Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Countdown To Halloween Day 6--Let's Haunt A House!

When I was a kid, say, around 8, the hot book in my elementary school library was Alfred Hitchcock's Haunted Houseful (quickly followed by Alfred Hitchcock's Ghostly Gallery):

I mean, what's not to like? Alfred Hitchcock! Cool stories! About haunted houses! With pictures! Great pictures! By Fred Banbery! Spoooooooky stuff! Meant to be read after bedtime, under the covers, with a flashlight (or was I the only one who did this?).

Of course, now that I'm deep into obsessive Old Fartdom I know that Alfred Hitchcock had nothing to do with any of the story collections sporting his name, children's or otherwise (there were lots of 'em in the '60s); these were edited by Robert Arthur--see last year's post Time To Terrorize the Kids!

Anyway, since Frankensteinia--The Frankenstein Blog (duh!) has declared October to be Book Month and since I'm in a nostalgic mood anyway and since the Intarwebs allow me such easy access to my lost childhood and since what's more appropriate for Halloween than a bunch of ghost stories, travel with me for a moment down Memory Lane:

Inside front cover--scary stuff to behold when you're eight... at night... alone... under the bedclothes

Title page (ooh! Hitch cameo!)

"The Wastwych Secret" by Constance Savery

"Jimmy Takes Vanishing Lessons" by Walter R. Brooks (ooh! another Hitch cameo!)

"The Mystery of Rabbit Run" by Jack Bechdolt (gee! Another Hitch cameo!)
(this picture, by the way, freaked the HELL out of me as a kid since the kitchen was a dead ringer for the one at my grandparent's farmhouse)

"The Water Ghost of Harrowby Hall" by John Kendrick Bangs (damn, Hitch!)

Climax to "The Water Ghost of Harrowby Hall"

"The Red-Headed League" by Arthur Conan Doyle (Hitch? Is that you? Again?)

"The Mystery in Four-And-A-Half Street" by Donald & Louise Peattie
(well, we know that's not Hitch in the clock; he wouldn't have fit)

 "Let's Haunt A House" by Manly Wade Wellman

"The Forgotten Island" by Elizabeth Coatsworth

Something only JSaM will get: Oh, the Bight of Benin/The Bight of Benin/One comes out/Where three goes in

Today this illustration reminds me of the work of Chris Van Allsburg; at the time all I knew was that >>>I<<< wanted to find a lost cabin on a forgotten island. The story itself was a bit...treacly... but the idea of finding (and then owning) a spooky little house in the middle of a lake, well, that was just fine!

'Scuse me... I need to go find my flashlight...


JSaM said...

I know it's a different anthology, but "Do you Believe in Ghosts?". And Fred Banbery's illustrations ("they are skin illustrations!") are to die for!

JSaM said...

Oh, BTW, did you get a scanner?

G. W. Ferguson said...

Nope, no scanner yet. Found these on the 'net!

Tzilla said...

I had an alfred hitchock LP phonograph ghost stories which included Jimmy takes vanishing lessons. there was on that disc some story about a squirrel that used to scare me. I wonder if i still have that record.

Anne said...

Oh, God, I loved the Alfred Hitchcock story books!

Also the Three Investigators. And there was a series of non-fiction books on Vampires, Ghosts, Werewolves and such that I need to hunt down that was also awesome.

Eric Schonblom said...

The Hitchcock anthology includes The Wastwych Secret by Constance Savery who was born on Halloween Day in 1897. See my web site or enter "Constance Savery" into Google for her life and work.


G. W. Ferguson said...

@Eric: Thanks! I didn't know that about Constance Savery; in fact, I didn't know anything about Constance Savery! Fascinating website!