Halloween/Horror Gift Ideas for 2021

Unlike most Halloween fans, I do not get immediately sad after Halloween because there’s still so much spookiness going on to carry us through Thanksgiving, through the holidays, all the way into next year. What a fabulous time to be a horror fan because there are some incredible apparel, collectibles, products, and amazing box sets of the greatest films in history out there, and, for the next 5 weekends, I’m going to post my gift-giving guides for your favorite Halloween and Horror fans.

The Bela Lugosi Collection at CreepyCo. ($10-70)
https://www.creepycompany.com/collections/bela-lugosi
Lugosi Enterprises is dedicated to preserving the memory and legacy of the man forever associated as Count Dracula. They’ve been quite savvy, selective, and tenacious about their licensing agreements in recent years and that’s more apparent than ever with their deal at Creepy Co. This holiday, you can find some awesome apparel, including button-up shirts, t-shirts, PJs, socks, enamel pins, and much more.

Custom designed Bedding and Bathwares – There will be Cute at Society 6 ($17-$120)
https://society6.com/therewillbecute
Artist and illustrator Caley Hicks brings her world-class spooky cute to Society 6 with these Halloween baths and bedding sets. Normally, I’d include Caley’s works in an upcoming Artist gift-giving guide, but I’m in love with the idea of having a Headless Horseman decorated bathroom.

Magnetic Poetry – Edgar Allan Poet Kit ($12.95)
https://magneticpoetry.com/collections/themed-kits/products/edgar-allan-poet
Is your horror fan a haunting, witty wordsmith with a gothic heart? Well, here’s their chance to shine with this unique and fun way to create original refrigerator poetry, inspired by the Master of the Macabre, Edgar Allan Poe.

Dead Sled Coffee ($18-$20)
https://deadsledcoffee.com/
Why we don’t have coffee bars filled with coffee, horror, and heavy metal music on every corner is beyond me. For the people who don’t care where their coffee comes from, or, at the very least, trust that their favorite musicians and horror icons have lawyers and management that have already scoured Dead Sled’s ethics and ability to produce good-tasting environmentally friendly coffee.


Bloody Good Fake Blood Apron ($21)
https://www.redbubble.com/i/apron/Bloody-Good-Fake-Blood-by-nerdchild/32528424.6ZXWR
Whether you’re a dynamo chef with a macabre sense of humor or cosplaying as Ghoulish Ramsey, this 100% polyester machine washable bloody cooking apron will entertain your next gruesome dinner party.

Godzilla Jenga/Godzilla Monopoly ($22-40)
https://toywiz.com/godzilla/diecast-microman-miscellaneous-toys-figures/
I don’t talk about Godzilla enough. He is the King of the Monsters after all, which is why I got so excited when I found a Godzilla version of Jenga and Monopoly from USAopoly. Why play Jenga when you can play Godzilla Jenga! Finally, a reason to be excited for family board game night. Just don’t let Grandma play as King Ghidorah.

100 Horror Movie Scratch-off Chart ($25)
https://popchart.co/products/100-horror-movies-scratch-off-chart
Whether you’re watching for the first time or revisiting old favorites, this is a cool way to keep track of the which classic horror films you’ve watched.

Elvira Meets Vincent Price Comics (($1.99 and up)
https://www.comixology.com/Elvira-Meets-Vincent-Price-1/digital-comic/943748
Dynamite Entertainment brings the Mistress of the Dark together with the Merchant of Menace to save the world from Apocalyptic doom! In a madcap mix of comedy and horror, the Hollywood star spector and horror hostess with the mostess pair go together like peanut butter and jelly. Digital subscriptions start at $1.99, regular comics are $5, but special limited edition variant covers are for collectors only.

Frankenstein Complete Legacy Collection ($26-47)
https://www.uphe.com/movies/frankenstein-complete-legacy-collection
If for some reason the giant 30 film collection of the Universal Monsters Legacy Collection isn’t your jam, then consider getting The Frankenstein Complete Legacy Collection, which, in my opinion, contains all the best films of the Universal Monsters collection. including Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein.

