Three Ghost Stories

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Jul 28, Joseph rated it really liked it Shelves: on-my-e-reader. So often we get caught up reading "The Great Dickens.

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Although a bit dated, Dickens' writing is to the eye, what satin is to the hand. Jan 01, James Everington rated it liked it. Never really taken to Dickens's novels much, do thought I'd try this. Two of the three stories were good if not great. One just seemed a mass of digressions padding out a pretty weak plot. Three ghost stories, the longest of which, "The Haunted House," was my least favorite. Is it bad that I've only ever heard of Elizabeth Gaskell in this list?

He moves in with his spinster sister Patty and a group of servants, who promptly buy in to the haunted house syndrome and leave. After several groups of new servants are hired and released due to being spooked by the house, Patty suggests they invite a group of their friends for an extended stay through Christmas, so that they can play house and look for ghosts in their respective rooms. Patty had a snazzy great idea, the inspiration for many a future haunted house movie, I'm sure. Each of the contributing authors took a visiting friend and wrote a story to match.

Unfortunately, most of the stories were not ghostly at all, but revolved around personal challenges and whatnot.

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Even Dickens' story had to do with a dream fantasy of the perils of his childhood. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the introductory section of the book, but the individual stories were a pass for me. Dickens also has a more detailed portrayal of a treason trial in his classic A Tale of Two Cities. The story is almost too brief to discuss without giving the entire plot away, but suffice to say that this is creepy good and deserves to be read.

Jan 21, Michael Nutt rated it liked it. I must confess that Dickens is an author I have avoided reading since an abortive attempt at studying his 'Hard Times' at school. I found his writing style heavy-going, with tortuous sentences and long, descriptive passages that seemed to take the story nowhere. Or, at least, that is how I remember it. And then there is the sheer length of most of his novels All of which is a good reason for reading some of his short stories as a way to get into Dickens. This Kindle edition compiling three of I must confess that Dickens is an author I have avoided reading since an abortive attempt at studying his 'Hard Times' at school.

This Kindle edition compiling three of his many ghost stories has certainly made me rethink my view of Dickens and the accessibility of his writing. The opening story - 'The Signal Man' - is justly celebrated and is one with which I should have been familiar, having read it as a youth in a compendium of ghost tales. However, I could recall little of the story after so many years. It uses the lonely location of a railway signal box set in a deep cutting and thereby removed from the general bustle of daily life, and the story blends the uncanny with the everyday.

The chill of the tale lies in the premonitions that the ghost or spectre brings to the signalman, and exactly what event it foretells. Dickens' style here is a clear, descriptive reporting of the story's sequence of events, as though taken from a writer's journal. Dickens' inspiration may have been drawn from a actual rail disaster, as some elements of the story bear similarities to the Clayton Tunnel crash that occurred in , five years before he wrote this.

The author was also directly involved in another serious rail accident just the year before he wrote 'The Signal Man', when on 9 June the boat train from Folkestone to London derailed while crossing a viaduct at Staplehurst in Kent. Ten passengers died and forty suffered injuries. Dickens was travelling with a female companion and her mother, and the famous writer tended to some of the victims, including those with fatal injuries. The shock caused him to lose his voice for two weeks, and his son said he never fully recovered.

He died five years to the day after the accident. It is all the better for this, and the story stays with you for some time after reading. The second, and longest story is 'The Haunted House' What is presented here is, in fact, just two parts of an eight-part portmanteau story written by Dickens and five other authors including Wilkie Collins and Elizabeth Gaskell. Dickens wrote the opening episode,'The Mortals in the House', which sets the scene for the seven individual accounts that follow, each one telling of an occupant's experience of their stay in a haunted house over the Christmas holiday.

Here we find much more evidence of the 'difficult' writing style that I associate with Dickens, with sentences so long on occasions that he has to use several colons, semi-colons, and dashes to punctuate them. In a review in The Guardian of the complete portmanteau collection, Nicholas Lezard wrote of Dickens' episode 'The Ghost in Master B's Room' that it "is quite unlike anything you may have ever read by him; it seems to have been the product of an extended hallucination, and I can hardly make head nor tail of it, except towards the end.

The narrative wanders and takes us into a nocturnal dream world that is the writer's childhood, and just when you think he has lost the plot you find that he has taken you to what is actually haunting, yet real. It is, however, a much lighter tale of ghosts and hauntings and there is more of a jocular, jovial feel to the supernatural aspects of the story.

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This is, after all, one of a series of Christmas tales that Dickens wrote - it was published in the Extra Christmas Number of a weekly periodical, 'All the Year Round' - and you feel the cheer of the season rather than the chill of horror. The final story is 'The Trial for Murder' The ghost in this short story is that of a murdered man who appears to the Foreman of the Jury at the trial of his assassin.

What is uncanny is that the Foreman had previously seen the apparition twice before being summoned for jury service: the first time pursuing his killer down the street outside the Foreman's house, the second time beckoning within his house on the eve of the jury summons.


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Like 'The Signal Man', it is told in economic style and is relatively quick and easy to read. Dickens does not over-egg the horror and his narrator describes events as objectively as he can, without interpretation or judgement - which are left to the reader. Both lack the direct references to Christmastime that are found in 'The Haunted House' and of course, 'A Christmas Carol', Dickens' most celebrated ghost story.

The real disappointment of this volume is the truncated version of 'The Haunted House', which merely provides a taster of what the full portmanteau version might be, and for that reason I award just three stars. The other two short stories, however, deserve more, and I am now seriously considering tackling one of Dickens' great novels. Between and his death 34 years later, he wrote and had published 15 novels including 1 unfinished , a series of Christmas Stories, and numerous short stories; as well as plays, poetry, and non-fiction writing.

