Thursday, 22 October 2015

Count Magnus

For tonight's countdown to Halloween post, I am plugging (again) a story by M.R. James. It is a ghost story, although the first time I read it it was in an anthology of vampire stories. The undead villain of the story shares the characteristics of both creatures, without clearly taking the shape of one or the other. Let's just say he is one particularly malevolent ghost and not unlike some other famous count of another great classic horror story. It may be one of the most chilling tale written of the mild mannered academic. I am referring to Count Magnus. You can read it on this website and if you feel more like listening to it, see (well, listen to, really) this YouTube video. The action is set in Sweden, which is in this story just as eerie and darkly exotic as the most remote corner of Transylvania. The protagonist is Mr Wraxall, an academic, like most of James's protagonists. Like many the others, there is nothing heroic about him. He has an overwhelming curiosity mixed with carelessness that will unleash terrifying forces. Anyway, I will say no more, I don't want to spoil your first chill discovering the story for yourself. The Halloween season would not be completed without M.R. James. Enjoy.

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