A FEAST OF TERROR, a ghostly tale for Thanksgiving

feast of terror

As Americans gather for the Thanksgiving holiday, it is perhaps time to turn the clock back to one family feast that did not raise quite as much cheer.

It tells of the terrible incidents that took place in a house in Oakville, Georgia, U.S.A in the latter part of the nineteenth century. This spot had earned a high place amongst haunted localities, and, in its day, was comparable with the famous house in Berkeley Square.

Situated in the midst of picturesque but lonely country, this house, the property of a farmer named Walsingham, had a world-wide reputation amongst psychical investigators.

For some time the house had been left deserted by its owner, and it would seem that during the temporary absence of its material master it passed into the hands of beings or forces —call them what you will — who wished to remain in undisputed possession.

When Walsingham and his family decided to return and take up their abode in the house, they were struck on the very first day by the peculiar “feeling” of the place. They could not decide, in any way what this feeling was, but, on analysis, likened it to claustrophobia, an overpowering dread of being alone within any four walls.

Continue reading

A FEAST OF TERROR, a ghostly tale for Thanksgiving

thanksgiving ghost story

As Americans gather for the Thanksgiving holiday, it is perhaps time to turn the clock back to one family feast that did not raise quite as much cheer.

It tells of the terrible incidents that took place in a house in Oakville, Georgia, U.S.A in the latter part of the nineteenth century. This spot had earned a high place amongst haunted localities, and, in its day, was comparable with the famous house in Berkeley Square.

Situated in the midst of picturesque but lonely country, this house, the property of a farmer named Walsingham, had a world-wide reputation amongst psychical investigators.

For some time the house had been left deserted by its owner, and it would seem that during the temporary absence of its material master it passed into the hands of beings or forces —call them what you will — who wished to remain in undisputed possession.

When Walsingham and his family decided to return and take up their abode in the house, they were struck on the very first day by the peculiar “feeling” of the place. They could not decide, in any way what this feeling was, but, on analysis, likened it to claustrophobia, an overpowering dread of being alone within any four walls. Continue reading

The ghosts of Berkeley Square

the ghosts of berkeley square

GHOSTS, as Ambrose Bierce said, may be only “the outward and visible sign of an inward fear,” but England and Scotland teem with stories of spine-chilling nomads who won’t stay put, but have spent centuries poking around and frightening the life out of people. No. 50 Berkeley Square, London, is a notoriously haunted house. The very walls of the house have been described as “saturated with electric horror,” and people living in the place have been known to go off their heads and die terrified. Presumably these also come back to haunt the place, so the whole business is a vicious circle!

London has, of course, a veritable feast of haunted houses. From time to time whispers have gone abroad about this mansion, or that; but, with very few exceptions, these reports appear to be idle gossip. An empty house, shuttered, silent, uncared-for, will soon earn, in any part of the world, a reputation for something sinister, whether it be ghosts or — accepting the more prosaic theory — nothing more harmful than vagrants and squatters. But of all the haunted houses there, none has stood the test of time nor earned a greater reputation than the house in Berkeley Square. This mansion has attracted attention on account of its position in the very heart of London, from the terrible nature of the supernatural phenomena of which it is said to be the scene, and from the fact that it is the setting of one of the most famous ghost stories in existence — Sir Edward Bulwer’s Haunted and the Haunters. Although this story does not claim to be anything more than fiction, it gives a very fair idea of the reputed happenings in the house in Berkeley Square.

The ghosts here seem to have taken a different form with various occupants. One story is that a virtuous young maiden once threw herself from the windows of a top room to escape a wicked relative with bad intentions. According to report, the poor girl can still, at times, be seen hanging on the window-sill and screeching her head off. Continue reading

WALK WITH ME (TO THE ESTUARY) – a ghost story

victorian ghost stories

WALK WITH ME (TO THE ESTUARY), one of 12 tales of haunting from GHOSTS AND OTHER SUPERNATURAL GUESTS by P.J. Hodge.

Available as Amazon Kindle ebook and paperback – GHOSTS AND OTHER SUPERNATURAL GUESTS

Rated 4.5 stars on Amazon and Goodreads!

