Stories that inspired M.R. James

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Episode 90 – Right Through My Hair by Noel Boston

September 17, 2022 | Episodes | Comments (11)

Norwich Cathedral

Join Will and Mike for haunted cathedrals, lecherous minor canons and hair-based horrors in Noel Boston’s ‘Right Through My Hair’!

Big thanks to Debbie Wedge for providing the readings for this episode.

Show notes


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  1. Eddie says:

    Bung-ho a new episode! Thoroughly enjoyed your reading and discussion on this one lads and particularly Will’s deep dive on The Heavenly Twins. The call-back to the Fortean Times: I loved the series and the Portishead Theremin track used in the interludes. Great idea for your 4th season/era focusing on Women authors – can’t wait for them!

  2. Gary says:

    Bravo, boys! Another great episode. I especially liked Will From the Future’s insight into where Boston quite obviously got the idea for Old Martle’s suicide. And I liked that there was mention of Walter De La Mere’s “All Hallow’s.” I’d really like to hear your take on that story, as it’s also been one of my favorites.
    Looking forward to Season 4, but was disappointed that you didn’t mention Edith Nesbit among your list of women authors for prospective episodes.
    Meanwhile, Keep up the great work, lads!

  3. SRebInNH says:

    This was fun and I’m always excited for new episodes. I thought about “A Night in King’s College Chapel”, another sanctuary that belongs to a different crowd after dark. Those characters were showing their easy-going side, sure, but they could’ve gotten offended and started throwing their panes at the living at any moment! Sharp pieces of glass? Much worse than a gentle little pat on the head from a lonely foot.

  4. Anders Davis says:

    I hope at some point in the future you will do a full season of James’ favorite author- J. Sheridan Le Fanu. I know you have covered one or two in the past, but there are so many worthy stories and even novels and novellas that would make for excellent discussion.

  5. Nick Beale says:

    I did wonder, before Future Will cut in, whether the debt that couldn’t be acknowledged had been like Canon Alberic’s pact with “a demon of the night”.

    “Bung-Ho!” was also an expression of delight among the people of Potarneyland in the radio sitcom The Navy Lark (1959–1977).

    Re Mary Cholmondeley — it’s pronounced “Chumley” in Posh English (cf. Harry Enfield’s Mr. Cholmondely-Warner).

  6. Rich Johnson says:

    Great episode, really enjoyable as always, thank you!

    “Soft Voices at Passenham” by T H White is another great ghost story about the night time inhabitants of churches.

    • Rich Johnson says:

      Oh, and William Golding’s story “Miss Pulkinhorn” isn’t a ghost story but it’s set in a cathedral and there’s a fantastic description of the place at night. I think M R James would have liked it.

  7. Pam says:

    Glad to hear you’ll be looking at a few more women authors!

    Like many children before me I loved ghost stories. I have fond memories of reading many of them…at the library, in my room, at camp, but the best place to read them was on a train…at night.

    Back when it was safer to do so, my Mom would put me on a night train to travel to see my older brother; he lived 6-7 hours away. Because the train left around midnight and arrived around 7 am it was known as the milkrun. And several hours in, when most were asleep, the train would stop, seemingly in the middle of nowhere, for almost an hour.

    I would stay awake all night, in the empty dining car, reading whatever ghost story anthology I had found in the bookstore at the train station. My Mom would always give me some money to buy some books…she didn’t always know what I was buying. A couple of years ago I found one of those anthologies at a book fair and immediately bought it; the first Fontana Book of Great Ghost Stories!

    It included:

    Three Miles Up (1951) by Elizabeth Jane Howard
    The Crown Derby Plate (1933) by Marjorie Bowen
    The Old Nurse’s Story (1852) by Mrs. Gaskell

  8. Steve Dempsey says:

    Another great episode, always a joy.

    I’m a big fan of Mary Butts who got about a bit – a friend of Cocteau, acquaintance of Crowley, and from a family which owned many William Blake pieces, until her mother sold them. She was originator of this epic diary quote: “Remember this day: opium down to seven pipes.”

    I’m assuming you’ve got some Handheld Press editions. They’ve been a recent champion of women’s ghost and other weird fiction.

  9. Joe says:

    Very excited for season 4. I’ve been listening to the Classic Ghost Stories podcast and he’s featured some excellent women writers on that. May be worth checking out, if you haven’t already, the two “Monster, She Wrote” titles by Valancourt Press in the US.

  10. CP Lancaster Marr says:

    ‘Bung ho’ is an old British slang expression for ‘until we meet again’, ‘au revoir’, but used when drinking like ‘down the hatch’ or ‘here’s mud in your eye’. source: Leslie Dunkling, The Guinness Drinking Companion (2003).

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