – Sincerely, Edward Crandall


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Haunted Histories Series #5

Cover art by Meggan Kehrli

ISBN: N/A

Brutal Spirits

“My friend and sometime mentor, Charles Edward Urban, died in March 2007. He was seventy years old. Unfortunately, Charles took his own life before I had the chance to ever meet him in the flesh, and our long-distance relationship remained sadly unresolved. I had been fortunate enough to conduct an informal correspondence with him (a loose friendship that took the form of letters and emails) in the few years before his untimely death, which was begun when I sent him a fan letter because a story of his (“The Red Yawn”) affected me profoundly enough to cause me to re-examine my entire life. Charles named me in his will as sole executor of his estate. Going through his belongings, ostensibly in search of unpublished material for a proposed posthumous collection of his short fiction , I came across the following papers in the locked bottom drawer of a battered Victorian bureau. Whether they constitute notes for an unfinished tale, the ramblings of a suicidal and deeply unsettled mind, or accounts of genuine strange occurrences in the north east of England, I will leave you to decide.” – Gary McMahon (editor)


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Haunted Histories Series #4

Cover art by Meggan Kehrli

ISBN: N/A