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The Lure of the Unknown

The Lure of the Unknown

Algernon Blackwood

Published: April 2022

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“Every thing possible to be believ’d is an image of truth.” – William Blake The Lure of the Unknown is a collection of Algernon Blackwood’s essays, talks, reviews and anecdotes exploring encounters with the strange and unusual or, in Blackwood’s preferred word, the “odd”. They include his first attempts to investigate alleged haunted houses, his association with such luminaries as W. B. Yeats, “A.E.”, and Gurdjieff; his thoughts on telepathy, reincarnation, elemental spirits, other dimensions, and his beliefs in what lies beyond our normal perceptions. These writings reveal not only Blackwood’s diverse experiences, but his depth of reading and analysis …

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A Vanished Hand

A Vanished Hand

Clotilde Graves

Published: October 2021

“Only the dead are faithful to Love—because they are dead.” Clotilde Graves was known for challenging convention. In her early years, she was known as the dramatist “Clo Graves”, but became better known under her fiction-writing persona, “Richard Dehan”. She transgressed contemporary gender norms by dressing in male attire, wearing her hair short, and smoking in public. This border crossing can be seen also in her work, which encompasses a wide variety of forms and modes. And while she wrote relatively few fantastical stories, she was devoted to tales of lingering revenants, mysterious cryptids, and grotesque sciences—often laced with her …

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The Ruins of Contracoeur

The Ruins of Contracoeur

Joyce Carol Oates

Published: October 2021

“To be fated, to be accursed—isn’t that also to be special?” A group of resourceful young girls punish the men of a small town for unspeakable lusts by luring them to a derelict factory and into the toils of a bizarre contraption; a dead man tries to makes sense of a strange epiphany he experienced one day when out hiking amid gigantic ancient redwoods; and a state judge, fleeing disgrace, settles with his family on an isolated ruinous estate where some dread thing prowls in the night . . . As Lisa Tuttle notes in her introduction, where most writers, …

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Eyes of Terror

Eyes of Terror

L. T. Meade

Published: September 2021

“I was in the dark and alone, yet not alone.” Despite her wide contributions to genre literature, Irish author L. T. Meade is now remembered, if at all, for her girls’ school stories. However, in 1898 the Strand Magazine, famous for its fictions of crime, detection, and the uncanny, proclaimed Meade one of its most popular writers for her contributions to its signature fare. Her stories, widely published in popular fin de siècle magazines, included classic tales of the supernatural, but her specialty was medical or scientific mysteries featuring doctors, scientists, occult detectives, criminal women with weird powers, unusual medical …

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Uncertainties 5

Uncertainties 5

Brian J. Showers (ed.)

Published: April 2021

“Surely all this is not without meaning.” – Herman Melville “Ghost stories,” as Elizabeth Bowen observed, “are not easy to write—least easy now, for they involve more than they did.” But these twelve writers take up the challenge, each in their own way, with expert awareness of the genre’s limitless possibilities. Uncertainties is an anthology series—featuring authors from Canada, America, the United Kingdom, and the island of Ireland—each exploring the concept of increasingly fragmented senses of reality. These types of short stories were termed “strange tales” by Robert Aickman, called “tales of the unexpected” by Roald Dahl, and known to …

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The Fatal Move

The Fatal Move

Conall Cearnach

Published: April 2021

“I cannot endure these frequent fits of terror much longer.” Written in Belfast and Bangor during the partition of Ireland, the six strange stories comprising Conall Cearnach’s The Fatal Move are unusual documents of the time. “Cearnach” was the pseudonym of F. W. O’Connell, a peculiar Protestant divine, linguist and Irish language scholar, oddball essayist, and early national broadcaster. His sole fiction collection showcases a wide scope: the conte cruel, the ghost story, the locked-room mystery, and the science-fictional satire. What unifies the stories is O’Connell’s playful, outward-looking perspective, inspired by his love of the diverse cultures and languages of …

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Ghosts of the Chit-Chat

Ghosts of the Chit-Chat

Robert Lloyd Parry (ed.)

Published: December 2020

“Such things may have attached to them heaven knows what spooks and spirits.” On the evening of Saturday, 28 October 1893, Cambridge University’s Chit-Chat Club convened its 601st meeting. Ten members and one guest gathered in the rooms of Montague Rhodes James, the Junior Dean of King’s College, and listened—with increasing absorption one suspects—as their host read “Two Ghost Stories”. Ghosts of the Chit-Chat celebrates this momentous event in the history of supernatural literature, the earliest dated record we have of M. R. James reading his ghost stories out loud. And it revives the contributions that other members made to …

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The Death Spancel

The Death Spancel

Katharine Tynan

Published: November 2020

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“Come to me, a lonely ghost, / Out of the night and rain.” Katharine Tynan is not a name immediately associated with the supernatural. However, like many other writers of the early twentieth century, she made numerous forays into literature of the ghostly and macabre, and throughout her career produced verse and prose that conveys a remarkable variety of eerie themes, moods, and narrative forms. From her early, elegiac stories, inspired by legends from the West of Ireland, to pulpier efforts featuring grave-robbers and ravenous rats, Tynan displays an eye for weird detail, compelling atmosphere, and a talent for rendering …

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Leaves for the Burning

Leaves for the Burning

Mervyn Wall

Published: September 2020

“Beware lest you get in middle-age what you longed for in youth.” Lucian Brewse Burke, a middle-aged public servant, works in a shabby county council sub-office in the bleak Irish midlands, mired in Kafkaesque bureaucracy and petty skirmishes with locals. Upon the arrival of his old university friends on their way to Yeats’s funeral, things turn toward the eccentric. They embark on a days-long, cross-country spree brimming with booze-fueled nostalgia. To the accompaniment of juke boxes blaring a reminder of the steady of Americanisation of Europe, we see public-houses thronged with saints, senators, and sinners; while outside old stone crumbles …

