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Once Upon A Bookshelf

Where Fiction and Reality Meet

An Account of Some Strange Disturbances in Aungier Street

Author: Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu
Story Originally Published: Dublin University Magazine, January 1851
Found in Collection: Classic Victorian & Edwardian Ghost Stories, edited by Rex Collings

The Story

Cousins Tom and Dick are staying at one of the homes that Tom’s father owns in the city while they are studying at college. Only, right from the beginning, Dick has had an uneasy feeling about the house. Soon, both are being visited by ghosts – one particular apparition being enough to drive them from this house and find new lodgings.

It turns out that the house used to belong to a judge who hanged himself, and has been haunting the house ever since (as can be seen by the numerous tenants who lived in the house and ended up mad).

The Response

I have read over a third of the short stories in the book, and this is the first one that has actually scared me. It gave me the creeps while reading it, and left me anxious about turning my lights off at night. No lie. It still gives me slight shivers. And yet, by the synopsis, it doesn’t seem like it should be too scary… but not only am I terrified of ghosts in real life, but the way it was narrated, oh! Like here, when the narrator was hearing steps outside his door at two in the morning:

I took a candle, not without a tremor. As I crossed the floor I tried to extemporise a prayer, but stopped short to listen and never finished it. The steps continued. I confess I hesitated for some seconds at the door before I took heart of grace and opened it. When I peeped out the lobby was perfectly empty – there was no monster standing on the staircase; and as the detested sound ceased, I was reassured enough to venture forward nearly to the banisters. Horror of horrors! within a stair or two beneath the spot where I stood the unearthly tread smote the floor.

Creepy!

I have to say that after the first sentence (“It’s not worth telling, this story of mine…”) I was surprised by how enjoyable the story was. I expected it to be rambling and not very exciting at all. Instead, I came across something that was actually scary and that would be a perfect story to tell around a campfire or fireplace on a dark and stormy night.

The Bottom Line

There’s another short story by the same author in the same collection – I’m very much looking forward to reading it, and hope it’s as creepy, though am also hoping there will be less ghosts (because, as mentioned, they terrify me). Also, I hope that SOMEONE reads this story during the RIP challenge – I’m not participating, but will definitely be reading your posts about it!

Posted by Courtney Wilson @ 7:03 am September 3, 2010.
Category: Short Stories
Book Author(s):

  • http://www.read-all-over.net/ Teresa

    Oooooo love the ones that leave you anxious! I will have to try and find this on Project Gutenberg or something.

    I’ve been pondering the RIP challenge, but I don’t know if I have time for more books with the Halloween thing. I may do their screen challenge though and watch a lot of old scary movies.