Showing posts from November, 2009


'Not far to the east of York lies an empty stretch of country known as the Wolds ; a region of tiny hamlets, distant farms and meagre population. Yet, within living memory, it was a scene of bustling enterprise. I speak of the deserted railway tracks once connecting with the Great North Eastern Railway. A tiled mural depicting the network prior to nationalisation adorns to this day the concourse at York Station, epitaph to the glory of the Railway Age, grim reminder of the depredations of Dr Beeching. The Malton-Driffield Railway wove its way through North Grimston , Wharram, Fimber, Sledmere, Wetwang, Garton-on-the-Wolds. It served the long desolate chalk quarries of Wharram and Burdale, supplying the chemical industry of Teesside. During the Second World War the line transported evacuees to country estates and troops to training camps; once carrying General de Gaulle on a visit to French soldiers billeted at Malton. The passage in 1948 of the Royal Train, hauled by ‘Irish El

A Fancy Room (but is it en suite?)

'The room was huge. All around the walls stood tall black and silver candelabra, as graceful as the antlers of stags, bearing stands of flaming candles. Looking down the room, she saw a vast stove covered in gold and black tiles that rose to the ceiling. Long couches stood around it, their arms terminating in carved animals. Even from here, she could see some grinning faces, a monkey mouth opening wide   to expose the teeth, a roaring lion with a gilded mane. To these creatures also, the unstable candlelight gave disturbing impressions of movement, too quick to catch, registering on the eye as barely-seen glimpses, the effect enhanced by flecks of   ivory and mother-of pearl which inlaid their gleaming milky eyes. Along the backs of the couches were carved intertwined lizard-like creatures: she had seen these forms before, and was trying to recall them to her memory when she happened to look up and saw one painted in gilt and scarlet which seemed suspended almost above her.' F

The Glamour of the Snow

I was re-reading this Blackwood story the other week, and it struck me that it's a perfect example of the author's greatest strengths and weaknesses. If you don't know it, it's here . The plot is simple. An Englishman called Hibbert who's a bit of a loner, and sensitive to nature in that way Blackwood's characters often are, goes to an Alpine ski resort. He enjoys himself, but always feels a certain detachment both from his fellow skiers and skaters, and the locals. His nature was too “multiple” to subscribe to the set of shibboleths of any one class. And, since all liked him, and felt that somehow he seemed outside of them—spectator, looker-on—all sought to claim him. Typical outsider, of a sort very familiar from many ghostly tales. But it's fair to say that Blackwood set the template, here. M.R. James' characters are often loners, too, but they sometimes seem a little dates in their bachelor-scholar status. Blackwood's protagonists seem more

Who Knows Where The Time Goes?

Blimey, I seem to have lost the year 2009, or a substantial part of it. Never mind, my fiendish plans for 2010 are well under way.  First up, the contents of ST17. This is list is highly provisional, but I thought you might like to have a peep. 'The Tunnel' - Peter Bell 'Mr Nousel's Mirror' - Michael Keyton T'he Dress' - Elizabeth Brown  '13 Nassau St' - Martin Hayes 'Cabin D' - Ian Rogers 'The Language of the Nameless Region' - Richard Gavin  'Lessons' - Katherine M. Haynes This list is interesting (to me at least) because it contains so many new names. Not that I think ST has become in any way tired, I just happen to have been getting a lot of submissions from new writers (new to me, that is). This is a good thing. There's an inevitable 'churning' effect in publishing a tiny little magazine as an amateur editor. A really good writer will stop off along the way to greater things - lik

The Haunted Pen of Richard Matheson

No, he doesn't really have a haunted pen, or at least doesn't admit to it. But there's a good interview with the celebrated author here . I recently read his lesser-known supernatural novel A Stir of Echoes. Recommended. But, unlike Matheson's other early books, ASoE doesn't lend itself to film or TV because it is about a man's internal and highly subjective supernatural experiences. There's also a good interview with RM in the Dark Dreamers series:

Wrong Again

My previous post  on this topic was clearly incorrect. THE new president of the European Union is a Catholic German vampire who craves the blood of your children, experts warned last night.  As the unelected leaders of Europe chose the unelected Belgian prime minister to be your unelected president, vampirologists revealed Herman Van Rompuy's true identity as a 486 year-old blood-sucking monster of the night. Read the full story here . I Googled 'Belgian vampire' to find a pic and got this.

Oooh! I'll be checking this out...

Dear David, I'm a subscriber to your Supernatural Tales blog, and thought you might be interested in this: We've just made the first in a monthly series of horror-comedy audio plays starring some of Britain's best young comics, and Celebrity Love Islander, and Beppe from Eastenders, Michael Greco. Called In the Gloaming: Creepy Tales of Now, they are a chilling and darkly comic look at modern life, and are available as a free podcast. The first episode, Dead Skinny, is out now, and has received great reviews from horror masters like Ramsey Campbell, and more than 1,000 downloads. It is available here: There is more information at our website (  ) and I'd be happy to answer any questions. The next episode is out on Friday 27th November... Best of luck with everything, and I hope you enjoy the podcast! Yours, Nathaniel Tapley -- Twitter: InTheGloaming

Vampires Can't Be Good Catholics

The Vatican has decided that, on balance, all things considered, it's against vampires . Damn. I had a tenner at Ladbrokes that said the Pope would, in his Christmas message, say that demon-possessed bloodsucking corpses in cloaks were more in accord with the tenets of the Council of Nicaea than, say, Methodists. (Thought I was going to type Muslims there, didn't you? So did I, but you've got to be careful these days.) Anyway, the Pope's propagandists say the Twilight series of books by Stephenie Meyer are a Bad Thing, as is the series of popular feature films currently being produced to - if you read the Daily Mail - DEPRAVE OUR TEENAGE DAUGHTERS! For the Daily Mail, anything that is new and popular must deprave somebody, and if they can get a picture of a nubile young lady in the story, badda bing! But I digress. This is what the bead-jigglers think, allegedly: According to the Daily Mail Monsignor Franco Perazzolo, of the Pontifical Council of Culture, said

The Sound of the Borderland

I seem to be banging the drum long and loud for BBC 7 these days. So be it. I've sort of given up on the telly - I can do without it, so I do. Radio I can listen to while I think, type, doze, eat crisps, sew on a button, and still miss nothing. And BBC 7 does usually have a good spooky or weird tale on the go. One very good reading is of William Hope Hodgson's odd, hard-to-define novel The House on the Borderland . I've never been quite sure of Hodgson . He has many admirers and his best work is powerful. But his style is starchy and his ideas are often maddeningly vague. THotB is probably his most accessible book. The central idea - of a strange house besieged by weird 'swine things' - really stays with you, as does the rather Wellsian cosmic reverie of the unreliable narrator. Oh, and did I mention this reading  is by Jim Norton? Yes, Bishop Brennan himself. Wonderful voice.

They're Still At It

Those crazy guys at the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society have been filming a new movie for, well, strange aeons and a bit. But they're getting there, and I for one look forward to the finished product. You can read their production blog here . And this is the trailer, which I posted a long time ago. Still good.


I've been reading a short novel by Mike Chislett. It's good. Should I publish it as a Supernatural Tales special issue? How many people reading this would buy a long story by Mike? I suspect quite a few people would be happy to stump up around a tenner, but I'd like a bit of feedback.

Green Man

Pagan survival? Mediaeval joke? Good or evil or just plain there? Whatever the truth behind the Green Man, he is present in hundreds of English churches. And there's a song about him by one of my fave bands....