I love ghost stories. They are among the oldest horror tales in both the written and oral tradition. Pliny the Younger wrote about hauntings in his chronicles from ancient Rome. Medieval texts are filled with spectral images and ghostly sounds. Lights flicker in graveyards to this day. Ghosts: An Anthology of Horror from the Beyond is a fantastic collection guaranteed to raise your hackles in the dead of night.
The anthology opens with “The Seventh Step” from Judi A. Calhoun. She weaves a disturbing tale of murder and ghostly warnings from beyond the veil. This story sets a hair-raising tone for the collection and the fear never lets up from there. “Chinese Buttons” by Aaron Smith takes us into the depth of insanity and asks the most terrifying question of all. Is it all real or just in our minds? That psychological facet to fear is, for me, the godfather of all fears. Am I imagining all of this? Why, yes, of course. But Jeffrey Todd, in his tale “Already There,” reminds us that the thin wall between insanity and the supernatural is not always that easy to define. Kay Glass, in her story “The Inheritance,” tears down those walls even further. Her ghosts threaten a vital element of our human existence: happiness. Ghosts, you see, can invade our physical and mental space. Calhoun’s ghosts warn. Glass’s ghosts destroy. They are fickle, these spirits, now aren’t they?
The authors in this collection give us a wide range of ghostly tales. These spirits are sinister, soulful, mournful, hateful, and, on occasion, all of the above. In the classic vein of Henry James, Le Fanu, and other masters of the phantom tale, Ghosts: An Anthology of Horror from the Beyond transports us behind the wall of reason and sanity to reveal what we fear the most: ourselves. Highly recommended.