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Classic Ghost Stories and Weird Tales read by Tony Walker. At least once a week, we broadcast a new classic ghost story or weird tale. We do interviews with living authors occasionally, but most of our classic ghost stories are written by those now dead. Authors include Bram Stoker, H P Lovecraft, Edgar Allan Poe, Shirley Jackson, Edith Wharton, M R James, E F Benson, Elizabeth Gaskell, and Algernon Blackwood.

This Vurbl Station aims to be the home of all things classic and spooky. We don't … Continue Reading >>
Classic Ghost Stories and Weird Tales read by Tony Walker. At least once a week, we broadcast a new classic ghost story or weird tale. We do interviews with living authors occasionally, but most of our classic ghost stories are written by those now dead. Authors include Bram Stoker, H P Lovecraft, Edgar Allan Poe, Shirley Jackson, Edith Wharton, M R James, E F Benson, Elizabeth Gaskell, and Algernon Blackwood.

This Vurbl Station aims to be the home of all things classic and spooky. We don't do gore and exploitation, we do mystery, weirdness and atmosphere. Settle down, close your eyes and just ignore that weird scraping noise that's started outside your door. It'll go away eventually. Maybe. << Show Less
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The Milk White Child of Ravenglass by Tony Walker The Milk-White Child of Ravenglass by Tony Walker, is one of mine. As I explain in the notes, this is one of my More Cumbrian Ghost Stories book. You can purchase the full book or audiobook (just saying, if you were so inclined, and you liked this one, well maybe you'd like the rest?)Check out the Ko-Fi link. I think it's there. I'm giving you this because I'm off on my hols soon so I will schedule this to come out while I'm away.Yes, there's a Romantic theme to it. Yes it includes the good people. So I'd been reading Wordsworth and Arthur Machen at the time. I was all Romanticked up. I like stories of the fey, fae, whatever you call them. Do I believe in them? That would be telling.If You Appreciate The Work I’ve Put In HereYou could buy me a coffee https://ko-fi.com/tonywalkerBecome a Patronhttps://www.patreon.com/barcudAnd you can join my mailing list and get a free audiobook: https://bit.ly/dalstonvampireMusic By The Heartwood Institutehttps://bit.ly/somecomeback***
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Snippet from Dracula's Guest by Bram Stoker Dracula's Guest by Bram Stoker narrated by Tony Walker of The Classic Ghost Stories Podcast
Snippet from Dracula's Guest by Bram Stoker Dracula's Guest by Bram Stoker narrated by Tony Walker of The Classic Ghost Stories Podcast
Classic Ghost Stories Podcast: Ep. 31 Back Along The Old Track by Sam Hicks Sam HicksSam Hicks is an English writer based in London. She caught my eye when I read the splendid anthology Fiends In The Furrows by Nosetouch Press. The story was then lifted to the The Best Horror of the Year Vol. 11. These anthologies are stuffed with good stories, but Back Along The Old Track was one of the best. It’s strange that I don’t begin these show notes with Writer was born in 1800 and died in 1900 or suchlike because Sam is still very much alive and sounds in the pink. In the interview we talk about her influences; where the story is based, is it based on a real place, what are her influences and it was really fascinating to hear that she’s only been writing for three years full time.Sam is working on more stories and more of her good stuff is coming out in further anthologies as you can hear in the interview.This is a link to Sam’s Goodreads page here.Hope you enjoyed this modern story. It struck me that the English countryside features in many of these stories we're reading and we could almost chart a social history by listening to them. For example, we have The Old Nurse's Story which portrays a countryside peopled by aristocrats in their big houses and poor peasants in the 19th Century, then we have Man Sized in Marble where we have artists coming to rent a house among the poor peasants in the early 20th Century, and here in Back Along The Old Track, we have city folk in the early21st Century coming to a holiday let among the poor (well weird at least) peasants!Catch you all next week.TonyLinksWebsiteClassic Ghost Stories PodcastMusicIntro music is by the marvellous Heartwood Institute. Support them on BandcampPatronage & SupportPonder: Donate a Coffee to keep Tony goingConsider: Become a PatreonAnd please, rate, share and tell your friends about the Classic Ghost Stories PodcastSupport the show (https://www.patreon.com/barcud) Classic Ghost Stories and Weird Tales read by Tony Walker. At least once a week, we broadcast a new classic ghost story.
