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Happy Halloween, Day 9

Here's a haunting photo from Swan Point Cemetery (where H.P. Lovecraft, among others, is buried), shared with permission from the photographer, primroseburrows.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

And now, on with the show:

Link of the Day: Northstar Gallery. (Visit here for fine art photography and photos of cemetery and memorial art. Don't miss it!)

Literature of the Day: "Mrs. Amworth" is a vampire short story that is quite remarkable, not only for the scares it delivers and the vampire lore it introduces, but also for the fact it includes an early scientific paranormal investigator as one of its main characters. This is a chilling and absorbing story definitely worth reading. Enjoy the spookiness!

"Mrs. Amworth"
by E.F. Benson (1867-1940)

I went straight up to my bedroom, of which one of the windows looks out over the street, and as I undressed I thought I heard voices talking outside not far away. But I paid no particular attention, put out my lights, and falling asleep plunged into the depths of a most horrible dream, distortedly suggested no doubt, by my last words with Mrs. Amworth. I dreamed that I woke, and found that both my bedroom windows were shut. Half-suffocating I dreamed that I sprang out of bed, and went across to open them. The blind over the first was drawn down, and pulling it up I saw, with the indescribable horror of incipient nightmare, Mrs. Amworth's face suspended close to the pane in the darkness outside, nodding and smiling at me. Pulling down the blind again to keep that terror out, I rushed to the second window on the other side of the room, and there again was Mrs. Amworth's face.

Read the complete short story here.



( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 9th, 2007 12:38 pm (UTC)
I love the photo! For someone who doesn't believe in all the fuss, I seem to have an attraction to old cemetaries.

I've saved the story for later... and the link to the website. I'm planning on a story with a lot of supernatural overtones and you can't ever have too many sources!
Oct. 9th, 2007 01:29 pm (UTC)
I know exactly what you mean; I don't like the ceremonies and trappings of modern funerals, and yet I am fascinated by old graveyards. I think the artwork has something to do with it. I was thrilled that primroseburrows kindly let me share this photo. I think it's beautiful and oddly mesmerizing. I'm glad you like it, too!

I hope you enjoy the story. There's a neat section at the end that explains how the tale sets up some of the classic vampire story ingredients we now see in so many works of fiction and film. I hope it's useful! I'm really excited that you're working on a story incorporating supernatural ingredients.

Oct. 9th, 2007 07:44 pm (UTC)
I like the statue of this little girl. It has that kind of creepy that happens whenever images of children are mixed with the trappings of death. The innocence of childhood conjoined with ghosts and graves and things that are mysterious and forbidden.
Oct. 10th, 2007 11:14 am (UTC)
That's an especially creepy statue! There's especially something about the eyes... I agree with you about how mixing children and death achieves a particular kind of spookiness. *shivers* On a related note, that reminds me of how stories and films like Village of the Damned/The Midwich Cuckoos and The Omen are so effective, because the main characters are children, and pairing that innocence with deadly power seems unnatural and wrong somehow.
Oct. 11th, 2007 04:26 am (UTC)
The eyes are creepiest, I think, because they have no life in them, even though the little girl is in the pose and dress of someone very much alive and enjoying life. *shiver*

I haven't seen too on film with kids and creepy because my medium for creepiness is usually books, which can be worse sometimes because my brain can conjure up all kinds of strange images.
Oct. 12th, 2007 03:21 pm (UTC)
The eyes are creepiest, I think, because they have no life in them, even though the little girl is in the pose and dress of someone very much alive and enjoying life.

Yes - that's it exactly!
Oct. 9th, 2007 10:36 pm (UTC)
"Mrs. Amworth"

Ooo... {{{hits print button}}}

{{{shivers at picture}}} I watch waaaay too much TV... ;-)

Oct. 10th, 2007 11:11 am (UTC)
LOL! I hope you enjoy it. I only discovered it recently, and I thought it was wonderful - and spooky!
Oct. 11th, 2007 02:35 am (UTC)
I read that story when I was a kid, in "Great Tales of Horror and the Supernatural (Wise and Fraser eds.), which also has "Caterpillars" by the same author. He had two brothers who also wrote horror fiction, A.C. and R.H. Benson.


Kim Newman's novel Anno Dracula features a number of famous and obscure literary characters, Mrs. Amworth among them.

Oct. 12th, 2007 03:20 pm (UTC)
Thank you for the wonderful links and information! Would you recommend Kim Newman's Anno Dracula? It sounds interesting.

Oct. 12th, 2007 11:28 pm (UTC)
I enjoyed it a lot. i first read the novella "Red Reign" in an anthology and then I got the book out of the library. Its premise is that after Count Dracula moves to London, Queen Victoria succumbs to his powers and he becomes Prince Consort, and vampires eventually become the ruling class of England. Humans who resist too forcefully are put in concentration camps (a British invention during the Boer War). Most people go along with the new regime, at least in outward appearances.

One of the main characters is a reluctant female vampire who was born in France during the Hundred Years' War. I didn't care for her that much and wouldn't read his other books where she's the protagonist, and I'm not a huge vampire fan in general, but Anno Dracula is a great read and full of literary cameos and a few larger parts. I bought the book on abebooks and plan to reread it one day.
I will not spoil the fun by listing any of the other borrowed characters I remember.

The foreign-sounding woman who used to appear in the Folger's coffee commercials always reminded me of Mrs. Amworth for some reason.

Oct. 9th, 2007 11:26 pm (UTC)
That photo is very evocative and........
thanks for the short story link:)

PS--icon love!
Oct. 10th, 2007 11:15 am (UTC)
Re: That photo is very evocative and........
I'm so glad you like it! You're most welcome for the link - I recently found this story and I really liked it. I hope you do, too.
Oct. 10th, 2007 03:18 am (UTC)
Oh,I love that photograph. I've always wanted an angel on my gravestone so if I kick it,feel free to pass the word along. ;-)

Also thanks for the story link. Hope you are enjoying the wonderful Halloween season.
Oct. 10th, 2007 11:16 am (UTC)
so if I kick it,feel free to pass the word along. ;-)

Deal! ;) I think this one is particularly effective, because it's looking down toward the grave rather than up at the heavens.

I hope you're having a great Halloween season, too! :)
( 15 comments — Leave a comment )

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