The Empty House and Other Ghost Stories

The Empty House and Other Ghost Stories

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by Algernon Blackwood
     
 

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Certain houses, like certain persons, manage somehow to proclaim at once their character for evil. In the case of the latter, no particular feature need betray them; they may boast an open countenance and an ingenuous smile; and yet a little of their company leaves the unalterable conviction that there is something radically amiss with their being: that they are evil.

Overview

Certain houses, like certain persons, manage somehow to proclaim at once their character for evil. In the case of the latter, no particular feature need betray them; they may boast an open countenance and an ingenuous smile; and yet a little of their company leaves the unalterable conviction that there is something radically amiss with their being: that they are evil. Willy nilly, they seem to communicate an atmosphere of secret and wicked thoughts which makes those in their immediate neighbourhood shrink from them as from a thing diseased.
And, perhaps, with houses the same principle is operative, and it is the aroma of evil deeds committed under a particular roof, long after the actual doers have passed away, that makes the gooseflesh come and the hair rise. Something of the original passion of the evil-doer, and of the horror felt by his victim, enters the heart of the innocent watcher, and he becomes suddenly conscious of tingling nerves, creeping skin, and a chilling of the blood. He is terror-stricken without apparent cause.
There was manifestly nothing in the external appearance of this particular house to bear out the tales of the horror that was said to reign within. It was neither lonely nor unkempt. It stood, crowded into a corner of the square, and looked exactly like the houses on either side of it. It had the same number of windows as its neighbours; the same balcony overlooking the gardens; the same white steps leading up to the heavy black front door; and, in the rear, there was the same narrow strip of green, with neat box borders, running up to the wall that divided it from the backs of the adjoining houses. Apparently, too, the number of chimney pots on the roof was the same; the breadth and angle of the eaves; and even the height of the dirty area railings.
And yet this house in the square, that seemed precisely similar to its fifty ugly neighbours, was as a matter of fact entirely different—horribly different.
Wherein lay this marked, invisible difference is impossible to say. It cannot be ascribed wholly to the imagination, because persons who had spent some time in the house, knowing nothing of the facts, had declared positively that certain rooms were so disagreeable they would rather die than enter them again, and that the atmosphere of the whole house produced in them symptoms of a genuine terror; while the series of innocent tenants who had tried to live in it and been forced to decamp at the shortest possible notice, was indeed little less than a scandal in the town.
When Shorthouse arrived to pay a "week-end" visit to his Aunt Julia in her little house on the sea-front at the other end of the town, he found her charged to the brim with mystery and excitement. He had only received her telegram that morning, and he had come anticipating boredom; but the moment he touched her hand and kissed her apple-skin wrinkled cheek, he caught the first wave of her electrical condition. The impression deepened when he learned that there were to be no other visitors, and that he had been telegraphed for with a very special object.
Something was in the wind, and the "something" would doubtless bear fruit; for this elderly spinster aunt, with a mania for psychical research, had brains as well as will power, and by hook or by crook she usually managed to accomplish her ends. The revelation was made soon after tea, when she sidled close up to him as they paced slowly along the sea-front in the dusk.
"I've got the keys," she announced in a delighted, yet half awesome voice. "Got them till Monday!"
"The keys of the bathing-machine, or—?" he asked innocently, looking from the sea to the town. Nothing brought her so quickly to the point as feigning stupidity.
"Neither," she whispered. "I've got the keys of the haunted house in the square—and I'm going there to-night."
Shorthouse was conscious of the slightest possible tremor down his back. He dropped his teasing tone. Something in her voice and manner thrilled him. She was in earnest.
"But you can't go alone—" he began.
"That's why I wired for you," she said with decision.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
2940149085613
Publisher:
Hillside Publishing
Publication date:
01/13/2015
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
File size:
197 KB

Meet the Author

Although Blackwood wrote a number of horror stories, his most typical work seeks less to frighten than to induce a sense of awe. Good examples are the novels The Centaur, which climaxes with a traveller's sight of a herd of the mythical creatures; and Julius LeVallon and its sequel The Bright Messenger, which deal with reincarnation and the possibility of a new, mystical evolution in human consciousness. His best stories, such as those collected in the book Incredible Adventures, are masterpieces of atmosphere, construction and suggestion. Born in Shooter's Hill (today part of south-east London, but then part of north-west Kent) and educated at Wellington College, Algernon Blackwood had a varied career, farming in Canada, operating a hotel, and working as a newspaper reporter in New York City. In his late thirties, Blackwood moved back to England and started to write horror stories. He was very successful, writing 10 books of short stories and appearing on both radio and television to tell them. He also wrote fourteen novels and a number of plays, most of which were produced but not published. He was an avid lover of nature, and many of his stories reflect this. Blackwood wrote an autobiography of his early years, Episodes Before Thirty (1923). There is an extensive critical analysis of Blackwood's work in Jack Sullivan's book Elegant Nightmares: The English Ghost Story From Le Fanu to Blackwood (1978). There is a biography by Mike Ashley (ISBN 0-7867-0928-6) and a critical essay on Blackwood's work in S. T. Joshi's The Weird Tale (1990). The plot of Caitlin R. Kiernan's novel Threshold (2001) draws upon Blackwood's "The Willows", which is quoted several times in the book. Kiernan has cited Blackwood as an important influence on her writing. Source: Wikipedia
Also available
A Prisoner in Fairyland (1913)
The Centaur (1911)
The Damned (1914)
Jimbo (1909)
The Willows (1907)
The Extra Day (1915)
The Garden of Survival (1918)
The Wendigo (1910)
The Man Whom the Trees Loved (1912)
Sand (1912)

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Empty House And Other Ghost Stories (Large Print Edition) 2.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 18 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I agree.CRAP
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
They should actually make a book out of that, i can see it now "Revenge of the bookwork." -_- =_=
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a Google scan of a book. It is supposed to be the Blackwood title, but once you get past the title page it is 400+ pages of a chemistry book. They scanned the wrong book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Thats the real title of this book...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Its stupid! There us just like letters and numbers and symbols and crap! Its a waste of your Nook space!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Goldylox
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Here i was ready for a really good read. Sigh...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Collection of ghost stories first published in 1906. Some very spooky stuff here.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Jazmin Melendez More than 1 year ago
Its+so+cool+and+scary
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Chemistry freaks me out man!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A maniac who eats only raw freshly killed meat and his terror stricken house guest...among other tales...good stuff
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A few of the stories were a little scary. A lot of them didn't seem to end really they just abruptly stopped. Quite a few of the stories mentioned someone named Jim Shorthouse ( a name my brain insisted on reading as Shortarse ) but it never seemed to be the same guy. This drove me crazy. All in all though it was a pretty good collection of shorts.