25 October 2009

The Unquiet Grave

Today's Take This Tune spooky song is "The Unquiet Grave" which is an old folk song. Now I've a fondness for mysteries and ghost stories, so it made sense to go hunting. Someone somewhere must have written a book by that title.

Well as they say in Space Camp, "whip me, beat me, take away my credit cards" the silly search on Amazon worked and there this description was:
If you find a locked room in a lonely inn, don't try to open it, even on a bright sunny day. If you find a strange whistle hidden among the stones of an old church, don't blow it. If a mysterious man gives you a piece of paper with strange writing on it, give it back to him at once. And if you call a dead man from his grave, don't expect to sleep peacefully ever again. Read these five ghost stories by daylight, and make sure your door is locked.
The author of "The Unquiet Grave" is M.R. James. This just gets better and better. Not only ghost stories, but British ghost stories.

M. R. James (1862-1936) was born in Kent, and became the provost of King's College, Cambridge, and later of Eton School. He is famous for his ghost stories, which have been popular since the day they were first written.

So there you are ... The Unquiet Grave a book written in the 1920s and famous enough to still be published today .. now that is really good haunting


Travis said...

I used to like some scary stories when I was a kid, but not so much any more.

Fairweather said...

The four stories in the description are "Number 13" about a satanic pact and a sealed room; "O Whistle and I'll Come to You, My Lad" based on the old superstition of witches having the power to "whistle up the wind"; "Casting the Runes" about a black magician who uses some oldtimey Norse magic that backfires; and "Count Magnus", about another deal with "the Prince of the Air" only the late Count got the better end of the deal. The fifth story isn't described, but at a guess I'd say it would be "A Warning to the Curious"--which deals with a disturbed barrow where an ancient guardian crown was buried and the fate of the man who dug it up.

The fascinating thing about M. R. James is that he had and continues to have such a huge influence on the literary ghost story genre, but only wrote something like thirty stories over the course of his career. Read aloud, they're wonderful. (There's YouTube video, I think, of the British actor Christopher Lee, who was a pupil of James's at Eton, reading some of them. Brilliant spooky stuff.)

Linda said...

Oh mym I'm going to have to make sure that Amanda looks for this book - it sounds like it would be so right up her alley!

Recent blog:=- "The world will little note nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here." - Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg Address