Written while Irving was living abroad in Birmingham, England, “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” was first published in 1820. Along with Irving’s companion piece “Rip Van Winkle”, “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” is among the earliest examples of American fiction with enduring popularity, especially during Halloween because of a character known as the Headless Horseman believed to be a Hessian soldier who was decapitated by a cannonball in battle. The story is set in 1790 in the countryside around the Dutch settlement of Tarry Town (historical Tarrytown, New York), in a secluded glen known as Sleepy Hollow. Sleepy Hollow is renowned for its ghosts and the haunting atmosphere that pervades the imaginations of its inhabitants and visitors. Some residents say this town was bewitched during the early days of the Dutch settlement, while others claim that the mysterious atmosphere was caused by an old Native American chief, the “wizard of his tribe … before the country was discovered by Master Hendrik Hudson.” The most infamous spectre in the Hollow is the Headless Horseman, supposedly the ghost of a Hessian trooper whose head had been shot off by a stray cannonball during “some nameless battle” of the Revolution, and who “rides forth to the scene of battle in nightly quest of his head”.

The story is set in 1790 in the countryside around the Dutch settlement of Tarry Town (historical Tarrytown, New York), … More

Amazing, fascinating, bizarre are words that barely start to describe the bats of the world. Some are big and some tiny. Many have a diet of insects and fruit, yet there are others with more unusual tastes in food – such as the fisherman bat which uses its claws to catch fish and the unjustly demonized blood-eating vampire bats.

Bat expert Phil Richardson takes the reader on a guided tour of the nocturnal world of bats: where they live, … More

Rooted in place, slipping between worlds – a rich collection of unnerving ghosts and sinister histories. Eight authors were given the freedom of their chosen English Heritage site, from medieval castles to a Cold War nuclear bunker. Immersed in the past and chilled by rumours of hauntings, they channelled their darker imaginings into a series of extraordinary new ghost stories. Also includes a gazetteer of English Heritage properties which are said to be haunted.

Available in store and online.

A splash of something huge resounds through the sea-fog. In the stillness of a dark room, some unspeakable evil is making its approach. This new selection offers the most chilling and unsettling of Hodgson’s short fiction, from encounters with abominations at sea to fireside tales of otherworldly forces from his inventive `occult detective’ character Carnacki, the ghost finder.

A master of conjuring atmosphere, when the horror inevitably arrives it is delivered with breathtaking pace and the author’s unique … More

From heart-stopping accounts of apparitions, manifestations and related supernatural phenomena to first-hand encounters with ghouls and spirits, this collection of stories contains new and well-known spooky tales from in and around Hastings. Drawing on historical and contemporary sources Haunted Hastings contains a chilling range of ghostly phenomena.

From the haunted staircase at Hastings library in Claremont and the singing spectre of Hastings College, to the mysterious witches’ … More

The Iremongers have taken up what was not wanted and wanted it. Clod is an Iremonger. He lives in the Heaps, a vast sea of lost and discarded items collected from all over London. At the centre is Heap House, a puzzle of houses, castles, homes and mysteries reclaimed from the city and built into a living maze of staircases and scurrying rats. The Iremongers are a mean and cruel family, robust and hardworking, but Clod has an illness. He can hear the objects whispering. His birth object, a universal bath plug, says ‘James Henry’, Cousin Tummis’s tap is squeaking ‘Hilary Evelyn Ward-Jackson’ and something in the attic is shouting ‘Robert Burrington’ and it sounds angry. A storm is brewing over Heap House.

The Iremongers are growing restless and the whispers are getting louder. When Clod meets Lucy Pennant, a girl newly arrived … More

A young girl whose love for her fiance continues even after her death; a sinister old lady with claw-like hands who cares little for the qualities of her companions provided they are young and full of life; and a haunted mirror that foretells of approaching death for those who gaze into its depths. These are just some of the haunting tales gathered together in this macabre collection of short stories. Reissued in the Tales of the Weird series and introduced by British Library curator Greg Buzwell, The Face in the Glass is the first selection of Mary Elizabeth Braddon’s supernatural short stories to be widely available in more than 100 years.

Available in store and online.

Evil Roots: Killer Tales of the Botanical Gothic. Strangling vines and meat-hungry flora fill this unruly garden of strange stories, selected for their significance as the seeds of the villainous (or perhaps just misunderstood) `killer plant’ in fiction, film and video games. Step within to marvel at Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s giant wistaria and H. G. Wells’ hungry orchid; hear the calls of the ethereal women of the wood, and the frightful drone of the moaning lily; and do tread carefully around E. Nesbit’s wandering creepers…

Every strain of vegetable threat (and one deadly fungus) can be found within this new collection, representing the very best … More

The reputation of early-twentieth century British writer Algernon Blackwood currently resides with his two novellas `The Willows’ (1907) and `The Wendigo’ (1910), and with good reason. They are perfectly crafted horror tales that convey feelings of mystical otherness; they hint at the possibility that there are forces which lie beyond the confines of our everyday understanding of the world and which may, given the right circumstances, manifest to humans. In `The Willows’, `unearthly’ creatures are responsible for arousing `some dim ancestral sense of terror more profoundly disturbing than anything’ the protagonists have ever known.

In `The Wendigo’, fear of the titular monster from Native American folklore is used to create a discombobulating atmosphere of … More

When orphans Ben and Jennet arrive in the seaside town of Whitby to stay with Alice Boston, they have no idea what to expect. A lively 92-year-old, Miss Boston is unlike any other foster mother they’ve known. Ben is gifted with `the sight’, which gives him the power to see things invisible to other mortals. He soon encounters the mysterious fisher folk who live under the cliffs and discovers that Alice and her friends are not quite what they seem.

But a darkness is stalking the streets of Whitby, bringing with it fear and death. Could it be a ghost … More