Stories that inspired M.R. James

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

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Episode 53 – Jacqueline Simpson interview

This episode Mike and Will interview folklorist Jacqueline Simpson about the influence of Scandinavian and English folklore on M.R. James’s ghost stories, as well as Jacqueline’s collaboration with Terry Pratchett on ‘Folklore of the Discworld’.

Many thanks to Jacqueline for her hospitality!

More about Jacqueline:



Episode 52 – Eton and King’s, part one

M.R. James by Alisdair WoodIt’s back to school this week as Mike and Will pack their tuckboxes and top hats and join Monty for the first part of his memoir “Eton and King’s: recollections, mostly trivial”.  How will James deal with the traditions and quirks of Eton?  Will he avoid a midnight wedgy?  And who exactly is the mysterious Goat Sucker?


  • Eton and King’s is readily available from Ash Tree Press as an ebook.
  • Mike and Will at Temple Grove School (it’s changed a bit since Monty’s day).  More on his prep school in our episode on “A School Story“.
  • A glossary of Eton terms, for the initiated.
  • HE Luxmoore was an Eton master for 44 years.  He was MRJ’s tutor and perhaps the biggest influence on him besides his father.
  • Our cover art by, of course, Alistair Wood  – do have a look at his new website!

Episode 51 – M.R. James Conference 2016

This episode Mike and Will report on the the M.R. James conference, aka ‘Haunted Studies: The Ghost Stories of M.R. James’ and bring you interviews with a range of Jamesian luminaries present at the event.

For more information on the conference, visit the conference website.

People we interview in this episode:

  • Dewi Evans (
    Dewi, along with Jane Mainley-Piddock, organised the conference. You can read more from Dewi at his blog, or follow him on Twitter.
  • Ruth Harris
    Ruth impressed us with her paper  ‘”If I’m not careful, something of this kind may happen to me!”: M.R. James and the Academic Nightmare’
  • Ramsey Campbell (
    As England’s most celebrated living horror author, Ramsey Campbell needs little introduction. His opening keynote ‘M.R. James and the Ghost Story Tradition’ got the conference off to a flying start.
  • Steve Manthorp (
    Steve was at the conference exhibiting his fascinating full-size dolls house based on ‘The Haunted Doll’s House’ by M.R. James. You can find our more about Steve at his website and at ADEPT.
  • Dr Andrew Smith (
    Andrew is Reader in Nineteenth Century English Literature at the University of Sheffield, and provided the day’s final keynote on ‘M.R. James and the Ghosts of World War 1’.
  • Richard Mansfield (
    Richard is one half of Mansfield Dark, who have been impressing us for a number of years with their haunting shadow puppet films of M.R. James stories, two of which were shown at the conference. Find out more about these at their website.
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