Hi, I’m Chris. Welcome to my website – The Haunted Crossroads. If you love Gothic horror fiction of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, you’re in the right place. Here you’ll find a growing collection of Gothic fiction: classic ghost stories, weird tales, macabre mysteries, suspenseful whodunits, and psychological thrillers.
So, who am I and why did I create this website. Here’s the short answer – well, sort of short. As a boy, I loved spooky stories. My mom was an avid reader and a compulsive bargain hunter. Year round, we scoured rickety, old shelves in musty used book stores. And during my summer vacations, we explored the hazy, sun-baked Missouri countryside with an old map and the latest garage sale listings. On our best days, I brought home stacks of tattered paperbacks – ghost stories, weird tales, comic books, spooky science fiction, and tall tales about Bigfoot and UFO encounters – and maybe a cherry phosphate from our small town’s soda shop.
When I was a teenager, my friends and I spent our small town summers tossing around an old baseball or football, huddling over Risk battling for world dominance, mowing lawns, hanging around at the local DQ, discovering new music someone’s older brother had left lying around, dreaming about the future, and working at various fast food or construction jobs. Obviously, there was a lot of important stuff going on, but I always found time for reading Gothic fiction while soaking up the sunshine or comfortably settled in a favorite chair by our old window unit air conditioner. M.R. James, F. Marion Crawford, H. G. Wells were favorites. The combination of high-toned Victorian language and brooding terror had a special power over my imagination.
Naturally, when I moved a thousand miles away from home to start college, I had less spare time. I studied. I started a new career. Eventually, I got married, picked up a graduate degree, and started a family. My interest in Gothic fiction faded into the background of my busy life – but it didn’t die.
An incident in Sin City brought my fascination with Gothic fiction back from the brink. I stumbled across a copy of Phyllis Cerf Wagner and Herbert Wise’s excellent anthology, Great Tales of Terror and the Supernatural, in a Las Vegas bookstore. It stirred my curiosity. I paid the $25 cover price. After long days at work, after my wife and kids had fallen asleep, I lay in bed reading, by the light of a single, dim lamp, the spellbinding stories the editors had selected: Hawthorne’s Rappaccini’s Daughter, Crawford’s The Screaming Skull, M. R. James’ Oh, Whistle and I’ll Come to You, My Lad, Lovecraft’s The Rats in the Walls, and many, many others. There were more than fifty stories in that book. I read it from cover to cover. My love for ghostly tales was revived!
When life deposited me at the foot of the Wasatch Mountains, I made another significant discovery: a website called The Literary Gothic. Sadly, the site’s no longer active. But before its owner decided to shut it down, the site introduced me to numerous authors I’d overlooked – many of whom had been talented, inventive, and influential. I started collecting a few of the countless imaginative and thrilling stories I discovered on the website. The Haunted Crossroads is an outgrowth of that effort. It’s both a way to preserve the Gothic fiction I love in a non-corporeal form and a means by which the curious can summon them into their own homes. I like to think of it as my own spectral library.
My wife, Christina (yes, we’re both called Chris – really), will provide audio for these spooky tales. She’ll be experiencing many of them for the first time. So, if you hear a slight tremor in her voice, it might not be merely for dramatic effect!
Of course, you’ll have noticed that The Haunted Crossroads isn’t merely a collection of Gothic fiction, it’s also a blog. To be clear, I don’t pretend to be an expert on the subject of Gothic fiction. I’m just a guy that loves a great story and a good scare. But because I love these old stories, I want to share my thoughts about them. I’m also curious about their authors. Behind every good story, there must be a good writer – or at least an interesting person, right? I’ll share what I discover about them in the form of short summaries. Finally, everyone knows that great supernatural fiction didn’t vanish with the Victorian Era. From time to time, I’ll share my thoughts about contemporary stories that I find interesting. With some hard work, and a bit of luck, the blog will be both fun and informative.
So, close the curtains, find a cozy seat by the fire, and choose a spine-tingling tale from our collection.