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
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...