Originally Posted by Barney
The only problem with starting with the Classics is that they can seem a bit tame to our modern sensibilities. A lot of Victorian ghost stories are pretty underwhelming. A character might go and stay at some remote/foreign place. They go for a walk at night and have a conversation with someone.
The next day their host asks them if they had a pleasant evening. They say "oh yes I had a perfectly delightful evening, I went for a walk and met this funny little priest".
The host seems uneasy and asks "what was his name?"
"Father Brown" the hero replies.
"Oh my God!" the host cries. "Father Brown died 10 years ago!"
The host then turns pale and collapses to the floor in a dead faint.
Not all of the older supernatural fiction is that predictable, but if you are looking for some stories to pique your interest I would suggest going for an anthology that collects recent horror stories. Any good bookshop should stock a few decent ones (the 2007 Mammoth book of Best New Horror is what i'm reading at the moment. I have only read about 4 of the stories so far but on the whole they have been pretty good).
Not a bad parody of the worst (or the least) of the Victorians -- or, more properly I think, the Edwardians -- in this respect, but hardly representative of an enormous amount of what's out there, especially when you're dealing with writers such as Hichens, Morrow, Lee, James (either M. R. or Henry), Gilman, Northcote, Wakefield, Benson, Blackwood, Machen, Hodgson, Kipling, Wells, Bierce, Bowen, Doyle, Hearn, Buchan, and the like... most of which are represented in the series in question, and many of which wrote some of the most haunting and disturbing pieces in the realm of weird fiction....