I’m a bit surprised by the number of ghost hunter tales I’ve added to The Legacy of Ghost Hunter Fiction: A Chronological Bibliography since its launch just over a week ago. The quality of the added stories varies, but I’m beginning to see trends and connections between them and works already listed.
For instance, Charles May’s 1831 tale “The Haunted House” is a bit of a rough read, but it shares an interesting element with B.M. Croker’s much better “Number Ninety,” from 1895. Did Croker come across May’s story — then around 64 years old — and decide to tell her own version of it?
I found E.W.P.’s “Uncle Bob’s Haunted Room,” from 1874, and A.E. Benson’s “How We Routed the Ghosts,” from 1891, a bit disappointing. However, George Downing Sparks’ “The House on the Corner,” from 1888, and Ivy Hooper’s “The Baron’s Room,” from 1896, are both well worth a look. Sparks is the first Australian writer on the list, and I’m curious about what else he’s written.
The strangest discovery, I’d say, is L.C. Burden’s “The Secret of Hatfield House,” from 1906. It’s not a great read — not at all — but the fact that it’s presented as a true story when it’s almost certainly not is interesting. Part of my evidence that the piece is fiction lies in how it reaches back to ghost hunter fiction from the 1820s for a solution to the ghostly mystery. (Add to this that the house in the accompanying photo doesn’t match the description given in the story itself. Apparently The Wide World was known for, ahem, stretching the truth.)
I plan to read or re-read all of the works before adding them to The Legacy of Ghost Hunter Fiction, something I didn’t always do with the Chronological Bibliography of Early Occult Detectives. I’ve got several candidates waiting in my figurative in-box. Please stop by later.