Stories of the supernatural and paranormal have haunted me for decades. It all started with Poe's The Fall of the House of Usher in 8th grade English. Next came Thorne Smith. Mama and I plowed through his Topper novels and conjectured about what kind of ghosts we'd turn into should we meet an untimely demise.
By the time I hit college I'd graduated to Henry James and The Turn of the Screw. Other favorites over the years have included Rosemary's Baby and The Shining. I'd give a lot to recall the name and author of a strange book I located in the Seychelles National Library, since I'd love to read it again. It featured a young heroine who moved into a house somewhere in the south, where she heard strains of a music box playing the Stephen Foster ballad, "I dream of Jeanie." You just know this is going to be traced to the ghost of a Civil War soldier.
But for ghostly times and places, I doubt that anything can shout "fright night" in such spectral overtones as the isolated English moors and marshes in Victorian and Edwardian times. Hence the appeal to me of The Woman in Black. Plus, the protagonist is accompanied by brave and winsome dog, Spider. I sure hope she trotted into the movie. As I approached the conclusion, I found myself reaching down beside the bed to pat my faithful Natty atop his furry head.
After the video I intend to begin Anne Rivers Siddons' The House Next Door. From what I gather from Stephen King's introduction, this might have a twist...it might actually be a haunted house without a ghost. The house itself might be malevolent. It is set in the south, after all...and you know how Gothic that part of our country remains.
I probably don't have a ghost of a chance of getting to sleep early tonight! Especially not if I hear the tinkling tune of "I Dream of Jeanie" echoing up the stairs at 3 a.m. The only music boxes I have play suitable lullabies such as "Camelot," "Toyland," and "Somewhere Over the Rainbow."
Incidentally, the lyrics of "I Dream of Jeanie" have haunted me all my life. My middle name is "Jeanne" and if you've read my previous blog you'll know that I was named after a birth mother who remains ever elusive.
Skip the ad on this video and move right to the recitation of Foster's lyrics. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V57pcKGA6MU