Known in nineteenth-century Dublin as 'The Invisible Prince' because of his reclusive and nocturnal habits, Le Fanu was fascinated by the occult. His writings draw on the Gothic tradition, elements of Irish folklore, and even on the social and political anxieties of his Anglo-Irish contemporaries. In exploring sometimes inexplicable terrors, these five tales focus on the unease of the haunted men and women rather than on the visitant.
The stories are purportedly collected by one Dr Hesselius, a 'metaphysical' doctor, the forerunner of the modern psychiatrist, who is willing to consider ghosts both as real and as hallucinatory obsessions. Spine-chilling reading, each story creates that atmosphere of mystery and doubtful anxiety which is the supernatural experience.