Horror Movie Figure Collectibles from NECA ($39-70)
https://necaonline.com/2020/12/12-days-of-downloads-2020-day-9-ultimates-visual-guide/
Start a yearly tradition of giving the gift of a horror movie 7″ scale action figure with accessories, officially licensed, made with high-quality materials, packaged in beautiful boxes. These are not toys, these are collectibles and horror fans should own them all. Well, at least one, your favorite one.

Halloween/Goth Shoes ($45-$120)
https://strangecvlt.com/
I’ve heard it said if you’re gonna join a cult, then, join a shoe cult, and there’s no better place to start than Strange Cvlt shoes. From sandals to flats, Mary Janes to platform boots, this is the only socially acceptable fetish a girl can have without getting burned at the stake.

Friday the 13th Blu-ray Collection – Deluxe Edition ($129-159)
https://www.amazon.com/Friday-Collection-Blu-ray-Betsy-Palmer/dp/B07GNV288V
Bring Jason Vorhees home this holiday! Finally a worthy Blu-ray collection of the most successful, long-running slasher series in film history. All 13 movies, some digitally remastered in 4K and featuring a booklet, behind-the-scenes, commentaries, interviews, and special features in the most incredible packaging I’ve ever seen from Scream Factory.

Season’s Screamings Tickets – December 17-19, Pasadena Convention Center ($30-60-95)
https://midsummerscream.org/seasons-screamings/
This one-of-a-kind holiday horror convention promises just as many chills and thrills as its parent-con Midsummer Scream, which was canceled earlier this summer. This is the place to find dark holiday gifts and spooky stocking stuffers. The event includes special ghoulish guests, over 200 exhibitors and vendors, and the Hall of Yuletide Spirits, a “dark showfloor of holiday themed haunts and yard displays, created by Southern Californias most talented haunted house creators.”
Did I mention Pasadena is simply lovely this time of year?

Amazing Pre-order Gifts: Every penny is worth the wait!

Dying Light II Stay Human – Feb 4, 2022 ($60-80)
https://dl2.dyinglightgame.com/
Techland’s sequel to the worldwide phenomenon Dying Light could be the dream of every gamer and zombie fan alike. Trailers and early play-throughs show a creative, technical, and visual feast. The first Dying Light game featured hours of gameplay, multiple DLCs, great customer and technical support, and developed a strong community of fervent players (like me) anxiously awaiting this new gaming adventure.

☆Mezco’s Monsters – Tower of Fear Deluxe Boxed Set – March-May 2022 ($95)
https://www.mezcotoyz.com/5-points-mezcos-monsters-tower-of-fear
Delight your inner child with this fabulous-looking multi-level diorama playset featuring 5 highly detailed poseable classic monsters and a host of accessories, all packaged in a collector-friendly box to bring your own favorite horror stories to life! This product is for collectors, not children.

Bela Lugosi as Dracula by Infinite Statue & Sideshow – June 2022 ($300-355)
https://www.sideshow.com/collectibles/dracula-bela-lugosi-infinite-statue-909742?var=909743
Sideshow and Infinite Statue teamed up with Kaustic Plastik to give us the Dark Prince himself, Bela Lugosi! This handpainted, incredibly detailed sixth-scale figure features two different sculpted heads, ten poseable hands, fully costumed, accessories, and captures the beauty and essence of the most recognizable horror icon ever created. The Deluxe version features a spooktacular coffin for $355. This is the ultimate tribute to both the character of Count Dracula and the beloved actor who embodied him.
A must-have collectible for vampire fans.






Poe Sundays

I couldn’t resist throwing in one last Poe Sunday before officially ending the Halloween 2021 season.

Poe created the modern detective story by creating many story elements that other writers would use in their own writings. He was the first author to leave clues for readers to pick up on, and the most significantly, Poe was also the first to create a recurring sleuth character in C. Auguste Dupin, a man of superior intellect and keen sense, who solves the mystery by analyzing the facts of the case through the power of observation. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle admitted to being heavily influenced by Poe, as his own masterful creation of Sherlock Holmes, shared many of the same qualities with detective Dupin.