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Munky

Munky

B. Catling

Published: July 2020

“There hadn’t been monks at the abbey since 1600. Not living ones, that is.” When the puckish spirit of a monk begins haunting the storied village of Pulborough, known for its ancient abbey, Maud Garner, manager of the Coach and Horses Inn, arranges for the famous ghost hunter, Walter Prince, to come investigate. And from there, things spiral out of control. Peopled with richly drawn Dickensian grotesques and filled with bizarre and comical incident, Munky is as compelling as it is antic. Catling transports the reader to an interwar England in the throes of change. Part bizarre ghost story, part …

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Lucifer and the Child

Lucifer and the Child

Ethel Mannin

Published: April 2020

“She did not want to be organised at all. She wanted to be solitary and free.” This is the story of Jenny Flower, London slum child, who one day, on an outing to the country, meets a Dark Stranger with horns on his head. It is the first day of August—Lammas—a witches’ sabbath. Jenny was born on Hallowe’en, and possibly descended from witches herself . . . Reminiscent of Machen’s, “The White People”, Lucifer and the Child is a tale of witchcraft—or is it? The author does not commit herself; merely stating that the story is open to natural explanation; …

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Uncertainties 4

Uncertainties 4

Timothy J. Jarvis

Published: February 2020

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“We live in Gothic times.” – Angela Carter The Gothic tale, disreputable as it is, can, more readily than the realist short story, provoke unease and jolt us from complacency. Uncertainties is an anthology series—featuring authors from Britain, America, Canada, Australia, and the Philippines—each exploring the concept of increasingly fragmented senses of reality. These types of short stories were termed “strange tales” by Robert Aickman, called “tales of the unexpected” by Roald Dahl, and known to Shakespeare’s ill-fated Prince Mamillius as “winter’s tales”. But these are no mere ghost stories. These tales of the uncanny grapple with existential epiphanies of …

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The Far Tower

The Far Tower

Mark Valentine

Published: December 2019

“All Art that is not mere story-telling, or mere portraiture, is symbolic . . . ” – W. B. Yeats Stories of magic and myth, folklore and fairy traditions, the occult and the outré, inspired by the rich mystical world of Ireland’s greatest poet, W. B. Yeats. We invited ten contemporary writers to celebrate Yeats’s contributions to the history of the fantastic and supernatural in literature, drawing on his work for their own new and original tales. Each has chosen a phrase from his poems, plays, stories, or essays to herald their own explorations in the esoteric. Alongside their own …

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Green Tea

Green Tea

Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu

Published: October 2019

“The delight of hell is to do evil to man, and to hasten his eternal ruin.” – Swedenborg Published alongside “Carmilla” in the landmark collection In a Glass Darkly (1872), Le Fanu’s “Green Tea” was first serialised in Charles Dickens’ magazine All the Year Round in 1869. Since its first publication, Le Fanu’s tale has lost none of its potency. “Green Tea” tells of the good natured Reverend Jennings, who writes late at night on arcane topics abetted by a steady supply of green tea. Is he insane or have these nocturnal activities opened an “interior sight” that affords a …

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“Number Ninety”

“Number Ninety”

B. M. Croker

Published: August 2019

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“Did you never have a dream that haunted you, and terrified you, and made you ill at ease?” The bestselling Irish author B. M. Croker enjoyed a highly successful literary career from 1880 until her death forty years later. Her novels were witty and fast moving, set mostly in India and her native Ireland. Titles such as Proper Pride (1882) and Diana Barrington (1888) found popularity for their mix of romantic drama and Anglo-Indian military life. And, like many late-Victorian authors, Croker also wrote ghost stories for magazines and Christmas annuals. From the colonial nightmares such as “The Dâk Bungalow …

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A Flowering Wound

A Flowering Wound

John Howard

Published: July 2019

“It was only in my dearly loved evenings that I still felt at home.” – Joseph Roth Two of the stories in this collection by John Howard have their setting in a certain west London suburb—the calm prospect of its small houses and tree-lined roads is deceptive. And throughout this selection of stories, whether in outer London or hyperinflationary Berlin, Romania in the febrile 1930s, or the austerity Britain of recent years, we encounter people who live on the peripheries of their cities and societies—and at the edge of their own lives and illusions. They might think they know the …

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Not to Be Taken at Bed-Time

Not to Be Taken at Bed-Time

Rosa Mulholland

Published: April 2019

“The lonely graveyard is far away, an’ the dead man is hard to raise—” In the late-nineteenth century Rosa Mulholland (1841-1921) achieved great popularity and acclaim for her many novels, written for both an adult audience and younger readers. Several of these novels chronicled the lives of the poor, often incorporating rural Irish settings and folklore. Earlier in her career, Mulholland became one of the select band of authors employed by Charles Dickens to write stories for his popular magazine All the Year Round, together with Wilkie Collins, Elizabeth Gaskell, Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu, and Amelia B. Edwards. Mulholland’s best …

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Bending to Earth

Bending to Earth

Maria Giakaniki and Brian J. Showers (eds.)

Published: March 2019

“He called to it and said, ‘Tell me what you are?’” Irish women have long produced literature of the gothic, uncanny, and supernatural. Bending to Earth draws together twelve such tales. While none of the authors herein were considered primarily writers of fantastical fiction during their lifetimes, they each wandered at some point in their careers into more speculative realms—some only briefly, others for lengthier stays. Names such as Charlotte Riddell and Rosa Mulholland will already be familiar to aficionados of the eerie, while Katharine Tynan and Clotilde Graves are sure to gain new admirers. From a ghost story in …

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Uncertainties 3

Uncertainties 3

Lynda E. Rucker (ed.)

