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Stories that inspired M.R. James

Twelve tales of terror recommended by the master of the genre!

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Episode 7a – Oh, Whistle, and I’ll Come to You, My Lad

January 15, 2012 | Episodes | Comments (7)

Screenshot from 1968 TV VersionIn this episode Mike & Will look into ghosts, golf and some decidedly fishy goings-on in Felixstowe in the first of a 2-part special on M.R. James’s ‘Oh, Whistle, and I’ll Come to You, My Lad’!

Big thanks to Tom Hemmings who returns as our reader for this episode.

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7 Comments

  1. Stephanus Maximus says:

    It seems that we can safely add ‘small boys’ to M.R.’s list of pet hates..the account of Parkins discovery of the remains of teh Templar site notes that the area of the ruin had perhaps been disturbed in the past by small boys or ‘other creatures!’

  2. taratemima says:

    I kind of see Parkins’ reluctance to admit the supernatural exists is a matter of academic pride. Ontography sounds like a field that overlaps a lot of other subjects (or should I say ‘disciplines’) and may not get much funding or respect from others. To have him, and by extension, ontography, associated with ghosts and other ‘woo’ subjects would mean the end of his academic career, or any career that would pay, really. I almost wonder if Parkins is the ontography department, and is involved in the administrative tangles.

  3. Michael Cule says:

    ‘Baphomet’ FYI seems to have been a corruption of ‘Mohammed’ which the early Crusaders took to be some sort of pagan deity worshipped by the Muslims. Comparative theology was not a subject much encouraged by the medieval Church.

    When the French crown needed something to slander the Templars with (so as to allow them to dissolve the Order, write off their debts to the clerical banking arm and seize their assets) ‘Baphomet’ got dragged out and elaborated. Most of the stuff about the Sabbat Goat and what have you is later made up nonsense. (As opposed to contemporary made up nonsense.)

    It should be noted (and is at the Wikipedia article above) that the Pope actually forgave the Templars shortly after the whole mess but did so secretly, presumably because he was afraid of the wrath of the French. The 21st century Vatican is perfectly happy to admit that the whole dissolution was unjust and the accusations of demonolatry were slander.

  4. Richard Leigh says:

    It occurs to me that Parkins’ reluctance to have a spare bed in his room is a premonition of trouble, or perhaps just MRJ planting one for the reader. It reminds me of the reference to “poor Mr Dunning” early in “Casting the Runes”, long before anything has actually happened to him.

  5. Karen says:

    I may be entirely wrong about this, though I seem to remember from various stories and historical titbits that it wasn’t unknown for innkeepers to double-book rooms, so that you could find yourself unexpectedly sharing rooms. People generally had less idea of personal space, so it was common for commercial travellers and others to share rooms – and even, at times, beds – with complete strangers and take it in their stride. The upper classes, of course, had a completely different attitude, and the more genteelly “impoverished”* gentry might find themselves unable to afford digs that guaranteed privacy while still hanging on to their expectations.

    * And by “impoverished”, I mean able to access all sorts of things and activities that most people would consider massive luxuries, like an education or health care or rare books, etc., while not being able to cover their expenses.

  6. Chris Jarocha-Ernst says:

    Patrick Murphy’s new book (Ep. 59 notes) establishes “Fur, Flabis, Flebis” as the correct reading by consulting the original MS., where James had earlier written

    FLA
    FUR > BIS
    FLE

    He also shows how the swastikas in the “Quis Est…” inscription were a little differently drawn by James in the MS. as a further clue to this, but surmises they were replaced with the standard swastikas by the printer.

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