Peter Haining (ed.) – The Ghost’s Companion: Stories Of Personal Encounters With The Supernatural (Puffin 1978, originally Gollancz, 1975)
Introduction – Peter Haining
M. R. James – A School Story H. R. Wakefield – The Red Lodge O. Henry – The Furnished Room Algernon Blackwood – A Haunted Island Rudyard Kipling – My Own True Ghost Story Lafcadio Hearn – The Boy Who Drew Cats * Arthur Machen – The Monstrance Daphne du Maurier – Escort Hammond Innes – South Sea Bubble August Derleth – Hallowe’en For Mr. Faulkner Richard Hughes – The Ghost Dennis Wheatley – The Case Of The Red-Headed Women Fritz Leiber – Smoke Ghost Joan Aiken – Aunt Jezebel’s House Ray Bradbury – Fever Dream
* [The Gollancz edition replaces this story with the same author's The Hands Of The Karma ]
Blurb Fifteen super-spooky supernatural stories by fifteen authors, who all had ghostly experiences of their own
Another of Mr. Haining's compiled with what used to be called children in mind, and very decent it is, too. Settle the little ones down to sleep with tales of suicide, a war atrocities, haunted houses and an everyday malefic urban spectre for the industrial age.
Arthur Machen – The Monstrance: Western Front, 1915. Diary of the late Sergeant Karl Heinz, haunted to his doom by the spectres of the old priest martyred outside St. Lambart's and the three year old boy his men crucified against the church door.
Lafcadio Hearn – The Boy Who Drew Cats : Japan. A "Goblin" haunts a desolate temple. A young vagabond with an obsessive-compulsive disorder to paint cats everywhere decorates the walls with his designs before falling asleep for the night. He awakens to find the floor awash with blood and an enormous rat dead in the middle of it. Who - or what - could have killed the monster? The cats look very pleased with themselves.
Ray Bradbury – Fever Dream: An Invasion Of The Body-snatchers in miniature. Charlie, 15, bedridden with what his doctor has confidently diagnosed as "scarlet fever," knows for sure that his body is being conquered, cell by cell, by an evil alien intelligence. But will anybody believe him?
Joan Aiken – Aunt Jezebel’s House: Based on an incident in the life of the author's stepfather, Martin 'The Pipe Smoker' Armstrong. Mr. Wintergreen inherits his aunt's cottage in Rye. This comes as a shock to everyone, not least Mr. Wintergreen, because the old bat made no secret of the fact she despised him as an unimaginative, crushing bore. Maud assures her brother the place is so infested with ghosts that even he won't fail to see them. So it proves. Mr. Wintergreen's first encounter with the supernatural occurs on the train journey to his new home when a little boy materialises in the carriage ...
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.