Minor Hauntings (Chilling Tales of Spectral Youth)

Title: Minor Hauntings: Chilling Tales of Spectral Youth

Writer: Various edited by Jen Baker

Publishing House: British Library Publishing

Date of Publication: April 29th 2021

Rating: 5 stars

‘’Many years ago there stood at the corner of the street leading out of Upper Kennington – lane a great red-brick mansion, which one very wet evening, in an autumn the leaves of which have been long dead and gone, looked more than ordinarily desolate and deserted.’’

An eerie collection of stories about ghostly children that expose every inch of the evil within human nature. Snippets of folklore, ghost tales and quotes about spectral children and customs associated with Death bring this volume of the Tales of the Weird series to a new level, not to mention the informative, lively introductions to each tale by Jen Baker.

The Dead Daughter by Henry Glassford Bell: A daughter dies under mysterious circumstances. Another daughter is born. She resembles her deceased sister in every aspect and the unknown terror that has fallen over the Wolstein household becomes more powerful. An eerie story that contains much more than It discloses.

The Old Nurse’s Story by Elizabeth Gaskell: A classic ghost story by one of the most exquisite writers about the silent spirit that demands justice and payment in blood…

The Ghost of Little Jacques by Ann M. Hoyt: A maid witnesses the suspicious circumstances of a boy’s death and finds herself in the centre of a sinister plan conceived by a devious man.

Kentucky’s Ghost by Elizabeth Stuart Phelps: A tale of cruelty and malice taking place at sea.

Walnut – Tree House by Charlotte Riddell: An atmospheric, tender story about a boy to whom a great injustice has been done and an heir who is determined to set things right and grant peace to the child’s troubled soul.

Was It An Illusion? by Amelia B.Edwards: An inspector of schools travels to a small community in the north of England. A strange encounter with a silent lad haunts his mind but everyone is very eager to convince him that it is only an illusion. A haunting story that reminded me of The Woman In Black.

Lost Hearts by M. R. James: A savage tale of Pagan rituals, cries and children who have met an unthinkable demise. Deeply disturbing and powerful.

The Doll’s Ghost by F.Marion Crawford: A dollmaker develops an obsession with an enchanting doll named Nina. Little does he know that his own daughter is in danger. A dark story with very realistic and extremely contemporary undertones.

The Lost Ghost by Mary E. Wilkins Freeman: A woman narrates the heartbreaking story of a child that fell victim to his mother’s cruelty and the soul that was determined to shelter her through her own sacrifice. 

The Shadowy Third by Ellen Glasgow: At nurse finds herself as a witness to the demise of a well-respected doctor that is actually the devil Incarnate. Such is his malice…

Two Little Red Shoes by Bessie Kyffin-Taylor: Two little red shoes and two innocent spectres help a kind woman expose an unspeakable crime…

Anne’s Little Ghost by H.D.Everett:  A bereaved mother believes she has found solace in the ghostly presence of a girl. But things aren’t as simple as they seem…

The Curse of the Stillborn by Margery Lawrence: In a story that confronts the Western stereotypes and lack of respect towards indigenous culture, the lack of a proper burial according to customs sets a macabre scheme of punishment in motion.

‘’An evening light shone on the building, making the windowpanes glow like so many fires. Away from the Hall in front stretched a flat park studded with oaks and fringed with firs, which stood out against the sky. The clock in the church tower, buried in trees on the edge of the park – only its golden weathercock catching the light – was striking six, and the sound came gently beating down the wind. It was altogether a pleasant impression, though tinged with the sort of melancholy appropriate to an evening in early autumn, that was conveyed to the mind of the boy who was standing in the porch waiting for the door to open to him.’’