Dec 26, James rated it liked it. I recommend this short collection to fans of horror who think only of Dickens dalliance with the dead as being only with the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and yet to come.

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Dickens, like many Victorian authors, wrote numerous ghost tales, and the three presented here are not perfect examples, but they have some merit and definitely have the feel of a Victorian ghost story and a work of Charles Dickens. Nothing will be there to shock the modern reader as Dickens works have been too imitated a I recommend this short collection to fans of horror who think only of Dickens dalliance with the dead as being only with the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and yet to come. Nothing will be there to shock the modern reader as Dickens works have been too imitated and pilfered before, but there is still enough twist and turn to keep the pages moving and give one an appreciation for the shorter works of Charles Dickens and his Victorian scares.

Dec 30, Klinta rated it did not like it. I was planing to read the Christmas Carol, when I came upon this and decided to give it a try. I think it was my first Dickens' book, but I can't say for sure. This book was a proof that good writing is not enough, because it was written in a very literary manner and was pleasure to read, if it wouldn't be for the terrible story and the way how two paragraphs were mended together. From the three parts, I hated the middle one the most and I guess the last one I liked the most, because, I guess I I was planing to read the Christmas Carol, when I came upon this and decided to give it a try.

From the three parts, I hated the middle one the most and I guess the last one I liked the most, because, I guess I wasn't prepared for what was to come in the first one. Overall, the story was poor and the writing was not enough to make me like this book one bit. Jan 08, Vanessa rated it liked it. This does NOT read as a solo story - I googled, and apparently this was a part of a portmanteau written by Dickens and five other authors. While the first chapter, "Mortals in the House" is an interesting set-up, the second chapter is a big WTF?? Dickens generally deserves five stars, but the second story was so very strange and difficult to make sense of, that I had to bump it down to four.

I like a good spooky story, and the first and third were excellent, but number two was just plain weird. It started out well enough. It was interesting and engaging So hard to read that I quit after only a couple of chapters. I tried reading each story separately, but even at that I couldn't get through them. I understand the writing is old, but some of it was impossible to follow.

As for "bone-chilling"? I've heard better ghost stories around a campfire with a bunch of kids. Don't waste your time. Feb 15, Sami Smile rated it liked it. These were not great stories, and Dickens is oh so wordy I thought I'd like this more, but no one can say I did not give it a go.

I'll stick to his better works Nov 06, Asderathos rated it really liked it. Really liked the first and third story the middle of the second was a tad muffled.

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Nov 12, Kevin rated it liked it. Picked this up to read on a cruise over Halloween. It was good for that. For people interested in the classics, go ahead and read it. For those interested in another Christmas Carol, don't bother. Feb 27, Kylie rated it it was ok. Good stories. I got this book for my kindle app because of the recommendation of the Signal-man from a friend here. This was the only book I could find in the app that had the story and for free. I didn't mind it came with two other stories, just cause I love ghost stories!

They're three short stories, but The Haunted House was the biggest of them and had 2 chapters. But I'll get to that one in a min. I loved the signal I got this book for my kindle app because of the recommendation of the Signal-man from a friend here. I loved the signal-man! Anyway, I've always loved this story but I forgot how most of it went. Sign Up: Stay on top of the latest breaking film and TV news! Sign up for our Email Newsletters here.

Back to IndieWire. Jamie Righetti Apr 17, am JamieRighetti. Her name was Otsuyu. That night they made love. Otsuyu stayed with Ogiwara until long after the moon had set and the lamplight had grown faint, when she reluctantly bid him farewell and left in the early morning. Ogiwara fell deeply in love with Otsuyu. He quickly lost interest in seeing anybody but her. Ogiwara no longer left his house, and stopped taking care of himself.


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  5. Each night they made love, and each night she left before dawn. Twenty days passed. Next door to Ogiwara lived a wise old man. One night, the old man heard laughing and singing coming from next door. However, instead of a beautiful woman, he saw Ogiwara entwined in the boney arms of a skeleton. When Ogiwara spoke, the skeleton nodded its head and moved its arms and legs.

    The old man was horrified. As soon as day came, the old man called for Ogiwara. He warned Ogiwara that Otsuyu was really a ghost, and told him to go to a temple at once. The priest warned Ogiwara that he must resist Otsuyu, and gave him a magical charm to place on his house, which would keep him safe from the ghost. Ogiwara rushed home and placed the charm on his door. The charm worked perfectly, and Otsuyu no longer came to visit Ogiwara.

    Although he was safe, Ogiwara became despondent. He missed Otsuyu dearly. One night, days after her last visit, Ogiwara became drunk. At the temple gate, Otsuyu appeared to him, and led him to her home: her coffin. Inside was the dead body of Ogiwara, wrapped up in the boney arms of a human skeleton. Oiwa by Matthew Meyer Source. Oiwa was married to samurai named Iemon. It was not a happy marriage, for Iemon was a wasteful man and a thief. One day, Oiwa decided to leave her husband and return to her family home. Iemon drew his sword and murdered Samon.

    Iemon returned to Oiwa and lied that a stranger had killed her father on the road. Some time after that, Oiwa became pregnant and bore Iemon a son. Times were hard. They had little money. Oiwa became sickly after giving birth, and Iemon grew resentful of Oiwa. He had a beautiful granddaughter named Oume. Oume was instantly attracted to Iemon, and wanted to marry him.