You can learn more about the character here:
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/C._Auguste_Dupin

Poe Sundays

Happy Halloween Sunday! On this last day in October, we pay tribute to Master of Macabre, Edgar Allan Poe.

You can read the entire poem here: https://poestories.com/read/raven

Fun Fact: After being first turned down by a publisher friend, Poe sold the Raven poem to The American Review for $9. Subsequent publishings followed and even made Poe famous, but the man received little financial success.

Poe Sundays

On Sundays, we celebrate the Master of Macabre, Edgar Allan Poe

Fun Fact: Readers of the day were so horrified by the story’s violence, they complained to the editor of the Messenger, the first magazine to publish Berenice. Poe himself later removed 4 paragraphs of text, thus, many early publishings are missing the detailed heinous act of Poe’s story.

Poe was angry at being forced to self-censor his own work, believing a story should be judged solely by how many copies it sold.


You can read Berenice in its entirety here:
https://poestories.com/read/berenice

Poe Sundays

On Sundays, we celebrate the Master of Macabre, Edgar Allan Poe

Fun Facts: Poe himself had an obsessive fear of being buried alive do to catslepsy, a state where someone occasionally falls completely still and is unable to move or speak. There were a few cases of it happening during Poe’s lifetime that made the papers. No doubt those stories left a huge impression on the author.

Poe Sundays

Every Sunday, we celebrate excerpts and quotes from the works of the Master of Macabre, Edgar Allan Poe.

Fun Facts: It seems Poe was influenced by a number of other authors of his time to write a story based on the Spanish Inquisition, after reading History of the Spanish Inquisition by Juan Antonio Llorente. William Mudford’s The Iron Shroud, a short story of iron torture chamber was also an influence, as well as George Sale’s translations of the Qur’an, for which many of Poe’s works were heavily inspired by.*

Poe Sundays

On Poe Sundays, we celebrate the Master of the Macabre, the grandfather of gothic fiction, writer-poet extraordinaire Edgar Allan Poe.

Excerpt of The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe

Fun Fact: Despite that readers the worldover consider the narrator to be male, there is no gender specified in The Tell-Tale Heart, thus, some critics have taken up the point that the narrator may in fact be a woman.

Ten Gifts for Edgar Allan Poe Fans

Starting today, every Sunday until the week of Christmas, I’ll post a gift giving guide for Halloween and horror fans. After a late start, we’re kicking off with ten gifts for Edgar Allan Poe fans. Who wouldn’t love to get an inspirational gift from the master of the macabre?

1. The Raven Writing Gloves by Storiarts – $26
I’m in love with these gloves and infinity scarves based on the literary classics. They have other amazing products as well, but these are my faves. They look so warm and comfy.
https://storiarts.com/collections/gloves/products/the-raven-writing-gloves

2. The Raven Wine Box by Me and Annabel Lee $55
This beautiful wine box is a gothic delight. When paired with the right wine, it’ll be a classy looking gift.
https://www.etsy.com/listing/846112079/wine-box-the-raven-the-crow-black-vino?ga_search_query=Raven&ref=shop_items_search_17

3. Nevermore Raven-Halloween Vellum Luminarie by Paper Pixie – $11.25
Candles make you nervous? Try these low light lanterns made of vellum to really set the mood for a dark and stormy night. https://www.etsy.com/listing/555102149/halloween-vellum-luminarie-collection?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=Nevermore+candles&ref=sr_gallery-1-48&organic_search_click=1

4. The Raven Cushion Cover by Violet Rose Emporium $24.99
Add a touch of gothic to your home furnishings with these handmade cushion covers.
https://www.etsy.com/listing/656264205/the-raven-by-edgar-allan-poe-cushion?ga_search_query=poe&ref=shop_items_search_4&crt=1

https://www.etsy.com/listing/656263445/nevermore-cushion-cover-edgar-allan-poes?ref=shop_home_active_31


