I love to read and most evenings I try to spend at least an hour or two before bed with a good novel or a short story or two. I love a good visual story - the kind when I can shut my eyes before going off to sleep and re-enact what I just read in my mind. I like stories in which things happen and the past year or so I've been really enjoying old ghost stories - and something always happens in a ghost story.
There's some great collections out there. One of the first I read was a rather nice volume of "Irish Ghost Stories", a varied collection of tales from the Victorian period. Sheridan Le Fanu has several spooky tales in it, "An Account of Some Strange Disturbances in Aungier Street" and "Passage in the History of an Irish Countess" (later re-worked as the novel "Uncle Silas" I believe) are two that I really enjoyed. "The Judge's House" by Bram Stoker is quite good - full of atmosphere and all the creepy things you'd expect from a horror story. There are also tales which draw on the folklore of Ireland - featuring the well-known "good people", the Leprechauns, and are really fun to read. This picture is a humble tribute to some of those stories:
Oliver Onions is another writer I really enjoy. "The Beckoning Fair One" is perhaps his best known story, but "The Painted Face" and "The Rosewood Door" are great, too - his collection of ghost stories is one of my favourites so far.
"Scottish Ghost Stories", like it's Irish counterpart, has quite a collection of well-known authors and some superb tales. Robert Louis Stevenson is perhaps the best-known (or Sir Walter Scott, perhaps?), and Stevenson's "Olalla" is a great story. Not actually a ghost story, but quite a nice tale about a rather odd family living in Spain. His "Thawn Janet" is a more of a ghost story, and very good. I came across his tale "The Merry Men" in another collection and it is perhaps my favourite thing I've read from him. Shipwrecks, insanity and a silent visitation - all set against a small Scottish island, with some of the best and atmospheric descriptions of a stormy sea and rocky coast I've yet read. Margaret Oliphant's "The Open Door" and "Library Window" are two other classics from "Scottish Ghost Stories" that really stick out in my mind, I thoroughly enjoyed them.
M. R. James is another well-known author I read with pleasure - he has a fun, easy style and interesting characters. Charlotte Riddell has a nice collection - her humour gives a nice touch to her writing, it gives her stories a somewhat more personal feeling. And Willie Collins is quite a pleasure to read. Perhaps better known for his detectives and mysteries, but "The Dream Woman" and in particular "Mrs. Zant and the Ghost" are two very fine supernatural tales.
Ah, there's many more I really like. A nice collection of those old ghost stories - it's a pleasure I look foreword to each evening. Especially if there's rain against the bedchamber window and the ominous rumble of approaching thunder fills the summer night. It's great fun.
Two more homages I made for my personal amusement. I love ghost stories.