Monday, February 24, 2014

"Outside the Door"

"Outside the Door"
by E.F. Benson

Our narrator's hostess relates a theory about the nature of hauntings, then provides the tale of a ghostly experience to back it up.  

My Reaction (with SPOILERS):
Here's another of those stories where a character puts forth a theory about "psychical matters" and proceeds to give an example.  The theories (so far) don't seem to be anything radically new (to a modern reader experienced in the genre, at least), so they could just as well be left out.  The stories would be creepier without them.

--  The narrator and his hostess rather humorously fail to turn the table:  "No tremor even had passed through its slight and spindle-like legs.  In consequence we had, after a really considerable period of patient endeavor, left it to its wooden repose, and proceeded to theorise about psychical matters instead, with no stupid table to contradict in practice all our ideas on the subject."

--  "'Otherwise, we must frankly state our disbelief in haunted houses altogether, or suppose that the spirit of the murdered, poor wretch, is bound under certain circumstances to re-enact the horror of its body's tragedy.  It was not enough that its body was killed there, its soul has to be dragged back and live through it all again with such vividness that its anguish becomes visible or audible to the eyes or ears of the sensitive.  That to me is unthinkable, whereas my theory is not.'"