5. Poe Writer’s Block by Literature Lodge – $9.99
Is there a writer in the family? Draw inspiration from the master of macabre with this cool writer’s block.
https://www.etsy.com/listing/205154821/writers-block-edgar-allan-poe?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=Edgar+Allan+Poe&ref=sr_gallery-1-7&organic_search_click=1&cns=1

6. Poe Coffee Mugs by Universal Zone – $23.95 ($18.95 unboxed)
Coffee mugs with excerpts from Poe’s poems are classy cool and perfect for afternoon tea or nighttime reading.
https://www.etsy.com/listing/821275397/the-raven-mug-the-raven-by-edgar-allan?ga_search_query=poe&ref=shop_items_search_7&pro=1

7. Tell-tale Heart Bandana by Obscurely Lit – $20
This versatile bandana can be used as a face shield, head band or a neck warmer. During pandemic times, we can never have too much protection, so why not have something representing our favorite literary stories?
https://www.etsy.com/listing/792541469/the-tell-tale-heart-face-bandana?ref=shop_home_active_2&pro=1&frs=1

8. Edgar Allan Poe Tarot by Llewellyn – $31.99
Poe fans and tarot card collectors, rejoice, with this beautiful new deck designed by Rose Wright and Eugene Smith for Llewellyn. Check around the web for competitive pricing.
https://www.llewellyn.com/product.php?ean=9780738760339&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI5a-Tk6WQ7QIVQuDACh1m7QQPEAQYASABEgKHkvD_BwE

9. Poe Vinyl Stickers by Paper Pandamonium – $5.82
These stickers are perfect stocking stuffers.
https://www.etsy.com/listing/695932950/edgar-allan-poe-vinyl-sticker-pack-vinyl?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=Edgar+Allan+Poe+stickers&ref=sr_gallery-1-3&organic_search_click=1

10. Nevermore Collage Fabric by Michael Miller
This fabric designed by Michael Miller is to die for. You can make face masks, clothes, bedding, bags, art projects, and more.  I’ve seen it sold at various prices, so check Etsy and around the web for competitive pricing.
https://www.michaelmillerfabrics.com/nevermore-collage.html

Remember to shop local and small business when you can this year.

Poe Sunday: The Black Cat

Poe Sundays are all about honoring the works of Edgar Allan Poe. The Black Cat can be a tough read for many, as there’s quite a bit of animal cruelty, but that does play a part in the story and why it’s considered one of the most frightening short stories ever written. This blog does not condone the act of animal cruelty, nor do I believe that was the author’s intention.

The Black Cat
by Edgar Allan Poe
(published 1845
)

For the most wild, yet most homely narrative which I am about to pen, I neither expect nor solicit belief. Mad indeed would I be to expect it, in a case where my very senses reject their own evidence. Yet, mad am I not — and very surely do I not dream. But to-morrow I die, and to-day I would unburthen my soul. My immediate purpose is to place before the world, plainly, succinctly, and without comment, a series of mere household events. In their consequences, these events have terrified — have tortured — have destroyed me. Yet I will not attempt to expound them. To me, they have presented little but Horror — to many they will seem less terrible than barroques. Hereafter, perhaps, some intellect may be found which will reduce my phantasm to the common-place — some intellect more calm, more logical, and far less excitable than my own, which will perceive, in the circumstances I detail with awe, nothing more than an ordinary succession of very natural causes and effects.

From my infancy I was noted for the docility and humanity of my disposition. My tenderness of heart was even so conspicuous as to make me the jest of my companions. I was especially fond of animals, and was indulged by my parents with a great variety of pets. With these I spent most of my time, and never was so happy as when feeding and caressing them. This peculiarity of character grew with my growth, and, in my manhood, I derived from it one of my principal sources of pleasure. To those who have cherished an affection for a faithful and sagacious dog, I need hardly be at the trouble of explaining the nature or the intensity of the gratification thus derivable. There is something in the unselfish and self-sacrificing love of a brute, which goes directly to the heart of him who has had frequent occasion to test the paltry friendship and gossamer fidelity of mere Man.

I married early, and was happy to find in my wife a disposition not uncongenial with my own. Observing my partiality for domestic pets, she lost no opportunity of procuring those of the most agreeable kind. We had birds, gold-fish, a fine dog, rabbits, a small monkey, and a cat.

