Evil comes with many different faces. A macabre human drama is re-enacted in a Gothic dolls' house one night; a whistle awakens a force of unspeakable malevolence; an ancient curse is passed from person to person; a grisly crime is avenged from beyond the grave; the tomb of a Swedish count will not rest quietly. M R James' chilling ghost stories reveal a world where the familiar becomes diabolical, the smallest object can lead to unimaginable horror, and evil brushes against everyday life in the most unexpected and sinister of ways.
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Montague Rhodes James was born at Goodnestone Parsonage in Kent in 1862. Although a great scholar of his day, it is now for his ghost stories, many set in East Anglia, that James is best remembered. Fascinated by the supernatural, he was an admirer of the Irish mystery-writer Sheridan Le Fanu, whose ghost stories he edited. His stories were usually first published in magazines such as the Cambridge Review, but some were written for special occasions. Wailing Well is one such story, composed for the gathering of the Eton College Boy Scouts in 1927. The stories were published in several volumes between 1904 and 1931, including Ghost Stories of an Antiquary (1904), A Thin Ghost and Others (1919) and A Warning to the Curious (1925). M. R. James died in 1936.
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