Stories that inspired M.R. James

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

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Episode 98 – The Nature of the Evidence by May Sinclair

M.R. James said that sex had no place in a ghost story. But was he right? This episode we attempt to answer this question and more, as we cover The Nature of the Evidence by May Sinclair, a tale from 1923 about a couple who just want to enjoy their wedding night. Is that too much to ask? Apparently, yes.

Thanks to Debbie Wedge for providing the readings for this episode, and don’t forget to check out Ghostly Encounters, the haunting free interactive event that Debbie is helping organise in Oxford on the 20th April 2024.

Show notes:


Episode 97 – Mark Gatiss’s Lot 249

Stylised image of Mark Gatiss with a mummy looming behind himHold on to your mummy! This episode Mike and Will discuss Mark Gatiss’s recent Ghost Story for Christmas TV adaptation Lot 249, as well as the Arthur Conan Doyle short story it is based on.

Show notes:


Episode 96 – The Real and the Counterfeit by Louisa Baldwin

A group of Victorian children tobogganingThis episode, Mike and Will grab their literary toboggans and gallop joyously out into the snow, only to be hit in the face by a terrifying fictional snowball in the form of Louisa Baldwin’s The Real and the Counterfeit!

Big thanks as ever to Debbie Wedge for providing the readings for this episode. Looking for a last-minute Christmas gift to please the M.R. James fan in your life? Why not head over to Debbie’s Redbubble store and pick up an awesome Jamesian Wallop, Barchestering, or No Diggin’ ‘Ere t-shirt?

Show notes:

  1. More on Louisa Baldwin in our last episode
    We covered The Weird of the Walfords back in the summer, and included a lot more biographical details about Louisa Baldwin.
  2. Long Galleries (wikipedia)
    A lot of the action in this story takes place in a long gallery, a popular architectural feature of many stately homes in England.
  3. George’s banjo (
    Like Lawley in this story, George in Jerome K. Jerome’s Three Men in a Boat was also a keen banjo player, much to the displeasure of his friends. Similarly, in Thank You, Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse, Bertie’s insistence on playing the banjolele is what finally drives Jeeves to leave Bertie’s service (albeit temporarily).
  4. Other haunted abbeys (
    In this episode, Mike mentions a number of old houses in England that are, like Stonecroft, said to be haunted by ghostly monks.
  5. Tobogganing at Funchal (
    The city of Funchal in Madeira is famous for providing toboggan-like basket rides from the Mount Church on the hill, down into the town.
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