The Nameless Offspring A bleak night, an ancient, lonely house, a decayed retainer...
Shouts In The Night Things That Go Bump On A Windy Night
Playlists
Best New Horror Stories a selection of contemporay horror stories with quality audio and narration Classic Ghost Stories by Tony Walker
Best Horror Audio Drama Podcasts My personal favourite horror audio drama podcasts Classic Ghost Stories by Tony Walker
Haunted House Stories Short fictional stories set in Haunted Houses. Haunted Houses are classic aren't they? Don't go into the basement—the lights don't work! Oh. Too late. Classic Ghost Stories by Tony Walker
Christmas Ghost Stories Ghost stories to send a festive chill up your spine. Relax amongst the tinsel and fairy lights and don't act too shocked when the Ghost of Christmas Past comes knocking Classic Ghost Stories by Tony Walker
Dark Folklore Our lives are shaped by ancient beliefs, even though we may not know it, and those beliefs are shaped by our ancestors and the spirits of the land. A Dark Folklore playlist curated by Tony Walker of The Classic Ghost Stories Podcast Classic Ghost Stories by Tony Walker
Psychics and Mediums Psychics and mediums? They're all fakes aren't they? Or can they somehow see into your soul and the path you will take in life? Let's take a listen. Playlist curated by Tony Walker of The Classic Ghost Stories Podcast Classic Ghost Stories by Tony Walker
Vampire Stories for Halloween Stories to get you in the mood for the darkest and bloodiest time of the year. The best vampire fiction short stories on the 'net. Playlist compiled by Tony Walker of The Classic Ghost Stories Podcast. Authors include Bram Stoker, J Sheridan Le Fanu, Fritz Leiber. Classic Ghost Stories by Tony Walker
Classic Ghost & Horror Short Stories A curated list of classic masterpieces of ghost and horror stories by the masters. Classic Ghost Stories by Tony Walker
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The Milk White Child of Ravenglass by Tony Walker The Milk-White Child of Ravenglass by Tony Walker, is one of mine. As I explain in the notes, this is one of my More Cumbrian Ghost Stories book. You can purchase the full book or audiobook (just saying, if you were so inclined, and you liked this one, well maybe you'd like the rest?)Check out the Ko-Fi link. I think it's there. I'm giving you this because I'm off on my hols soon so I will schedule this to come out while I'm away.Yes, there's a Romantic theme to it. Yes it includes the good people. So I'd been reading Wordsworth and Arthur Machen at the time. I was all Romanticked up. I like stories of the fey, fae, whatever you call them. Do I believe in them? That would be telling.If You Appreciate The Work I’ve Put In HereYou could buy me a coffee https://ko-fi.com/tonywalkerBecome a Patronhttps://www.patreon.com/barcudAnd you can join my mailing list and get a free audiobook: https://bit.ly/dalstonvampireMusic By The Heartwood Institutehttps://bit.ly/somecomeback***
The Entrance by Gerald Durrell The Entrance by Gerald Durrell Gerald Durrell was born in Jamshedpur which was then part of British India, in 1925 and died in St Hellier, Jersey in 1995, aged 70. This story, The Entrance was published in his collection The Picnic and Suchlike Pandemonium in 1979. This title was renamed The Picnic and Other Inimitable Stories though I suspect that someone who didn’t understand the word pandemonium would struggle with inimitable too. But that’s marketing for you. His family’s life has been the subject of a popular TV series “My Family & Other Animals” taken from the title of one of his books. He was a prolific writer, usually of light, comic fiction and autobiography and a life-long animal lover who set up the Jersey Zoo. Those of you who read these notes will probably predict offended comments about animals being hurt in The Entrance and how zoos are bad. My only comments are: it’s fiction. There were no animals, and; attitudes change over times. I don’t think he set up a zoo because he was a wicked man who wanted to hurt animals. Zoos were uncontroversial once. Those who don’t make comments on videos expressing their hurt and offence probably won’t read the notes.Durrell’s famous siblings is the author and poet Lawrence Durrell. In his early years, as his family were middle class and British, he had an Indian nurse called an ayah. He ascribes his lifelong love of