“The Ash Tree” By M.R. James (Narrated by Jeffrey LeBlanc)

However, all that she is reported to have said were the seemingly meaningless words: ‘There will be guests at the Hall.’ Which she repeated more than once in an undertone.

Welcome to Dweller of the Dark!

We are a channel honoring the yellowed and blackened bones of many prominent authors. We will be digging up several obscure, strange, and forgotten authors who influenced many of the great horror, science fiction, and fantasy writer’s today.

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There are writers that write ghost stories. Then there are those who are a force of dark nature. They write to chill, un-nerve and terrify leaving a lasting foreboding of all things in the dark.

Even after almost a hundred years, Cambridge Chancellor Montague Rhodes James is a master of such writing. The lonely church, the desolate coast, the mysterious room, and the quiet crypt were his playground for all manner of the supernatural. But do not be fooled that he threw together tired cliché’s and went for the easy jump scare. No, M.R. James’s stories are creaking coffins in dark crypts, winding spidery staircases, coastlines of cursed menace, and all manner of the terrifying. They are speculative, horror puzzles with a twisted, tortured psychological aspect that stays with you long after you’ve finished reading his works.

“The Ash-tree” is a prized ghost story by M.R. James, included in his 1904 collection Ghost Stories of an Antiquary. This is a highly recommended read for anyone looking for a good scare. What is so fascinating about many of M.R. James’s works are they are several stories within a story that build mystery upon mystery. And once M.R. James has you looking into the puzzle he brings the terror.

Our story focuses on Sir Richard Fell, who has just inherited Castringham, a country seat in Suffolk, England with an unfortunate history. The house has been cursed since the day his ancestor, Sir Matthew Fell, condemned a woman to death for witchcraft. Terrifying events occur and it is discovered that the ancient ash tree outside his bedroom window is the root of the problem.

Who brought on the Fell curse? What ancient evil lurks in the ash-tree? Can the Fells get to the root of the terrifying events and stop the curse before it’s too late?

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