The most spine-tingling suspense stories from the colonial era—including Washington Irving, Nathaniel Hawthorne, James Fenimore Cooper, Edgar Allan Poe, Henry James, and H. P. Lovecraft—are presented anew to the contemporary reader.This stunning anthology of classic colonial suspense fiction plunges deep into the native soil from which American horror literature first sprang. While European writers of the Gothic and bizarre evoked ruined castles and crumbling abbeys, their American counterparts looked back to the Colonial era’s stifling religion and its dark and threatening woods.
Today the best-known tale of Colonial horror is Washington Irving’s “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” although Irving’s story is probably best-known today from various movie versions it has inspired. Colonial horror tales of other prominent American authors—Nathaniel Hawthorne and James Fenimore Cooper among them—are overshadowed by their bestsellers and are difficult to find in modern libraries. Many other pioneers of American horror fiction are presented afresh in this breathtaking volume for today’s reading public.
Some will have heard the names of Increase and Cotton Mather in association with the Salem witch trials, but will not have sought out their contemporary accounts of what were viewed as supernatural events. By bringing these writers to the attention of the contemporary reader, the book will help bring their names—and their work—back from the dead.
Featuring stories by Cotton Mather, Washington Irving, Nathaniel Hawthorne, James Fenimore Cooper, Edgar Allan Poe, Henry James, H. P. Lovecraft, and many more.
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About the Author
Table of Contents
Introduction Graeme Davis ix
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow Washington Irving 1
An Essay for the Recording of Remarkable Providences by Increase Mather 31
Wonders of the Invisible World Cotton Mather 49
Lithobolia R.C. 61
Wieland Charles Brockden Brown 79
The Money-Diggers Washington Irving 93
Rachel Dyer John Neal 161
Moll Pitcher John Greenleaf Whittier 173
The Birth-Mark Nathaniel Hawthorne 197
A Tale of the Ragged Mountains Edgar Allan Poe 215
The Lake Gun James Fenimore Cooper 227
In the Pines W. F. Mayer 239
The Romance of Certain Old Clothes Henry James 255
An Authenticated History of the Bell Witch Martin van Buren Ingram 275
Myths and Legends of Our Own Land Charles M. Skinner 319
The Salem Wolf Howard Pyle 335
The Case of Charles Dexter Ward H. P. Lovecraft 349
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
and things that go bump in the night… My thanks to my contacts at Pegasus Books, Iris Blasi, Katie McGuire, Maia Larson, and Bowen Dunnan for my review copy of this book. You guys rock! These are stories and essays from early America. I found it incredible that stories by Washington Irving, Edgar Alan Poe, and Henry James are sharing a book with essays written by Increase and Cotton Mather! While the supernatural elements of Irving, Poe, and James are products of imagination, the Mathers, father, and son, were deadly serious in their writings. On the words of Increase and Cotton Mather people could lose their freedom and even their life! My favorite story in this volume is the story of “The Devil and Tom Walker” by Washington Irving. There are several stories by Irving in the book, with “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” given the honor of starting the volume. But it is the tale of Tom Walker’s deal with the devil that tops my list of favorite Irving tales! The historical supernatural essays of the Mathers was chilling. No doubt these words were read by the ones presiding at the infamous Salem Witch Trials. The essays delve into the ideas of the time that condemned people f pacts with Satan on very little evidence. It makes the blood run cold in a man’s veins to think of innocent people who died because of these men… Other authors featured in this volume are Nathaniel Hawthorn, Charles Brockton Brown, an entire novel by John Neal, Rachel Dyer; James Fennimore Cooper, WF Mayer, Howard Pyle, and ends with an excerpt from “The Case of Charles Dexter Ward” by horror legend HP Lovecraft. What I liked least in this volume was the poem “Moll Pitcher” by John Greenleaf Whittier. Whitter is known for his mastery of foot and meter, but in this case, he doesn’t hesitate to express in 15 words what he might have said in 6. The poem is extremely long winded and it just doesn’t excite me enough to enjoy plowing through 22 pages of stuffy poetry. There is certainly more here to read that can grasp a reader’s attention and pull him or her straight into the story as it unfolds. I recommend this book! I give it four stars… Quoth the Raven…