This latter was a remarkably large and beautiful animal, entirely black, and sagacious to an astonishing degree. In speaking of his intelligence, my wife, who at heart was not a little tinctured with superstition, made frequent allusion to the ancient popular notion, which regarded all black cats as witches in disguise. Not that she was ever serious upon this point — and I mention the matter at all for no better reason than that it happens, just now, to be remembered.

Pluto — this was the cat’s name — was my favorite pet and playmate. I alone fed him, and he attended me wherever I went about the house. It was even with difficulty that I could prevent him from following me through the streets.

Our friendship lasted, in this manner, for several years, during which my general temperament and character — through the instrumentality of the Fiend Intemperance — had (I blush to confess it) experienced a radical alteration for the worse. I grew, day by day, more moody, more irritable, more regardless of the feelings of others. I suffered myself to use intemperate language to my wife. At length, I even offered her personal violence. My pets, of course, were made to feel the change in my disposition. I not only neglected, but ill-used them. For Pluto, however, I still retained sufficient regard to restrain me from maltreating him, as I made no scruple of maltreating the rabbits, the monkey, or even the dog, when by accident, or through affection, they came in my way. But my disease grew upon me — for what disease is like Alcohol ! — and at length even Pluto, who was now becoming old, and consequently somewhat peevish — even Pluto began to experience the effects of my ill temper.

One night, returning home, much intoxicated, from one of my haunts about town, I fancied that the cat avoided my presence. I seized him; when, in his fright at my violence, he inflicted a slight wound upon my hand with his teeth. The fury of a demon instantly possessed me. I knew myself no longer. My  original soul seemed, at once, to take its flight from my body; and a more than fiendish malevolence, gin-nurtured, thrilled every fibre of my frame. I took from my waistcoat-pocket a pen-knife, opened it, grasped the poor beast by the throat, and deliberately cut one of its eyes from the socket! I blush, I burn, I shudder, while I pen the damnable atrocity.

When reason returned with the morning — when I had slept off the fumes of the night’s debauch — I experienced a sentiment half of horror, half of remorse, for the crime of which I had been guilty; but it was, at best, a feeble and equivocal feeling, and the soul remained untouched. I again plunged into excess, and soon drowned in wine all memory of the deed.

Continue reading “Poe Sunday: The Black Cat”

Poe Sunday: The Fall of the House of Usher

The Fall of the House of Usher
by Edgar Allan Poe (1839)

Poe Sundays are all about honoring the works of Edgar Allan Poe. The Fall of the House of Usher is considered by many critics to be Poe’s gothic masterpiece. Despite never learning the name of the story’s narrator, we come to quickly trust his well-observed eye and candor about the events experienced during his journey to visit Roderick Usher, a boyhood friend, of whom he has not seen in quite some time. It begins with an epigraph from French poet Jean Pierre de Beranger, which translates to “His heart is a tightened lute; as soon as one touches it, it echoes.” The narrator wastes no time in suggesting to his audience that Usher and the crumbling mansion share the same doomed fate.

Son cœur est un luth suspendu;
Sitôt qu’on le touche il résonne.

De Béranger.