Published: September 2018

“A stone’s throw out on either hand / From that well-ordered road we tread” – Rudyard Kipling “What is happening all around us that is beyond the perception of our senses—and what happens when that perception changes?” – from the Introduction by Lynda E. Rucker Uncertainties is an anthology of new writing—featuring contributions from Irish, British, and American authors—each exploring the idea of increasingly fragmented senses of reality. These types of short stories were termed “strange tales” by Robert Aickman, called “tales of the unexpected” by Roald Dahl, and known to Shakespeare’s ill-fated Prince Mamillius as ‘winter’s tales’. But these …

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The Dummy

The Dummy

Nicholas Royle

Published: July 2018

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“An uncanny effect often arises when the boundary between fantasy and reality is blurred . . .” – Sigmund Freud Nicholas Royle’s stories are “immaculately sinister”, according to Olivia Laing in the Times Literary Supplement, while Phil Baker, in the Sunday Times, described Royle as “a real craftsman of disquiet”. In his third collection, The Dummy & Other Uncanny Stories, Royle focuses on archetypes and phenomena that, through their particular melding of the familiar and the unfamiliar, produce uneasy, or uncanny, effects. In these stories he writes about doppelgängers, ghosts, dummies, disconnected body parts, impaired vision, the dead and the …

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Sparks from the Fire

Sparks from the Fire

Rosalie Parker

Published: June 2018

“There are many ways to tell a story . . . It is a question of choosing the right one.” The stories in Sparks from the Fire explore a wide variety of familiar characters and settings, yet there is always something else—a shadow world that haunts, disturbs, and threatens. Sons and daughters, mothers and fathers, recluses and lovers—all find themselves shifting between realities: the prosaic and the mystical, even between life and death. The horrors and wonders of these parallel existences are often glimpsed, sometimes revealed, and occasionally overwhelm. These nineteen tales inhabit a terrain in which the uncanny may …

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The House on the Borderland

The House on the Borderland

William Hope Hodgson

Published: April 2018

I am an old man. I live here in this ancient house, surrounded by huge, unkempt gardens.” An exiled recluse, an ancient abode in the remote west of Ireland, nightly attacks by malevolent swine-things from a nearby pit, and cosmic vistas beyond time and space. The House on the Borderland has been praised by China Miéville, Terry Pratchett, and Clark Ashton Smith, while H. P. Lovecraft wrote, “Few can equal [Hodgson] in adumbrating the nearness of nameless forces and monstrous besieging entities through casual hints and significant details, or in conveying feelings of the spectral and abnormal.” “Almost from the …

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Death Makes Strangers of Us All

Death Makes Strangers of Us All

R. B. Russell

Published: February 2018

“She loved to dream, although she knew that the experiences conjured by her unconscious mind were inherently unreliable.” At the edges of everyday life, on geographical boundaries and in the margins of society, certainties and realities can wear thin. And if we find ourselves in such occult and outland territory late at night, we might glimpse phenomena out of the corner of our eye that cannot possibly be there. At such times even the past, apparently fixed and unchanging in memories and dreams, cannot be relied upon. But what happens if we find ourselves passing beyond even these frayed perimeters …

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The Scarlet Soul

The Scarlet Soul

Mark Valentine

Published: December 2017

“Yet it was watching him, with its beautiful marred face and its cruel smile.” – Oscar Wilde Art, obsession, love, lust, sorcery—ten contemporary writers respond to the imperishable themes of Oscar Wilde’s great Decadent romance, The Picture of Dorian Gray. What happens when a face, a form, an uncanny force changes everything we thought we knew? What survives of us when we stray into a borderland of the mind, where our deepest urges seem to call up remorseless powers? Whether in fantastic imaginary realms or in the gritty noir of today, these new stories, all especially written for this anthology, …

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Old Hoggen

Old Hoggen

Bram Stoker

Published: November 2017

“Old Hoggen had disappeared: and murder was naturally suspected.” At the time of his death in 1912, Bram Stoker was preparing for publication three volumes of stories. The first, Dracula’s Guest, saw print in 1914; the second and third never manifested. Old Hoggen and Other Adventures is a tantalising possibility of one of these unrealised selections, and the stories in this volume span the author’s entire career. In reading them, one thing becomes clear: adventure and mystery rival even the gothic in Stoker’s literary heart. And yet, one will find among these pages many of the same themes found in …

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A Flutter of Wings

A Flutter of Wings

Mervyn Wall

Published: September 2017

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“Strange,” he said to himself. “I had an idea that Pat’s Tommy was dead.” First collected in 1974, the stories in A Flutter of Wings span Mervyn Wall’s entire writing career, dating back as far as the 1940s. Told in an easy style, tales such as “They Also Serve . . . ” and “Adventure” offer the same satirical sensibilities found in Wall’s classic novel The Unfortunate Fursey; while darker tales such as “Cloonaturk” and “The Demon Angler” are not without a hint of the grimly sardonic. In addition to an introduction by Val Mulkerns and illustrations by Clare Brennan, …

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Selected Poems

Selected Poems

George William Russell

Published: April 2017

“Yet, bathed in gloom too long, we might / Forget how we imagined light.” Published in September 1935, just two months after his death, A.E wrote of Selected Poems, “If I should be remembered I would like it to be for the verses in this book. They are my choice out of the poetry I have written.” A.E’s life-long friend and sometimes rival, W. B. Yeats, observed that his poetry expresses “something that lies beyond the range of expression”, and that he has within him “the vast and vague extravagance that lies at the bottom of the Celtic heart.” To …

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Uncertainties 2

Uncertainties 2

Brian J. Showers (ed.)

