Episode 45 – Conference Report: MR James and the Modern Ghost Story

The Old Library at Cambridge UniversityThis week, Will and Mike don their academic tweeds, gather their notes and ascend to the podium to bring you their conference report on MR James and the Modern Ghost Story.  Join us for 45 minutes of (un)learned comment, digressions and wild speculation – plus more expert commentary from author Helen Grant (@helengrantsays), comics writer John Reppion (@johnreppion) and horror expert Prof Darryl Jones, as well as conference organisers Jane Mainley-Piddock (@jmainpidd) and Jim Mussell (@jimmussell).

Show notes:



Episode 44 – The Five Jars, Part 1

This week Will and Mike explore the borders between psychedelia and twee when they crack open The Five Jars, Monty’s only novel.  Prepare yourself for enigmatic springs, helpful trees and cantankerous cats – and two very confused podcasters.

Show notes:

Parents beware – Will drops his guard and utters a foul-mouthed profanity at 12:48.  Chapter one was a real struggle at times.

The full text of the Five Jars, courtesy of Thin Ghost.

We used Peter Yearsley’s Libravox recording of Five Jars for our readings this week, with sound editing by Will.

Alisdair Wood’s excellent illustration for The Five Jars also appears on this month’s Ghosts and Scholars Newsletter (subscribe!).  Why not check out Alisdair’s store?

If you’d like to see one of Robert Lloyd Parry’s performances in Oxford, Manchester, Newcastle, Cambridge or Hemmingford Grey Manor, do contact him directly.

And finally, did anyone else think of this when they heard about the bat?


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.