DURING the whole of a dull, dark, and soundless day in the autumn of the year, when the clouds hung oppressively low in the heavens, I had been passing alone, on horseback, through a singularly dreary tract of country, and at length found myself, as the shades of the evening drew on, within view of the melancholy House of Usher. I know not how it was—but, with the first glimpse of the building, a sense of insufferable gloom pervaded my spirit. I say insufferable; for the feeling was unrelieved by any of that half-pleasurable, because poetic, sentiment, with which the mind usually receives even the sternest natural images of the desolate or terrible. I looked upon the scene before me—upon the mere house, and the simple landscape features of the domain—upon the bleak walls—upon the vacant eye-like windows—upon a few rank sedges—and upon a few white trunks of decayed trees—with an utter depression of soul which I can compare to no earthly sensation more properly than to the after-dream of the reveller upon opium—the bitter lapse into every-day life—the hideous dropping off of the veil. There was an iciness, a sinking, a sickening of the heart—an unredeemed dreariness of thought which no goading of the imagination could torture into aught of the sublime. What was it—I paused to think—what was it that so unnerved me in the contemplation of the House of Usher? It was a mystery all insoluble; nor could I grapple with the shadowy fancies that crowded upon me as I pondered. I was forced to fall back upon the unsatisfactory conclusion, that while, beyond doubt, there are combinations of very simple natural objects which have the power of thus affecting us, still the analysis of this power lies among considerations beyond our depth. It was possible, I reflected, that a mere different arrangement of the particulars of the scene, of the details of the picture, would be sufficient to modify, or perhaps to annihilate its capacity for sorrowful impression; and, acting upon this idea, I reined my horse to the precipitous brink of a black and lurid tarn that lay in unruffled lustre by the dwelling, and gazed down—but with a shudder even more thrilling than before—upon the remodelled and inverted images of the gray sedge, and the ghastly tree-stems, and the vacant and eye-like windows.

Nevertheless, in this mansion of gloom I now proposed to myself a sojourn of some weeks. Its proprietor, Roderick Usher, had been one of my boon companions in boyhood; but many years had elapsed since our last meeting. A letter, however, had lately reached me in a distant part of the country—a letter from him—which, in its wildly importunate nature, had admitted of no other than a personal reply. The MS. gave evidence of nervous agitation. The writer spoke of acute bodily illness—of a mental disorder which oppressed him—and of an earnest desire to see me, as his best and indeed his only personal friend, with a view of attempting, by the cheerfulness of my society, some alleviation of his malady. It was the manner in which all this, and much more, was said—it was the apparent heart that went with his request—which allowed me no room for hesitation; and I accordingly obeyed forthwith what I still considered a very singular summons.

Although, as boys, we had been even intimate associates, yet I really knew little of my friend. His reserve had been always excessive and habitual. I was aware, however, that his very ancient family had been noted, time out of mind, for a peculiar sensibility of temperament, displaying itself, through long ages, in many works of exalted art, and manifested, of late, in repeated deeds of munificent yet unobtrusive charity, as well as in a passionate devotion to the intricacies, perhaps even more than to the orthodox and easily recognizable beauties, of musical science. I had learned, too, the very remarkable fact, that the stem of the Usher race, all time-honored as it was, had put forth, at no period, any enduring branch; in other words, that the entire family lay in the direct line of descent, and had always, with very trifling and very temporary variation, so lain. It was this deficiency, I considered, while running over in thought the perfect keeping of the character of the premises with the accredited character of the people, and while speculating upon the possible influence which the one, in the long lapse of centuries, might have exercised upon the other—it was this deficiency, perhaps, of collateral issue, and the consequent undeviating transmission, from sire to son, of the patrimony with the name, which had, at length, so identified the two as to merge the original title of the estate in the quaint and equivocal appellation of the “House of Usher”—an appellation which seemed to include, in the minds of the peasantry who used it, both the family and the family mansion.

I have said that the sole effect of my somewhat childish experiment—that of looking down within the tarn—had been to deepen the first singular impression. There can be no doubt that the consciousness of the rapid increase of my superstition—for why should I not so term it?—served mainly to accelerate the increase itself. Such, I have long known, is the paradoxical law of all sentiments having terror as a basis. And it might have been for this reason only, that, when I again uplifted my eyes to the house itself, from its image in the pool, there grew in my mind a strange fancy—a fancy so ridiculous, indeed, that I but mention it to show the vivid force of the sensations which oppressed me. I had so worked upon my imagination as really to believe that about the whole mansion and domain there hung an atmosphere peculiar to themselves and their immediate vicinity—an atmosphere which had no affinity with the air of heaven, but which had reeked up from the decayed trees, and the gray wall, and the silent tarn—a pestilent and mystic vapor, dull, sluggish, faintly discernible, and leaden-hued.

