Thursday, June 7, 2012

M.R. James, “Casting the Runes,” 1911

"It was rather shame than courage that induced him to slip out into the passage and lean over the banister in his nightgown, listening. No light was visible; no further sound came: only a gust of warm, or even hot air played for an instant round his shins. He went back and decided to lock himself into his room. There was more unpleasantness, however."
                                                      M.R. James, "Casting the Runes"

Oh yes. James' famous "ghost" story. Um, no.

The fifth story in The Weird is the first one that I would classify as dealing undisputedly with the supernatural. And it ain't ghosts. Maybe it's the lapsed/indoctrinated Protestant in me, but "Casting the Runes" is a bit hair-raising. There is mention of witchcraft, and it ain't in a Glenda the good witch kind of way.That bit near the end, where the guy asks Karswell who the man is accompanying him, and Karswell reacts like the guy's got double vision. YIKES. Also, academics running around with all that knowledge - scary as.

Weird factor 4/5. Again with the witchcraft. I don't understand how people call this a ghost story.

Reviewed from The Weird: A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stories, Eds. Anne and Jeff Vandermeer

No comments: