The curious case of the bloodless vampire kiss

bloodless vampire

You will probably think I am pulling your legs, but I am asking you in all seriousness to let me know whether you have had any experience of vampires. Personally, I believe they do exist.

I met two people once in Winchester, and was convinced that they were vampires. I remembered having been told in the Balkans, where everybody believes in vampires, that garlic is a very potent antidote.

So I procured a clove of garlic from the waiter at the Sporting Club, and the two vampires bothered me no more. Yet, I always wondered about the longevity of its potency——

But I digress; here is a story about a vampire which I have just had related to me by a close friend. I will tell it as though it happened to myself, for that will save time.

I knew a vampire at Crondall in Hampshire between the years 1902 and 1905. She was married and had four children. She was fantastically beautiful. By that I mean that there was something extraordinary, almost supernatural, about her beauty. To begin with, her face was as white as this sheet of paper before I began to write on it, so white as to be almost terrifying. And yet she was not in the least terrifying when you came to know her. On the contrary, she was fascinating. Her eyes, her hair, her mouth redeemed the excessive pallor of her skin. I do not know which was the most tempting – the fiery red hair which illuminated her skull, the huge pathetic devouring eyes, or her sunset-red lips. Continue reading

‘Ghosts and other supernatural guests’ – a review

Victorian ghost stories

A massive thank you to Lenora for such a thoughtful and enthusiastic review for my new book, ‘Ghosts and other supernatural guests’.

The review can be read here: http://hauntedpalaceblog.wordpress.com/2013/10/25/haunting-halloween-reading-ghosts-and-other-supernatural-guests-by-pj-hodge/

I can wholeheartedly recommend a visit to Lenora’s wonderful blog, The Haunted Palace. There you will find a richness of otherworldly tale and rooms populated by shadows and dreams of things past, all curated by a brilliant writer.

GHOSTS AND OTHER SUPERNATURAL GUESTS – 12 Tales of haunting

P. J. Hodge spins rich, spine-chilling and beautifully written tales that tell of haunted ancestral homes, supernaturally-possessed objects and revengeful spectres that will not rest until their work is done.

Mesmerising, understated, and convincingly Victorian in tone, this is a frighteningly good collection of stories. Purchase at your own risk!

Available for Kindle ebook here:

US – http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00FY82PXI
UK – http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00FY82PXI
Canada – http://www.amazon.ca/dp/B00FY82PXI
Germany – http://www.amazon.de/dp/B00FY82PXI
India – http://www.amazon.in/dp/B00FY82PXI

and all other Amazon international sites.

If you enjoy period ghost tales of that bygone England of country house gatherings, servants and hansom cabs, with smog-filled days and sinister churchyard nights, you’ll love this varied and entertaining collection of chillers.

 

The haunted shawl of Carmen

 carmen opera

Those who follow this page will know that I have a particular fondness for tales that tell of ancient family curses and supernaturally-possessed objects. There is a certain charm in these stories whether they chronicle the tragic demise of star-cross’d lovers or the dreadful fate of a bride-to-be. “The Haunted Shawl of Carmen” is another of these tales…

The shoulders that bore it —the “haunted shawl of Carmen”—were dust over five hundred years ago. The aging secret of its greens and golds and shimmering blues is now lost in the traditions of Spain. It is haunted by the ghosts of dark-eyed maids, some of them dancing girls, one a princess, and one a little cigarette maker whose tragic story inspired Mérimée’s tale and Bizet’s opera.

It is said that the red winding through its glorious blue is redder with the shadow of blood. For every one of the girls, princess and peasant alike, paid the price of wearing the beautiful silken thing with her life. And the ghosts of its former owners confer evil upon whoever dares to flaunt it.

In 1925, the shawl fell into the possession of Mrs. Richard A. Mestres, an American woman. She loved beauty, and expressed no dread of ghosts. The widow of a Spanish grandee, she had lived for many years in Mexico, where she saw the “haunted shawl of Carmen” and wanted it. She bought it and brought it to the States.

“And I am going to wear it, too!” she declared to the ruffled brows and gasps of her friends in Mexico City. “It will be quite the most amazing Spanish shawl to be seen in a day when Spanish shawls are all the rage.”

“And—no!—I don’t expect to be murdered whilst I wear it. I don’t think it will bring me any calamity. You see, I don’t believe in ghosts. I’m not a bit afraid of Carmen’s wraith!” Continue reading

Mummy’s Evil Eye

evil eye

The white winding road twisted like a serpent among the firs that stretched their bent boughs in mute supplication towards it. Silence was heavy on the Alpine world: only the distant sound of tinkling bells breaking it softly at whiles, then, muffled by the distance, their joyous peal died away. The two who stood on the rocky ledge leaning out towards the lake were motionless; a blaze of glory filled the western sky, whilst amber and yellow and pale rose clouds floated towards the unknown lands that lay beyond the sunset. Then the woman turned slowly, her eyes full of the wonderful light from the fading sunset, and held out her hands.