Published: August 2016

“Omnia exeunt in mysterium.” – Arthur Machen “We think we know the world we live in, but we don’t—we very much don’t—and stories of the supernatural and strange, of the weird and the uncanny serve as a reminder of that.” – from the Foreword by Brian J. Showers Uncertainties is an anthology of new writing—featuring contributions from Irish, British, and American authors—each exploring the idea of increasingly fragmented senses of reality. These types of short stories were termed “strange tales” by Robert Aickman, called “tales of the unexpected” by Roald Dahl, and known to Shakespeare’s ill-fated Prince Mamillius as ‘winter’s …

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You’ll Know When You Get There

You’ll Know When You Get There

Lynda E. Rucker

Published: August 2016

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“Am I walking toward something I should be running away from?” – Shirley Jackson A woman returns home to revisit an encounter with the numinous; couples take up residence in houses full of sinister secrets; a man fleeing a failed marriage discovers something ancient and unknowable in rural Ireland . . . In her introduction, Lisa Tuttle observes that “certain places are doomed, dangerous in some inexplicable, metaphysical way”, and the characters in these stories all seem drawn in their own ways to just such places, whether trying to return home or endeavouring to get as far from life as …

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Uncertainties 1

Uncertainties 1

Brian J. Showers

Published: August 2016

“Turn and face the strange.” – David Bowie “It may be my own imagining, or perhaps the cumulative effect of reading the entire book over a couple of evenings, but the contents appeared to grow darker as the pages turned.” – from the Foreword by John Connolly Uncertainties is an anthology of new writing—featuring contributions from Irish, British, and American authors—each exploring the idea of increasingly fragmented senses of reality. These types of short stories were termed “strange tales” by Robert Aickman, called “tales of the unexpected” by Roald Dahl, and known to Shakespeare’s ill-fated Prince Mamillius as ‘winter’s tales’. …

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The Pale Brown Thing

The Pale Brown Thing

Fritz Leiber

Published: July 2016

“The ancient Egyptians only buried people in their pyramids. We are living in ours.” – Thibaut de Castries Serialised in 1977, The Pale Brown Thing is a shorter version of Fritz Leiber’s World Fantasy Award-winning novel of the supernatural, Our Lady of Darkness. Leiber maintained that the two texts “should be regarded as the same story told at different times”; thus this volume reprints The Pale Brown Thing for the first time in nearly forty years, with an introduction by the author’s friend, Californian poet Donald Sidney-Fryer. The novella stands as Leiber’s vision of 1970s San Francisco: a city imbued …

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Earth-Bound

Earth-Bound

Dorothy Macardle

Published: May 2016

“‘Tis these places are haunted,” he said, “by the old Chieftains and Kings.” Originally published in 1924, the nine tales that comprise Earth-Bound were written by Dorothy Macardle while she was held a political prisoner in Dublin’s Kilmainham Gaol and Mountjoy Prison. The stories incorporate themes that intrigued her throughout her life; themes out of the myths and legends of Ireland; ghostly interventions, dreams and premonitions, clairvoyance, and the Otherworld in parallel with this one. It is so easy to dismiss them, as some have, merely as part of the narrative of “Irish nationalism” of the time, but it is …

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November Night Tales

November Night Tales

Henry C. Mercer

Published: November 2015

“History fades into prehistoric darkness . . . ” Each story in November Night Tales is a differently colored gem whose many facets reflect the lively mind of the author. Henry C. Mercer’s life-long interest in world mythology, fairy tales, local legend, symbols, and artifacts form the fabric of his tales. Here, the reader will find vanishing castles, secret sects, biological weapons, sinister wilderness, lycanthropy, possessed dolls, and mythical lands. The characters in each story are driven to explore the unknown, face their fears, and perhaps discover something of themselves in the process. The compelling narratives, infused with intelligence and …

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Insect Literature

Insect Literature

Lafcadio Hearn

Published: October 2015

“The insect-world is altogether a world of goblins and fairies.” As Lafcadio Hearn observes in his essay “Insects in Greek Poetry”, “the capacity to enjoy the music of insects and all that it signifies in the great poem of nature tells very plainly of goodness of heart, aesthetic sensibility, a perfectly healthy state of mind.” And to this, one might add a keen sense of wonder. Insect Literature collects twenty essays and stories written by Hearn, mostly in Japan, a land where insects were as appreciated as in ancient Greece. With a witty gentleness bordering on the eerie, Hearn describes …

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The Anniversary of Never

The Anniversary of Never

Joel Lane

Published: August 2015

“It was like a black and white film, or someone else’s memory.” Joel Lane’s award-winning stories have been widely praised, notably by other masters of weird fiction such as M. John Harrison, Graham Joyce, and Ramsey Campbell. His tales also regularly appeared in the “best of” annual anthologies of Ellen Datlow, Karl Edward Wagner, and Stephen Jones. With this posthumous collection, Lane continues his unflinching exploration of the human condition. “The Anniversary of Never is a group of tales concerned with the theme of the afterlife,” observed Lane, “and the idea that we may enter the afterlife before death, or …

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The Satyr

The Satyr

Stephen J. Clark

Published: July 2015

“It was the straying that found the path direct.” – Austin Osman Spare In the final throes of the Blitz, Austin Osman Spare is the only salvation for Marlene, an artist escaping a traumatic past. Wandering Southwark’s ruins she encounters Paddy Hughes, a fugitive of another kind. Falling under Marlene’s spell Hughes agrees to seek out her lost mentor, the man she calls The Satyr. Yet Marlene’s past will not rest as the mysterious Doctor Charnock pursues them, trying to capture the patient she’d once caged. The Satyr is a tale inspired by the life and ethos of sorcerer and …

