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Stories that inspired M.R. James

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

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Episode 86 – Lucky’s Grove by H.R. Wakefield

Disney Christmas LightsHo ho, and indeed ho! In this special festive episode, Mike and Will pull on their wellies and wander straight into Lucky’s Grove by H.R. Wakefield. But who’s that hiding behind the Christmas tree?

Big thanks to Julia Morgan for allowing us to use extracts from her excellent Youtube reading of this story.

Show notes:

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Episode 85 – The Tudor Chimney by A.N.L. Munby

A.N.L. Munby

This episode Mike and Will grab their torches and disappear up ‘The Tudor Chimney’ by A.N.L. Munby. But what is that shape moving up above? Meh, it’s probably nothing.

Thanks to Debbie Wedge for providing the readings for this episode!

In this episode, we also mention Will’s new project DarkOxfordshire.co.uk, which explores the darker side of Oxfordshire’s history, including ghosts, legends, murders and mayhem!

Story notes:

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Episode 84 – Bosworth Summit Pound

t1112~2Ahoy there listeners!  Be grabbin’ yer nautical gear for a  cruise on the high seas of Leicestershire, with LTC Rolt and his story Bosworth Summit Pound.  (Enough.  It’s set on a canal – ed) What terrors might await us on England’s peaceful inland waterways? And just who digs a canal tunnel under an ancient graveyard anyway?

Story notes

  • Thank you to our reader this week Tony Walker: you must check out his Classic Ghost Stories podcast and episode on this story.  If you’d like to know more about his podcast, make sure you listen through to the end of our show for an exclusive trailer from Tony!
  • Tom Rolt built Spitfires during WW2, and in 1944 had his first book ‘Narrow Boat’ published. It was a big success, and through it he made connections with the people with whom he would form the Inland Waterways Association, an organisation dedicated to preserving Britain’s canals and other waterways. He was actually expelled from this in 1951 after falling out with founding member (and fellow author of supernatural fiction) Robert Aickman (see this amusing plaque, which suggests the enmity lingered after both their deaths!).
  • Rolt’s one volume of ghost stories ‘Sleep No More’ was published in 1948.  Mike Ashley wrote of this, “Rolt had a formidable knowledge of the byways, waterways and railways of Britain which made Sleep No More (1948) a most unique volume of the supernatural”. Ashley adds that of  MR James’s imitators, “Malden, Munby and Rolt achieve the most success in blending James’s techniques with their own narratives… Because of his ability to utilise original surroundings, L.T.C. Rolt’s stories are perhaps the most refreshing.”
  • In another essay worth reading, Kai Roberts wrotes that “Rolt succeeds because the industrial setting he evokes is one about which he is passionate and knowledgeable.”
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