Susan Hill (ed.) - The Walker Book of Ghost Stories (Ted Smart, 20000: originally Walker, 1990)
Jan Mark - Nule Eleanor Farjeon - Young Kate Pauline Hill - Joanna's Secret George Mackay Brown - Sam And The Sea Ruth Manning-Sanders - The Kindly Ghost Philippa Pearce - The Yellow Ball Dorothy Edwards - The Damp Spectre Joan Aiken - Little Nym 'Catherine Sefton' - Beware of the Ghost! Walter R. Brooks - Jimmy Takes Vanishing Lessons Penelope Lively - Uninvited Ghosts Leon Garfield - Laughter in the Dark Ruth Ainsworth - Through the Door Sorche Nic Leodhas - The Battle with the Bogles John Gordon - Grandmother's Footsteps Ruth Manning-Sanders - Bring Me a Light Susan Hill - A Friend Forever
Susan Hill's debut anthology, Ghost Stories (Hamish Hamilton, 1983), was an almost supernaturally pointless exercise in compiling thirteen genre classics of the kind even people who don't read have acquired ten times over [citation possibly required]. Beautifully illustrated throughout by Angela Barrett, The Walker Book Of Ghost Stories, compiled with a young adult audience in mind, initially looks a far more imaginative selection on the part of The Woman In Black woman / her ghost editor [delete as applicable]. But appearances can be deceptive, and, like the most anaemic of the early Armada Ghost books, many of the tales included here-in are too "Now gather around, good little children, and I'll begin. Once upon a time ...." for their own good.
Jan Mark - Nule: Martin and Libby decorate the Newell post in pointy hat, dressing gown and football boots. It walks in the night to no discernible purpose.
Eleanor Farjeon - Young Kate: Not so young Kate, the servant girl, ignores her late mistress's advice and ventures into a meadow allegedly haunted by the Green Woman, the River King and the Dancing Boy. They are all frightfully benevolent and desperately dull.
Catherine Sefton [Martin Waddell] - Beware of the Ghost!: Nobody believes Bertie Boggle when he tells them a ghost haunts the coal-shed. But he doesn't care. He always wanted a best pal, and now he has one! Not exactly Fried Man.
Dorothy Edwards - The Damp Spectre: (Ghosts And Shadows, 1980). Ghost of little kid drowned in the Thames takes a shine to young Asher, whose family have recently moved into a riverside tower block. Mum can't abide the smell of the dirty water. The ghost must go. Underwhelming.
John Gordon - Grandmother's Footsteps: At last, something downbeat. Thank God for John Gordon! The family Christmas get-together takes a sour turn with obnoxious Uncle George's ruminations on his late mother. According to George, the old bag always hated him on account of his ugly face, and, when he was small, would regularly drag him to the graveyard to visit her beautiful first-born, Charles, who only survived a month. Even in death, she'd give anything to get Charles back - even her grandson, Jack (our narrator).
Walking home on Friday, noticed someone has spray painted 'NEVER GROW UP' in huge white letters on a Commercial Street bridge. Made me smile, anyway.
From the first, I set myself against "literature"; the story was the thing, and no amount of style could persuade me to select a story that lacked genuine, unadulterated horror. For those who wanted something high-brow there was plenty.