M. R. James was born in Goodnestone, Kent, England on August 1, 1862. He was an English mediaeval scholar and provost of King's College, Cambridge (1905-1918) and of Eton College (1918-1936). He is best remembered for his ghost stories which are widely regarded as among the finest in English literature. He began writing his ghost stories as an entertainment for his friends; he would read these stories each year at Christmas to his colleagues at King's College. The earliest of these tales include Canon Alberic's Scrap-book and Lost Hearts, both of which were later collected in his first anthology of supernatural fiction, Ghost Stories of an Antiquary (1904). Perhaps his single greatest story is the profoundly disturbing Oh, Whistle, and I'll Come to You, My Lad (1904). He died on June 12, 1936.
Years have passed since humanity’s destruction emerged from the Breach.
Friendless and alone he walks across a desolate, war-torn landscape.
As each day passes the world tumbles further into depravity, bent and twisted by the new order, corrupted by the Usurper, the enemy, and his infernal horde.
His purpose is to reach the Shining City, last bastion of the human race, and deliver the only weapon that may make a difference in the ongoing war.
What little hope remains is dying. Abandoned by its leader, The Seven, and its heroes, The Seraph Knights, the last defences of a once great civilisation are crumbling into dust.
But the Shining City is far away and the world is a very dangerous place.
M. R. James wrote his ghost stories to entertain friends on Christmas Eve, and they went on to both transform and modernise a genre. James harnesses the power of suggestion to move from a recognisable world to one that is indefinably strange, and then unforgettably terrifying. Sheets, pictures, carvings, a dolls house, a lonely beach, a branch tapping on a window - ordinary things take on more than a tinge of dread in the hands of the original master of suspense.
Area X has been cut off from the rest of the continent for decades. Nature has reclaimed the last vestiges of human civilization. The first expedition returned with reports of a pristine, Edenic landscape; the second expedition ended in mass suicide; the third expedition in a hail of gunfire as its members turned on one another. The members of the eleventh expedition returned as shadows of their former selves, and within weeks, all had died of cancer. In Annihilation, the first volume of Jeff VanderMeer's Southern Reach trilogy, we join the twelfth expedition.
The group is made up of four women: an anthropologist; a surveyor; a psychologist, the de facto leader; and our narrator, a biologist. Their mission is to map the terrain, record all observations of their surroundings and of one another, and, above all, avoid being contaminated by Area X itself.
They arrive expecting the unexpected, and Area X delivers—they discover a massive topographic anomaly and life forms that surpass understanding—but it's the surprises that came across the border with them and the secrets the expedition members are keeping from one another that change everything.
Andrew Barger, award-winning author and editor of Phantasmal: Best Ghost Short Stories 1800-1849, Best Horror Short Stories 1850-1899, and The Divine Dantes trilogy, has now researched the finest ghost stories for the last half of the nineteenth century and combined them in one haunting collection. He has added his familiar scholarly touch by annotating the stories, providing story background information, author photos and a list of ghost stories considered to settle on the most frightening and well-written tales.
Victorians: Victors of the Ghost Story (2016) by Andrew Barger - Andrew sets the stage for this haunting ghost anthology.
The Upper Berth (1886) by Francis Marion Crawford - You will never think of cruising on a ship the same way after reading "The Upper Berth".
In Kropfsberg Keep (1895) by Ralph Adams Cram - A gothic setting yields a nightmare for a couple of "ghost hunters".
Lost Hearts (1895) by M. R. James - This early M. R. James classic ghost story is one of his best.
The Familiar (1872) by Joseph Le Fanu - Ever feel like you are being watched?
The Haunted Organist of Hurly Burly (1886) by Rosa Mulholland - You will never view an organ the same way again.
No. 1 Branch Line: The Signal Man (1865) by Charles Dickens - Are the nervous habits of a train tracks operator all in his mind?
Hurst of Hurstcote (1893) by Edith Nesbit - A moldering house and--of course--ghosts.
The Judge’s House (1891) by Bram Stoker - The author of Dracula never disappoints.
The Yellow Sign (1895) by Robert Chambers - A painter sees someone watching him from a busy New York street.
The Haunted and the Haunters (1859) by Edward Bulwer-Lytton - The oldest and most haunting ghost short story in the anthology.
I am deeply and horribly convinced, that there does exist beyond this a spiritual world—a system whose workings are generally in mercy hidden from us—a system which may be, and which is sometimes, partially and terribly revealed.
“The Familiar” 1872
Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu