Saturday, 23 March 2019

A Ghost Writer's Quiz by Steve Gladwin

After the death of my wife Celia in 2006, I turned against horror and ghost stories in a big way. Maybe it was partly because reading one of them seemed to anticipate the circumstances of her death so much that it all felt a bit too close to home. However, if I told you what it was called and who it was by, it would ruin one of the answers to the quiz which follows.

Recently and for reasons I don't fully understand, (ie it coincides with another health crisis) I have come back to these stories in a massive way and have rather embraced them like some long-lost ghostly brother. Now I can't get enough of them. Maybe it's due to not being able to find my own answers that I end up seeking the help of those who have to deal with and often accept the impossible and allow such fictional darkness to fall over me like some psychological comfort blanket. 

Of course a far bigger reason is that I really enjoy reading them and thanks to kindle, which serves its own purpose in this respect, I can download vast collections and choose to wade through them in strict order - as I am doing with Algernon Blackwood - or cherry pick the spookiest in other writer's work. But I have a bit of a collection mania and just as hearing Christoper Maltman singing Schumann's Dichterliebe resulted in my simply having to have the complete Schumann songs, so I am finding with Blackwood and others. But, whereas you can easily collect all thirteen CD's of Schumann's songs, if you start looking into nineteenth and twentieth century ghost story writers, you can disappear into the vaults of horror and never reappear. There is so, so much wonderful stuff and, having decided in good faith to pick and explore the ghost stories of thirteen of these luminaries and maybe write about them in a two part blog, two things have happened in the last two weeks.

First the trouble with doing this is you go in with the intention of reading several writers and get so caught up with the work of one, you lose most of the time you started with.

Secondly and literally a few minutes ago, I discovered that in compiling my thirteen, I was about to miss out one of the greatest of all ghost story writers, Then I remembered another - and so on.

Of course people will read this blog and the one which follows next month and will ask where so and so is. No-one for example may forgive me missing out Dickens, and both A Christmas Carol and The Signalman etc etc, There are just too many to choose from.

So in the interim I have devised a quiz for this month, giving me hopefully plenty of time I read all the others, (which currently is most of them), before next month

There follow some pictures of famous writers of ghost stories, followed by a jumble of some of the most stories they wrote. What you have to do, without initially using wikipedia or some such aid, is to match them together, with either one or both of their stories. I've mixed up well-known stories with some lesser knows works and there is one author who doesn't appear at all but is represented by her cousin, who was also rather good at this sort of thing and probably should be there him self as he wrote one of the great horror stories of all time. If you spot the two of them and the connection, there may be a special prize for the first one.

OK then folks, exam conditions, off you go and I'll be back next month with some more detailed enthusiasm.

Here then are are a list of their works. I've included two for each writer. Seaton's Aunt, The Haunted and the Haunters, An Incident at Owl Creek, The Wood of the Dead, Lot No 249, The Room in the Tower, Man Sized in Marble, Long Tom and the Dead Hand, The Monkey's Paw, In the Eyes, The Tell-tale Heart, Schalken the Painter, The Star Trap, The Great God Pan and The Beckoning Fair One,

And also All Hallows, The Damned Thing, The Occupant of the Room, The Leather Funnel, The Horror Horn, John Charrington's  Wedding, Yallery Brown, Jerry Bundler, Afterwards, The Black Cat, Mr Justice Harbottle, The Squaw, The White People and The Painted Face.

NB I've just checked and I've only read ten of the thirty so far, so I have a lot of spooky homework to do before next month. Best of luck with the answers.

All images courtesy of wikipedia apart from the tenth, which I can't quote a source for, or I'd give away an answer. 

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