Showing posts from January, 2016

Supernatural Tales 30 - Poll Closed!

Well, the online poll for most popular story in the special, exciting, dynamic ST #30 produced a pretty decisive result. 'Wild Dogs' by Adam Golaski won by a country mile. This means he win a small cash prize (£25 in English money) and a year's subscription to ST. I will have a poll ST #31 in due course. But before then, I think I'll gauge readers' opinions of favourite supernatural tales from years gone by. So flex your voting fingers. There may even be a new poll sitting there at this very moment...

Ghost Hoaxing Down Under

Here is a fascinating account of spooky social history in  the Australian state of Victoria. It seems that, from the late Victorian era onwards, an awful lot of blokes pretended to be ghosts. It's a sober, academic article by one David Waldron, who has certainly done his research. I was genuinely surprised to find that there was an upsurge in debate and controversy about the supernatural in Victoria in late Victorian times. (Yes, I'm trying to avoid the term 'Victorian Victoria'.) Ghost hoaxing or ‘playing the ghost’ was rife through newspaper reportage between the 1860s and early twentieth century. People in costumes would leap out, assail, scare and throw things at people late at night, often with quite dramatic hollers, calls and mysterious displays of lights. Many of these ghost figures would wear quite elaborate costumes with theatrical flourish and, as a result, gained nicknames through the local press as they played cat and mouse games with police and local vig

The X-Files Returns!

Well, it's actually returning next month from my viewpoint, because I'm a Limey, so it will be shown on the UK's rather tacky Channel 5. (If you don't know Channel 5, imagine a  cheaply-produced 'documentary' entitled 'Hitler's Busty Henchwomen' and you'll get some idea of how classy it is.) Anyway, in February I will carefully don surgical gloves and switch to C5 to watch the new X-Files mini-series. I will probably enjoy most of it but also do quite a bit of shouting at the screen, as is my wont. I've posted stuff about TXF here before, as it's one of my favourite shows and lots of episodes focus on the paranormal, supernatural, or just plain weird. Here's  a post about Ghosts in Space (quite a few, surprisingly), and  here's  a look at a classic ep with Brad Dourif guest-starring as a convicted killer who claims to be able to contact the dead, Over the years the show tackled the idea of spirit possession, reincarnation, dia

The Ghost Story Awards!

Yes, it's not just the best story in ST #30 you should be thinking about, and voting for. It's also the best ghost story and best collection/anthology published last year. What did you read in 2015? What stuck in your mind? What did you really enjoy? Did anything prompt you to say to yourself: "Gosh, that was a splendid repast of supernatural literature, and no mistake!"? Why do you talk to yourself like a retired Indian Army colonel c. 1937? Sorry, none of my business... The point is that there were, in my humble etc, a lot of good stories published last year, and quite a few good books. You can vote for up to three titles in each category, but you don't have to. Just vote for one story, or one book - the choice is yours. Please send your votes by email to; markl[dot]valentine[at]btinternet[dot]com. (The fifth character in the email address is a lower case L for Lima, not i or a number 1). Your vote must arrive by midnight on February 28th 2016.

At First, You Hear the Silence

. Many moons ago I wrote a review of a collection of stories by Mark Fuller Dillon. These stories are still excellent, and they're still out there, available as an ebook. In a Season of Dead Weather is well worth your time. The same can be said for his unusual 'alien invasion' novella All Roads Lead to Winter , Oh, and they'd both free! So, if you've got an e-reader, there's no excuse. Mark has now produced another story, and it's just as good as those 2013 publications. At First, You Hear the Silence is, according to one reviewer: "A new twist on what used to be called science fantasy, it strikes a great balance between horror, sf, and action writing. This is a modern, intelligent story with its roots firmly in the Golden Age pulp tradition."  I wrote that, as Mark let me see the story before publication and asked for a recommendation. I was happy to oblige. It's an absorbing read. Here's the synopsis. At thirteen, Philippe can

The Woman in Black: Angel of Death

Yes, there's a sequel. The 2012 TWiB movie, starring Daniel Radcliffe as Arthur Kipps, wasn't half bad - though admittedly much of this was down to an excellent supporting cast led by rock-steady Ciaran Hinds. However, this sequel (with a story by author Susan Hill, so it ain't sharecropped) suggests an ill-conceived attempt to turn the eponymous ghost into a franchise figure. Well, she ain't Freddie Kruger (or Jason, or whoever), for various reasons. The year is 1940, forty years after the events of the first film. Teacher Eve Parkins (Phoebe Fox) is spending a night on an Underground platform with a group of children and headmistress Jean Hogg (the excellent Helen McCrory). Not surprisingly, given the amount of Nazi high explosive about, the group are about to be evacuated to a site on the East coast. Yes, it's Eel Marsh House, empty for generations. Oo-er. On the way to their supposed sanctuary from terror the group encounter a jolly nice chap, RAF Flying O

The Return of the Bloke

I'm back again for good, touch wood. (Rubs cranium.) It may take me a while to get back up to speed, though. I was away from home for a long time over Yule because my mother was hospitalised with what turned out to be a touch of pneumonia. First things first, though - the poll! Look to your right and see, from beneath raised eyebrows, that the race has caught fire, or something. What was the best story in the special, landmark-ish issue 30? If you haven't already decided, you've got a couple of weeks to ponder. Then it'll be the poll for ST #31... Meanwhile, to lull you to sleep on a cold January night, here's an old ghost story in the classic tradition, read by yours truly.

Apologies for Absence

Happy New Year! Sorry for the absence of bloggage, etc, I have been preoccupied by illness in the family. In the meantime, here's a nice story for a winter bedtime.