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Halloween Countdown, Day 13

Thanks to everyone who took part in yesterday's poll about lesser-known Halloween-appropriate films! It's still open, if anyone else would like to participate.

Today's atmospheric photo is from the wonderful lizziebelle:


Text of the Day: Today's short story is the eerie "Canon Alberic's Scrap-Book" (1894) by M.R. James (1862-1936).

It was not in the personal appearance of the little, dry, wizened old man that the interest lay, for he was precisely like dozens of other church-guardians in France, but in a curious furtive, or rather hunted and oppressed, air which he had. He was perpetually half glancing behind him; the muscles of his back and shoulders seemed to be hunched in a continual nervous contraction, as if he were expecting every moment to find himself in the clutch of an enemy. The Englishman hardly knew whether to put him down as a man by haunted by a fixed delusion, or as one oppressed by a guilty conscience, or as an unbearably henpecked husband. The probabilities, when reckoned up, certainly pointed to the last idea; but, still, the impression conveyed was that of a more formidable persecutor even than a termagant wife.

However, the Englishman (let us call him Dennistoun) was soon too deep in his notebook and too busy with his camera to give more than an occasional glance to the sacristan. Whenever he did look at him, he found him at no great distance, either huddling himself back against the wall or crouching in one of the gorgeous stalls.

Read the complete story.



( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 13th, 2011 01:17 pm (UTC)
Augh! Such a beautiful picture!
Oct. 13th, 2011 02:02 pm (UTC)
Thanks! It's one of my favorites, too. :)
Oct. 13th, 2011 07:14 pm (UTC)
I love this picture so much.
Oct. 14th, 2011 08:41 am (UTC)
Great movie
Yes it is...great spooky movie
Oct. 13th, 2011 02:02 pm (UTC)
Ooh! I love this picture, too. So fun to be scrolling through my f-list and see it. :)
Oct. 13th, 2011 07:15 pm (UTC)
Thank you for letting me post it! It's so amazing - the leaves, the fog, everything. *sigh*
Oct. 13th, 2011 02:53 pm (UTC)
Project Gutenberg is a good alternative for obtaining trashy Gothic literature, as it provides for a variety of e-reader formats like Kindle and Epub. Thanks to PG, I was able to check out such works as Varney the Vampire and Carmilla. The former I gave up at chapter seventy-something. I had been willing to put up with the obnoxious padding (including a chapter concerned primarily about matches), but I gave up after the sudden left turn where it was revealed that Varney was an executed criminal Frankensteined back to life by Dr. Mr. Chillingworth. The Hell?
Oct. 13th, 2011 07:17 pm (UTC)
Good call! I love Project Gutenberg. (You'll see several links to it on posts this month.) Isn't Varney the Vampire a hoot? Yeah, the whole "reanimation" thing is extreme goofiness. But he gets really emo at the very end (as opposed to all the times it feels like it should end and it doesn't), which is rather fun. Carmilla, on the other hand, is genius, I think.

You're so much fun! You know all the great stuff.
Oct. 13th, 2011 08:05 pm (UTC)
The college I was at at the time let students print for free. I printed all of Varney the Vampire, including the pictures, from Gutenberg and a month later the computer lab was making students pay for printing jobs larger than 20 pages.

But then I only got a third into it before I just couldn't drag myself any deeper in.
I think to read the whole thing I'd have to have it in weekly instalments and not as a gigantic lump of paper all at once.

Carmilla I haven't read, looks like I should
Oct. 15th, 2011 12:34 pm (UTC)
Carmilla is amazing!

Ha, I loved your Varney the Vampire story. All that copying! I agree that it would be a completely different reading experience as a serial.
Oct. 13th, 2011 08:06 pm (UTC)
I was sort of waiting for you to put up an M.R. James story, great stuff.
Oct. 15th, 2011 12:32 pm (UTC)
Yay! After so many years of this, it's getting more of a challenge not to repeat the same texts. ;) But M.R. James is always a favorite!
Oct. 13th, 2011 08:56 pm (UTC)
Thank you Dr. Amy for M. R. James work always love to read or listen to a great ghost story. We love to get scared.

“Who does not feel a suppressed start at the creaking of furniture in the dark of night? Who has not felt a shiver of goose flesh, controlled only by an effort of will? Who, in the dark, has not had the feeling of some thing behind him - and, in spite of his conscious reasoning, turned to look?”
—By Arthur B. Reeve's The Fascination of the Ghost Story appeared as the introduction to The Best Ghost Stories published by The Modern Library, 1919
Oct. 15th, 2011 12:35 pm (UTC)
Re: Ghosts
Oh, what a perfect quote! I love it! Thank you so much; it's the perfect season for it. I'm glad to hear you liked the M.R. James, too!
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )