Tag Archives: Algernon Blackwood

Supernatural Sleuths

22 Apr

The Gateway of the Monster… The Red Hand… The Ghost Hunter… To Sherlock Holmes the supernatural may have been a closed book but luckily for us other great detectives have always been ready to do battle with the forces of darkness instead. There are the casebooks of the Victorian haunted house investigators John Bell and Flaxman Low; Thomas Carnacki, William Hope Hodgson’s Edwardian battler against the abyss; horror master Arthur Machen’s Mr Dyson, a man about town and meddler in strange things; Robert Barr’s Eugene Valmont (who may have inspired Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot) and Donald Campbell’s young explorer Leslie Vane, the ‘James Bond of the jazz age’, who battled against occult enemies of the British Empire. More modern times have seen the introduction of Phil Rickman’s ‘Deliverance Consultant’ (diocesan exorcist) Merrily Watkins and James Herbert’s psychic investigator and ghost hunter David Ash to the genre. Sherlock Homes may have shunned all suggestion of supernatural agency, but thankfully his many rivals and literary descendants have not, leaving us with a delightfully large number of deliciously dark detective cases to enjoy for generations to come.

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Algernon Blackwood – The Ghost Man

25 Oct

Born in London the son of a nobleman, Algernon Blackwood (1869-1951) was nevertheless a rebel against conformity and turned his back on a strict religious upbringing to travel across North America in his twenties, almost starving in the process. Eventually he made his living as a reporter and short story writer in New York, where his output included travel, adventure, humour and some work of a semi-mystical nature. Like his contemporary Arthur Machen, another writer of supernatural fiction, Blackwood became a member of one of the factions of the Kabbalistic order, the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. His interest in the supernatural led him to investigate several haunted houses and start writing the stories which made him famous in the form of several collections of tales of the psychic and the macabre, beginning with The Empty House and other Ghost Stories, which appeared in 1906, and culminating in Tales of the Uncanny and Supernatural in 1949. His reputation grew with radio and television appearances, earning him the epithet ‘The Ghost Man’.

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