animals to a visit to a zoo when he was small in India. The family moved to the Crystal Palace area of London (with its concrete dinosaurs) and he avoided going to school by pretending to be ill. In 1939 the family moved to Corfu, Grreece and Durrell began to build his menagerie. This period of his life was an inspiration of his many books.Because of the Second World War, the family moved back to England and he ended up working in an aquarium and a pet store. He was not medically fit to be a soldier but ended up working on a farm. After the war he went to work at Whipsnade Zoo. After that, he got a job collecting animals for zoos by visiting Africa and South America. He was known for treating his animals well, which caused him financial difficulties .He founded his own zoo in Jersey in 1959.The EntranceThe Entrance was recommended to me by Alison Waddell. It is a frame story and thus hearkens back to the classic ghost story tales which are often told as frames and often feature old, occult manuscripts. Gerald Durrell goes to meet his charming, slightly comic friends in Provence. They hand him a manuscript they found in Marseilles that belonged to a strange man called Dr Le Pitre. Dr Le Pitre is another layer to the story that seems quite unnecessary to me, but I might be missing something. The manuscript dated as March 16th 1901 features a lengthy set up of a Victorian (the old queen died on 22 January 1901, but her influence lingered a few months at least) antiquarian book dealer (very M R James) who is stalked by a strange foreigner on a foggy night in London (so far so trope, and I suspect that Durrell was doing this to play with the genre). He gets a mysterious warning from his friend about the family, but becomes great mates with this aristocratic frenchman. Ultimately we see that this was a grift and Durrell drops a few ominous sentences along the lines of “If I knew then what I know now”. “That was my gravest mistake” which sort of spoilt the surprise of the twist at the end. But it’s full Gothic. Alone in an ancient chateau in terrible weather, cut off by snow with a lurking monster in the mirrors. Instead of strange old servitors he has some friendly animals. Again he can’t help himself intruding the comic parrot and friendly cat and dog. The canaries don’t get a speaking part. I wondered how such a monster kept such happy pets? In fact we have pea soup fog in London, thunder and lightning in Provence and heavy snow in Gorge du Tarn. Classic stuff.I am guessing that young Gideon resisted his hideous uncle but at the final summoning got eaten. “No, no. I will not be devoured so that you may live!”, or else when the mirror smashed at the narrator’s flat in London it got him. But anyway, Gideon in some way was possessed by his uncle’s evil, who only looked 50 (despite being described as old by the warning bloke in the pub) and whom the teen Gideon tried to resist being devoured. At least the uncle was decent enough to give him the heads up rather than just devouring him. Anyway, how did the uncle get into the mirror world? The uncle was murdered when Gideon was in Marseilles. So what killed the uncle? Was the murder just the uncle getting into the mirror world? If so, then the inscriptions seem old. Perhaps the library had occult books because the uncle was a sorcerer? Then what’s the thing about the ornate key: the key to life and death
The Nameless Offspring by Clark Ashton Smith Clark Ashton Smith
Clark Ashton Smith was an American writer born in Long Valley, California in 1893 who died in Pacific Grove, California in 1961, aged 68. They are actually four hundred and twenty eight miles apart which is longer than the whole of England. For comparison I have only made two hundred yards from the place I was born to the place I now live. He lived most of his life in the small town of Auburn, California.
He was madly neurotic, agoraphobic and as with Lovecraft, the existential unease he no doubt felt in life, intrudes into his stories, giving them their unsettling quality, I would guess.
Because of his nerves, he was educated at home and was intelligent with a fantastic memory and educated himself by reading, including The Encyclopaedia Britannica all volumes cover to cover more than once.
He taught himself French and Spanish and translated poetry from those languages, including Baudelaire’s The Flowers of Evil. Naturally.