Shaking off from my spirit what must have been a dream, I scanned more narrowly the real aspect of the building. Its principal feature seemed to be that of an excessive antiquity. The discoloration of ages had been great. Minute fungi overspread the whole exterior, hanging in a fine tangled web-work from the eaves. Yet all this was apart from any extraordinary dilapidation. No portion of the masonry had fallen; and there appeared to be a wild inconsistency between its still perfect adaptation of parts, and the crumbling condition of the individual stones. In this there was much that reminded me of the specious totality of old wood-work which has rotted for long years in some neglected vault, with no disturbance from the breath of the external air. Beyond this indication of extensive decay, however, the fabric gave little token of instability. Perhaps the eye of a scrutinizing observer might have discovered a barely perceptible fissure, which, extending from the roof of the building in front, made its way down the wall in a zigzag direction, until it became lost in the sullen waters of the tarn.

Noticing these things, I rode over a short causeway to the house. A servant in waiting took my horse, and I entered the Gothic archway of the hall. A valet, of stealthy step, thence conducted me, in silence, through many dark and intricate passages in my progress to the studio of his master. Much that I encountered on the way contributed, I know not how, to heighten the vague sentiments of which I have already spoken. While the objects around me—while the carvings of the ceilings, the sombre tapestries of the walls, the ebony blackness of the floors, and the phantasmagoric armorial trophies which rattled as I strode, were but matters to which, or to such as which, I had been accustomed from my infancy—while I hesitated not to acknowledge how familiar was all this—I still wondered to find how unfamiliar were the fancies which ordinary images were stirring up. On one of the staircases, I met the physician of the family. His countenance, I thought, wore a mingled expression of low cunning and perplexity. He accosted me with trepidation and passed on. The valet now threw open a door and ushered me into the presence of his master.

The room in which I found myself was very large and lofty. The windows were long, narrow, and pointed, and at so vast a distance from the black oaken floor as to be altogether inaccessible from within. Feeble gleams of encrimsoned light made their way through the trellised panes, and served to render sufficiently distinct the more prominent objects around; the eye, however, struggled in vain to reach the remoter angles of the chamber, or the recesses of the vaulted and fretted ceiling. Dark draperies hung upon the walls. The general furniture was profuse, comfortless, antique, and tattered. Many books and musical instruments lay scattered about, but failed to give any vitality to the scene. I felt that I breathed an atmosphere of sorrow. An air of stern, deep, and irredeemable gloom hung over and pervaded all.

Upon my entrance, Usher rose from a sofa on which he had been lying at full length, and greeted me with a vivacious warmth which had much in it, I at first thought, of an overdone cordiality—of the constrained effort of the ennuyé man of the world. A glance, however, at his countenance convinced me of his perfect sincerity. We sat down; and for some moments, while he spoke not, I gazed upon him with a feeling half of pity, half of awe. Surely, man had never before so terribly altered, in so brief a period, as had Roderick Usher! It was with difficulty that I could bring myself to admit the identity of the man being before me with the companion of my early boyhood. Yet the character of his face had been at all times remarkable. A cadaverousness of complexion; an eye large, liquid, and luminous beyond comparison; lips somewhat thin and very pallid, but of a surpassingly beautiful curve; a nose of a delicate Hebrew model, but with a breadth of nostril unusual in similar formations; a finely moulded chin, speaking, in its want of prominence, of a want of moral energy; hair of a more than web-like softness and tenuity;—these features, with an inordinate expansion above the regions of the temple, made up altogether a countenance not easily to be forgotten. And now in the mere exaggeration of the prevailing character of these features, and of the expression they were wont to convey, lay so much of change that I doubted to whom I spoke. The now ghastly pallor of the skin, and the now miraculous lustre of the eye, above all things startled and even awed me. The silken hair, too, had been suffered to grow all unheeded, and as, in its wild gossamer texture, it floated rather than fell about the face, I could not, even with effort, connect its Arabesque expression with any idea of simple humanity.

The above is only an excerpt from The Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allan Poe. To find out what happens next to the ill-fated House of Usher, please visit Project Gutenberg’s The Fall of the House of Usher

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All works by Edgar Allan Poe are widely considered to be public domain.