“Good-bye, William,” she said, a tremor breaking her voice. “We will say goodbye here. This . . . this month has been very happy. I shall be leaving early in the morning. It will be better to say good-bye now.”

“Nonsense, Clare,” he cried, his eyes flashing. “You do not mean this. Of course, you cannot. Last night you said you loved me, you returned my kisses, and now you tell me you will not marry me. What does it mean?”

She waited for a minute, her face turned away, and he saw her shiver slightly. A great cloud was hanging over the lake, a cloud like blue steel, pitiless, and with darkening pinions it shadowed the water that had been golden but a few minutes before. The rose and crimson of the west melted almost imperceptibly into purple and grey, and when the woman turned again he saw there were tears in her eyes.

“I cannot explain,” she cried; but he seized her hands and kissed them.

“Were you playing with me, Clare?” he cried. “Was it nothing with you after all?”

The next moment he knew his suspicions were wrong, for her mouth quivered, and her face seemed set in misery.

“It is because I love you William, that I will not marry you,” she cried, freeing her hands. “It is because I love you so much that I will not harm you.”

“What do you mean?” he cried. “What is it?”

“Do you remember the little chalet where we stopped last week and drank milk, the day the Robinsons were with us?” she asked.

He nodded.

“Do you remember the little rosy-cheeked child who carried in the glasses, and who smiled at us there?” she pursued, and again he nodded.

“That child died yesterday,” she said solemnly.

“But what has that to do with us, dearest?” he cried and she smiled in so sad a fashion he felt vaguely her heart was weeping even then.

“I have the Evil Eye,” she murmured, looking away from him. “All children that I look upon die. So that is why I will not marry you William, lest I bring death to you and yours.” Continue reading

A call to the altar

devil worship

I had visited the house as a boy and such was its impact that my mind knew it well. It now stood with a timbered stoop, inching towards decrepitude, thrusting itself in parts against the underscored weeds that told a tale of storm and gale.

It was inhabited by two aging spinsters, with whom I had some dealings, and who invited me to join them, to dine and engage with their circle of friends. I well recall my walk up to the old place. It led me up a sloped lane, formidably inclined, that near wore out the leather of my shoes, and lined with beeches, to the summit which broadened out into an avenue that led to the Chase.

A splendid autumn afternoon was reaching the zenith of its bloom; the year dying with more than a hint of decadence, wrapping itself in its gorgeous robes like a high priest. On arriving at my destination the sun had softened its hold of the day, and had already dipped below the horizon, the eastern front of the house projecting an ominous black shadow at its foot. What was there in its greying facade that reminded me of the grave I cannot say; but it was indeed more than just a fleeting sense of foreboding for it never waned in the hours I remained there.

I traversed the threshold like a schoolboy forced into the care of some hideous matron; and soon, having dressed for dinner, a servant escorted me to an upper chamber, where I was left — as far as I could tell — entirely alone. No sooner had he left me than I became aware of a weird and discordant sound in the room — a sort of shuddering sound, one that I could only describe as “suppressed dread”. Continue reading

Darkwater Hall

haunted hall

Some years ago, while visiting relatives who live in an old hall in the north of England, I had a strange and weird experience. The house, Darkwater Hall by name, built in 1600, was long and rambling, with one room opening into another, and with secret cupboards let into the panels of the walls. A lovely old world garden surrounded the house, and beyond the garden was a moat.

I had always heard from childhood that the hall was reputed to be haunted, but which was the haunted room, and what form the ghost took I had never been told; and when I received an invitation to stay a few days in this fascinating old place I accepted with pleasure.

The bedroom allotted to me was on the first floor, a large, low-ceilinged room, and the most noteworthy piece of furniture it contained was a huge four poster bed.

The first two nights of my stay passed without incident, and the thought that I might be in the haunted room never entered my mind. The third night I retired about 11 o’clock, and soon fell asleep. How long I slept I do not know, but the sound of the extinguisher on the china candlestick (which was standing on a small table at the right side of my bed) being lifted and dropped again, awakened me.

I listened for a moment, and then suddenly I felt that something was being pressed over my mouth, and that I was being suffocated. I could not move or cry out, and felt that I was losing consciousness.

After what seemed hours to me, but could not have been many moments, the terrible feeling passed, and I lay very still, waiting for the dawn.

No sooner had my mind resumed a restful state, that I noticed something thin and eel-like slithering against the wall nearest my bed-side. Turning quickly, I beheld the most hideous figure of a woman that ever claimed the sex. While her brow hung in heavy folds, the skin of her face was drawn back tightly over the cheek bones, her ferocious eyes and prongs of teeth making her altogether like a wild beast. Continue reading