Ancient Mysteries Palmistry Best Psychic Stories

Best Psychic Stories

Best Psychic Stories
Catalog # SKU3745
Publisher TGS Publishing
Weight 1.00 lbs
Author Name Joseph Lewis French, Dorothy Scarborough
ISBN 10: 0000000000
ISBN 13: 0000000000000


Best Psychic Stories

Joseph Lewis French
Dorothy Scarborough

The case for the "psychic" element in literature rests on a very old foundation; it reaches back to the ancient masters,-the men who wrote the Greek tragedies. Remorse will ever seem commonplace alongside the furies. Ever and always the shadow of the supernatural invites, pursues us.

Print size, 13 point font



As the art of literature has progressed it has grown along with it. To-day there is a whole new school of writers of Ghost-Stories, and the domain of the invisible is being invaded by explorers in many paths. We do not believe so much more, perhaps, that is, we do not so openly express a belief, but art has finally and frankly claimed the supernatural for its own. One discerning authority even goes so far as to assert that the borders of its domain will be greatly enlarged in the wonderful new field of the screen.

There is no motive in a story, no image in poetry, that can give us quite the thrill of a supernatural idea. If we were formally charged with this we might resent the imputation, but the evidence has persisted from the beginning, lives on every hand, and multiplies daily. What we have been in the habit of calling the "machinery" of the old Greek drama-its supernatural effects-has come finally to be an art cultivated with care at the present hour, and has given us some wonderful new writers. In fact, few of the best masters for a generation now have been able to resist its persistent and abiding charm. Every writer of true imagination, almost without exception, including even certain realists, has given us at least one story, long or short, in which the central motive is purely psychical in the Greek sense of the word.

The whole subject opens up a virgin field which has after all only begun to be tilled. Within the coming generation we may look for great artists to devote their whole powers to it, as Algernon Blackwood is doing to-day. A simple underlying reason is enough to account for it all-the new field imposes simply no limit on the imagination. In addition to all that science has taught us, there is illimitable store of myth and legend to aid, to draw from, to work in, to work over, as Lord Dunsany has shown us. It is the most significant movement in literature at the present hour, and whether it is supported by a special background of interest-as at present in spiritism-or not, the assertion is logical that it is creating a new body of fictional literature of permanent importance for the first time in the history of literature. The human comedy seems to have been exploited to its final limits; as the art of the novel, the art of the stage, but too sadly prove to-day. We have turned outward for new thrills to the supernatural and we are getting them.

It only remains to be added that the present great interest in spiritualism and allied phenomena has made necessary the addition of certain material of a "literal" character which we believe will be found quite as interesting by the general reader as the purely literary portion of the book.

Man's love for the supernatural, which is one of the most natural things about him, was never more marked than now. Man's imagination, ever vaster than his environment, overleaps the barriers of time and space and claims all worlds as eminent domain, so that literature, which he has the power to create, as he cannot create his material surroundings, possesses a dramatic intensity and an epic sweep unknown in actuality. Literature shows what humanity really is and longs to be. Man, feeling belittled by his petty round of uninspiring days, longs for a larger life. He yearns for traffic with immortal beings that can augment his wisdom, that can bring comfort to his soul dismayed and bewildered by life. He reaches out for a power beyond his puny strength. Aware how relentlessly time ticks away his little hour, he craves companionship with the eternal spirits. Ignorant of what lies before him in the life to which he speeds so fast, he would take counsel of those who know, would ask about the customs of the country where presently he will be a citizen. He feels so terribly alone that he cries out like a child in the dark for supermortal companionship.

Literature, which is both a cause and an effect of man's interest in the supernatural as in anything else, reflects his longings and records his cries. And when we read the imaginings of the different generations, we find that the spirit of the dead is represented almost everywhere. Before poetry and fiction were recorded, there were singers and story-tellers by the fire to give to their listeners the thrill that comes from art. And what thrill is comparable to that which comes from contact with the supermortal? The earliest literature relates the appearance of the spirits of those who have died as coming back to comfort or to take vengeance on the living, but always as sentient, intelligent, and with an interest in the earth they have left. All through the centuries the wraith has survived in literature, has flitted pallidly across the pages of poetry, story and play, with a sad wistfulness, a forlorn dignity.


