What a great book of stories for the ghost story enthusiast who wants something different than the Victorian classics! Editor Ellen Datlow says this collection of stories is designed to be scary—and indeed, even the most self-composed reader may find the hair rising and the skin creeping over this collection.
My favorite stories in the collection were “The Gallows Necklace,” about an accursed piece of jewelry, and “Brownie, and Me” about an everyday haunting with a terrifying premise: a man is haunted in everyday places by seeing a man whom he knows to have been dead eight years. The ghost makes sure he is recognized, then waves, then disappears into the crowd. It occurred to me what a horrifying situation this might be: instead of night hauntings, these take place in broad daylight and outside the window of the protagonist’s workplace. There is no place safe from this wandering harbinger of doom—as the ghost proves to be there to presage the protagonist’s imminent death.
A nice feature of this collection is the short author bio that follows each selection, as well as the authors’ own words about the ghost stories they found scariest. It will likely come as no surprise that the most lauded story was “The Haunting of Hill House,” by Shirley Jackson, followed by Henry James’ “The Turning of the Screw”! Mais, bien sur—of course!