Hugh Lamb (ed.) - A Tide Of Terror; An Anthology Of Rare Horror Stories (W.H. Allen, 1972: Taplinger, 1973)
Introduction - Peter Haining
H. R. Wakefield - The Red Lodge W. C. Morrow - His Unconquerable Enemy Joseph Payne Brennan - On The Elevator A. C. Benson - The Closed Window E. F. Benson - The Step R. H. Benson - Father Brent’s Tale Charles Birkin - Some New Pleasures Prove Margery Lawrence - The Dogs Of Pemba Algernon Blackwood - Full Circle A. N. L. Munby - The Tregannet Book Of Hours Sax Rohmer - The Master Of Hollow Grange C. D. Heriot - The Trapdoor Bertram Mitford - The Sign Of The Spider Ambrose Bierce - Some Haunted Houses T. O. Beachcroft - The Eyes Thomas Burke - Johnson Looked Back Eleanor Scott - The Twelve Apostles Hugh Walpole - Mrs Lunt
Hugh's first (discounting his much sought afterThe Story Of Water for the Water board)!
Charles Birkin - ‘Some New Pleasures Prove’: Devon. Laura Campbell’s car breaks down shortly after being stopped at a police roadblock where she was warned that sadistic killer Arthur ‘The Midnight Murderer’ Smith is on the loose having escaped from the Waymore asylum. When she chances upon Jasmine Cottage, Laura thinks her troubles are over - until, watching the ten o’clock news, she realises that her genial host fits the description of the man the police are looking for.
W. C. Morrow - His Unconquerable Enemy: Calcutta. Neranya is a loyal servant of the Rajah but prone to cruelty and outbursts of temper. When he fatally stabs a dwarf, the Rajah orders that his right arm be severed as punishment. Neranya despises him thereafter and plots to destroy him. First he butchers his only son, for which crime his legs are sliced off (he’s already lost the second arm for an earlier misdemeanor). The quadruamputee is shoved in a cage ten feet off the floor in the Grand Hall where the Rajah can pop in for a quick gloat whenever he likes. That should keep the armless, legless one out of mischief!
Shouldn’t it ….?
H. R. Wakefield - The Red Lodge: The narrator, his wife Mary and son Tim move into the old Queen Anne house of the title, rented from an unscrupulous estate agent, Wilkes, who turns a blind eye to the numerous tragic deaths associated with the property. Before long the new residents are subjected to all manner of supernatural manifestations, beginning with the slime trodden into the carpets of many of the rooms by persons unseen and the recurrent apparition of a ‘green monkey’ sprinting toward the pond. Legend has it that, back in the early eighteenth century, the then owner brided his servants to terrify his wife to death. They succeeded all too well, and one night she ran from the house and drowned herself. Her husband wasted no time in installing a harem at the lodge, but one by one his lovers followed her example. And so it has continued to the present day.
E. F. Benson - The Step: Alexandra, Egypt. John Cresswell, ruthless real estate speculator, evicts a family from their home. The strain proves too much for the father. Cursed for his callous behaviour by the man’s widow, Cresswell is pursued everywhere by - at first - invisible footsteps. Finally, the abomination shows itself.
Thomas Burke - Johnson Looked Back: Johnson is pursued through the London fog by an eyeless, handless thing of “maimed ugliness.” In his final moments, he recognises his pursuer as …
A. N. L. Munby - The Tregganet Book Of Hours: St. Denoil, Cornwall. How an illustration in a Calendar of Saints came to be defaced and replaced. It all goes back to the 15th century when Lord of the Manor and pirate Hector Tregganet cheated Thomas Prest (!) out of his land by circulating stories among the superstitious peasants that he practiced witchcraft. They duly torched Prest's house with he and his wife trapped inside. Before he died, Prest pronounced a curse on Tregganet that he "would never be buried with his forefathers in the church of St. Fagan." On his death in 1510, Tregganet's coffin was indeed taken into the church, but ....
Joseph Payne Brennan - On The Elevator: A rotting ship is dislodged from the sea bed during a storm and pieces of wreckage wash ashore. Presently a figure in a rotting black raincoat slopes through the lobby of the Atlas Hotel on Ocean Street and into the elevator before the night-porter can get a good look at him. A piercing scream from the woman in 311 heralds a night of terror. Great little horror story this and notable for an extreme death by long fingernails!
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.