Episode 43 – The Malice of Inanimate Objects

Malice of Inanimate Objects by Alisdair Wood

In this episode Mike and Will batten down the hatches and prepare for the onslaught of ‘The Malice of Inanimate Objects‘ by M.R. James.

Readings for this episode are taken from Curious Creatures, Robert Lloyd Parry’s excellent audiobook which features a selection of lesser-heard M.R. James stories. Many thanks to Robert for giving us permission to use them! The full CD can (and should) be purchased from

Thanks to Alisdair Wood who provided the awesome artwork that accompanies this episode. Head over to for more M.R. James inspired artwork for sale.


  • The Malice of Inanimate Objects by M.R. James (Ghosts and Scholars)
    This story can be read in full online at the Ghosts and Scholars website. See the notes at the bottom for links to the various translations of the Brothers Grimm’s story about the unfortunate, or very wicked, Squire Korbes.
  • Resistentialism and Animism (wikipedia)
    Think that objects are out to get you? You’re not alone, as Paul Jennings discussed in his humorous 1948 Spectator article on what he coined ‘Resistentialism‘. But attributing human attribute to non-human entities is nothing new, see this wikipedia article on Animism in religion.
  • The Malice of Inanimate Objects short film (Youtube)
    Want to see a man crack an egg on his own face, and worse? This M.R. James short by Youtuber Alan OW Barnes takes it’s inspiration from M.R. James and the tale of Squire Korbes mentioned in this story.
  • Death Bed: The Bed that Eats (Youtube)
    Cited as ‘a strong contender for worst movie ever made’, this 70′s horror movie caught Mike’s eye as example of the inanimate object idea being taken to places it probably shouldn’t. Warning: contains bad acting.

Episode 42 – Christmas bonus – The goblins who stole a sexton by Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens in a Christmas hatSeason’s greetings listeners!

We have a Christmas bonus episode for you here, an exclusive readings of one of Charles Dickens’s supernatural Christmas tales ‘The Story of the Goblin who Stole a Sexton‘ which appeared as part of The Pickwick Papers in 1836.

For more information on Charles Dickens and M.R. James, check out Episode 41 in which we talk to M.R. James scholar Jane Mainley-Piddock.


Episode 41 – The MR James and Charles Dickens Christmas Special (with last minute gift guide!)

Seasons greetings James fans! In this episode, Will and Mike take a further turn towards the Victorian by pairing up James with his great literary love, Mr Charles Dickens.  Just what influence did he have on James? Lest their amateur speculations take a less than academically rigorous turn, they are joined by James expert Jane Mainley Piddock (@jmainpidd), to tell us all about Monty’s strange fascination with Dickens’ unfinished tale, Edwin Drood.

Show notes:

  • Jane’s website contains fascinating articles on MRJ and Edwin Drood, spiders, cats and much much more!
  • Charles Dickens’ Ghost Stories: your hosts mentioned The Haunted House, The Trial for Murder and of course the Signal Man, available as a single download from Project Gutenburg.  The Signal Man was one of Lawrence Gordon Clarke’s best Ghost Stories for Christmas and is available in the BFI box set.
  • Edwin Drood – do explore the mystery for yourself.  Our money is on Jasper having done it, or tried to do it, or… well, you decide! You can learn more about MRJ’s Drood-inspired tale “An Episode of Cathedral History” in episode 18.

And lest we forget, Will and Mike found time for Christmas gifts:

  • Curious Warnings, the most sumptuous edition of MRJ’s tales currently  in print.
  • Alisdair Wood’s (@alisdair_wood) illustrations have graced many an episode of the podcast and his MRJ postcards were one of the highlights of last year.  Will is particularly excited by his postcards of houses from horror movies.  The bloody envelope is a nice touch.
  • The Christmas edition of Eerie (#6), published this month, came with an unsettling adaptation of the Ash Tree courtesy of Kelley Jones.  It also promises “sickening stories of festive phantoms and pernicious pastries”.  Available to buy as a download if you can’t make it to a comic shop.
  • “I See A Shadow Coming – the Illustro Obscurum Yuletide Compendium Volume I”.  A lovely looking new zine, limited to 40 copies and now sadly SOLD OUT!  But do watch that space, they clearly have plans for more wierd fic wonderfulness in the coming year. Mike found the whole URL rather a tongue twister: just to clarify that it is
  • AN Donaldson’s (@ANDauthor) new Lovecraft-meets-Solzhenitsyn novel Death Sentence, which will give you second thoughts about pining for snow this Christmas. If you haven’t already, do read Alisdair’s first novel Prospero’s Mirror, and listen to our interview with him from May last year.
  • Helen Grant’s (@helengrantsays) new novel Silent Saturday will make you think twice about this newfangled interest in urban exploration.  You might also like Helen’s Jamesian novel The Glass Demon.  Helen joined us to discuss Marcilly-le-Hayer earlier this year.