Classic Gothic Ghost Stories

Christmas Ghost Stories: The Ghost of Christmas Past Goes Further Back Than You Might Realize

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  Philipsburg Manor in Winter, Sleepy Hollow, New York “When I returned to the drawing-room, I found the company seated around the fire, listening to the parson, who was deeply ensconced in a high-backed oaken chair, the work of some cunning artificer of yore, which had been brought from the library for his particular accommodation. […]

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The Mezzotint

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From Ghost Stories of an Antiquary, by M. R. James M.R. James had a knack for compressing a chilling tale into a short space. Which is very refreshing, considering some writers, yes, I’m speaking to you Stephen King, has a tendency to stretch out their short stories almost to novel length. Montague Rhodes James was born in […]

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Gothic Horror Stories: The Death of Halpin Frayser by Ambrose Bierce

 Sleepy Hollow Forest Landscape

When we say Ambrose Bierce was a western writer, we aren’t referring to western civilization. Rather, Bierce lived and wrote in the western United States, based in San Francisco for much of his career. A journalist by trade, Bierce left his indelible stamp on the short story with the twist at the end, and found […]

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Gothic Horror Stories: J. Habakuk Jephson’s Statement by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

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When we think of the Marie Celeste, we might be surprised to know that much of our facts are based upon a short story by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, which is heavily fictional. Published anonymously in 1884 by a pre-Sherlock Holmes Doyle, it was thought to be the work of among others, Robert Louis Stevenson […]

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Gothic Horror Stories: The Empty House by Algernon Blackwood

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Algernon Blackwood was one of the most prolific writers of gothic horror stories, particularly ghost stories, including both novels and short stories. No less a personage than H.P. Lovecraft named Blackwood as one of his inspirations. As a young man he moved from his native England to the United States, working in a variety of […]

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Glassic Gothic Ghost Stories: Beyond the Wall of Sleep by H.P. Lovecraft

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  Growing up in the seventies, we were more likely to equate the title of this short story to Black Sabbath than to H.P. Lovecraft. A song by that same title appeared on their debut album, Black Sabbath in 1970. Much has been written about a thread of white supremacy in Lovecraft’s work, but with […]

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On the Brighton Road

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Richard Middleton gave up the staid life of a banker for a bohemian lifestyle in his tragically short life. His suicide in 1911 robbed the world of a talented contributor to the canon of gothic ghost stories. This one from a Gothic Curiosity Cabinet.

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Young Goodman Brown by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Gallow's Hill, Salem, Massachusetts

By Nathaniel Hawthorne The great-great-grandson of the only judge in Salem’s witch trials who never publicly regretted his role, Nathaniel Hawthorne spent much of his life dealing with his family’s past through his writing. Whilst The Scarlet Letter and The House of Seven Gables get all the notoriety, perhaps none of his works deal as […]

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The Pursuit of Ichabod Crane, from the Legend of Sleepy Hollow, by Washington Irving

Into Sleepy Hollow, Irvington, Tarrytown, Westchester County, New York

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is perhaps America’s best known and most loved ghost story, told by the first great American author, Washington Irving. The Gothic Cabinet of Curiosities and Mysteries traces the route of Ichabod Crane that fateful night, in modern-day Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow.

An excerpt from Return to Sleepy Hollow. Click here to read the full essay.

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The Tractate Middoth

The Salem Athenaeum in Salem Massachusetts

The Salem Athenaeum in Salem Massachusetts has a ghost story of it’s own. The tales of M.R. James (1 August 1862 – 12 June 1936) are rightfully considered classics of the genre. In the Tractate Middoth, we have a mysterious visitor in the library, setting off a chain of events which turns a curious librarian […]

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