Clark was a weird poet and one of the now defunct West Coast Romantics. I can see him playing guitar for Mazzy Star (if he’d been spared).
He was one of the ‘big three’ authors of Weird Tales, the others being Robert E Howard and H P Lovecraft. As a teen (though in those days I wouldn’t have been familiar with that word) I lapped up all three, though I preferred Ashton Smith. There is something more poetic and less rude about his style than either the barbarous, muscle-bound stories of Howard and the off-kilter, prolix and baroque tales of H P. Though, as I say, I read them all, aye. All.
We have done an Ashton Smith story before: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fSkA3Hq8qIU (The Maker of Gargoyles).
This story: The Nameless Offspring is another tomb story. We seem to have done a run of these recently: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pSp2_ZPOyA (The Catacomb), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eC9epxbb-JU (The Secret of The Vault). And previously we did The https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iC-kCEb_oTE (Fall of the House of Usher).
It was published in Strange Tales in 1932, and in those days publishing in these pulp magazine was the standard process. Many of the writers of pulps purveyed Cosmic Horror. Of course the primary voice here is H P Lovecraft and his taste seems to have stamped itself on his followers and his approval, given them a significant advantage. Lovecraft was a great admirer of Ashton Smith.
You will recall that to write a classic story in this period: first set it somewhere obscure either in time or distance from your average reader&gt; Make the weather bad. Have a gothic edifice: a castle, though in this case and old (Cornish from the name) Manor House will do. Have an aged retainer, an obscure history that is not fully discussed, an aristocrat, poor light then you just need a monster and you’re on. This tale has it all. And let’s face it what Hollywood producers say (though not to me) ‘We want more of the same, but different.” This is what we have.
Smith is great with descriptions. I prefer his prose to Lovecraft. IT was the fashion to use obscure words and lots of them, but he does it in a less awkward way than Lovecraft and one that is not as open to parody.
The story begins with a little background that makes sense of what is to follow along with a warning that he never foresaw the terrible truth, etc. he goes on a trip and inadvertently comes across the evil Tremoth Hall. How likely is that actually? The place receives few visitors in common with nearly every Manor House in all the stories we have read. None of them are open to the National Trust. I read one recently by Sarah Perry (author of Melnoth the Wanderer and the Essex Serpent) in a collection by English Heritage, that had as its scene a historic property open to the public, though the action there happened when the public were not present.
The horrible history is not too hidden, but what is well done is the weird scratching that grows and...
The Masque of the Red Death by Edgar Allan Poe The Masque of the Red Death by Edgar Allan PoeThe Masque of the Red Death was published in 1842 by Edgar Allan Poe in Graham’s Magazine. He was paid $12 for it. There is an app on the internet to tell you the value of money today and that calculates $12 in 1842 is worth $482 today. That is £353 Sterling, or £4,236 Scots. Good money in anyone’s book for a 16 minute story.It was made into a film in 1964, starring Vincent Price. As any brief study will tell you, it follows the conventions of Gothic fiction: it’s set in a castle (in fact a castellated abbey so two for the price of one)At the time of the story, Poe’s wife was suffering from tuberculosis and would be coughing blood most likely, and this image may have inspired (if that is a suitable word) the imagery of the story. People have wondered what the actual disease was - bubonic plague or tuberculosis or maybe Ebola virus, but in fact I think it’s most likely he just made it up.There have been many attempts at understanding why there were seven rooms and the meaning of the colours. It may be because he liked the imagery, but of course why did he like the imagery? What subconscious needs and desires do the colours represent. Discuss at your leisure. The story is about how even kings may not escape death, despite their pride and majesty and as such it reminds me of Oxymandias by Shelley and the Dog In Durer’s Etching story we did by Marco Denevi.It’s a very neat story structure. Introduce Red Death, introduce Prospero. He retreats from the world, describe the abbey. Now the Masquerade Ball. Now entry of Death. Now he’s dead. Finish. 16 minutes.What’s with the Ebony Clock? Perhaps counting down like a drum roll to increase suspense? Who knows?If You Appreciate The Work I’ve Put In HereYou could buy me a coffee https://ko-fi.com/tonywalkerBecome a Patronhttps://www.patreon.com/barcudAnd you can join my mailing list and get a free audiobook: https://bit.ly/dalstonvampireMusic By The Heartwood Institutehttps://bit.ly/somecomeback***
