Thursday, November 23, 2017

A Psychical Invasion by Algernon Blackwood

A Psychical Invasion
by Algernon Blackwood

The first of the John Silence psychic/occult investigator stories.  A humorist takes hashish to explore the boundaries of laughter and ends up inviting an evil spirit.  Enter John Silence, psychic investigator.  He spends the night in the humorists house with a cat and dog.  Dogs are afraid of ghosts/psychic emanations, but cats like them.  The dog gets scared, the cat runs around, and at some point Silence hallucinates multiple cats.  He then later discovers that an executed criminal had lived there.  The End.

It's a testament to Blackwood's writing that the piece is so engaging and atmospheric, given that he literally is just watching his pets the entire story.  The whole enterprise had a very 60s psychedelic vibe, with the drugs and vibrations and such.

I just wish something actually happened.  Ghost stories are pretty tame to begin with, and when you swap out the implications of being trapped in a horrid afterlife with psychic vibrations, there's not a lot of scary stuff left.

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