“Chickamauga” By Ambrose Bierce (Narrated By Jeffrey LeBlanc)

For a moment he stood stupefied by the power of the revelation, then ran with stumbling feet, making a half-circuit of the ruin. There, conspicuous in the light of the conflagration, lay the dead body of a woman—the white face turned upward, the hands thrown out and clutched full of grass, the clothing deranged, the long dark hair in tangles and full of clotted blood.-Ambrose Bierce

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Children of horror, follow me as we cross the ghoul guarded gateways, the labyrinth of the lost, and the decrepit crypt into that cherished abyss that is moonlight, swamp, and darkest night. Forever are we outsiders to this world and the coil that is man. And, for that relish in the strange, the grotesque, and the unnerving as we push ever farther, without a torch, flashlight, or candle into shadowed waterways, fog-fetid bayous, and amongst moss-covered oaks. These truly are our home.

Our name is LEGION horror fans for we are many. My LEGION, walk the cobwebbed, cyclopean stairs with me. Climb the bat filled bell tower on the expanse of endless night wind. And fly through mists into ancient cypress as we learn the mysteries of creatures in the dark.

I promise, as we splash and lumber through the darkness, to protect you from the

ghastly ghouls within.

Well…maybe

Civil War ghosts stalk silently through moonlit forests. A horrific creature attacks a man’s dead wife in the dark. And a soldier literally has his life pass before his eyes as he is hanged. These are just a few of the horrific stories by Ambrose Bierce.

Ambrose Bierce was an American short story writer, journalist, poet, and Civil War veteran. He is the author of the comedic “The Devil’s Dictionary” which was named as one of “The 100 Greatest Masterpieces of American Literature” by the American Revolution Bicentennial Administration. Bierce’s most horrific and anthologized work, “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge”, has been described as “one of the most famous and frequently anthologized stories in American literature”.

His best short story collection by far though is Bierce’s “Tales of Soldiers and Civilians”. This horrific work was cited by the Grolier Club as one of the 100 most influential American books printed before 1900.

Bierce was regarded as one of the most influential journalists in the United States. He was a pioneer in realist fiction influencing such authors as Richard Matheson, Edgar Allan Poe and H. P. Lovecraft. And, just as Poe, Ambrose Bierce was considered an influential and feared literary critic.

Ambrose Bierce’s greatest story was his own. In December 1913, Bierce traveled to Chihuahua, Mexico, to gain first-hand experience of the Mexican Revolution. While traveling with rebel troops he disappeared. He was never seen again.

As we read tonight’s story, we look on the peaceful, fog filled forests and fields near Chickamauga Creek. Ancient cannon, monuments of stone, and looming graves stand as silent sentimental to a horrifying past of bloodshed and murder. A time when brother fought brother blinded by insanity. Hopefully, people are taught or remember the violent history of the Civil War. Unfortunately, after over a century, I see the demoniacal blood lust for a new civil war has reappeared. The lumbering possibility has oozed up once again in our current time.

Are we caged animals doomed never to learn peace and destined always to repeat our atrocities?

Chilled by icy, misted night…on this desolate field of Death… I wonder.

“Chickamauga” is a horror story written by Ambrose Bierce on January 20, 1889. It first appeared in the “San Francisco Examiner” and later in the collection “Tales of Soldiers and Civilians”.

The tale focuses on a child playing war in the woods. He strays off and becomes lost on the former battlefield of Chickamauga.

Can this little boy find his way home? Or will the child become another ghostly casualty to Chickamauga?

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