October 15th, 2008


Halloween Countdown, Day 15

To kick off my post today, I have a very spooky U.K. Public Information Film from 1973 meant to warn children about the dangers of playing near water. This gets forwarded around every so often, but I think it is worthy of repeated viewings, especially during the Halloween season. The creepy narration by Donald Pleasance and the Grim Reaper-esque appearance of "The Spirit of Dark and Lonely Water" make this - to my mind at least - a horror classic in its own right.

Remember: he'll be back...

LINK OF THE DAY: Check out VictorianHalloween.com, where Gothic tales, obscure Victorian poetry, and spooky images abound.

LITERATURE OF THE DAY: Today's story is an eerie one, "The Burial of the Rats" by Bram Stoker (1847-1912):

Excerpt from "The Burial of the Rats" by Bram Stoker:
"I once lost a ring--a beautiful diamond hoop that belonged to a queen, and which was given to me by a farmer of the taxes, who afterwards cut his throat because I sent him away. I thought it must have been stolen, and taxed my people; but I could get no trace. The police came and suggested that it had found its way to the drain. We descended--I in my fine clothes, for I would not trust them with my beautiful ring! I know more of the drains since then, and of rats, too! but I shall never forget the horror of that place--alive with blazing eyes, a wall of them just outside the light of our torches. Well, we got beneath my house. We searched the outlet of the drain, and there in the filth found my ring, and we came out.

"But we found something else also before we came! As we were coming toward the opening a lot of sewer rats--human ones this time--came towards us. They told the police that one of their number had gone into the drain, but had not returned. He had gone in only shortly before we had, and, if lost, could hardly be far off. They asked help to seek him, so we turned back. They tried to prevent me going, but I insisted. It was a new excitement, and had I not recovered my ring? Not far did we go till we came on something. There was but little water, and the bottom of the drain was raised with brick, rubbish, and much matter of the kind. He had made a fight for it, even when his torch had gone out. But they were too many for him! They had not been long about it! The bones were still warm; but they were picked clean."

Read the complete story.
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