W. J. Wintle - Ghost Gleams, Tales of the Uncanny, Ash-Tree Press 1999, Limited Print Edition

  • $64.00

Published by Ash-Tree Press on 19th February 1999 and limited to 500 copies. The book comes in hardback grey cloth with silver writing on the spine, with 168 numbered pages. Cover illustrations by Jason C. Eckhardt. Introduction by Richard Dalby. 

First published in 1921, Ghost Gleams is one of the most elusive titles in the genre of the classic supernatural tale; and the author of the collection's fifteen tales has long been a mysterious—even ghostly—figure, despite having been a prolific Victorian and Edwardian writer who was able to turn his hand to almost any subject required of him.

Born in 1861, William James Wintle established a name for himself as a prolific and versatile author, equally adept at writing a best-selling account of the Armenian massacre and a cookbook of Continental recipes. He was considered an expert on the British royal family, was a noted writer on the subject of natural history, and in 1899 became the major regular in-house contributor to the highly popular Harmsworth Magazine.

Towards the end of the Great War, Wintle became an Oblate in the Abbey of Caldey Island; and it was there, on Sunday evenings, that he told a series of ghost stories to the eight boys who attended the Abbey's school. The stories—which feature a range of other-worldly visitants, from haunted beds and vengeful ancestors to spectral cats and prehistoric animals—were later collected together and published as Ghost Gleams, with the author noting that 'the gruesome ones met with the best reception'. This first-ever reprint of Ghost Gleams includes a lengthy introduction by Richard Dalby, who presents the most complete biography of Wintle ever assembled, as well as a 1903 article about real ghosts, and an account of life on Caldey Island at the time Wintle was there, written by one of the 'eight dear boys' to whom Ghost Gleams is dedicated.

Contents: Introduction by Richard Dalby; 'The Red Rosary'; 'When Twilight Fell'; 'The House on the Cliff'; 'The Ghost at The Blue Dragon'; 'The Spectre Spiders'; 'The Footsteps on the Stairs'; 'The Chamber of Doom'; 'When Time Stood Still'; 'The Black Cat'; 'Father Thornton's Visitor'; 'The Horror of Horton House'; 'The Haunted House on the Hill'; 'The Voice in the Night'; 'The Light in the Dormitory'; 'The Watcher in the Mill'; 'Can You Explain It? True Stories of the Ghost World'; Afterword by Peter J. Wire.