Monday, March 7, 2011

George Wilde's Ghost Stories

Another fantastic spook book from my childhood (that you will have to pry from my cold, dead fingers before I ever give it up) is the "Arrow Book of Ghost Stories" edited by Nora Kramer (1960.) Nine tales of freaky phantoms, kooky cats, wacky witches, and even a repeat performance from John Kendrick Bangs' "The Water Ghost" as seen in our previous entry on Fred Banbery. In today's post, the illustrated credits go to George Wilde, who like Banbery, creates a wonderfully detailed, scratchy sense of mood and humorous exaggeration in his nice, loose line work. This stuff may not be as technically slick as Banbery, or say Gordon Laite, (who we'll look at in the next post), but it's certainly just as terrific.


Mr. Cavin said...

the devil witches are totally tied for my favorite with that line of cats walking past the gravedigger. You are really on a roll the last couple of days with the spooky book illustrations. Thanks!

Dan LeMoal said...

Is this a hardcover edition Karswell? I recall a softcover edition with a green cover and a different illustration...perhaps they published a few volumes/versions?

Either way, I remember the distinctive interior artwork, burned on the brain I suppose. Thanks for digging these books up! I feel like I've found my old book-bag from 1976!

Pappy said...

I'm going to look for this book. I love the loose and free pen illustrations. Spooky, but not so scary for young readers. Or even us older readers. Great stuff, and thanks for showing it.

Prof. Grewbeard said...

ok, you're freaking me out because you just posted the first two ghost story compilations i came across in elementary school, and i've never forgotten the Water Ghost since! i have a recording of some celebrity reading that story somewhere...the inside front & back covers of the Hitchcock book were particularly fascinating to me. fuuunnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn...

Mr. Karswell said...

>You are really on a roll the last couple of days with the spooky book illustrations.

not to put down my posts on roller skating and sewing kits though, right? haha

>Is this a hardcover edition Karswell?

it's a smallish 35 cent spin rack, softcover style Scholastic book. You could be right though as my copy is the 8th print version from 1965 so there could've been other covers. Or possibly you're thinking of the Arrow Book of Sppoky Stories (also edited by Nora Kramer, 1962) ...that one though is illustrated by Erwin Hoffman.

>I'm going to look for this book.

Good luck Pappy, let me know if you find it. I also want to mention that aside from the neato artwork, the stories are all really good too!

>ok, you're freaking me out

Mission accomplished!!!

I'll have one more spooky book post coming up, as mentioned, featuring the art of Gordon Laite... see ya in a few!

Drazen said...

Another ghostly good post.
I have to find this book now too.

Mr. Karswell said...

>I have to find this book now too.

Probably not as tough to find as the Hitchcock book, but good luck!

Bill in Tampa said...

I too loved this book as a child and sought it for over twenty years. Eventually I found one and it's a keeper. I can read this over and over. Sadly, the more modern ghost stories don't grab me like those from this era. Thanks for the Banbery entry as well. :)

Crafty C said...

if anyone's interested in the ebook version i found it in Open Library - as well as another collection of stories - The Arrow Book of Spook Stories. If you download them in PDF form it is just the scanned book pages with all of the illustrations.

here's the search link