Five ghost stories to make you tremble

19 February 2015

By Pan Macmillan

Author F. R. Tallis, a.k.a. 'the Doctor of Fear', reveals his favourite ghost stories.

The Lost Stradivarius, J. Meade Falkner
A much neglected late nineteenth century masterpiece in which a young English aristocrat pursues a vision of absolute evil. Sometimes described as the novel that M.R. James never wrote. Beautifully written and very atmospheric.  

The Turn of the Screw, Henry James 
Arguably the first truly psychological ghost story. Succeeds as both a tale of terror and a Freudian case study.
Oh Whistle, and I’ll Come to You, My Lad, M.R.James
An academic summons up something supernatural and is awakened in the night by movements in an ‘empty’ bed. There’s a black and white 1968 TV adaptation of this story (directed by Jonathan Miller) which is equally compelling and probably the most played DVD in my collection.  
The Haunting of Hill House, Shirley Jackson
A psychical investigation takes place in the definitive haunted house. Really disturbing and a major milestone in the development of the psychological ghost story. Also works as a crypto-feminist exploration of issues surrounding female identity.
All Hallows, Walter de la Mare
‘I mean sir, that there are devilish agencies at work here.’ A weary traveller meets an old man who gives him a guided tour of a possessed cathedral. Dark, oppressive, and profoundly unnerving.
Photo (c) Jay Malone /


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