Bewitching: Tales for Halloween


The nights grow longer, inky shadows spill cross the road, and a raw wind tears at your sleeves. . . . It’s All Hallows’ Eve, and there are stories to tell.

“May concrakes gnaw your sour bones,” Melissa Stein writes in “blessings,” a delicious recitation of curses. Drink up, if you dare. Pull a blanket around you tight as you descend into the madness of Ron Hansen’s “The Governess.” In the best tradition of Poe, here a new servant at Blythe House is tormented by ghosts she cannot resist. For, after all, “we’re attracted to the dangerous.”

Pause. Take a breath. Settle in for a story of the West and a heroine whittled by lust and deceit in Lauren Markham’s “The Hanging.”

Be forewarned to shield your heart from death, that “clear twilight galloping,” in Pablo Neruda’s “Alturas.” Can you hear it?

Where do ghosts come from? Are they only ciphers of regret and superstition? Ivan Turgenev offers a nuanced answer in his classic story “Bezhin Meadow.” And Craig Morgan Teicher, in his poem “The Ghosts,” suggests that you “let the ghost come in . . . Let the ghost sit by your side and read your book with you.”