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The Unfortunate Fursey

The Unfortunate Fursey

Mervyn Wall

Published: March 2015

“In Ireland anything may happen to anyone anywhere and at any time, and it usually does.” The forces of evil have launched a determined offensive on the sanctified precincts of Clonmacnoise, and gain a bridgehead in the cell of Brother Fursey. But the hapless monk is so tongue-tied with fright that he cannot utter the necessary words of exorcism. When the other monks discover this, poor Fursey is expelled, and sets forth on the first stage of his travels accompanied by a fantastic procession of cacodemons, hippogriffs, imps, furies, and other dreadful creatures, not to mention the elegant gentleman in …

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The Return of Fursey

The Return of Fursey

Mervyn Wall

Published: March 2015

“Henceforth I will serve Evil. I’ll become a most depraved character. I’ll turn really wicked.” This worthy sequel to The Unfortunate Fursey follows the continued exploits of that reluctant sorcerer Fursey, now a middling grocer in the realm of King Ethelwulf. But when Fursey’s wife is seized by an Irish delegation led by her jilted fiancé, Fursey resolves to embrace evil, return to Ireland, and reclaim his wife. Readers will delight in the return of Fursey’s unhelpful familiar Albert and the Prince of Darkness; plus such memorable new characters as George the Vampire, Sigurd the Skull Splitter, and the wealthy …

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The Demon Angler

The Demon Angler

Mervyn Wall

Published: March 2015

Mervyn Wall’s “The Demon Angler” was first published in The Capuchin Annual in 1943. “Cloonaturk” was first published in Argosy (London) in 1947; it was also printed in Weird Tales in 1989/90. These tales of rural Ireland, verging on the supernatural, reflect the same dark humour and satire found in Wall’s popular novels The Unfortunate Fursey and The Return of Fursey. “The Demon Angler” and “Cloonaturk” were republished in Wall’s only collection, now difficult to find, A Flutter of Wings, in 1974 (Reprinted by Swan River Press in 2017). The Demon Angler & One Other was given away with the …

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Reminiscences of a Bachelor

Reminiscences of a Bachelor

Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu

Published: December 2014

“I know there is a God—a dreadful God—and that retribution follows guilt.” For the first time in over 150 years, “The Watcher”, Le Fanu’s classic tale of supernatural menace, is reissued from the pages of the Dublin University Magazine along with its original companion piece “The Fatal Bride”, a brooding gothic novella not reprinted since its first publication in 1848. Like matched duelling pistols, Reminiscences of a Bachelor offers the most exquisite balance of craftsmanship, beauty, and peril. In these tales of Old Dublin, honour is ever at stake, the fate of lovers lies mired in the past, and something …

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Dreams of Shadow and Smoke

Dreams of Shadow and Smoke

Jim Rockhill and Brian J. Showers (ed.)

Published: August 2014

“Perhaps other souls than human are sometimes born into the world, and clothed in human flesh.” – Uncle Silas With Henry James, Elizabeth Bowen, and James Joyce among his admirers, the ghost stories and novels of Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu (1814-1873) cast a long shadow on the literary landscape. Dreams of Shadow and Smoke features ten new tales of the fantastic and macabre written in celebration of the bicentenary of Dublin’s “Invisible Prince”. Revisit a world in which certain elixirs remain capable of awakening the mind to the presence of unknown forces; where the monuments, portraits, and other legacies of …

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The Silver Voices

The Silver Voices

John Howard

Published: July 2014

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“I found the white cities just as they were in my dreams.” – Joseph Roth Transylvania: the country beyond the forest and land of the seven fortress towns. In The Silver Voices we encounter the previously unknown eighth town: Sternbergstadt. Now known as Steaua de Munte, it’s one of those places where past and present continually meet, with no-one being entirely sure which has the upper hand. In Steaua de Munte history can never be said to be dead and buried; it plays too many tricks on the present and future for that. Hardback edition limited to 300 copies. Cover …

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The Dark Return of Time

The Dark Return of Time

R. B. Russell

Published: May 2014

“I was searching for The Dark Return of Time on the ‘net. It’s odd, but there isn’t a copy for sale anywhere, and it doesn’t turn up on the British Library catalogue, the Library of Congress website, or the Bibliothèque Nationale.” The past doesn’t always stay where it should. It is as though somebody, or something, is forever trying to bring it painfully into the present. Flavian Bennett is trying to leave his past behind when he goes to work in his father’s bookshop in Paris. But a curious customer, Reginald Hopper, is desperate to resurrect his own murky origins. …

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Here with the Shadows

Here with the Shadows

Steve Rasnic Tem

Published: February 2014

“Far better to choose an absence than to have an absence forced upon you.” These stories by award-winning author Steve Rasnic Tem drag from the darkness ghosts that haunt us all. Between these covers lurk the spectres of grief, loss, and loneliness: a man discovers he is far from alone in his empty home, a forlorn wife is gifted with an unusual child, a contractor contemplates the sad message left by a grieving father, a blind woman discovers a spiritual manifestation at the edge of a forest, a spectral presence appears in a lonesome Colorado wheat field . . . …

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Seventeen Stories

Seventeen Stories

Mark Valentine

Published: October 2013

“The general effect was a bizarrerie of half-weird sheen and gloom.” – M.P. Shiel Mark Valentine’s stories have been described by critic Rick Kleffel as “consistently amazing and inexplicably beautiful”. He has been called “A superb writer, among the leading practitioners of classic supernatural fiction” by Michael Dirda of The Washington Post, and his work is regularly chosen for year’s best and other anthologies. This new selection offers previously uncollected or hard to find tales in the finest traditions of the strange and fantastic. As well as tributes to the masters of the field, Valentine provides his own original and …

