Ambrose Bierce's Mysterious Disappearances: A 5 Minute Summary and Literary Analysis
Oldstyle Tales Press Blog
by Michael Kellermeyer
6d ago
Like his earlier short-story scrapbooks The Ways of Ghosts and Some Haunted Houses, the following anthology series is written in a particularly reporterly style which lends it to being taken as non-fiction. In fact, while the other two anthologies have only occasionally been mistaken as genuine reports on local supernatural accounts, Mysterious Disappearances has been so effective at creating the atmosphere of journalism that it has been extensively reprinted in many books on strange events and Fortean happenings. When first published as an article in the San Francisco Examiner, these stories ..read more
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M. R. James' Count Magnus: A Detailed Summary and Literary Analysis
Oldstyle Tales Press | The Classic Horror Blog
by Michael Kellermeyer
1M ago
One of M. R. James’ most beloved areas of research was in Scandinavian history and folklore. In “Count Magnus,” he underscores the fact that this was a scholarly blind spot in most English libraries, calling Scandinavia “a region not widely known to Englishmen” until the 20th century. Indeed, prior to the rise of such cultural figures as Denmark’s Hans Christian Andersen and Soren Kierkegaard, Norway’s Henrik Ibsen, Edvard Munch, and Edvard Grieg, Sweden’s August Strindberg, and Finland’s Jean Sibelius, the Nordic countries were considered a European backwater filled with superstitious peasant ..read more
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M. R. James' Canon Alberic's Scrap-book: A 5 Minute Summary and Literary Analysis
Oldstyle Tales Press | The Classic Horror Blog
by Michael Kellermeyer
2M ago
Commonly rated among the top ten of James’ stories by his admirers, “Canon Alberic’s Scrap-Book” stands out as having many of the great tropes of what has come to be called a “Jamesian” tale: it follows a starchy English academic on an ill-fated holiday to a remote, backwards town (far from the Hobbit-esque comforts and required civility of Cambridge) where he is hopelessly drawn in by the allure of a sinister antique which brings with it a spectral guardian – eager to make his acquaintance. Although the specifics are always interchangeable – the backwater region he travels to may be domestic ..read more
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The Visitation: A Ghost Story for Hallowe'en
Oldstyle Tales Press | The Classic Horror Blog
by Michael Kellermeyer
3M ago
NOTE: Each October I write a ghost story or weird tale for Hallowe'en and post it here. The following piece is 2022's "Ghost Story for Hallowe'en": Thinking back on his childhood obsession with tornadoes, the narrator recalls how he bonded with his first best friend – a charismatic new kid – over their interest in twisters and how he ignored the many warning signs that he was falling prey to a master manipulator and liar. With their rocky friendship hanging by a thread, the narrator suggests that they do some field research by talking with the survivor of their small, Indiana town’s most famou ..read more
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Reviewing: Ty Tracey's Upcoming Novel, The Corroding
Oldstyle Tales Press | The Classic Horror Blog
by Michael Kellermeyer
4M ago
“We had all begun to accept that things may never go back to normal. Civilization as we knew it was in the midst of a great turning. We were no longer in control of our fate; something outside our most basic human faculties had taken over…” — Ty Tracey, The Corroding One of the most pleasurable parts of my job is reading and recommending the work of rising stars in the world of speculative fiction. Since I myself am hardly a mainstream staple in the industry – just an indie publisher working from home with his daughter and wrangling two cats between folding laundry – the budding authors who ap ..read more
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“Why Do Spirits Walk the Earth?”: The 7 Hard Truths that Ghosts Expose in Literary Horror
Oldstyle Tales Press | The Classic Horror Blog
by Michael Kellermeyer
4M ago
Ebenezer Scrooge said it best when he begged the preceding question of Marley’s Ghost in A Christmas Carol. What, he wanted to know, motivates a ghost to return to his living acquaintances? Is it a desire to torment, to reform, to encourage, to disturb, to expose, to restore? In Scrooge’s case it was all the above. In other literary ghost stories, the motives are less obvious and oftentimes the real target is the reader themselves. Of course, none of this pertains to so-called “veridical,” real-life ghost stories: if real ghosts do walk the earth, their reasons for appearing and mechanisms of ..read more
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Our Recent Guest Spots on Sley House Publishing's Literary Podcast (plus a short personal update)
Oldstyle Tales Press | The Classic Horror Blog
by Michael Kellermeyer
5M ago
A very warm hello to you, dear reader! In this post I'll be breaking the fourth wall a bit to chat with you about two exciting updates from behind the scenes at Oldstyle Tales Press. The first is to share that I was honored and excited to be asked to sit in on two episodes of the Sley House Publishing podcast, "Lit Bits." Sley House is an up and coming new press that focuses on sci-fi, fantasy, horror, mystery, and thrillers, and their podcast dives deep into examples of the Speculative Fiction genre ranging from Edith Wharton and Bram Stoker to the The Maltese Falcon and The Bride of Frankens ..read more
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M. R. James' Creepy Campfire Classic, Wailing Well: A 5 Minute Summary and Literary Analysis
Oldstyle Tales Press | The Classic Horror Blog
by Michael Kellermeyer
6M ago
For M. R. James, who began his career as a writer of ghost stories by reading them to his friends at Christmas parties, his last great ghost story was written, fittingly, to be publicly read in front of a specific audience. It is a campfire legend, composed for a troop of Eton Boy Scouts who were camped on the rolling downs near Worbarrow Bay in Dorset, and was read to them on the evening of July 27th, 1927. In a letter he described the pitch which he was offered: "Tomorrow it is proposed that the Lower Master takes me by car to Worbarrow Bay in Dorset where the Scouts are in camp - it is furt ..read more
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Reviewing: Joe Powlawski's In the Heart of the Garden is a Tomb
Oldstyle Tales Press | The Classic Horror Blog
by Michael Kellermeyer
7M ago
Over the past year I have been stunned by the consistent strength of the books authors have sent me to review: the last six or so books which I have been honored to read and review for burgeoning writers in the horror field have been astounding. The one at which I am looking today keeps the trend humming: it is unquestionably one of the most engaging collections of short stories that I have encountered in the last five years, and one of only a handful of anthologies which I have ever been asked to read (novels, of course, are much commoner in the genre). It is (and I mean this in all seriousne ..read more
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Carnacki the Gh0st-finder's 7 Best Cases: A Spooky Spotlight on Hodgson's Steampunk Occult Detective
Oldstyle Tales Press | The Classic Horror Blog
by Michael Kellermeyer
8M ago
In a previous blog post, we specifically catalogued William Hope Hodgson’s best nautical horror stories – tales of haunted ships, sea monsters, ghost pirates, parasitic fungi, and were-sharks. In this post, we will focus on the very best of his famous occult detective: Carnacki the Ghost-finder. Throughout his career Hodgson had a taste for mystery. His very first story – “The Goddess of Death” – was not unlike “The Hound of the Baskervilles”: something of an Arthur Conan Doyle pastiche involving a sham haunting that is exposed Scooby-Doo-style. Later he wrote “The Terror of the Water Tank” ab ..read more
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