Screamed Aloud In Terror
He was a very quiet, self-possessed sort of man, sitting a moment on top of the wall to sound the damp darkness for warnings of the dangers it might conceal. But the plummet of his hearing brought nothing to him save the moaning of wind through invisible trees and the rustling of leaves on swaying branches. A heavy fog drifted and drove before the wind, and though he could not see this fog, the wet of it blew upon his face, and the wall on which he sat was wet.

Without noise he had climbed to the top of the wall from the outside, and without noise he dropped to the ground on the inside. From his pocket he drew an electric night-stick, but he did not use it. Dark as the way was, he was not anxious for light. Carrying the night-stick in his hand, his finger on the button, he advanced through the darkness. The ground was velvety and springy to his feet, being carpeted with dead pine-needles and leaves and mold which evidently had been undisturbed for years. Leaves and branches brushed against his body, but so dark was it that he could not avoid them. Soon he walked with his hand stretched out gropingly before him, and more than once the hand fetched up against the solid trunks of massive trees. All about him he knew were these trees; he sensed the loom of them everywhere; and he experienced a strange feeling of microscopic smallness in the midst of great bulks leaning toward him to crush him. Beyond, he knew, was the house, and he expected to find some trail or winding path that would lead easily to it.

Once, he found himself trapped. On every side he groped against trees and branches, or blundered into thickets of underbrush, until there seemed no way out. Then he turned on his light, circumspectly, directing its rays to the ground at his feet. Slowly and carefully he moved it about him, the white brightness showing in sharp detail all the obstacles to his progress. He saw an opening between huge-trunked trees, and advanced through it, putting out the light and treading on dry footing as yet protected from the drip of the fog by the dense foliage overhead. His sense of direction was good, and he knew he was going toward the house.

And then the thing happened-the thing unthinkable and unexpected. His descending foot came down upon something that was soft and alive, and that arose with a snort under the weight of his body. He sprang clear, and crouched for another spring, anywhere, tense and expectant, keyed for the onslaught of the unknown. He waited a moment, wondering what manner of animal it was that had arisen from under his foot and that now made no sound nor movement and that must be crouching and waiting just as tensely and expectantly as he. The strain became unbearable. Holding the night-stick before him, he pressed the button, saw, and screamed aloud in terror. He was prepared for anything, from a frightened calf or fawn to a belligerent lion, but he was not prepared for what he saw. In that instant his tiny searchlight, sharp and white, had shown him what a thousand years would not enable him to forget-a man, huge and blond, yellow-haired and yellow-bearded, naked except for soft-tanned moccasins and what seemed a goat-skin about his middle. Arms and legs were bare, as were his shoulders and most of his chest. The skin was smooth and hairless, but browned by sun and wind, while under it heavy muscles were knotted like fat snakes.

Still, this alone, unexpected as it well was, was not what had made the man scream out. What had caused his terror was the unspeakable ferocity of the face, the wild-animal glare of the blue eyes scarcely dazzled by the light, the pine-needles matted and clinging in the beard and hair, and the whole formidable body crouched and in the act of springing at him. Practically in the instant he saw all this, and while his scream still rang, the thing leaped, he flung his night-stick full at it, and threw himself to the ground. He felt its feet and shins strike against his ribs, and he bounded up and away while the thing itself hurled onward in a heavy crashing fall into the underbrush.

As the noise of the fall ceased, the man stopped and on hands and knees waited. He could hear the thing moving about, searching for him, and he was afraid to advertise his location by attempting further flight. He knew that inevitably he would crackle the underbrush and be pursued. Once he drew out his revolver, then changed his mind. He had recovered his composure and hoped to get away without noise. Several times he heard the thing beating up the thickets for him, and there were moments when it, too, remained still and listened. This gave an idea to the man. One of his hands was resting on a chunk of dead wood. Carefully, first feeling about him in the darkness to know that the full swing of his arm was clear, he raised the chunk of wood and threw it. It was not a large piece, and it went far, landing noisily in a bush. He heard the thing bound into the bush, and at the same time himself crawled steadily away. And on hands and knees, slowly and cautiously, he crawled on, till his knees were wet on the soggy mold. When he listened he heard naught but the moaning wind and the drip-drip of the fog from the branches. Never abating his caution, he stood erect and went on to the stone wall, over which he climbed and dropped down to the road outside.

392 pages - 7 x 8½ softcover

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