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Written by Daylight

Written by Daylight

John Howard

Published: June 2013

“I’m already dead, and I’m a dead man speaking, and that’s why they can’t hear.” – Joseph Roth Sunsets in a London suburb, and a transformation into an Earthly paradise; paths winding through a Transylvanian palace gardens, and an obsessed journey towards a Mediterranean dream; a city so ancient that even its total disappearance has been forgotten, and an island of shifting sands that can never be truly mapped . . . The vivid and diverse settings of these stories are façades obscuring reality for the exiles and outcasts who find their way into them. Seemingly born out of time …

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The Sea Change

The Sea Change

Helen Grant

Published: February 2013

“Till human voices wake us, and we drown.” – T. S. Eliot In her first collection, award-winning author Helen Grant plumbs the depths of the uncanny: Ten fathoms down, where the light filtering through the salt water turns everything grey-green, something awaits unwary divers. A self-aggrandising art critic travelling in rural Slovakia finds love with a beauty half his age—and pays the price. In a small German town, a nocturnal visitor preys upon children; there is a way to keep it off—but the ritual must be perfect. A rock climber dares to scale a local crag with a diabolical reputation, …

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Selected Stories

Selected Stories

Mark Valentine

Published: November 2012

“Nothing lasts! The faun sleeps, / Smiling, mute, remorseless.” – Ludmila Jevsejeva, Aŭtuna Melodio In St. Petersburg, amidst an uneasy truce with the revolution, there exists a secret trade in looted ikons. But who are the dark strangers seeking for the Gate of the Archangel? In the small town of Tzern, news arrives of the death of the Emperor; meanwhile a postmaster, a priest, a prophet and a war-wearied soldier watch the dawn for signs of the future. Constantinople: A quest for the lost faiths of the former Ottoman Empire leads a French scholar to believe that the strangest may …

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Old Albert

Old Albert

Brian J. Showers

Published: September 2012

“If dear Old Albert finds you, / Still your tongue, be still your tongue.” – School Rhyme The place is Larkhill House, and during its century and a half of existence it has hosted an array of peculiar tenants: the reclusive though brilliant ornithologist Ellis Grimwood; a murderous wine merchant and his young wife; and the Sacred Order of the Mysteries of Thoth, who re-christened Larkhill the “New Temple of Abtiti” and practised there their outlandish and mystical rites. After vacating Larkhill, these individuals—all of them—left something of themselves behind . . . Set in the same haunted neighbourhood as …

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Longsword

Longsword

Thomas Leland

Published: July 2012

“Death’s but a Path that must be trod, / If Man wou’d ever pass to God” – Thomas Parnell Longsword, Earl of Salisbury, by eighteenth century Dublin-born clergyman Thomas Leland, is a fast-paced historical romance of medieval menace and high excitement. Set in the early years of the thirteenth century, it features a blend of real and created characters in a mêlée of intrigue, corruption, lust, and revenge. In part a metaphor for the tug-of-war between the sexes, Longsword is the definitive precursor to the Gothic novel; both in trappings and in style, it provides vital elements of prototype for …

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Strange Epiphanies

Strange Epiphanies

Peter Bell

Published: April 2012

“Man is made a mystery for mysteries and visions . . . ” – Arthur Machen A mentally disturbed woman is entrapped in Beltane rituals in the Cumbrian fells; a widower mourning his wife falls beneath the mystic allure of Iona; a quest to the Italian Apennines brings a lonely man to a dread Marian revelation; an alcoholic on a Scottish isle is haunted by a deceased chronicler of local legend; in a small German town a sinister doll discloses truths about a murky family tragedy; an unknown journal by a Victorian travel-writer sends a woman on a grim odyssey …

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Ghosts

Ghosts

R. B. Russell

Published: February 2012

“I can barely conceive of a type of beauty in which there is no Melancholy.” – Charles Baudelaire Ghosts contains R. B. Russell’s debut publications, Putting the Pieces in Place and Bloody Baudelaire. Enigmatic and enticing, they combine a respect for the great tradition of supernatural fiction, with a chilling contemporary European resonance. With original and compelling narratives, Russell’s stories offer the reader insights into the more hidden, often puzzling, impulses of human nature, with all its uncertainty and intrigue. There are few conventional shocks or horrors on display, but you are likely to come away with the feeling that …

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The Definitive Judge’s House

The Definitive Judge’s House

Bram Stoker

Published: December 2011

“I was probably about thirteen years old when I read Dracula for the first time. I have no idea why. I ordered it from one of those little book catalogues you used to get in school. I shudder to think what would have happened if, instead, I’d tried to read Frankenstein at that age. It surely must have been in the same catalogue. Maybe I’d be an accountant now. Nothing against Frankenstein, but I know me, and I know it would not have hooked me through the eyeball (and brain) the way Dracula did. I distinctly remember finishing the book …

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The Complete Ghost Stories of Chapelizod

The Complete Ghost Stories of Chapelizod

Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu

Published: October 2011

“One does well not to under-appreciate the ever-alive allure of reminiscences begotten in childhood . . . Chapelizod, like the Irish capital of which it was in effect a suburb, in the early 1800s glumly epitomised the glamour and the grandeur that was gone: ‘Dead walls; dead trees overhanging them; dead lights instead of windows in the houses; the men grave, the women lifeless, the little spirits squeaking and gibbering in the muddy streets!’ Thus must it have appeared to the sensitive mind of the child who grew up to be the author of Uncle Silas, Wylder’s Hand, and The …

