‘When isolated from the bustle of civilisation, the mind slips unfettered.’
Seven Ghostly Spins contains six paranormal tales that are short enough to read during a commuter ride to work. (But will you then feel a bit too disturbed to carry on as usual that day?) One tale, ‘Abiku’, is a creepy novella perhaps best read when safely at home with the lights turned on.
‘Amelia’s mouth opened and an infinite, desolate scream escaped.’
I am not a frequent reader of ghost or horror tales. Although the author offers tantalising notes on the inspirations for this collection, for instance, that one of the stories is based on “a real walk in the moonlight”, I still began by thinking, “All right then, so let’s just see if you can get to me.”
Fellow Baffled Ones, these stories got to me.
We get crumbling houses and overgrown paths in abandoned gardens, dark basements, cemeteries, fortune tellers, and birds ominously pecking at the window. Yet, as the book’s subtitle suggests, the stories are more about ‘brushes’ with the supernatural than with horror. We are offered different levels of the mind and of sight, portals that open unexpectedly, places that seemingly tug at the mind, objects that influence actions.
‘I close my eyes and I float for a while, not in my room but in a dream. I think I should go home but I don’t know how. I’m not worried though ‘.
‘Alison’ is the sweetest ghost story I’ve encountered although very sad. It’s based on the legend of a girl who died in a real theatre in San Francisco.
‘By The Iron Gate’ is as much about the pathos of a woman’s tightly restricted life as about the supernatural. ‘I would grab the iron bars and stare into the moonlit garden, like a prisoner longing to return to her cell.‘ In ‘She Caught A Ride’, a hazing goes wrong, and in ‘Carolina Blue’ a chiffon dress leads to a fateful encounter of the heart. The dully named story called ‘205 1/2, 25th Street’ is anything but as a man’s viewing of a real estate purchase turns into a chilling time slip through to the actions of his forebears.
I enjoyed these stories both for the brushes with supernatural elements and also for the well written glimpses of the characters’ lives wherein time and again a carefully added word or phrase by the author turns the ordinary into something else. Why not let your own mind slip unfettered for a while. I think you may close the book, as I did, feeling thoughtful about particular ‘odd’ events in your own lives.
Where to unshroud it: From BookDepository (free shipping worldwide) and Amazon in Kindle and soft cover, Barnes and Noble in Kobo and soft cover, also Waterstones and Chapters Indigo. Hardcover editions are also available. Or, ask your friendly local bookstore to order it in for you, and for your friends who appreciate a frission of the supernatural.
Mark is guardian and blundering typist for Mawson, one of this bright world’s few published bears.