The Tell-Tale Heart Full Text

True! –nervous –very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am; but why will you say that I am mad? The disease had sharpened my senses –not destroyed –not dulled them. Above all was the sense of hearing acute. I heard all things in the heaven and in the earth. I heard many things in hell. How, then, am I mad? Hearken! and observe how healthily –how calmly I can tell you the whole story.

It is impossible to say how first the idea entered my brain; but once conceived, it haunted me day and night. Continue reading The Tell-Tale Heart Full Text

A Ballad: The Lake of the Dismal Swamp Poem Text

They made her a grave, too cold and damp

For a soul so warm and true;

And she’s gone to the Lake of the Dismal Swamp,

Where, all night long, by a fire-fly lamp,

She paddles her white canoe.

 

And her fire-fly lamp I soon shall see,

And her paddle I soon shall hear;

Long and loving our life shall be,

And I’ll hide the maid in a cypress tree,

When the footstep of death is near.

 

Away to the Dismal Swamp he speeds—

His path was rugged and sore,

Through tangled juniper, beds of reeds,

Through many a fen where the serpent feeds,

And man never trod before.

 

And when on the earth he sunk to sleep,

If slumber his eyelids knew,

He lay where the deadly vine doth weep

Its venomous tear and nightly steep

The flesh with blistering dew!

 

And near him the she-wolf stirr’d the brake,

And the copper-snake breath’d in his ear,

Till he starting cried, from his dream awake,

“Oh! when shall I see the dusky Lake,

And the white canoe of my dear?”

 

He saw the Lake, and a meteor bright

Quick over its surface play’d—

“Welcome,” he said, “my dear one’s light!”

And the dim shore echoed for many a night

The name of the death-cold maid.

 

Till he hThoollow’d a boat of the birchen bark,

Which carried him off from shore;

Far, far he follow’d the meteor spark,

The wind was high and the clouds were dark,

And the boat return’d no more.

 

But oft, from the Indian hunter’s camp,

This lover and maid so true

Are seen at the hour of midnight damp

To cross the Lake by a fire-fly lamp,

And paddle their white canoe!

The Raven Full Poem Text

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore—
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
“‘Tis some visiter,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door—
Only this and nothing more.” Continue reading The Raven Full Poem Text

From Beyond Full Story Text

Horrible beyond conception was the change which had taken place in my best friend, Crawford Tillinghast. I had not seen him since that day, two months and a half before, when he had told me toward what goal his physical and metaphysical researches were leading; when he had answered my awed and almost frightened remonstrances by driving me from his laboratory and his house in a burst of fanatical rage. I had known that he now remained mostly shut in the attic laboratory with that accursed electrical machine, eating little and excluding even the servants, but I had not thought that a brief period of ten weeks could so alter and disfigure any human creature. Continue reading From Beyond Full Story Text

The Dunwich Horror

“Gorgons, and Hydras, and Chimaeras—dire stories of Celaeno and the Harpies—may reproduce themselves in the brain of superstition—but they were there before. They are transcripts, types—the archetypes are in us, and eternal. How else should the recital of that which we know in a waking sense to be false come to affect us at all? Is it that we naturally conceive terror from such objects, considered in their capacity of being able to inflict upon us bodily injury? O, least of all! These terrors are of older standing. They date beyond body—or without the body, they would have been the same. . . . That the kind of fear here treated is purely spiritual—that it is strong in proportion as it is objectless on earth, that it predominates in the period of our sinless infancy—are difficulties the solution of which might afford some probable insight into our ante-mundane condition, and a peep at least into the shadowland of pre-existence.”
Charles Lamb: “Witches and Other Night-Fears”

I.

When a traveller in north central Massachusetts takes the wrong fork at the junction of the Aylesbury pike just beyond Dean’s Corners he comes upon a lonely and curious country. Continue reading The Dunwich Horror

The Lurking Fear Full Story Text

1. The Shadow on the Chimney

There was thunder in the air on the night I went to the deserted mansion atop Tempest Mountain to find the lurking fear. I was not alone, for foolhardiness was not then mixed with that love of the grotesque and the terrible which has made my career a series of quests for strange horrors in literature and in life. With me were two faithful and muscular men for whom I had sent when the time came; men long associated with me in my ghastly explorations because of their peculiar fitness.
We had started quietly from the village because of the reporters who still lingered about after the eldritch panic of a month before—the nightmare creeping death. Later, I thought, they might aid me; but I did not want them then. Would to God I had let them share the search, that I might not have had to bear the secret alone so long; to bear it alone for fear the world would call me mad or go mad itself at the daemon implications of the thing. Now that I am telling it anyway, lest the brooding make me a maniac, I wish I had never concealed it. For I, and I only, know what manner of fear lurked on that spectral and desolate mountain. Continue reading The Lurking Fear Full Story Text