Mr Railton’s Haunted House

Amazing illustrations by Herbert Railton for the posthumous illustrated edition (1896) of a poem by Thomas Hood entitled The Haunted House.

The Library Time Machine

The approach to Christmas is also traditionally the time for ghost stories. The most famous of British writers of ghost stories, M R James, often gathered together friends or students at  this time of year to read one of his latest offerings to them. You can picture them in in an ancient university city, in an old academic’s study, lined with bookshelves and lit by candles or gaslights. You can imagine a small group of like minded men in comfortable chairs gathered round the storyteller. Perhaps the only light is the one illuminating the reader’s manuscript.

It’s always gatherings of men in these things isn’t it?  So wipe some of them from your mind and insert some academic women in their place, perhaps in evening dress after some college function. The reader is an equal opportunity teller of scary tales. You can insert a clergyman if you like, and a nun,or even a…

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