Last week, an anthology of ghost stories I edited hit the cyber-stands. Those Who Haunt Ghosts: A Century of Ghost Hunter Fiction, released by Coachwhip Publications, spotlights a distinctive branch of the literary ghost stories originally published between the 1820s and the 1920s. Many of the very best ghost stories ever written come from those decades, and this collection includes work by renowned authors such as Edward Bulwer-Lytton, Henry James, Charlotte Riddell, Ambrose Bierce, H.G. Wells, Arthur Conan Doyle, Algernon Blackwood, Rudyard Kipling, Sax Rohmer, and H.P. Lovecraft.
I define ghost hunter fiction as works featuring characters who aren’t personally haunted, but who investigate a house, a room, or some other site reported to be visited by a ghost. Sometimes, a doubtful ghost hunter hopes to debunk those rumors. Other times, a hopeful hunter wants to confirm that the dead really do return in spirit form. No matter the motivation, ghost hunters never know what they’ll discover.
And some ghost hunters don’t survive their encounter with the netherworld!