Thursday, September 30, 2010

It's October - Time for GHOST STORIES!

October is here! To me, that means crisp air, a reprieve (hopefully) from the heat, fires in the fireplace and the changing of the leaves. And best of all, it means Halloween and all that entails: the horror movie marathons on television, the decorating of front yards, taking tours of haunted houses, and the fascination with the occult. For some it means parties and dressing up in costume. If that floats your boat, great. I'm perfectly happy watching Frankenstein on TCM.

To celebrate October, here are some covers from GHOST STORIES. But before we go there, let me tell you I have in my hand a copy of GHOST STORIES: THE MAGAZINE AND ITS MAKERS, VOLUME 1, edited by John Locke of Off-Trail Publications - the same fine person who brought us THE OCEAN and GANG PULP and PULPWOOD DAYS. John has released 2 volumes of GHOST STORIES, and now that my required reading is out of the way, I can dive into Volume 1.

Here's some info on GHOST STORIES, taken from the back of John's book:

In an era of odd magazines, Macfadden's GHOST STORIES (1926-31) was a standout of the strange. It tapped into occult interest by presenting haunted tales that may or may not have been true. If they were true, then GHOST STORIES was testament to the presence of spirits in every exciting arena, the Western Front, gangland, aviation, the Klondike, the circus, the theater: not coincidentally, all the varied settings that pulp stories employed.

The personnel that created GHOST STORIES, though not well remembered today in most cases, were an uncommonly talented and fascinating group. They include poets and scholars, war heroes and war correspondents, adventurers and Bohemians. A few were titans of magazine publishing and editing. A few developed into prolific pulpsters; a few became bestselling authors; a few went Hollywood; one garnered a Pulitzer Prize for fiction. And because it's GHOST STORIES, a few led haunted lives: within these pages are two murderers, a murder victim, a suicide, and several casualties of tragic accidents.

John is known for his excellent biographies, so the stories about the authors sound to be just as thrilling as the stories themselves.

If you want to get your own copy of GHOST STORIES: THE MAGAZINE AND ITS MAKERS, or any of the other anthologies they've done, you can go to Off-Trail's Publications web page here.

Here are some covers of GHOST STORIES, courtesy of Galactic Central. Happy October, everyone!

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Walker Martin said...

I bought both volumes from John Locke at PulpFest and I can second Laurie's recommendation about the books that he has been publishing. He concentrates on the rare and unusual pulp fiction and adds detailed biographical and editorial essays about the magazines and authors. All his books are worth adding to your pulp library.

Deka Black said...

Seems a very interesting magazine. Ghost stories are always something interesting.

Charles Gramlich said...

I've never really written a ghost story per se. I'd love to do one if I could figure out how to make it fresh.

Richard R. said...

I've never been that much of a fan of the supernatural stuff, so I'll probably skip this one, but it is great that JOhn has done this both for the documentation/information and for the chance of new readers and collectors.

The ghost on the cover of that May issue (2nd from top) sure looks like the evil Emperor in Star Wars.

Chap O'Keefe said...

Back in the 1970s I wrote several scripts for the Charlton Comics Group's ghost titles, which included Ghostly Tales, Scary Tales and The Many Ghosts of Dr Graves. They were drawn by such accomplished artists as Steve Ditko and Tom Sutton. In a small way, the comics were the successors of the pulps, but at the time I caught up with them as a scriptwriter, they, too, were on their way out. To cuts costs, Charlton switched from publishing "All New" stories to a reprint policy. As a result, some of the scripts I wrote never appeared.

Later, I rewrote one of the scripts, Night Howl, as a text story, but was never able to find a market for it. The setting was too mundane for "fantasy"; spooky stuff was out of fashion; the crime element wasn't sufficiently pronounced to tempt me to waste the time and money mailing it to the mystery mags.

Finding it on the hard drive of my first PC, and re-reading it after many years, it did seem nicely retro and of a kind with the cover for David Cranmer's Beat to a Pulp print anthology, which is what had jogged my memory. So I emailed it to David for the online BTAP. Happily, David plans to run it for Hallowe'en.

He said, "Loved it! Especially that ending... I've put Outback Gothic down for October 31st. The week of Halloween sounded like a perfect slot."