The thick undergrowth is swept aside, his skin unaware of the tiny invasions, from holly and bramble, ripping through the flimsy cloth, tearing his calves, cross-hatching his flesh with slender red ribbons. Emerging, draped in a mesh of vine and stalk, he stumbles down the open face of the sandy bank, and bursts forth, into the esurient embrace of land against sea. And there, directly ahead, amongst a mass of chains writhing serpent-like, is a small boat, waiting for its captain.

“The tales also hark back to the classic Victorian and Edwardian ghost stories of the likes of MR James and Sheridan le Fanu to name but two; I found that Walk with Me (to the Estuary) was a particularly atmospheric tale with a slowly building sense of menace and inescapable fate that felt very Jamesian in colour and tone.”
SWEAT, TEARS AND DIGITAL INK

GHOSTS AND OTHER SUPERNATURAL GUESTS – now in paperback!

GHOSTS AND OTHER SUPERNATURAL GUESTS

I am delighted to announce that GHOSTS AND OTHER SUPERNATURAL GUESTS is now available in paperback.

Available here:

US – http://www.amazon.com/dp/1493637703
UK – http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1493637703

and all other international Amazon stores.

GHOSTS AND OTHER SUPERNATURAL GUESTS – 12 Gothic 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!

The book has received excellent reviews:

“PJ Hodge invites you to step outside your everyday world with tales that subtly entice you into a more liminal world, a world where the veils between physical measurable reality and the unexplained are drawn back to reveal unsettling truths and the inescapable terrors of the great beyond.

The tales range from childhood adventures with a tragic twist (The Viaduct); the truly horrific spectre of The Flames of Stalbridge Manor; to the heartwarming A Tip of the Hat. This is a perfect book to read, by a crackling fire, in a lonely manor house, on a dark and stormy night – was that a tree-branch tapping on the window-pane..or could it be Ghosts and other Supernatural Guests……..!”
THE HAUNTED PALACE

“His style is very much in the tradition of the likes of Ambrose Bierce and M.R. James. So if you like that sort of fiction and the sort of ghostly short films that the BBC used to show at Christmas, you will certainly enjoy this volume …Hodge blends actual local folklore and fictional tales behind the places that have inspired him. Readers of his blog will know that his love of his native southern England and its landscape is his medium. There is no historic place, ancient or recent, that seemingly has not inspired the stories he tells. There is then, something quintessentially British about the work for these reasons and the sort of stories that were his inspiration. Ideal reading for this time of year, and then read them all again at Christmas!”
SWEAT, TEARS AND DIGITAL INK

Cult of the Banshee

cult_of_the_banshee2

CULT OF THE BANSHEE, another Gothic tale of terror by P.J. Hodge

“For some interminable seconds this unholy figure stood in dreadful silence, apparently delighting in the discomfort her appearance had effected, and, then, suddenly shouldering her spade, she moved away with a kind of gliding motion, turning round every now and again to cast the same rancorous look at me, until she came to the hedge that separated the garden from a long disused stone quarry, when she seemed instantly to fade away in the now twilight, and disappear.”

Read it here:
Cult of the Banshee

Cult of the Banshee

banshee tales

I think that I am not far wrong when I say that nearly everybody, even in these later days, believes in the supernatural. There is something akin to the Unseen in ourselves, in our thoughts, in our inner consciousness, which Nature will not allow us to entirely ignore. With some the supernatural takes the form of luck, of a blind belief in Fate, while the particular brand of others is ghosts pure and simple. Between those two, luck and ghosts, there is a wide range of speculation and assertion.

Without doubt, the supernatural exists to a large extent in the imagination. I do not say that it exists only or entirely in the imagination, but I do affirm that the imagination has a great influence upon the existence of the supernatural. A highly strung, nervous, imaginative temperament is more susceptible to, and receptive of the supernatural; it is what I may term a good medium; it catches and retains a sensation without attempting or wishing to analyse the wherefore or the wherefrom. In the Irish this temperament is more fully developed than in any other people. Their fancy has led their belief, or rather their power of reception, to concentrate in one particular form, namely, the Banshee.

A few years ago I should have laughed to scorn anyone who dared predict that I should ever make such a statement, but now it is my firm and unalterable belief that the Banshee is a reality. There is not a shadow of doubt in my mind as to its actual existence. I am an Englishman not an Irishman; I am not superstitious, and I certainly do not believe in ghosts, for I have never seen or in any way come in contact with one. Why this impression should have gained such a hold upon me I am entirely without explanation! Continue reading