Friday, October 31, 2014

Scottish Ghost Stories

Elliott O'Donnell - Scottish Ghost Stories (1911)

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Time to close out a month of Halloween books with something from the prolific Elliott O'Donnell (whose 1912 novel The Sorcery Club is getting some attention recently due to a Michael Dirda review of a reissue in The Washington Post).  O'Donnell wrote, lectured and broadcast about ghosts for decades, claiming some sort of factual basis for what are in all other respects fictional stories.  (Though I wish his 1934 Strange Cults & Secret Societies of Modern London was available online.)  In this book the titles are careful to give a location as if that will convince any dubious reader.  Though I realize it's not intended that way the opening title with its "death bogle" sounds comic today as to some degree "The Bounding Figure of '--------- House'".  The contents also promise a floating head, a choking ghost, a white lady, a grey piper, a phantom regiment and a "room beyond".  Happy Halloween!