100 Books. 100 Years

100 Years. 100 Books. #13– 1947 (1913)

Carnacki the Ghost Finder by William Hope Hodgson

True, the original Carnacki collection was published in 1913, but it was re-issued in 1947 and created a stir in a world recovering from the horror or human war. The character of Carnacki is a cross between Sherlock Holmes and VanHelsing, a man who uses intellect and science to battle forces of darkness. I’m betting Carnacki was also the model for one of my all-time favorite TV shows, the 1970’s classic The Night Stalker, starring the magnificent Darren McGavin as Karl Kolchak.

This collection of short stories follows the adventures of Carnacki, a ghost finder, who is called in to investigate all sorts of supernatural goings on, usually in the English countryside. The stories are told to a group of Carnacki’s friends as they gather for dinner at his home. In each story, Carnacki approaches the supernatural activity with a healthy dose of skepticism tempered by a real belief in the unknown, a bag full of equipment, and his trusty camera. Through the course of these stories, Carnacki battles a huge hand, an enormous pair of lips that whistle a horrifying tune, and a group of very human smugglers “haunting” a castle, among others.

I was reminded of the old pulp comics while reading this one, and I bet I could find a Carnacki comic if I looked hard enough. This is an entertaining, light read for fans of the horror genre. Not terribly gruesome but certainly very spooky and lots of fun.

5 out of 5 catalog cards.