Spectral Sounds

Title: Spectral Sounds: Unquiet Tales of Acoustic Weird

Writer: Various edited by Manon Burz-Labrande

Publishing House: British Library Publishing

Date of Publication: September 22nd 2022 

Rating: 5 stars

‘’Don’t you want to hear me speak my piece?’’

The Invisible Tenants of Rushmere (Florence Marryat): The young couple who rented Rushmere thought they had found the ideal shelter. However, they soon realise that ‘’no one who lives in Rushmere lives there alone.’’ A quintessential haunted house story in which darkness is always present.

The First Comer (B.M. Croker): An unusual and rather atmospheric tale that combines ghostly sounds, burning coals and Folklore.

The Day of My Death (Elizabeth Stuart Phelps): A sceptic husband, a somewhat problematic medium, a wife who puts up with her husband’s refusal to believe in the supernatural, and prophecies of death. The ingredients for a darkly hilarious story, one of the finest in the collection.

The Spirit’s Whisper (Unknown): The temptation to link psychiatry and the paranormal is always present in a tale that lets us draw our own conclusions.

A Case of Eavesdropping (Algernon Blackwood): A peculiar, complex mystery in which the protagonist becomes the witness of conversations that can only be heard through a wall.

A Speakin’ Ghost (Annie Trumbull Slosson): The eerie, moving confession of a spectral child.

The Whispering Wall (H.D. Everett): What starts as a challenge becomes a moving account of loss and grief as whispering echoes along the wall of an old house.

No Living Voice (Thomas Street Millington): An exciting story that gives new meaning to the old ‘’ a voice made me do it..’’

The Lady’s Maid’s Bell (Edith Wharton): One of the most famous eerie tales by the great Lady of Literature in which a faithful maid returns from the dead to protect her lady’s secret. The reader and the sympathetic narrator are left to wonder what led to a house filled with silence and sorrow…

The Case of Vincent Pyrwhit (Barry Pain): Can a mere telephone lead to murder?

The Haunted Organist of Hurly Burly (Rosa Mulholland): A tragic tale of vice, obsession and extreme loyalty.

Over the Wires (H. D. Everett): My favourite story in this beautiful volume. Set during the First World War, it is a haunting tale of love beyond the grave. A soldier returning to London on his first leave is trying to trace his beloved Isabel, a Belgian woman whose family suffered a terrible fate at the hands of the monsters from Germany. I sobbed like a child…

Siope – A Fable (Edgar Allan Poe): Sometimes silence becomes more terrifying than the loudest ghostly wail. This is a myth of Desolation and Despair that reminded me of Oscar Wilde’s tales and the Book of Revelation.

The House of Sounds (M. P. Shiel): A strange tale of cosmic horror and a curse that afflicts the inhabitants of a particular house in Norway. Quite unique and extremely complex.

Ringing bells, hair-raising screams, eerie whispers, unearthly silence. A collection of Acoustic Weird and one more exquisite addition to the Tales of the Weird series by our beloved British Library.

‘’And, all at once, the moon arose through the thin ghastly mist, and was crimson in colour. And mine eyes fell upon a huge grey rock which stood by the shore of the river, and was litten by the light of the moon. And the rock was grey, and ghastly, and tall, – and the rock was grey. Upon its front were characters engraven in the stone; and I walked through the morass of water- lilies, until I came close unto the shore, that I might read the characters upon the stone. But I could not decypher the characters. And I was going back into the morass, when the moon shone with a fuller red, and I turned and looked again upon the rock, and upon the characters – and the characters were DESOLATION.’’