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Curfew

Curfew

Lucy M. Boston

Published: September 2011

“His eye sockets were appallingly hollow, and he lifted his chin as the blind do when they seek.” Lucy M. Boston is best remembered today as the Carnegie Medal-winning author of a series of children’s novels set in Green Knowe, an ancient, haunted house based on Hemingford Grey Manor near Huntingdon, Cambridge. She began writing these chilling tales when she was already in her sixties, but they were not her first attempts at fiction. A handful of supernatural tales dating from the early 1930s exist among her papers, and these are here published together for the first time, along with …

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Just Like That

Just Like That

Lucy M. Boston

Published: September 2011

Unlike the stories included in Curfew & Other Eerie Tales, “Just Like That” lacks that overt element of supernatural brutality. Where the majority of Boston’s stories adhere to the Jamesian call for “malevolence and terror”, “Just Like That” is more a story of emotional tragedy, and its supernatural manifestation is of the non-threatening order. As if to punctuate this, Boston originally gave this story the title “Gentle Shadow”, which she crossed off, writing “Just Like That” in pencil—this re-titling, perhaps, emphasises the natural element of fate more than the slight supernatural manifestation of fate’s gentle shadow. Just Like That is …

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The Ballads and Poems of J. Sheridan Le Fanu

The Ballads and Poems of J. Sheridan Le Fanu

Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu

Published: August 2011

LOW STOCK

“When in the year 1880 I wrote a memoir of Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu, as a Preface to his “Purcell Papers”, I was not aware that, besides being the author of the Irish poems contained in that collection of Irish stories and of the celebrated “Shamus O’Brien”, Le Fanu had anonymously contributed half-a-dozen other poems to the Dublin University Magazine between the years 1863 and 1866; two of which . . . exhibit Le Fanu’s genius in a new and unexpected light. They show him to have been capable of dramatic and lyrical creation on a distinctly higher plane than …

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J. S. Le Fanu: A Concise Bibliography

J. S. Le Fanu: A Concise Bibliography

Gary William Crawford and Brian J. Showers

Published: June 2011

“As my book J. Sheridan Le Fanu: A Bio-Bibliography (Greenwood Press, 1995) has shown, cataloguing Le Fanu’s work is no easy task. There are many snares and chasms, omissions and errors to be found on the bibliographer’s journey. Most difficult is the fact that many of Le Fanu’s works were published anonymously in Victorian magazines. This has been further complicated by the fact that Le Fanu’s account books, notebooks and other papers were dispersed and lost after his death. There are undoubtedly many unsigned items produced by Le Fanu’s pen that will never be found. “This concise edition of that …

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To My Dear Friend Hommy-Beg

To My Dear Friend Hommy-Beg

Bram Stoker

Published: April 2011

“Hall Caine was an incredible literary phenomenon, becoming the richest and most popular novelist of the late Victorian and Edwardian era, greatly outselling all of his rivals from Henry James to Joseph Conrad. By the end of the twentieth century all of his novels were out-of-print, and ironically his major claim to fame now comes from being the dedicatee of Dracula, albeit under the disguised family nickname of “Hommy-Beg”. It is a bizarre twist of fate that Bram Stoker is now so much more famous worldwide than Hall Caine—an unbelievable reversal of their roles one hundred years ago.” This booklet …

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Contemporary Reviews of “Dracula”

Contemporary Reviews of “Dracula”

Bram Stoker

Published: January 2011

“Over the decades, as with so many other iconic stories, Dracula has fallen prey to numerous popularly held misconceptions. Until recently we had ourselves laboured under one such misconception: that Dracula was not well received by the reading public when it was first published. We believed it to have been something of a disappointment where sales where concerned; an overlooked treasure, ahead of its time, destined to be rediscovered at a later date… we also assumed that some of the subtler aspects of the novel, which give the post-modern reader satisfaction, might have gone over the heads of the nineteenth …

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Extracts from Personal Reminiscences of Henry Irving

Extracts from Personal Reminiscences of Henry Irving

Bram Stoker

Published: November 2010

“Henry Irving had died in 1905. Born John Brodribb in a Somerset village in 1838, he was the son of a travelling salesman. He would become one of the best known figures in London, and the first actor be be honoured with a knighthood. He acquired the Lyceum Theatre in 1878 and quickly hired Bram Stoker (then living in his native Dublin) to join him as Acting Manager. Stoker was immediately swept into a whirlwind of activity on which he thrived: seasons in London, provincial tours, and eight North American tours. Biographers concur that Henry Irving was the single greatest …

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The Old Knowledge

The Old Knowledge

Rosalie Parker

Published: September 2010

“Make the reader think the evil, make him think it for himself . . .” – Henry James This first collection of tales by Rosalie Parker contains eight stories that explore the uncanny in the modern world. As Glen Cavaliero observes in his introduction, “like all good stories of the preternatural, these in The Old Knowledge have a subversive effect.” In them, “the world of logical, predictable reality is seen to be at risk from rejected modes of knowledge which can thwart the materialist and victimise those innocents who stumble into another order of reality.” In “The Rain”, Geraldine heads …

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Bram Stoker’s Other Gothics

Bram Stoker’s Other Gothics

Bram Stoker

Published: April 2010

“Just as I would recommend any of Stoker’s works, these reviews serve as a reminder that Stoker’s literary legacy is substantially more than just Dracula, still his best-known work. These reviews, most of them now in print for the first time in over a century, provide fresh insights into Bram Stoker as an author who dabbled in the popular genres available to writers at the turn of the twentieth century, and who made the Gothic genre his own, not only in Dracula, but in other works that today are not as well known as they deserve to be.” Collected here …

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On the Banks of the River Jordan

