A Psychical Invasion
The Nemesis of Fire
e only person he would consent to see at all--the only doctor, I mean. But, of course, he doesn't know how frightened I am, or how much I have noticed. He pretends with me that it's just a nervous breakdown, and I'm sure he doesn't realise all the odd things I've noticed him doing. But the main thing, I suppose--"
"Yes, the main thing, Mrs. Pender," he said, encouragingly, noticing her hesitation.
"--is that he thinks we are not alone in the house. That's the chief thing."
"Tell me more facts--just facts."
"It began last summer when I came back from Ireland; he had been here alone for six weeks, and I thought him looking tired and queer--ragged and scattered about the face, if you know what I mean, and his manner worn out. He said he had been writing hard, but his inspiration had somehow failed him, and he was dissatisfied with his work. His sense of humour was leaving him, or changing into something else, he said. There was something in the house, he declared, that"--she emphasise
I have not read a lot of Blackwood though I agree with H. P. Lovecraft that his story The Willows is a masterpiece of horror. Now, having read three of his six John Silence sories, I am eager to make a full introduction to this man's works.
Dr. John Silence is best described as a doctor of the psychic world, a Sherlock Holmes of hauntings and psychic phenomenon and these stories are an interesting introduction to him (the rest of the Silence adventures are continued in Three More John Silence Stories also available through ManyBooks).
In A Psychical Invasion, the reader is introduced to the techniques of the good doctor with a story that is the least rewarding of the three. However, it serves as a good foundation for the remainder of the stories.
It is in Ancient Stories that Blackwood really shines and as he tells the adventures of the narrator trapped in an eerie French provincial town, he presents a story with such a strong atmosphere of awe the reader cannot help but be strangely moved just by the prose.
The Nemesis of Fire broadens the worldview of Doctor Silence and as Arthur Machen, Blackwood's contemporary, wrote his fantasies in a mystical Christian worldview, Blackwood's writings are solidly based in a universe that is roughly Theosophist, but universal enough to include occult adventures from Egypt.
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