Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Water Ghost of Harrowby Hall

Before we get to the Gordon Laite post that I keep yappin' about, I thought I'd share one more rendition of the drippy ghost dame we've seen in the last two posts, aka: The Water Ghost of Harrowby Hall, a very funny and even frightening classic ghost story written by John Kendrick Bangs in 1904, and as seen in today's post released in the 1945 illustrated "Quick Reader" from Royce Publishers titled Humorous Ghost Stories. And for something completely different, I've actually included the full text story as well, because yes, there's a reason why this tale appears in so many short story collections over the last century-- it's great! It's also great fun to compare artistic interpretations of The Water Ghost... isn't she lovely?

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

neat post and another blast from the past because my grandmother had a bunch of these quick reader books and I used to look at them all the time. they are real small pocket size right?

Karswell said...

>they are real small pocket size right?

The Quick Readers are about half the size of a standard paperback, just a smidge larger than say an Ipod. If anyone is interested in this book I've noticed a few on ebay right now.

prof. grewbeard said...

sexy!

Karswell said...

Sexy indeed... possibly topless too!

Mr. Cavin said...

Excellent--I love a traditional Christmas ghost story--and somehow I've never read this one before. I love how it's funny without being all that goofy. The same can be said of the cover of the book itself, but I'm a little less enthusiastic about the interior illustrations.

Karswell said...

>I'm a little less enthusiastic about the interior illustrations.

Totally disagree Mr. C, the interior illustrations are pretty much what make this book in my opinion, and the fun / loose cartoony style perfectly matches the cornball stories too. The stylized characters remind me of something right out of Colonel Bleep, which I think is one of the most gorgeously designed cartoon shows of all time.

Mr. Cavin said...

They're certainly good, I agree. My only criticism is with illustrating this particular story, which maintains a seriousish ghost story tone while also being funny (and a little whimsical). But these illustrations are more comical and slapstick, so I don't feel like they jive. They may very well jive with the other stories, though, if they are more cornball than this one. Plus, I think I'd love them like you do if I were to see them independent of the text.

Karswell said...

For sure Mr C, this book must be seen as a whole to understand the cartoony illustration approach to each story... plus from the "goofiest ghosts" quote on the front, to the "silliest, slap-happiest ghosts that ever crept up on a human" caption on the back cover, the obvious intent of the publishers here was to put together a horror collection for people who like their ghosts a bit on the Casper side.

Hairy Green Eyeball said...

A version of this story from ALFRED HITCHCOCK'S HAUNTED HOUSEFUL, illustrated by Fred Banbery, is in this Hairy Green Eyeball posting from 2008.

"Water Ghost" is a great story, and it's fun to see the various interpretations.

Aaron Carine said...

It's a memorable story,but the cruelty of the ending has always bothered me.