The Eye of The Cat by Ruskin Bond Ruskin BondRuskin Bond was born in 1934 in Kasauli in Punjab, India. His first novel was published when he was 22, A Room on the Roof and it won the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize. He specialised in short stories of which he wrote more than five hundred. He lives in Mussoorie. Bond was born when India was part of the British Empire.. His father taught English to the Indian princesses of the Indian princely state of Nawanagar and bond lived with his family at the palace when he was a boy. At the beginning of the Second World War, his father Aubrey Alexander Bond joined the Royal Air Force. When Ruskin was only eight his father left his mother Edith Clarke and married an Indian, Hindu woman called Hari. (In the story, which has lots of autobiographical details, he says it was his mother who married an Indian man after his father died). His father arranged for him to come to New Delhi where he was posted and Ruskin was happy there and describes his childhood as magical. But his father died during the War when Ruskin was only 10. He went to an English style boarding school in Shimla and won a number of writing prizes when he was there. After finishing at Shimla he went to the Channel Islands (close to the French Coast but a possession of the English Crown) because his aunt lived there. He then went to London and worked in a photo studio. When his first novel was a success he used the money to pay his fare back to India. He worked as a writer there and has been a writer ever since.Despite his British ancestry he feels India. He has said about being Indian that race did not make him one, religion did not make him one, but history did. Most of his works deal with small town India, particularly the hill stations where he grew up. He has described small town India as his India. If You Appreciate The Work I’ve Put In HereYou could buy me a coffee https://ko-fi.com/tonywalkerBecome a Patronhttps://www.patreon.com/barcudAnd you can join my mailing list and get a free audiobook: https://bit.ly/dalstonvampireMusic By The Heartwood Institutehttps://bit.ly/somecomeback***Most of Ruskin’s stories aren’t ghost stories though he admits a fondness for the work of Lafcadio Haearn, an Irish writer who settled in Japan via the USA and specialised in ghost stories with a Japanese background.
A Night on the Borders of the Black Forest by Amelia B Edwards Amelia B EdwardsBorn in 1831 in London and died in 1892 aged 60 in Weston Supermare at the seaside near Bristol. She was a novelist, traveller and enthusiastic amateur Egyptologist. Her mother was Irish and her father had been an officer in the British Army and then became a banker. She was married, but her emotional attachments were with women and she lived with and was apparently in love with Ellen Braysher, widow, and Ellen Byrne a school inspector’s wife.A Night on The Borders of the Black Forest was recommended by Nadia Astorga in May 2022This is the third story by Amelia B we’ve done, the other’s being The Phantom Coach and Salome. This is the first of hers that is less a ghost story (if fact not a ghost story at all) and more an adventure. The collection of stories is also entitled A Night On The Borders of the Black Forests and was published in 1890.For comparison Le Fanu’s Carmilla set in Styria in Austria was published in 1872 and Stoker’s Dracula was published in 1897. Elizabeth Gaskell’s The Grey Woman was published in 1861. It reminded me most of The Grey Woman because it is set in the border area of France and Germany at about the same period and there are brigands in the woods in both.It’s a definite nod to the Gothic but also a right rollicking adventure story and so reminds of The Grey Woman but also the Scottish set A Journey of Little Profit by John Buchan from 1896, because it is also a tale of wanderings on foot and George Borrow’s Wild Wales was published in 1862, which deals with supposedly true wanderings in the Wild.Mary Braddon’s The Cold