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Madam Crowl's Ghost and the Dead Sexton   By: (1814-1873)

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Madam Crowl's Ghost and the Dead Sexton by Joseph Sheridan LeFanu is a spine-chilling gothic tale that is sure to captivate fans of classic ghost stories. Set in a small English village, the novella follows the mysterious events surrounding Madame Crowl, a recluse with a haunted past.

LeFanu demonstrates his exceptional storytelling skills through his vivid descriptions and atmospheric narrative. From the start, the readers are transported to the eerie world of Coldstream, where dark secrets and unsettling occurrences lurk at every corner. The author's mastery in creating a foreboding atmosphere is evident, immersing the readers in a sense of unease and anticipation that persists throughout the story.

The characters play a crucial role in driving the narrative forward, with Madame Crowl serving as the enigmatic center of the haunting events. As the plot unravels, LeFanu skillfully introduces an assortment of intriguing and diverse characters, each adding depth and complexity to the story. The portrayal of these characters is realistic, flawed, and relatable, making it easier for readers to form a connection with them.

One of the most striking aspects of Madam Crowl's Ghost and the Dead Sexton is LeFanu's ability to craft an unnerving and suspenseful plot. As the ghostly encounters unfold, the readers are left guessing about the true nature of the haunting and the secrets that lie buried in Coldstream. LeFanu expertly builds up the tension, keeping readers on their toes and leaving them hungry for answers.

Another remarkable feature of this novella is LeFanu's profound exploration of themes such as guilt, redemption, and the consequences of one's actions. Through the haunting events, the author demonstrates the coexistence of the physical world and the supernatural realm, blurring the boundaries between the two. This interplay between the corporeal and the ethereal serves as a compelling backdrop for the moral dilemmas faced by the characters.

However, one aspect that may pose a challenge for some readers is the writing style, which is reflective of its Victorian-era origins. LeFanu's prose is ornate and often dense, which, while enhancing the setting and atmosphere, may require a bit of patience from modern readers. Nevertheless, this stylistic choice only contributes to the immersive experience of the story and aligns with the gothic tradition of the time.

In conclusion, Madam Crowl's Ghost and the Dead Sexton is an exceptional piece of classic ghost fiction that will surely enthrall fans of the genre. LeFanu's vivid descriptions, carefully crafted characters, and masterful storytelling create an atmosphere of suspense and dread that lingers long after the final page. If you are a lover of Victorian-era ghost stories, this novella is a must-read that showcases the author's talent for weaving haunting tales.

First Page:



Joseph Sheridan LeFanu

Both stories were originally published in 1871.


Madam Crowl's Ghost

The Dead Sexton


Twenty years have passed since you last saw Mrs. Jolliffe's tall slim figure. She is now past seventy, and can't have many mile stones more to count on the journey that will bring her to her long home. The hair has grown white as snow, that is parted under her cap, over her shrewd, but kindly face. But her figure is still straight, and her step light and active.

She has taken of late years to the care of adult invalids, having surrendered to younger hands the little people who inhabit cradles, and crawl on all fours. Those who remember that good natured face among the earliest that emerge from the darkness of non entity, and who owe to their first lessons in the accomplishment of walking, and a delighted appreciation of their first babblings and earliest teeth, have "spired up" into tall lads and lasses, now. Some of them shew streaks of white by this time, in brown locks, "the bonny gouden" hair, that she was so proud to brush and shew to admiring mothers, who are seen no more on the green of Golden Friars, and whose names are traced now on the flat grey stones in the church yard... Continue reading book >>

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