On the Banks of the River Jordan

John Reppion

Published: March 2010

“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 …

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Four Romances

Four Romances

Bram Stoker

Published: January 2010

“While the stories that make up this collection are not among Stoker’s best, they do cast an interesting light on the psyche of their creator. His lifelong concerns, anxieties, obsessions and ambiguities would cohere into the masterpiece that is Dracula in the 1890s but his other work, including these stories, shine a revealing light into the mind of its creator, a mind more profound, if also more troubled, than has generally been realised.” Here collected for the first time since their original publication in periodicals, these four romances display a side of Bram Stoker’s writing somewhat less familiar to modern …

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Thirty Years A-Going

Thirty Years A-Going

Albert Power

Published: October 2009

“It was on a raw January evening in 1980, at a public meeting held in the darkling pile of Trinity College Dublin’s graduates memorial building, with its ample expanse of grey frontage, high windows and maw-like entrance led up to by a flight of stone steps, that the sturdy first steps to set up the Bram Stoker Society were taken. The date was January 10th and the event had been organised by the college Philosophical Society, of which Bram Stoker had been President in 1869-1870.” Albert Power was present at the January 1980 inaugural meeting of the Bram Stoker Society …

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My Aunt Margaret’s Adventure

My Aunt Margaret’s Adventure

Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu

Published: July 2009

“My Aunt Margaret’s Adventure” is reminiscent of the great terror tales of mounting alarm such as Wilkie Collins’s “A Terribly Strange Bed”; the hotel scene, to a lesser extent, in Lovecraft’s “The Shadow Over Innsmouth”; James Whale’s The Old Dark House; and the more recent film The Last Great Wilderness (2002) directed by David Mackenzie. In fact, with their often arch and sardonic senses of humour, the latter two examples are most appropriate comparisons. Comfort and safety are fleeting in stories like these. Familiar and generally hospitable surroundings quickly take turns into strange worlds of indefinable menace. Terror mounts. A …

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The Seer of Trieste

The Seer of Trieste

Mark Valentine

Published: December 2008

“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 …

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The Nanri Papers

The Nanri Papers

Edward Crandall

Published: August 2008

“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 …

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The Bleeding Horse

The Bleeding Horse

Brian J. Showers

Published: March 2008

LOW STOCK

“Take my word for it, there is no such thing as an ancient village, especially if it has seen better days, un-illustrated by its legends of terror. You may as well expect to find decayed cheese without mites, or an old house without rats, as an antique and dilapidated town without an authentic population of goblins.” – Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu In the spirit of Le Fanu’s classic trio of tales, Brian J. Showers’ The Bleeding Horse and Other Ghost Stories infests his own Dublin neighbourhood with an authentic population of ghosts, ghouls, and goblins. Showers has filled each story …

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Ghostly Rathmines

Ghostly Rathmines

Brian J. Showers

Published: March 2008

Ghostly Rathmines: A Visitor’s Guide is a companion booklet limited to 125 numbered copies containing artefacts, images, and photographs from locations in the stories featuring in The Bleeding Horse and Other Ghost Stories. The booklet was given away free with the first 125 copies of The Bleeding Horse sold through this website. This limited edition booklet is sold out. Please check with our Booksellers for remaining copies. Cover art by Duane Spurlock ISBN: N/A

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Brutal Spirits

Brutal Spirits

Gary McMahon

Published: February 2008

“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 …

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Quis Separabit

Quis Separabit

Brian J. Showers

Published: December 2007

“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, …

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The Red House at Münstereifel

The Red House at Münstereifel

Helen Grant

Published: June 2007

“Early in 2007, whilst researching an article about Steinfeld Abbey, I came across the collection of documents (originally in German) which comprise this booklet, in a forgotten folder bearing the name of Löher, a name closely connected with that infamous period in European history when witch-hunting was at its height. For reasons which will soon become clear upon perusal of the documents, I have chosen to publish them outside Germany. It is imperative that the facts relating to the history of the Red House in Münstereifel—in so far as they can be established—are put before those persons best equipped to …

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Blind Man’s Box

Blind Man’s Box

Reggie Oliver

Published: June 2007

“On the thirteenth of July this year, Dr. George Vilier, died suddenly at the age of fifty five. He was lecturer in Theatre Studies at Bath University, and a colleague and friend of mine, so I suppose it should have been no surprise to discover that he had made me his literary executor. Among his papers I found the almost complete MS of his long-awaited work, The Gothic Experience in Victorian Drama, which I hope will soon see publication. I also found a folder which contained the following documents and notes. I am sure that Vilier was intending to use …

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No. 70 Merrion Square: Part 2

No. 70 Merrion Square: Part 2

Brian J. Showers

Published: December 2006

“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 …

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On the Apparitions at Gray’s Court

On the Apparitions at Gray’s Court

Peter Bell

Published: December 2006

“This intriguing pamphlet, handsomely produced by Swan River Press, is the first in a promised series of fake histories of real buildings. Peter Bell’s fascinating On the Apparitions at Gray’s Court leaves you eager for more. Taking the form of a reprinted academic paper, complete with footnotes, bibliographic references and the kind of entertainingly pernickety detail beloved of the local history enthusiast, we’re very much in M. R. James territory, physically as well as stylistically—a medieval building in the cathedral precinct at York, which has played host at different times to clergy, academics and something altogether less reassuring. “By the …

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No. 70 Merrion Square: Part 1

No. 70 Merrion Square: Part 1

Brian J. Showers

Published: October 2006

“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 …

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Tigh an Bhreithimh

Tigh an Bhreithimh

Brian J. Showers

Published: October 2005

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 …

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The Snow Came Softly Down

The Snow Came Softly Down

Brian J. Showers

Published: December 2004

“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 …

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The Old Tailor & The Gaunt Man

The Old Tailor & The Gaunt Man

Brian J. Showers

Published: October 2003

“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 …

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