Embrace and Hoffman’s The Sandman also have people tramping all over Germany and venturing into France and the Netherlands. It must have been busy on the roads. Wordsworth had an edition of the Prelude out in 1850. This thrilling love for mountainous wild places titillated the middle class urban readers on a trivial level while Wordsworth was aiming for the spiritual, but each to their own indeed.The story structure: Neat. Enjoying the milieu as much as anything. The tramping over the countryside. On his own, meets up with Gustav, on to the village, the coach trip, wandering at night, the inn, suspicions mount. The innkeeper won’t drink the wine. It tastes bad. It smells funny as does the coffee.Burned! Why not set the dogs on them? Why not just poison them dead rather than drug them with a soporific? I think that’s a plot hole. And if they don’t sell the stuff they steal (it’s in the granary) what’s the point of murdering strangers? But a good read and nicely written, easy to narrate. A sprinkling of German terms for colour. Gustav shows too much interest in the slow-witted peasant girl Annchen for my liking. After all, he’s got a madchen at home. She won’t drink the wine either. The beer seems fine though. The landlord checks how much Gustav as drunk. If You Appreciate The Work I’ve Put In HereYou could buy me a coffee https://ko-fi.com/tonywalkerBecome a Patronhttps://www.patreon.com/barcudAnd you can join my mailing list and get a free audiobook: https://bit.ly/dalstonvampireMusic By The Heartwood Institutehttps://bit.ly/somecomeback***
The Catacomb by Peter Shilston The Catacomb by Peter Shilston was recommended by one of my Patreons but it was hard to get hold of. It was published in the early 1980s in a fanzine for lovers of M R James's stories who wrote stories in a similar vein. This home-produced magazine was called More Ghosts and Scholars and is very hard to get hold of. Then it was reprinted in Best of Ghosts and Scholars and Best Horror Volume 9 edited by Karl Wagner. These are collectors items and expensive so I despaired of getting hold of the story but wanted to because it was so highly recommended. Eventually I bit the bullet and shelled out (see what I did there?) for More Ghosts & Scholars on Ebay. It arrived. I read it. I hope you like it. It is followed by my thoughts about the story which in now typical fashion degenerates into random related thoughts.I hope you enjoy my rendition. You could consider supporting my efforts by buying me a coffee one off or signing up as a Patreon. This latter includes members only readings and early access to regular podcast episodes.If You Appreciate The Work I’ve Put In HereYou can become a Patreon of the show for exclusive members’ only stories:https://www.patreon.com/barcudAnd if you want to thank me (think of a busker’s hat) then you can get me a coffee via www.ko-fi.com/tonywalkerJoin my mailing list and get a download: https://bit.ly/dalstonvampireMusic By The Heartwood Institutehttps://bit.ly/somecomeback————————
The Middle Toe of the Right Foot by Ambrose Bierce The Middle Toe of the Right Foot by Ambrose Bierce is a ghost story set in the late 19th Century in the American south-west. A tightly crafted tale with at least three twists, even though it's short.Thanks to 23Split23 for recommending it, and Dewayne Hayes for recommending Bierce in general. Amazed it's only the second Bierce story I've done. Well worth it though.If You Appreciate The Work I’ve Put In HereYou could buy me a coffee https://ko-fi.com/tonywalkerBecome a Patronhttps://www.patreon.com/barcudAnd you can join my mailing list and get a free audiobook: https://bit.ly/dalstonvampireMusic By The Heartwood Institutehttps://bit.ly/somecomeback***
Mean Mr Mullins by Cathu Sahu Mean Mr Mullins by Cathu Sahu is an original story by a living author: Cathy Sahu. A tale of a nasty man set in small-town America (at least I think it's small town, maybe suburban). For the post-story discussion, I read out notes sent in by Cathu and ramble a bit on the general themes.Cathy Sahu's book Ghosts & Other Unpleasantries can be found hereThis is Amazon UK link, but you should be able to hop to Amazon USA and all the other Amazons from it.If You Appreciate The Work I’ve Put In HereYou could buy me a coffee https://ko-fi.com/tonywalkerBecome a Patronhttps://www.patreon.com/barcudAnd you can join my mailing list and get a free audiobook: https://bit.ly/dalstonvampireMusic By The Heartwood Institutehttps://bit.ly/somecomeback***
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